Even I am finding it hard to believe I have been doing this for six months. I could do a recap of the first season, but I think the show must go on. A whole 18 months had passed in real life between the end of the first OVA series and the start of this 2nd one. This 27th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses mainly on a battle, and some of the struggles of ordinary soldiers. Some behind-the-scenes politicking does occur, but is largely confined to small sections of the episode.
The episode begins with a recap of the military events of the first season. Reinhard routing the Alliance at Estate only for Yang to intervene to prevent complete annihilation, Yang forming his own 13th fleet to take Iserlohn, the Alliance’s failed attempt at an invasion from Iserlohn and defeat at Amlitzer are all covered before moving into a recap of the political events. Reinhard securing power and plotting the coup in the Alliance while going to war with the high nobility, Reinhard defeating the nobles and taking Geiersburg and becoming the Premier of the Empire are the main events covered. Yang had stopped the coup and headed back to Iserlohn where the story resumes at the start of a new year.
The action begins with Dusty Attenborough’s fleet under assault by Imperial forces who are unexpectedly close. With combat about to begin, Attenborough is already thinking about the death toll in the upcoming battle and requests reinforcements with this in mind.
Elsewhere, Oliver Poplan prepares to command a fighter unit, which Julian is a part of, for the battle. In typical light-hearted fashion, he states his belief that the Allied forces have the upper hand because there are no geniuses in the Empire. However, he expresses doubts immediately to Ivan Konev. He believes the raw recruits the government has sent to out cannot match the Imperial pilots.
Meanwhile on Odin, a crown of people have gathered outside the Prime Minister’s mansion where Reinhard now resides. He expresses a belief that the people’s trust in a system is based on justice and fair taxation to two former nobles, Karl Bracke and Eugen Richter, who have proposed reforms. After the meeting, the two discuss Reinhard’s popularity and Bracke comments that all Reinhard has done is create reform in the way the nobles who wanted reform wanted. However, Richter still has doubts about a genuine reformation as the government is still under the control of one man.
The matter of paying for the reformation was taken care of by the hoarded wealth of the Lippstadt nobility. Reinhard sees a certain humor in how they gathered so much only for it to be taken away. Hilde tells him that Arthur von Streit has requested a meeting with him to get some of his share of the seized assets back.
Back on the battlefield, Julian prepares to sortie for the first time. He remembers asking a question about death to Yang only to receive another vague question in reply. He launches and his first combat experience begins with an Allied ship blowing up near him before being confronted by an enemy head on.
At Iserlohn, Frederica rushes to wake up Yang from his sleep on a park bench. She informs him of Attenborough’s situation and the request for reinforcements. Instinctively, he calls for Julian to go with him, but remembers he sent him to Attenborough because he thought it would be safest. Frederica assures Yang that Julian’s luck and talent will see him through. Yang quickly decides to send in the reinforcements.
Julian, meanwhile, is having a pretty decent go at his first battle. He is surprised by the maneuverability of his Spartanian in avoiding an attack before shooting down an Imperial Valkyrie.
The Imperial commander is surprised at the progression of the battle. He was expecting something a bit more organized from the Iserlohn fleet. As a result he holds back thinking it could be a trap. Attenborough is encouraged at this development as it will allow reinforcements to arrive with minimal loss of life.
At Iserlohn, debate begins over the size of the force to reinforce Attenborough. Yang asks Merkatz for his opinion, and he responds by saying they should send in the highest number of ships possible to overwhelm the enemy. Yang agrees with the suggestion and begins to make preparations, and he also asks Merkatz if he can join him on the flagship.
On Odin, Reinhard agrees to von Streit’s request on the condition that he serves as a subordinate at command headquarters. He easily accepts the Prime Minister’s offer.
On the battlefield, Julian shoots down another Imperial fighter before being forced in for refueling. Attenborough still has not heard a word about reinforcements. Yang’s force is heading rapidly toward the battlefield, fortunately. Yang gives a brief history on battlefield technology and how it’s development has effectively rendered itself useless in finding an enemy.
Meanwhile, Julian finishes off a meal between battles. Before he leaves, a young soldier comes in crying while being consoled by two others. Julian departs and encounters Poplan and Konev. Poplan says it would be a waste for Julian to die piloting a fighter while there are many other things he could be learning to do. Julian ends up back on the battlefield just as the heavily damaged Ulysses arrives. Julian barely survives colliding with an Imperial ship, and Julian finally understands the stress of battle. The ship deploys a turret only to withdrawal it and bring out a larger weapon. Julian responds by shooting the weapon and taking the ship out with it.
On Phezzan, Adrian Rubinsky discusses the balance of power with Arthur Kesselink. As a result of the civil wars, the Empire has a massive advantage over a weakened Alliance and a slightly stronger Phezzan. Rubinsky makes the decision that they should help the Empire and allow space to be unified under the rule of Reinhard, though he thinks he can still pull the strings of the new nation. Kesselink questions whether pursuing the elders’ ideas is such a good idea, but Rubinsky states that it is Phezzan policy and nothing more. The existence of Iserlohn, however, creates some problems.
Back at the battle, Attenborough desperately reorganizes his forces to try allow forces to retreat without allowing the enemy to notice. Unfortunately, the Allied fighters are being routed and control of space is being quickly lost. They need to hold out for just two more hours. Julian, though does not have that option. Chased by two Imperial fighters, a third one joins in before Poplan saves him at the last second by shooting down all three. Julian heads back to refuel as Konev arrives to chat with Poplan as the two rack up kills.
At this point, the Imperial commander realizes he has had the upper hand the whole time and begins to attack the Iserlohn fleet. One ship under attack is the one Julian stopped at to refuel. They couldn’t refuel it very much, and the commander tells him to survive. He launches as the ship is destroyed by an explosion. Julian shoots down an enemy ship in rage, as Attenborough hopes for his safety and Poplan runs out of ammo.
The reinforcements finally arrive en masse, which brightens the spirits of the Allied forces. The Imperial fleet, however, decides it cannot face that large of a force and retreats. Yang elects not to follow and Schenkopp comments that he has chosen to win without fighting. Frederica informs Yang that Julian is safe and reads out his performance. There is some surprise to hear he destroyed a cruiser in his first battle. Schenkopp thinks Julian may have a natural talent and can do something special in the future. Yang is more grounded ans says Julian has used up all of his life’s luck. His talent won’t matter if he underestimates combat because of this battle.
The first battle of the year is dismissed as a mere border dispute as the forces reunite at Iserlohn. Julian is happy to be back, while there are some laughs as Yang says he’s told him to avoid doing anything dangerous. However, the first marker has been set in how the battle between the Alliance and Empire will continue.
Thoughts: This was a particularly modular episode in that any of the scenes from Odin or the scene from Phezzan could have been placed nearly anywhere in the episode and it would have worked…There is some noticeable improvement in the character designs and animation from the first season here. Unfortunately, it’s because the beginning recap switched between the new and the old…The 2nd op is pretty poor, the second ED is a little better than the first one.