Legend of the Galactic Heroes Episode 3: Birth of the 13th Fleet

April 23, 2015 § 2 Comments

Here’s another installment in our episode-to-episode coverage of the SF anime classic, Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

I really do like how small both Jessica Edwards and Secretary of Defense Truniht are, the enormous stage adds to that overwhelming sense of producing, via imaginative and physical labor, the monolithic idea of the nation-state with no actual referent other than the small people who work with and confront each other.

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This image is also pretty gloomy, because it is the second to last shot of the episode before the credits roll. Yang Wen Li becomes the sort of reluctant hero, not just out of survivors guilt but because the category of hero is part of the state propaganda machine that is used by those in charge to get Yang to do what they want him to do, to either die or to do something heroic to increase their popularity.

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Right click, save as to download.

End theme: Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival

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§ 2 Responses to Legend of the Galactic Heroes Episode 3: Birth of the 13th Fleet

  • Kate says:

    I guess it should be pointed out that from FPA’s point of view this is really just war. Later in series, when Reinhard von Lohengram takes over his country it BECOMES the conflict between “good and another good” but during the third episode situation is still clear: the enemy is old, rotten to the core Empire. It’s law states that disabled should be put to death, probably the same goes for people of color, enemy soldiers are sent to the concentration camps also to die there and the rest of the citizens is practically the property of few nobles, just to mention most spectacular… disadvantages of that system. Losing war could practically mean FPA citizens genocide so looking up to war heroes and supporting pro-war organisations seem more understandable, while Yang’s objections on that matter are becoming less obvious.

    I would also like to say I really enjoy your podcast and I hope you are going to keep up this awesome work. It is great to hear some commentary on this great anime but there is not much of it, at least not in English.

  • Thanks for the feedback!

    I guess I got my timelines mixed up, for some reason I thought that the Empire was younger than the Free Planet Alliance, I pulled up an LoGH timeline and yeah you right.

    Like yeah, the Empire is evil, but this is where I think this episode and Yang’s objections to the administration is really interesting, since the Free Planet Alliance is in a state of war, there are forms extralegal, acknowledged though never officially sanctioned acts of violence against those who oppose the government, such as the PKC.

    Like, the war has been going on for so long that it is no longer a war of liberation, do or die, but an established civil society with a political economy that revolved around the war, not winning the war, but maintaining it so that the distribution of power remains the same, hence why they gave Yang a rag-tag fleet to take the most important military objective in the war.

    I understand from the civilian’s perspective it makes sense to keep the war going, since it feels like it’s do or die versus the evil empire, but I think this is where we saw Yang, the slacker who prefers to study history over making it, become a reluctant hero, who clearly hates war, but is very good at waging it. Like, I don’t think people would like Yang as much if he liked war, since he is supposed to be a humanist in a military state that calls itself a democracy. Which is why I think that, although the Empire has a lot more interesting characters, the Free Planets Alliance is a lot more interesting because I think that’s where we find the interesting relationship with Japan and the United States, although Japan doesn’t officially have an army, it functions as part of the financial backbone of the global economic system that fuels the American war machine. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, because this is beginning to sound like an analysis of Patlabor 2… I think that there’s a lot to be said about the reluctant hero as part of the heroic iconography canon too lol.

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