Snapshots: Fall of the Free Planets

Spoilers ahead for Legend of the Galactic Heroes up to episode fifty-four.

Yang’s defeat at Vermilion was cruel and unfair; perhaps this is similar to the feeling of the Dolchstoßlegende, though in Yang’s case it’s less a myth, more a reality. If this was not, so far, an exquisitely balanced and many-faceted story I’d be throwing it – figuratively – at the wall right now, but, because it is an exquisitely balanced and many-faceted story, Yang’s cruel defeat was the result of prompt and heroic action on the part of Hildegard von Mariendorf.

I think her decision to disobey Reinhard by intervening to save his life boils down to a recognition that, from the point of view of history and also his friends (if he has friends), Reinhard’s capable of acting like a perfect idiot for the sake of personal satisfaction. (Insert sentence describing Yang’s tendency to act, from the point of view of history and his friends, like a perfect idiot for the sake of democratic ideals here.) Anyhow she (and my inner characterisation fiend ‘shipper) are rewarded with the sight of Reinhard not being entirely sure what to say! admitting personal failings! asking for time to compose himself! It’s just like watching Itazura na Kiss, I tell you.

I notice that Reinhard gets to put the crown on himself. Who, if anyone, gets to crown an emperor is something of a vexed in European history. Popes are, however, nowhere to be seen in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

So far, the priests we have seen have spent most of their time planning nefarious things, though the show hasn’t revealed quite what things. I’m rather amused by the unambiguously evil portrayal of the Terraist cult: whenever they appear on screen they make things worse (as with their protection of Job Truniht when Bucock was about to kill him) and the cult leaders take style tips from Palpatine. But then the Legend does have characters for whom we’re meant to feel little or no sympathy – Truniht’s a good example, as are the reactionary aristocrats defeated earlier in the story by Reinhard – so this is really par for the course.

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14 responses to “Snapshots: Fall of the Free Planets

  1. The Alliance’s capitulation was pretty much forced Yang to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    You know I think Reinhard should have captured the last boy Goldenbaum Emperor invite him to the coronation and pretend to let the boy crown him only for Reinhard to push the boy down and crown himself a la Napoleon. Nevertheless I guess for Reinhard supreme governmental authority arises from himself and his sense of justice.

    IIRC the little chat between Yang and Reinhard after the surrender was pretty funny.

    Truniht is douche hopefully you will enjoy his final comeupance.

    ReinhardxHilda like Itazura na Kiss you say, well Reinhard does come to Kotoko levels of stupidity, but Hilda is no where near Naoki levels of coldness. Just wait until the latter half you can almost see he shoujo sparkles and bubbles.

  2. Reinhard is such a tsundere.

  3. “Reinhard’s capable of acting like a perfect idiot for the sake of personal satisfaction” is basically this series in a nutshell. I’m pretty sure Oberstein lets him have it (or at least, lets him have it as much as Oberstein would do such a thing) for acting like that. Hilda might, too.

    Also, I can’t believe I never thought to make that first joke before.

  4. I was so mad when Yang lost the giant epic battle at wherever it was (this was like two years ago), because Yang is awesome. Sadly, I got halfway into the third arc and ran out of time to watch it and it got dropped by the wayside, so I’ll have to go back and watch from 55 on, because you can’t just pick LoGH back up as if it’s nothing.

    Fun things in store: the addition of a FOURTH “major” female character (if you count Annerose as a major character, and if you count the “token female advisor to Yang/Reinhard” characters as “major”) AND a bunch of history lesson episodes. I love those things because they animated a fictional documentary, because they could.

  5. ah…the battle of Vermillion is one the greatest moment of logh.IN any other show or perhaps even book -(and let’s not talk about history) Yang would pulverized Reinhard but not here, Yang has so much integrity that he accept defeat.

    Glorious, I always fought a beautiful defeat was better than any victory and logh proves it.

  6. This looks absolutely oldschool, and priests are supposed to be holy men…

    Also, IKnight, I changed my address to: http://finality.wordpress.com/ care to relink? ^_^

  7. @ Crusader: That conversation between Yang and Reinhard was a pretty good scene. They understood each other, but they were operating on such different sets of values that they couldn’t agree. I must say I’m looking forward to Truniht’s comeuppance, now that you’ve suggested he’ll get one. And looking forward to the nearly-visible shoujo sparkles, too.

    @ Baka-Raptor: He’s only one step away from ‘Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!’.

    @ jpmeyer: First joke – the initial image? I think I found it on /m/. Possibly.

    @ OGT: I suppose Hilda’s action to save Reinhard here more or less raises her above ‘token’ level. Annerose I’d classify – so far – as a minor character but a major motivational force in the action.

    I’m definitely with you on the documentary-within-an-OVA form. In fact, I think ‘because they could‘ is a useful phrase to keep in mind when considering the whole show.

    @ ZeusIrae: I suppose you’re right. I mean, quite a lot of me was screaming for Yang to ignore his orders, but at the same time it proves (once again) his unswerving devotion to a democratic ideal when he’s serving a democratic system that is (or was) far from ideal. And as I said, part of our sympathy is with Reinhard, which helps.

    @ xephfyre: Utterly oldschool, in some ways, though it’s a product of the late eighties and early nineties, I think. And I’ll update my blogroll, good point.

  8. The best thing I’ve seen in LoGH has got to be the minor character Henrique Martino Borges De Arantes E Olibeira.

    His name is longer than all of his lines combined. And they put the whole thing on the screen.

  9. “Reinhard’s capable of acting like a perfect idiot for the sake of personal satisfaction.” It does not help that the core group he surrounds himself with at times are equally caught up in Reinhard’s battle lust and more often than not act like yes-man, despite the fact that otherwise , like Reinhard himself, they are actually quite competent and talented people. On the hand, it falls upon the minority in Reinhard’s staff who are not quite as talented in a military sense like Oberstein or Hilda to rein them in, a dynamic that I find quite interesting in Reinhard’s camp

  10. You’re right – that chap who commands the Black Lancers is always champing at the bit to get into action, and a lot of Reinhard’s generals are ambitious enough that they sometimes care more about how their victory looks than how quickly and efficiently it can be achieved.

    The fact that it often falls to Oberstein and Hilda to control this tendency is only made more interesting by the way that Oberstein and Hilda have their own conflict over what we might call Reinhard’s integrity. H. and O. seem to have radically different ideas on what makes a good ruler.

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