Critic’s Log - Earthdate: August 7, 2013. Review #53: Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden (Season 1).
Well, after reviewing the Main Series, and the three movies. It’s time that I go over the last entry in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This is going to be my penultimate review of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes franchise. Here’s my review of Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden : One Hundred Billi... Ah, screw it. Here’s my review for Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden (Season 1)
Before I begin, the Prequel series to Legend of the Galactic Heroes is told in short stories. These short stories fill in the background of Reinhard von Lohengramm and Siegfried Kircheis before the start of the main Legend of the Galactic Heroes series. In these stories, they journey to a planet of ice and are betrayed by someone. They investigate a probable murder at their alma mater, Kircheis takes a vacation and gets involved in a plot against an admiral, and finally a 12-episode story of Reinhard at Iserlohn, a battle fortress that protects the Galactic Empire from the Free Planets. That’s all the plot summary I’ll give you.
To be technical, this is a production from Artland and Kitty Films, both these studios worked on the previous entries in the franchise and the animation was pretty good in the Main series, it’s sometimes hit and miss in this first season of the Prequel “Gaiden” series. This can be a little obvious with the character designs in some moments of this season but it looks really good in the side story “A Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights”. The animation is not as consistent like the Main series was, but it’s still pretty good for the most part.
The music which is used from classical composers is still used well here and just like the main series, the use of classical music is still terrific.
When it comes to voice acting, The casting is still pretty solid. Ryo Horikawa is still great as Reinhard. Masashi Hironaka plays Kircheis the way he has done before and he’s still great in the show. Hozumi Goda plays Yang Wenli this time and this was because Kei Tomiyama passed away before the Gaiden series was made and Goda-san had to fill in the role. But he does play Yang Wenli great for the most part. Even though Tomiyama-san was terrific as Yang Wenli, it is a bit different to hear someone else play him. But Goda-san plays the role well enough. I think that’s all I will say about the casting. It’s still just as good as the Main series. I know I’m cutting this topic short, but there’s not a huge cast in this prequel season. Not to mention, Reinhard and Kircheis are the one with prominent roles in this show while everyone get’s minor roles and cameos. Look up the casting at your own leisure. I’ll say it again. The casting’s great.
When it comes to characters, This entire season is focused on Reinhard and Kircheis. These short stories give the two the background we wanted to know. If you liked Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Reinhard and Kircheis’ background stories mostly will not disappoint. Reinhard’s motives in the main series are fleshed out pretty well in the short stories of this prequel season. Kircheis’ background does fully flesh out his character since most viewers of the show know that he was killed off at the end of Season 1 of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. So it was nice to see more of Kircheis in this prequel season. There will be some familiar faces throughout these short stories.
When it comes to the short stories. Allow me to give you my thoughts on each story arc since the count is under 10. The first story is The Silver-White Valley. It tells of Reinhard and Kircheis’ first military assignment and This was a pretty good start for the prequel series. The second story is Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night. This wasn’t an unanimously praised story arc but I actually liked it. Sure, Reinhard and Kircheis are tasked to do detective-like work, which may sound cliche at first glance, but since Reinhard and Kircheis are part of the Military Police during this story arc. The whole detective thing doesn’t bother me too much. This story arc is a bit hit and miss but it isn’t terrible. The lowpoint of this prequel season is the third story arc Dishonor. In my opinion, this was the most boring story arc of this prequel season. This whole story arc is centered on Kircheis and even though it was only 4 episodes long, I thought it was boring. If you like it, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I personally didn’t like it that much. The fourth and last story of this prequel season A Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights is 12 episodes long and it’s a pretty darn good story arc if you ask me. It’s paced pretty well and there are some slow moments, but it will feel like the time when you watched the Main Series (that’s if you’ve watched the whole thing). I guess the question is... Is this prequel season worth watching? The answer... Yes. This prequel gives us backstories of Reinhard and Kircheis. If you liked Kircheis in the series. These backstories tell more about him. But if you liked Reinhard, you won’t be greatly disappointed with his backstories all that much. To my surprise, this was not a bad prequel series. I usually get worried about prequel entries to certain series. I remembered that Star Wars came out with prequels and you know the story there. All i can say is that the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy could have been better. The prequel series to Legend of the Galactic Heroes as far as this season is concerned is mostly good. It’s not perfect, but it holds up for the franchise pretty well.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden (Season 1) has not been licensed in the U.S. The only way to experience this show is to watch it online if you can find it. Once it does get licensed. Get this show if you must.
With all that said. the first season of Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden is a good prequel entry to this massive anime space opera. Even though it’s told in short stories, it mostly has watchable story arcs, good animation, great casting, more backstory, and great use of classical music. This show does suffer a little bit with a certain story arc, inconsistent character designs, and some slight inconsistencies with animation. These are just nitpicks. But it is still a good watch if you like Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
I give the first season of Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden a 9.2 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment. I have one more review left for the Legend of the Galactic Heroes franchise. This franchise has been quite the voyage. But until then. Class Dismissed!