Taking the first steps on a 2 year+ journey in completing this series will be quite difficult. Quite a lot has been said already, and since it appears lots of stuff happens in the first eighth of the series, it could take quite a while to digest some of this.
The first episode immediately establishes the rivalry between Yang Wen-li and Reinhard von Lohengramm, but the theme of the episode seems to be the dislodging of the old military older with newer, more intellectual leaders.
Reinhard is looked down upon by his older advisors, with some even wishing for failure in the upcoming battle. A likely prospect considering the numerical disadvantage, but Reinhard is already thinking about changing their minds after a victory.
Yang, on the other hand, has his proposal to essentially play for a draw, turned down by a panel and can only watch as chance after chance to salvage a draw is thrown away because of things like loyalty and hope. Yang shows a kind of pragmatism that could work as part of a smaller force, but put him in a unit with larger ambitions, and he may not work out as well.
Elsewhere in the episode, there is already a separation between those in the battlefield and those actually making the decisions which affect the former. While the likes of Reuenthal can enjoy their steak dinners and utter silence as they talk, those more minor characters have to deal with loud orchestras playing over them, using sleep chambers which don’t allow them to dream, and having robotic parts attached to them so they can continue to fight.
Tangential Points: I’ve already pointed out the use of background music depending on the situation of a character speaking, but at times the switch between music and instant silence followed by dialogue was off-putting…Most people watching this will already know the art changes drastically between the 4 groups of episodes with the opening being the worst, I’m told. I have this episode as mediocre artwise for 1988 standards, which is a sad indictment considering how awash the Japanese economy was with money at the time.