At first it seems weird that time should spin. We seem to like (in English at least) to describe whatever it is that time does in terms of movement in space, true, but the word that springs to my mind first is ‘flows’.
It is very appropriate that time should spin here, though, for at least two reasons. Firstly this is a Galactic story, and galaxies are prone to spinning. Secondly the Legend‘s most overt message (which opens the episodes of its second season) says that in one important respect time does not progress: ‘the deeds of men remain the same.’ If we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes then idea that time flows begins to look a bit odd.
To my amusement, I’m reminded of the opening statements of something else I’m fond of.
Julian: GAR & Biggles – In Space!
Legend of the Galactic Heroes‘s opening two episodes of space warfare made it clear how the series’ military confrontations look and broadly function: fleets line up and manoeuvre, space fighters are sent in and beam weapons are fired en masse. Interestingly, because both sides’ spaceships are submarine-shaped, they’re much easier to hit from the side than from head on, so whenever we see a fleet taken in the flank the results are literally explosive.
Given the show’s compelling heroes and the gripping political upheavals, I did not expect much variation on this theme. Writing about the show before I remarked on how gently the spaceships were introduced and established, so I gave up hoping for eye-popping spaceborne action. Trust the Legend, then, to blow me away with a multi-episode battle-stravaganza, only enhanced by the usual liberal helpings of human drama and political machination.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is too long to write neatly tied-together essays on while you’re still watching the early episodes. In fact, so much happens in just the first fifteen that for the first time in my (admittedly short) blogging life, I could actually use some episode summaries – and there aren’t any, of course. I should write some, but it would be boring and I wouldn’t be very good at it. In lieu of that, I offer you some sweeping commentary which is generally spoiler-free since I hope that I might persuade others to give this classic a try, and because anything I write further into the series will probably be spoiler-laden.
This entry is dedicated to the memory of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
Judging by the few episodes I’ve seen (how’s this for rushing to conclusions?) Legend of the Galactic Heroes is epic in scope and subject – and title: in its English rendering, ‘Legend’, ‘Galactic’ and ‘Heroes’ all convey the scale of the show. This isn’t the debased ‘epic’ bandied around on imageboards. This is the real deal. It may be the first time I’ve encountered an anime which has seemed truly Virgilian – I’d say Homeric, but I think in its awareness of war’s victims, its solemn stateliness and its focus on empire(s) the Legend is much closer to the Aeneid than the Iliad.