Thursday, November 19, 2015

Show Recommendation: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

For those who are already aware of Japanese animation, it helps to know that Japan has no problems with using the medium of animation to tell stories that are not for children or have children as a secondary audience. While this does result in animated pornography, it also results in some very powerful franchises that are every bit as legitimate a work of art as the very best to come from live-action cinema and television.

One of the very best of these shows is one that is still very difficult to collect in the West because, until recently, there was no export of it: Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

This is a Space Opera, but nothing at all like Star Wars (or even its inspiration, the Lensman books). Instead, following the lead of the Mobile Suit Gundam and Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross franchises, this series' two main factions possess both heroic and villainous characters.

What makes this series in particular so good is that it does not shy away from putting matters of philosophy, principle, and morality front and center. So many red pills dispensed over the course the series, its movies, its side-stories, etc. that it makes even seeming throwaway episodes (which aren't, of course) reviewable without loss of gravitas. The original author, as well as those behind the animated and comic adaptations, are some of the most based people I've come across in a scene filled with them.

The leading characters, as well as many of the supporting cast, are not morons. They know that they live in a universe with consistent universal laws and know how to use them. The series doesn't shy away from the costs of war, at all levels, or how it is often corrupt psychopaths who exploit war as human sacrifice to attain their own venal ends. The human level is not neglected, and the creators display an understanding of both human nature and how history works that has to be seen to be believed.

It's not an action series. It has action in it, from fleet battles to assassination attempts, but this is one of those few examples where even the conversations had over dinner can possess meaning and richness far in excess of what is often found in such fare. For now, you'll have to resort to YouTube or some other streaming video sight to find the series without buying an import disc set- and then, watch with English subtitles. If that's not your bad, then you're gonna have to wait a while yet.

I'd be remiss if I did not leave you with a taste, so here it is. You can expect moments like these to come along often.

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