The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings

Title: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings aka Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden Ogon no Tsubasa aka Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel: Held-goldenen Flügel
Genre: Drama/Action
Company: Kitty Films/Artland/Madhouse Studios
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 12 Dec 1992

Synopsis: Reinhard von Musel is the son of a poor, landless, aristocrat. Life is tough, but everything is alright as long as he is in the caring embrace of his older sister Annerose. That is, until their father sells her to be a servant to Emperor Goldenbaum. Heartbroken, Reinhard is forced to grow up fast as he vows to save her and bring change to the empire. Joined by his best friend Siegfired Kirchieis, he joins the military to get closer to aristocracy. However, his greatest threat may in fact not be the enemy he will be forced to face, but rather a jealous noblewoman who despises the emperor’s favoritism of Annerose.

The Highlights
Reinhard: A poster child for ambitious, manipulative, antiheroes.
Kirchieis: You can’t ask for that kind of devotion.
Annerose: Among the kindest and sweetest characters in anime.
New seiyuu: In many cases, far inferior.
Pathos: Strong at the beginning and the end, weak during the middle.
Yaoi subtext: As always, unintentional.

Between the second movie and the greater portion of the first season, I know Kirchieis’s love is Annerose. Yet throughout, I cannot shake off Reinhard’s flirtatious nature towards Kirchieis. Though the homosexual undertones really don’t exist, I half-expect them to kiss at any moment. This may just sound like ramblings about slash pairings, but the prequel OVA Golden Wings does not exactly help the case that they are simply just really good friends. However, that has nothing to do with why I watched this in the first place.

The purpose of this hour long OVA is to explain how Reinhard von Musel starts the path that ultimately leads him to become Count Lohengramm. The transformation is amazingly organic as he goes from a helpless little boy to a young man determined to change history. In a sense, he is a prototype for cunning yet blunt characters like Lelouch vi Britannia (Code Geass), who know what they want and how to get it. And with a sister like Annerose, I don’t blame him. She is such an amazing individual that anyone would fight for her. And to finish up this analogy, Siegfired Kirchieis takes the role of Suzaku Kururugi as the loyal voice of reason, except that he serves the ambitious antihero. It is a very similar chemistry, and just a powerful.

When the story revolves around these three, which is mostly the first and last fifteen minutes, it is, of course, excellent. However, when Golden Wings starts playing out as a Legend of the Galactic Heroes epic, everything beings to sag. The space drama is much weaker in the context of the story, which is amplified by some choppy cinematography. The pacing is hurt by the plot progressing without letting events sink in. This is most apparent during the middle section, which covers Reinhard’s transformation. Thing improve, however, as the climax approaches in a conflict that epitomizes Reinhard and Kirchieis’s devotion to each other. The final gruesome battle provides a sort of pathos that I have yet to see anywhere else except the LOGH universe.

So is Golden Wings as good as the rest of Legend of the Galactic Heroes? No. Is it a worthy addition though? Yes. In any case, it is a good watch. And much like the rest of the OVAs and movies, it can be viewed at any time without feeling left out or like something is missing. It is also important to note that Golden Wings features an entirely different voice cast, which while not a major issue, falls flat at times. Yang’s seiyuu is particularly a poor choice for his character. Personally, he could have been removed without affecting the story in any way. This shouldn’t be a huge problem and certainly does not detract from much; I still recommend this.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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