The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War

Title: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War aka Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Arata Naru Tatakai no Jokyoku Oovachu aka Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel: Die Ouvertüre eines neuen Krieges
Genre: Drama/Action
Company: Kitty Films/Artland/Madhouse Studios
Format: Movie; 89 minutes.
Date: 18 Dec 1993

Synopsis: The Battle of Tiamat has ended and both heroes Yang Wen Li and Reinhard von Lohemgramm have returned to their respective nations to experience a short time of tranquility. For Reinhard, his prowess has gotten him even closer to the emperor and is now assigned to lead a force into Alliance territory. As for Yang, his life has just gotten more complicated when his longtime friend from the academy, Jean-Robert Lapp, proposes to the love of his life Jessica. He must now protect not just himself, but Lapp as well in what will turn out as another desperate battle against Count Lohemgramm.

The Highlights
Cinematography: Absolutely sublime.
Context: Works far better than the first episodes.
Story: Requires one’s full attention.

At first, Legend of the Galactic Heroes was a tough sell. While indeed spectacular, without the right mindset, it is easy to lose interest early on. It took My Conquest is the Sea of Stars to get the ball rolling, and now I wish I had seen Overture to a New War right afterwards. If I did, I would probably be done with the series already.

LOGH is already a high quality OVA. So to say it already looks good is an understatement. This movie takes that quality and brings it up to near perfection. Not only is the artwork amazing, but it flows perfectly too. Cinematography may not be the correct term considering that this in animation. But that is what this movie has, excellent cinematography. The angles, the flow, the very focus brings every single scene to life as if it was recorded by the hand of god. Granted the story nature may be soporific depending on one’s taste for subtlety. But even if you are not impressed, it is still the most epic sleeping pill you’ll ever see.

Whereas the anime’s first episodes throw one into the action without much in terms of buildup, this version offers ample time to set up the situation from a more personal level. LOGH is a novel in anime form, and as such must act as one. Devoting half the movie to the personal lives of the heroes allows for more genuine characterization and less contrivances. More so than Reinhard, this extra time especially helps Yang, whose story is based less around political scheming, and more about his loved ones. The retirement obsessed man who drinks brandy on duty requires a different type of development to the blunt, flirtatious, antihero.

Even if this movie is easier to swallow as a whole, Legend of the Galactic Heroes has never been a passive experience. Very little is spoon-fed, and what is, is vital in order to draw the most from the story. Much like a novel, which, no surprise, this is based on, unspoken cues must be combined with exposition in order to grasp the full picture. Lapp’s proposal to Jessica is out in the open; her and Yang’s feelings are not.

With half of this movie being nothing more than an edited retread of the first two episodes, it’s amazing how much of an improvement 40 minutes of buildup can make. The heightened sense of awareness one gets from seeing the protagonists in times of peace makes Overture to a New War a far superior alternative to get drawn into LOGH. And while I personally would still watch the actual episodes for completeness sake, if you are satisfied, just think this: “…two down, one hundred and eight more to go.”

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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