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, sometimes abbreviated as ''LOTGH'', ''LOGH'' or in Japanese, is a series of science fiction novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka. In humanity's distant future, two interstellar states – the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance – are embroiled in a never-ending war. The story focuses on the exploits of rivals Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li as they rise to power and fame in the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance respectively. An anime adaptation of the novels, produced by Kitty Films, ran from 1988 to 1997. There is also a manga based on the novels, with art by Katsumi Michihara. In addition, there are several video game adaptations with the most recent release in 2008 being a real-time strategy game. The series did not receive an official English release until 2015 when North American anime and manga distributor Viz Media announced they had acquired the license to the novels. On the same day, North American anime licensor Sentai Filmworks announced their license to the anime and the anime was later released on Hidive starting on June 20, 2017. A new anime adaptation by Production I.G ran from April to June 2018, along with a 3-part film series that was released from September to November 2019. A sequel season has been announced.


Setting


In AD 2801, the Galactic Federation is formed, which results in political power moving away from the planet Earth (now named Terra) and the Space Era calendar replacing the Gregorian calendar, with 2801 AD now being SE 1. Rudolf von Goldenbaum, an ex-admiral turned dictatorial politician is elected to power, makes himself Emperor Rudolf I, absolute monarch of the renamed Galactic Empire, and restarts the calendar again, starting the Imperial Calendar on SE 310/AD 3110. Rudolf adopts extremist policies including the suppression of any opposition and the extermination of anyone perceived too weak, such as the disabled and those in poverty, which he carried out until his death in IC 42/SE 351/AD 3151. He also moves the capital of the Empire to the planet Odin, third planet in the Valhalla system. In IC 164/SE 473/AD 3273, a group of serfs in the Altair star system manage to escape captivity and make "the Long March of 10,000 Light-Years" into the Sagittarius Arm to escape the Galactic Empire, which is located within the Orion Arm. These people set up the Free Planets Alliance, a democratic republic, using the Space Era calendar, founding the Alliance in SE 527/IC 218/AD 3327 on the planet Heinessen. In SE 640/IC 331/AD 3440 the first battle between the Empire and Alliance occurs, resulting in a major Alliance victory. The two realms have been at war ever since. A third realm is also set up, the Dominion of Phezzan, a planet-state (city-state on a galactic scale) with connections to Terra. It technically remains a part of the Empire and pays tribute, but it also maintains a relationship with the Alliance. Ruled by a domain lord called the "landsherr" Phezzan gains power by acting as both paragon and trickster, providing the only link between the Empire and Alliance whilst simultaneously playing the two sides against one another.


Plot


The story is staged in the distant future within our own Milky Way Galaxy, starting in SE 796/IC 487/AD 3596. A portion of the galaxy is filled with terraformed worlds inhabited by interstellar traveling human beings. For 150 years two mighty space powers have intermittently warred with each other: the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. Within the Galactic Empire, based on mid 19th century Prussia, an ambitious military genius, Reinhard von Müsel, later conferred Reinhard von Lohengramm, is rising to power. He is driven by the desire to free his sister Annerose, who was taken by the Kaiser as a concubine. Later, he wants not only to end the corrupt Goldenbaum dynasty but also to defeat the Free Planets Alliance and to unify the whole galaxy under his rule. In the Free Planets Alliance Star Fleet is another genius, Yang Wen-li. He originally aspired to become a historian through a military academy, and joined the tactical division only out of need for tuition money. He was rapidly promoted to commodore because he demonstrated excellence in military strategy in a number of decisive battles and conflicts. He becomes the archrival of Reinhard, though they highly respect one another. Unlike Reinhard he is better known for his underdog victories and accomplishments in overcoming seemingly impossible odds and mitigating casualties and damages due to military operations. As a historian, Yang often predicts the motives behind his enemies and narrates the rich history of his world and comments on it. One of his famous quotes is: "There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good." Besides the two main heroes, the story is full of vivid characters and intricate politics. All types of characters, from high nobility, admirals and politicians, to common soldiers and farmers, are interwoven into the story. The story frequently switches away from the main heroes to the Unknown Soldier fighting for his life on the battlefield. There is a third neutral power nominally attached to the Galactic Empire called the Phezzan Dominion, a planet-state which trades with both warring powers. There is also a Terraism cult, which claims that humans should go back to Earth, gaining popularity throughout the galaxy. Throughout the story executive political figures of Phezzan in concert with the upper-hierarchy of the Terraism cult orchestrate a number of conspiracies to shift the tide of the galactic war so that it may favor their objectives. The name Phezzan is a reference to Fezzan, a region that in the past played an analogous role to the one in the anime. Christopher Farris of the Anime News Network wrote that the novels focus on "personal matters of the main players" instead of being "rote historical accounts", while the 1988-1997 anime series focuses on "the big picture of the war" with multiple characters chronicled, and the 2018 series focuses "only on the major plays by our two main actors to fit within its shorter, more focused format."


Media




Novels

The series proper is based on a 10-novel series written by Yoshiki Tanaka, as well as a number of other shorter stories set in the same universe. It won the Seiun Award for "Best Novel of the Year" in 1988. On July 2, 2015, Viz Media had announced that it had licensed the novels for release in North America under their Haikasoru imprint. The company had only initially licensed the first three novels, but stated that it would license more if sales are good. The first novel, ''Dawn'' was released on March 8, 2016 with ''Ambition'' released soon after on July 19, 2016. The company eventually licensed and released all the novels, and the final volume, ''Sunset'', was released on November 19, 2019. The novels were translated by Daniel Huddleston.


Anime




''My Conquest is the Sea of Stars''

is the first animated adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka's ''Legend of the Galactic Heroes'' series of novels. It was originally released in Japan on 6 February 1988. The film chronicles the first combat encounter between Reinhard von Müsel (who later adopted the Lohengramm name) and Yang Wen-li, the two primary protagonists of the series. The main original video animation (OVA) series followed only months later.

''Legend of the Galactic Heroes''

is the second and longest-running animated adaptation of Tanaka's series of novels. It was released in direct home video installments during four separate periods between December 1988 and March 1997. The OVA comprises 110 episodes. It was later shown on television and has seen multiple releases on both DVD and Blu-ray formats. It is also known by the (ungrammatical) German title ''Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel'', which is used in its opening credits.

''Golden Wings''

is the third animated adaptation of Tanaka's novels. It was originally released on home video in Japan in October 1992, then released in cinemas in December of the same year. Its art style is notable in that it follows the art style of the manga rather than the other animated works. Its ending theme song is "Futari Mita Yume ~Two of Us~", performed and composed by Hiroyuki Matsuda, written by Gorou Matsui and arranged by David Campbell.

''Overture to a New War''

is the fourth animated adaptation of Tanaka's novels. It was originally released in Japan on 18 December 1993. It expands upon the events covered in the first two episodes of the 1988 OVA series.

''Gaiden''

is the fifth animated adaptation (counting films) of Tanaka's novel series. It was originally released in Japan between February 1998 and July 2000. It served as a prequel to the main series. Series 1, released in 1998, is the first animated adaptation of the ''Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden'', or side stories, series of novels, consisting of adaptations of the short stories "Silver-White Valley", "Dreams of the Morning", "Songs of the Night", "Dishonour" and the novel ''A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights''. Series 2, released between December 1999 and June 2001, is the second animated adaptation of the side stories from the Legend of the Galactic Heroes series of novels, consisting of the adaptations of the novels ''Spiral Labyrinth'' and part of ''Star Crusher'' (adapted as "The Third Battle of Tiamat"), as well as the original stories "The Mutineer", "The Duellist" and "The Retriever".

''The New Thesis''

started being produced by Production I.G during 2017. Shunsuke Tada directed the series and Noboru Takagi supervised the scripts. Yoko Kikuchi, Iwao Teraoka, and Katsura Tsushima designed the characters. The mecha designs by Naoyuki Kato were drafted by Atsushi Takeuchi, Shinji Usui, and Shinobu Tsuneki. DMM Pictures, Shochiku, and Tokuma Shoten were credited with production of the anime alongside Production I.G. The anime stars Mamoru Miyano as Reinhard von Lohengramm, Kenichi Suzumura as Yang Wen-li and Yuichiro Umehara as Siegfried Kircheis. The series premiered from April 3 to June 26, 2018 and ran for 12 episodes. The opening theme is "Binary Star" by SawanoHiroyukiZkUru, and the ending theme is "Wish" by Elisa. A second season, premiered in Japanese theaters as three films, of four episodes each, in 2019. The films premiered on September 27, October 25, and November 29, 2019, respectively. The ending theme for the films is "Tranquility" by SawanoHiroyukiZkAnly. A 24-episode sequel has been announced.


English-language release


An English dub pilot was produced by Outis Productions and Ocean Productions in 1999. The dubbed episodes were the episodes 51 and 52. The dub was never picked up due to a lack of interest. On 2 July 2015, Sentai Filmworks announced their license to the anime series at their panel at Anime Expo and later commented that they hoped to create the "definitive release". In 2017, Sentai Filmworks announced the streaming release on Hidive's anime streaming service starting the same day.


Manga


The first manga adaptation was authored by Katsumi Michihara, and adapts the first two volumes of the original novel. It was published from 1986 to 2000 and collected in eleven volumes. A four volume continuation, ''Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Portrait of Heroes'', was published from 2006 to 2012. This manga story is faithful to the original, possibly more faithful than the anime. However, there are some changes that could be considered major, e.g. the gender of several characters is changed. Akira Kasahara cooperated in drawing mechanics. A manga adaptation by Ryu Fujisaki started in the 2015's 44th issue of Shueisha's ''Weekly Young Jump'' on October 8, 2015. The manga was transferred to ''Ultra Jump'' on February 19, 2020. Shueisha has compiled its chapters into individual ''tankōbon'' volumes. The first volume was released on February 19, 2016. As of July 17, 2020, eighteen volumes have been published.


Stage productions


In February 2014, the most recent stage production of ''Legend of the Galactic Heroes'' opened, and it ended with an announcement of a new anime adaptation. Tanaka's secretary, Hirofumi Adachi, confirmed the news and relayed the producer's comments that the new anime is not a remake of the earlier anime, but another anime adaptation of the original novels with a new staff. The series was adapted in 2012 as a musical by the all female performance troupe Takarazuka Revue.


Reception


The series received several reviews in English media years or even decades before its official release. The English debut of the novel series in 2016 was described as long awaited and overdue. ''Publishers Weekly'' criticized the David Huddleston's translation of the first novel, ''Dawn'', stating it was "a slog". The novel as-a-whole was criticized for the "shallow" female characters. Also that year, reviewing the same book for the Forbes portal, Ollie Barder, was much more positive, noting that the series is "an epic space opera that needs to be read" and "a fascinating novel and essential reading for anyone that enjoys immaculately complex fiction". Rachel S. Cordasco reviewing the novel series in the ''Locus Magazine'' in 2020 praised the work as "a remarkable series... a multi-layered, multi-textual work hattells different stories on multiple levels", also observing that it is not just a space opera, but also, an "in-depth historiography" of the future military conflict, comparing it to the 18th century historical work ''The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire''. The year 2017 when the 1988-1997 anime finally saw the official English release saw a number of reviews in the English media. Anne Laurenroth of the Anime News Network gave a positive review, stating that despite its length, it has, arranged well in advance, "one of the most satisfying anime endings ever written". Daryl Surat writing for the ''Otaku Magazine'' called the series "anime's greatest sci-fi epic". Takumi Sato noted that the character of Reinhard von Lohengramm as depicted in the anime could be related to the "aestheticization of Hitler's image" in Japanese works such as Space Battleship Yamoto. The series has been described as "highly influential" in the development of the Chinese online literature. The historiographical aspects of the show have been analyzed by a Polish scholar Arkadiusz Bożejewicz.

Notes




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External links


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