How I Felt (Re)-Watching: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a sprawling space opera that explores the politics of a corrupt democracy and a benevolent dictatorship. When I first watched the show around a decade ago I was struck by the relevance of its themes to the current time period. Re-watching it now I am up to episode 34 (out of 110) but I am mainly noticing the feelings that have bubbled up.

On my first watch though I was guzzling down hot chocolates over a Christmas break and binging at least a dozen episodes a day trying to finish the show before the break ended. After accomplishing that feat I continued on to the enjoyable but not nearly as good spin-off series. At that time (back in the day) the only way to watch the show was central anime's fansubs whose video sources were ripped from the LaserDisc release. This only heightened the feeling that I was watching something special. I don't remember how long each torrent download took, but it was a wait none the less. Currently I stream the whole show from hidive with Sentai Filmworks' official English subtitles. I am happy to be able to support the show legally (although not happy enough to pay the nearly $1000 price for the blurays) but my original method of watching did have some charm to it.

So even if the ritual around getting the episodes has changed how does the show itself make me feel? I would say melancholy. The soundtrack certainly helps to create the mood (it's pretty much entirely classical music) as does the soft look of the show as it was clearly shot on film. However, a sense of sadness permeates the show especially after the first season ends. Is this the best humanity can do in the future? The space battles certainly look cool but the idea that one thousand years in the future the most we can do as a species is recreate World War I, but in space is kind of disappointing.

Maybe the framing of the show is why I'm relating it to reality. It's sort of meant to be a documentary of a future that hasn't happen yet and humanity repeating its mistakes is a major theme. The show says that:

In every age In every place The deeds of men Remain the same

but another message it has is that humanity keeps going. No matter the screw-ups of our leaders and politicians human society finds a way to survive. That seems vaguely hopeful right? Also surely there are women in the future and the universe isn't quite as sexist as it seems to be in Legend of the Galactic Heroes!


This was my day six post for 100 Days To Offload. Please find the time to watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes!

Link to original blog post