The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars

Title: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars aka Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai aka Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel: Meine Eroberung ist das Meer der Sterne
Genre: Drama
Companies: Kitty Films/Artland/Madhouse Studios
Format: Movie; 60 minutes.
Dates: 6 Feb 1988

Synopsis: For the past 150 years, humanity’s two greatest nations have been deadlocked in a meaningless war. In what is hoped to be a miraculous victory, the Alliance embarks on a battle to break through the Empire’s frontline. Like many other “decisive” battles, this can only end in disaster; a sentiment shared by Imperial nobleman Reinhard von Lohengramm and Alliance Commodore Yang Wen Li, both of whom realize how to turn the fight in their favor. And while the tides of war may never change, these two men must rise to the occasion, solidifying their place in history as heroes.

The Highlights
Atmosphere: Engrossing.
Conflict: Drives the story, though relatively understated.
Experience: Overwhelming, though successfully draws the audience in.
Completeness: An introductory work more than anything.

Committing to a 26 episode series is hard enough as it is. Committing to a 50 episode series can be truly disconcerting. Now, committing to a 110 episode series is just way too much to ask. Quality aside, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is not the kind of anime you just recommend on a whim. The three episode test works fine to get a grasp on a two cour show, but says very little for a work released over the course of nine years. Luckily this anime has an alternative. If you enjoy My Conquest is the Sea of Stars (and I’m sure you will) then LOGH will turn out to be among the most exciting stories there is to be told.

The nature of the space opera is to throw the audience into a huge epic world in order to be absolutely immersed in the experience. In most cases, including this one, the initial sensation can be overwhelming as an entire universe is swept across one’s head. What LOGH has to it is a presentation that is as subtle as it is awe-inspiring. There may be the destruction of thousands of ships, millions of deaths, and a planet sized thermonuclear bomb; however, this is all undermined by political dealings, soldiers who question their purpose, and calm strategizing, which take up most of the time. Reinhard and Yang’s battle may be what pulls one in, but it is what happens behind the scenes that drives this story.

Epic space operas with high body counts and backroom scheming are not so uncommon that you can’t just go and find another one. But, what lets LOGH stand out is its absolute subtlety, which is pulled off flawlessly. The way in which the story and characters present themselves is so understated, that it makes Crest of the Stars(1,2) seem blunt by comparison. Nothing is overblown and events exist in a way that is simply natural.

What My Conquest is the Sea of Stars does, it does amazingly. There are definitely those who will not be impressed by the nature of the atmosphere. For those who are, the universe of Legend of the Galactic Heroes doesn’t let up until after another movie and 153 episodes, after which you’ll no doubt be completely satisfied.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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