A while back I reviewed the previous 100+ episode Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime (after reviewing the novels in turn). After a short break, I’ve figured now is as good a time as any to check out the Season 1 of the new series – appropriately subtitled “Die Neue These” or “A New Thesis” and see how this new adaptation of the show fared in comparison to the original series.
Season 1 covers most of the first book, stopping just short of the novel’s climax at the Battle of Amritsar, setting that up with a cliffhanger for the next series. This still covers a lot of major ground, including the Battle of Astarte and the taking of Iserlohn, along with the backstories of Yang on the FPA (Free Planets Alliance) side, and Reinhardt & Siegfried on the Imperial side.
These episodes generally slide much closer to the books than the earlier series did. For example, we don’t get an extended episode-length interlude with FPA troops and civilians on an Imperial world, as we see the initial landing after driving off the Empire, attempting to get the planet back up and running after the Empire gutted the planet’s infrastructure and food supplies as part of Reinhardt’s (and Oberstein’s) plan, and then the population and the FPA troops turning on each other as the FPA’s supply lines are cut. That was one whole episode in the original series that stepped away from the major players to give a ground-level look at the impact of everyone’s decisions. It helped give a sense of the larger scope of the story and moved away from a “Big Man” view of history. That said, because these are single cour series that were originally presented as a series of theatrical films, it makes sense as to why this additional material would not necessarily be feasible.
There are other ways that the presentation has changed as well. Probably the most dramatic one is the space battles – the animation has moved from 2D animation to 3D ship designs – which ultimately allows for a much wider array of ship models than in the original series (where all the Imperial ships looked the same, and likewise for the FPA). Additionally, having 3D CGI models for the ships allows the ships and the camera to maneuver in 3D. This makes the space battles feel far more dynamic.
Character animations are a little more subtle as well. There’s a scene from the novel that’s present in this series and wasn’t in the earlier one, where Jessica Edwards goes to Yang’s to speak to him before she decides if she’s going to run for office, only to discover that he’s already left for the Iserlohn mission, and we get this strong sense of her coming to her decision to run for office, while standing and talking to Julian in the rain, that’s conveyed well through some more subtle facial animations for the character.
Similarly, while the earlier series was very reliant on classical music for the soundtrack (so they could just option existing recordings that would potentially be very affordable), the new series has an arranged soundtrack by Shin Hashimoto & Yasuhisa Inoue. It’s a very nice change and while I enjoyed listening to the earlier soundtrack and its use of classical music, this avoids the whole “I recognize that piece of classical music” problem tremendously.
I will be continuing to season 2 in the not-too-distant future, and I’m glad I finally got around to watching this show.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Season 1 is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll, and on physical media on RightStuf and Amazon – buying anything through those last two links helps to support the blog.
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