September 7, 2009

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Filed under: Legend of the Galactic Heroes — Ren @ 6:03 pm

“There is great satisfaction in fighting for the sake of gaining power…
but it’s joyless to fight for the sake of maintaining it.
it was fun when you fought at my side against a great enemy.
But now that I’ve become the supreme ruler…
there are times I’ve wished that I’d strike myself down.
The world should be filled with many great enemies.
If only you were here…
I would understand better what it is that I want.”

Legend of the Galactic Heroes has stolen my soul. At first I was a bit hesitant to start watching a series that’s over 110 episodes, but it came highly recommended, so I had to at least give it a shot. Well, now that I’ve started, I can’t stop watching. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a grand series with an incredible cast of characters. I’m not good at understanding politics at all, so you would think a series like this would be the last thing I’d want to see, but the writing is so fantastic and each of the many, many, many characters so unique and well-developed that I find myself completely captivated. It doesn’t matter that politics aren’t my thing, I’m still able to grasp what’s going on, and I care so much about the characters and what their ultimate fates will be that I just can’t stop.

The above quote was spoken by Reinhard von Lohengramm, the leader of the Galactic Empire. My heart broke for him when he lost one of the most important people in his life, and it continues to break as I see him struggle to overcome his grief and the loss of his sense of purpose ever since that day. Is he continuing down the path he originally chose simply because he feels he has no other choice but to finish what he started, and uphold the promises he made? Does he even want to rule the universe anymore? But if he doesn’t, what other choice could he make? I’ll always have a soft spot for Reinhard because I completely understand being practically crippled by grief. I’m very much enjoying watching his journey and trying to analyze his motivations for the decisions he makes as the series progresses.

I believe he was first motivated by a true desire to rule the galaxy with Kircheis and his sister at his side. Now, it sometimes feels that he’s just going through the motions by continuing on this journey, which offers both a distraction from his grief and a way to honour the best friend he lost by keeping the promise he made to him. The one spark that brings life to him is the worthy rival he sees in Yang Wenli. I think he fluctuates between wanting to defeat Yang so that he can take down the only man in the universe who can be considered his equal, and wanting Yang to defeat him so that he can have a reason to die. I thought this especially strongly during the battles at Rantemario and Vermillion, where it felt like he was practically rushing to his own death.

Of course, he’s only one of many favourite characters for me. Clever, cute, funny, and pension-obsessed Yang will always and forever be high on my list. But yeah, I definitely can’t choose only one! Ahh, I can’t get enough of this show. Now I’m actually glad that it’s so long!

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