Legend of Galactic Heroes
[I only knew of LOGH because a comment left on my blog, so here is the credit and the comment in question:
Dee: Sailor Moon is the "Magic Girl" genre....
As for the stories and characters, I've always compared them to Greek theater, complete with stock characters, plots, and the supporting chorus.
Watching the stock characters and plots deviate from their archetypes is what keeps me watching anime.
As for a good sci-fi, space opera series, look up "Legend of Galactic Heroes."
It's really interesting if you can get past the older style of 80's animation (which is very good). It has an extremely involved plot, incredible character development, humor, and bus loads of tragedy to go around...]
LOGH is amazing. If you have ever seen Babylon 5 and loved how they did the character sketches, content on war and peace, in addition to side plots concerning how individual motivation factors unto the political grandstage, then you will find yourself in very familiar territory with this anime from last century. You can download all 110 episodes in English subtitles here. Apparently they never released it for an American or English market. Or they didn’t until recently, but I don’t know whether this is real or not.
There are a lot of elements that you might find worthwhile in this show. For one thing, it utilizes an amazing, yet rare, insight that only the best military strategists, authors, and statesmen have shown. That insight is the ability to see the perspective, to understand the perspective and motivation, of both your allies, your enemies, and anybody in between.
LOGH is the tale of two political bodies at war for over 150 years. It explores indepth the reasons for that war as well as why it continues on. The political dynamic between the pro-war party and the pro-peace party is present and well developed.
But, if you are like me, you are probably interested in the character development and the battle tactics. Both are very nice, and I have only watched 10 episodes so far. It is not a slice of life movie set in a war zone. Meaning you don’t have the heroes being junior high or high school aged folks, discovering that they are thrust into a war situation or have to save the Empire or something.
What you get is something similar, something that might have inspired the various Slice of Life anime in which the young hero or heroine shows extraordinary leadership abilities or battle prowess. Except in this case, your character development comes through war. Through leadership in war. If you don’t know what leadership in war is about, then this anime is a good introduction. Because it explains to you, as David Weber in his sci fi naval fleet series explained to me, the fundaments of command responsibility and battle tactics.
If you are a fan of David Weber, then you will be very familiar here. You have plenty of admirals running their little “defeat with honor” programs, prefering to go out in a blaze of glory, doing no damage to the enemy, instead of preserving their forces in order to fullfill their sworn duty to protect. Banzai! That is one uttered excuse for patriotic sentiment that is the same as selfishness and cowardice. There are many types of cowardice after all. Ordering your fleet to engage the enemy in a suicide clash because you are afraid of going home in dishonor, is just as cowardly as refusing to face the enemy when you need to. And you get both types, sometimes in the same person and battle, in this show.
As a comment on modern times, this show also demonstrates an interesting and insightful perspective. Like David Weber, the show does not glorify war or make it into something other than what it is. War is cruelty, and that is why it should end. For if war was ever made into the sterilized product fit for tea parties and socialite groups that folks wish it to be, war would be perpetual. It is only because war makes human beings suffer, that human beings are motivated into ending it. But that doesn’t prevent war profiteers from doing their part, of course. It doesn’t prevent people with political ambition or greed from taking advantage of those fighting in war, to prolong that war or to make more people suffer for the personal self-aggrandizement of their personal clique.
I won’t spoil the surprise for you by recounting what characters are for what or what the political dynamics are. It is more fun for you to see it yourself demonstrated, but simply understand that David Weber or classical liberals like me does not particular care whether we support the war party for Iraq or the anti-war party against Bush and his tyrannical regime. What we care about is improving the condition of humanity; not the nature of humanity mind you. We wish to help people that are suffering make their lives better. And if we can do it through war, we’ll do that and sue for peace. If that can be better accomplished by having peace instead of continuing to fight, then that should be what is promoted and sought after. We, thus, are just like America’s anti-war supporters. We support or deny a cause based upon our belief in the cause or about the cause. If we don’t believe, we deny it our support and attempt to deny it of support from everywhere else.
So it all comes down to belief. Belief in what your duty is. Belief in what honor is and whether it is honorable to continue the war or to end the war right now. Do you believe the United States military is the best hope for mankind? Do you believe that no other organization equals the power and competency of the US military in helping women, children, and men on this planet?
Belief, violence, and political slogans are just tools. They can be used for good or ill. What matters is who do you trust with the tools of violence and power? Who will make the best use of it? Who will be able to bring most of his men back alive because he was both competent and courageous? Because nothing matters more than a person’s intent, character, and abilities. He can have the best intentions in the world, but if he is incompetent and without ability, then he will simply bring red ruin to the people that counted upon him. If his intent is strong and his abilities stronger, but his character is flawed and egotistical, then what we have is tyranny. Efficient tyranny perhaps, but still tyranny: the enslavement of individual human beings for the personal gain of the tyrant.
Like David Weber did, LOGH portrays men and women who want peace, but they are going to get it by conducting a competent war first That means if war has no purpose any longer, there is no point to prolonging it. Which is why in David Weber’s Honor Harrington, the Progressive Party threw away a chance for peace with haven because the Progressive Party in Grand Alliance mode with the Conservatives wanted to withheld parliamentary elections until the moment was right. They were more concerned about domestic political matters than ensuring that future men and women of their nation no longer had to die in this war.
Whether a person is truly a lover of war is to be seen in the actions he and she chooses. In the situation that actually exists. If the situation is different, then your support for war should be reconsidered if not changed. And that’s the point. Classical liberals and military commanders that care for their people, that care enough to become competent and to do a good job, will always fix the problems that currently exist, rather than making new problems exist for other people to solve.
In the end, there have been times in our mutual human past where Peace Activists were traitors. And in the end, there have been times in our mutual past where War Activists were the true traitors. It all depends. It all depends upon what kind of people you have in those camps. Do you have true and honorable folks committed to true freedom and love of country? Or do you have greedy egotistical folks interested in nothing but power so they can lord it over everybody else?
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I just completed watching the first story arc of the series, some 30 episodes out of about 110. And I just got to say that this is truly Honor Harrington in anime. Which is high praise, if you know my views concerning David Weber and Honor Harrington.
Here’s a review of the entire series for those that have seen the series. Even if you haven’t, you can go pretty far down since the review is more or less in chronological order. So if you have seen 1/4 or 1/2 of the series, you can pretty much tell where in the review you should stop reading. The review focuses on the dichotomy between representative government and autocracy.Explore posts in the same categories: Anime