Aloha and welcome to Anime Parlay! My journey through the reboot of The Legend of the Galactic Heroes continues today thanks to Funimation’s release schedule. It looks like from here on out, Tuesday is Galactic Hero day! Put it on your calendars! I bet your current employer couldn’t guarantee Galactic Hero day every Tuesday. That’s just some of the magic you can expect here on Anime Parlay. “Magic”!
Episode 3 of Galactic Heroes this week has A LOT to unpack. Aside from the obvious character narrative between the arrogant Reinhard von Lohengramm and his tag-along Siegfried Kircheis, we get a crash course history lesson into the Galactic Empire. You know that feeling when you watch an anime and feel like someone designed it with your tastes in mind? That’s how I feel 3 episodes into the Galactic Heroes reboot. Enough shallow hype, lets get into the meat of the episode!
SPOILERS AHEAD for all of you hoping to experience this episode organically beforehand. You’ll find these opinions to be my own. Made ’em in my brain and everything! You’ll have to take the “LeVar Burton Promise” to heart like I do. You don’t have to take my word for this show. Check it out for youself, if you’re interested, and tell me what you got out of it!
Man Feelings Everywhere!
Episode 3, at its core, is about how Reinhard and Siegfried developed their friendship. Turns out they met back when they we’re kids. Neighbors even! These two we’re fated to be friends. The rest of the episode briefly summarizes their childhood and teenage years. To make it simple, Reinhard eventually joins a military cadet academy after his sister becomes a concubine to the Kaiser. He says that the only way to move up in his society is to become a soldier. Siegfried concurs and agrees to enter the cadet school alongside Reinhard. Despite the fact that Seigfried is a mere commoner, Reinhard manages to get his friend into the academy.
Despite the opinions I held about theses two characters in episode 1 and 2, episode 3 manages to subvert my expectations but build them as new, fallible characters. Originally, I thought the two were nobles from an imperial society where everything had been handed to them so they just expect things to come to them in a similar way. Forget that! Turns out Reinhard and Siegfried have been subject to adversity since day one. Reinhard deals with his fair share of noble dissing when everyone at the academy claims the only reason his commoner friend is here is because his sister is the king’s mistress. Despite the constant disapproval from his peers, Reinhard always sees the larger part of his destiny. He tells Siegfried that their comments don’t matter because most of them will never be real soldiers. He says they’ll be in the rear, filling the back lines and issuing orders with no regard to what real honor and glory looks like. These crowning thoughts guide the pair well and they manage to graduate at the top of their class.
Flash forward to present times when the boys are meeting with Reinhard’s sister, Annerose, with her new lifestyle in full swing. The three have a casual conversation when Annerose asks Reinhard to grab a bottle of wine while she has a private conversation with Siegfried. Once Reinhard is gone, Annerose asks Siegfried, who has been at her brother’s side for 10+ years, to watch over her brother. Annerose describes the fire in her brother’s heart and how he just might be a megalomaniac bent on domination. Casual tea time talk! It got me excited for a possible Obi-Wan/Anakin show down later on. Siegfried agrees to Annerose’s request right before the camera pans to a flashback to when the boys had just graduated from the academy.
A fresh-faced Reinhard and Siegfried stare up at a statue of the Galactic Empire’s founder, Emperor Rudolf von Goldenbaum. Reinhard begins to go on a villainous rant about how Emperor Rudolf was just an ambitious man who took what he wanted. Reinhard then states his goal to rule over all the stars in the galaxy. With Seigfried’s promise to Annerose fresh in the viewer’s minds, Seigfried looks at his dear friend and not only embraces Reinhard’s megalomania, he ENCOURAGES it. HOLY SHIT! Turns out these two are hellbent on taking over EVERYTHING. I have a feeling this show is going to get INSANE!
Now you may be wondering “Why are these two so ambitious to take over everything?” The reason for that can be found in the history of the Galactic Empire.
The Galactic Empire and So Can You!
In my last review of this delightful reboot (The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Review #1 & 2), I had this prediction to make about the Galactic Empire:
From the sound of it, you have the old-school, traditionalist Galactic Empire on one side and a democratic, possibly separatist, members of the Free Planets Alliance. Will this show make comments about these styles of government?
Turns out, I was right! This one check in the “right” column is going to look so GOOD compared to my fleet of checks in the “wrong” column. Turns out, back in the day before our current future events are taking place, humanity has managed to unite and create the Galactic Federation. That goes pretty well for 230 or so years until Rudolph von Goldenbaum was elected president. Then he was subsequently placed in charge of the parliament that also exists. Rudolph, being the stand-up guy he is decides “Fuck it, I’m already in charge of everything now. Just call me emperor of humanity now!”. The Galactic Federation becomes the Galactic Empire. Just to give you an idea of what this means in the context of the real world, they’re Nazis. Essentially Nazis. I hate to use that universal “bad-guy” term or disparage a government style that is different from the one I know but I’m sorry. They’re Nazis.
How do I know this? Emperor Rudolph ruled with an iron fist. Killed those who opposed. Imprisoned those who survived. There was even a side-character with artificial eyes who mentions that he is happy he didn’t live during the time of Rudolph because he would have been deemed genetically inferior and thus disposed of. I’m sorry, as soon as eugenics becomes a mainstay of your government, I am going to have to fundamentally oppose what you stand for. Imperialism at its finest.
The good news is that a group of republicans (individuals dedicated to a democratic government, not the US’s embarrassment of a political party) manage to escape imperial rule and escape into the stars. These separatists (called it) travel for over 50 years before finding a habitable planet and establish the Free Planets Alliance. Our current story takes place only 150 years after that. Turns out the Alliance and Galactic Empire just happened upon one another out in space and began to fight it out. It’s nice to finally have some sort of history to build the rest of the show upon. It also rings true to current American politics with someone who should have NEVER been elected to lead begins to flex their power. A cautionary tale if you want to use that.
Episode 3 was fantastic and sent shivers down my spine multiple times with character development, world-building, and potential foreshadowing to a protagonist’s demise. What more could you ask for? The drama for a show about war and big-booms is deep, meaningful, and continues to grow beyond what is expected from an epic space opera such as this one. I can only hope we get to learn more about the Free Planets Alliance in the future and what issues they face in their society. I can only hope their not culling their own citizens for the sake of ideal humans. That, is unacceptable. Looking at you Galactic Empire. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you tomorrow for more anime goodness. Adios!