The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Finished the Legend

Tonight I finally finished watching all of Legends of the Galactic Heroes, a mammoth anime series consisting of 110 episodes in four seasons, 48 OVA episodes, and two movies.

LoGH is a great space epic, the story of two great starfaring civilizations, and their two greatest military strategists, at war. In the autocratic but decaying Galactic Empire is Reinhardt von Musel, a minor noble driven to achieve power in order to free his sister, who had been taken by the Emperor as a mistress, end the corruption of the current dynasty, and ultimate unite the Galaxy under his rule. In the democratic but politically deadlocked Free Planets Alliance is Yang Wen-li, who just wanted to be a historian but had to enter military school because he couldn't pay tuition anywhere else. Yang rises in rank almost despite himself, because of his natural gifts in strategy, and becomes Reinhardt's great rival, even through he'd value peace between the two civilizations more than anything else. And there's probably about three dozen other major characters I won't go into here.

The series features battles between fleets, with tens of thousands of ships on each side (the great battle between Reinhardt and Yang, which occurs not even halfway through the series, takes three episodes to tell.), and plenty of political discussions on if a reformed autocracy could be better to live under than a corrupt democracy. And the series isn't afraid to kill off people when you least expect it.

One of my all time favourites, I obtained the first 40 episode fansubbed years ago, and despaired ever seeing the rest, as plans for an English version languished on and on. Finally, I succumbed a few months back and got everything on DVD from a Hong Kong bootlegger. The translation leaves much to be desired (they consistently use "war" when they obviously mean "battle" for instance) but I could always pretty much figure out what was happening.

And I have to admit, I'm a little glad I get to watch something else now.

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Wow, your summary of the series is so much more appealing than the last one I heard, which was "that show about gay space Nazis".

Oh come on! Reinhardt certainly has his hang-ups (mostly aobut his sister), and he can be pretty ruthless, but he always makes a point about how the rest of the nobles treat people like they're disposabile, which he never does.

OK, alomst never does. The one time it happens he's manuvered into it, and it haunts him the rest of the show.

In fact, once he takes over the Empire, he institutes a lot of reforms, and in his writings Yang acknowledges that the Empire under Reinhardt is actually a better place to live in than the Free Planets currently. The problem bieng that that could change at any time.

LOL, I was just quoting what I heard from someone else! Whatever angst the characters in LoGH have going on, it can't be as bad as Gundam Wing.

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