Critic’s Log - Earthdate: June 21, 2013. Review #51: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings.
My big 50th review of course was the epic Space Opera anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes. If you went through my review of this show, I hope you don’t mind the rating I gave for that show. I know that this anime has its fanbase and I already understand why this show needs to be seen. Not many people watch it and it really was not a bad show. It was very good. I believe Legend of the Galactic Heroes is definitely an anime for those with acquired taste. Maybe it should be required viewing for anime fans, but I’ll simply leave it as a show for acquired taste. It really is a show that has a lot to chew on and it’s hard to swallow all of the details in it. However, there is one entry in this franchise that does put a sour taste in the mouth for many fans of this show. That would be the movie Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings.
Reinhard von Müsel, a poor nobleman's son, discovers one day that his sister, Annerose, has been sold to the royal family to consort to the Kaiser. To get her back he sets out to rise quickly through the military along with his friend Siegfried Kircheis, That’s all the sypnosis I will give you, assuming you’ve seen the main series and all because this subplot was flashbacked in the main series before except this movie shows what happened months after Annerose was sold to the royal family.
To be technical, this is a production by three studios. Kitty Films, Artland, and Magic Bus just like My Conquest is the Sea of Stars and The Main Series. However, the art style is drastically much different than what we are seeing from the main series. This was made right after the Second Season of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. All I can say is that the animation looks great in movement, what is a huge misstep is the character designs. Characters like Reinhard and Kircheis are barely recognisable in this movie. Annerose looks...okay. And Yang Wenli has a cameo in this movie and he looks nothing like his appearance in the main series. The character designs for the most part look pretty pathetic and many would wonder... Why the hell was this movie made this way. Well... That’s because the art style is based off the manga of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Still, there is no damn excuse to change the character designs. Golden Wings has the worst character designs to this series. Maybe this movie was an advertisement for the manga. If you think the character designs were bad, it gets much worse.
Before I get there, let me just point out that the soundtrack is done by Tomoki Hasegawa. This is a first considering that the main series’ music uses classical music as the soundtrack. Is the soundtrack good in this movie? Well, It’s not terrible, it’s just not worth writing home about. It’s not a really memorable soundtrack to begin with, but I’ll commend Hasegawa-san for putting some effort into this movie.
Now let’s get over one of the problems, shall we? When it comes to voice acting, like the Main Series and so forth, there is no English Dub. The cast in this movie contains one huge problem. Reinhard, Kircheis, and Annerose are voiced by completely different people rather than the people that voiced them originally. This caused a huge problem with fans of the show, making this inconsistent with the main series when it comes to the acting. Ryo Horikawa was terrific as Reinhard, instead we got Hikaru Midorikawa and he’s okay I guess. Masashi Hironaka originally played Kircheis. In Golden Wings, he’s played by Takehito Koyasu, and he sounds nothing like Kircheis in the Main Series. Keiko Han originally played Annerose, in Golden Wings, she’s voiced by Hiromi Murata. As time passed on, I think it can be agreed on that these performances are not that great when compared with other entries in the franchise. Golden Wings is the only movie where the central characters are not voiced by the same people.
When it comes to character development, keep in mind that Reinhard and Kircheis are fine, Annerose is only in for a little while. There’s really no need to bring up development... except for the movie-exclusive characters. The movie exclusive characters are not well-developed and most of them are forgettable. There are two characters that did not show much development. First off, there’s some guy with some futuristic shades, is he blind or something? Never really explained and this may not be too important to go on about. There is one fellow who I think is pretty Femme in my opinion is Gregor von Krumbach. He does play a big role in the movie’s third act and this guy and he wears lipstick. Um… Okay then, That detail is never explained. Is this guy memorable? Not really except for the fact that he wears F***ING LIPSTICK! He’s just a cliched underdeveloped character. If you want the short version, all I can say is...don’t expect major character development in this movie.
When it comes to story. The First 15 minutes is pretty good. The friendship between Reinhard and Kircheis is nice to watch. When you get into the middle of the movie, it gets pretty slow. At the same time, it’s just one hour long...So pacing isn’t as much of a problem here. The first 15 minutes are great, the middle is not as great, and The last 15 minutes are fine too, but in the end...The movie turned out to be a waste of time for me. Do I recommend this movie? Yes and no. Yes because the story is not completely terrible, Watch this movie for some of the story. I say no because the production choices went wrong for the most part. The character designs look pretty ugly and I don’t know why the creative staff decided to have the character designs based off the manga’s character designs. The voice cast being different does not make any sense, and this is the only entry in Legend of the Galactic Heroes that is different from all the rest of the franchise. This was the first prequel entry made, but it isn’t the earliest in the chronology. This movie reminds me of a certain Star Wars movie which was Episode I: The Phantom Menace. That Star Wars movie may have not been the best starter in the prequel trilogy, and most of that prequel movie may have been pointless, but it wasn’t completely terrible. Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings is kind of like that, but regardless of what I just said, Golden Wings is undoubtedly the worst entry in the Legend of the Galactic Heroes franchise. This movie has Fool's Gold all over it.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings is unlicensed. The only way to see this is online. Look it up at your own leisure.
With all that said, Golden Wings is a very different creation from other entries of this franchise before or since this movie. It does have a nice prequel story at times, but it also disappoints with a story that isn’t too interesting, drastically different character designs, weak character development besides Reinhard and Kircheis, and a different voice cast. This entry is for the fans of the show that want to watch it for completionists’ sake. If you decide to skip it, don’t worry, you are not missing much. I can say that this movie could have been so much better.
I give Legend of the Galactic Heroes a 5.5 out of 10, it is SO and SO!
Feel free to leave a comment, and sprout your wings and fly away.