The 39th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on the beginning of a journey for one Julian Minci. The episode serves largely to view how other character feel about Julian, but it also shows just how much faith Yang has in the boy he has lived with for the past 4 years.
The episode begins on Heinessen where preparation is underway for an invasion by the Empire. Truniht is asked by the press about the Alliance’s prospects, and he issues a statement of confidence in the strength of Iserlohn and the skills of Yang.
Later, Joan Lebello and Huang Louis talk about Yang and the future of the Alliance. Lebello expresses concerns about Yang gaining enough power to become a dictator, but Louis says the odds of that are low unless they start to apply pressure on him. The two then talk about Truniht’s reorganization of the military, with Admiral Dawson moving to HQ Chief, but with Bucock and his allies essentially running the show. The conversation then turns to the will of the people in the Alliance and in the Empire. Louis believes the people in the Empire are happier because a corrupt dictatorship has been overthrown. Louis then asks if the people of the Alliance want a corrupt democracy or a dictatorship.
At Iserlohn, Yang has received word of another appointment to go along with Merkatz leaving to take his post with the Empire’s government-in-exile. He summons Julian to tell him that he has been assigned to a post on Phezzan to gather intelligence. Julian objects, but Yang reminds him that he volunteered to become a soldier and as a result must accept orders even if he disagrees with them. Julian relents and accepts but only because Yang is ordering him. Julian leaves, and Yang asks Frederica for her opinion. She says that Julian feels that Yang doesn’t need him because he won’t be by his side. Yang is frustrated, but he knows he needs to have another conversation with Julian.
Yang spots Julian on a park bench and asks to sit next to him. Yang states his case for Julian going to Phezzan. He needs someone he can rely on for an accurate assessment of Phezzan’s internal situation. This information will be critical in determining if the Empire will invade through the Phezzan Corridor without resistance. Julian wonders if the Empire would be making an enemy out of Phezzan in the process, but Yang is quick to state that situations change over time. The Empire didn’t exist 500 years earlier, the Alliance didn’t exist until 250 years ago and Phezzan hasn’t existed for a century yet, the only real certainty is change. Julian asks if that means the Empire will be destroyed, but Yang says it was as soon as the Kaiser defected and it is now the Lohengramm Dynasty.
Yang then takes Julian through a scenario involving 3 hypothetical powers and when the weakest should help one of the other 2. When a case comes up similar to the present situation, the weakest should go with the strongest, but they could lose independence in the process. Julian asks if Phezzan knows that is a possibility. Yang wonders if Phezzan is even planning for that, or if their objective is not to continue existing. Julian proposes that their motivation could be religious instead of material, and Yang says he’s never thought of Phezzan that way. A now motivated Julian says he can assist in finding out what Phezzan’s motivation is in this situation.
The conversation then switches to the concept of evil. Yang wants Julian to experience another side of the conflict, and that he could find that Reinhard is not the personification of evil he is sometimes made out to be. Yang says that history could eventually classify the Alliance as the evil camp, but people will fight against being depicted as such, so they force their beliefs on others. On that note, Yang urges Julian to see the differences between the Empire’s ideas of righteousness and the Alliance’s. It’s an idea that transcends the existence of nations. The Alliance was founded as the antithesis to Rudolf’s ideals, but with those ideals now buried by Reinhard, there is no special reason for the Alliance to continue.
The second half of the episode focuses on Julian’s imminent departure. Cazellnu and Frederica wonder if Yang will be able to manage his life without Julian. Schenkopp interjects and comments on how Yang likes to lecture on common sense to a person in Julian who has better common sense. Yang changes topic and asks if Mashengo can accompany Julian to Phezzan. There’s no objection to the idea, but Schenkopp points out that Julian is much better at defending himself than Yang is. Yang is worried because he knows that is not saying much, so Schenkopp clarifies and simply says he is capable of defending himself. Frederica then tells Yang that she was looking into planning a farewell party.
Later, Attenborough, Poplan and Konev talk about the ceremony from a pragmatic perspective. Frederica told Attenborough the occasion requires a ceremony, but not formality. Konev is more worried about the leftovers after the ceremony, and Poplan’s suggestion is dismissed before he has a chance to voice it.
In Yang’s chambers, Julian begins lecturing Yang on his alcohol consumption, which he says has doubled since they first met. Yang doesn’t believe it, but Julian has graphs that show it to be true. He asks Yang to watch his alcohol consumption, but Yang says that alcohol is man’s friend and he cannot abandon a friend. People have been drinking alcohol for 5000 years and they will still be drinking it in another 5000 years he says. Julian asks if Yang can get himself up tomorrow morning, and Yang says it would be worrying for everyone else if anyone heard these questions being asked. Yang insists he was fine before Julian arrived, but Julian remembers having to clean Yang’s apartment up and Cazellnu’s surprise afterward.
The next day, Julian goes from place to place to say goodbye to everyone. He starts with Cazellnu who tells Julian not to make Charlotte cry. Next is Poplan who tells of his triple-digit totals both in kills and in women. Konev tells him the Schenkopp says that it should be quality over quantity before telling Julian that he has a cousin he has never met on Phezzan. Then, he goes to the Rosen Ritter’s quarters to talk to Schenkopp, but first he has to dodge a dart thrown at him. After a brief conversation he is presented with a Rosen Ritter badge. Julian gets to Schenkopp’s office, and remembers his training sessions and the knife he used. Schenkopp arrives and gives him a proper knife to borrow for the mission. Julian then runs into Bagdashu in a corridor, and he is given tips on intelligence gathering. Attenborough gives Julian a key and tells him a story about breaking curfew as a trainee, but Yang pretending not to see him. Murai says that he has assisted Yang in getting ahead, but he didn’t realize that should be his goal until Iserlohn was taken. To this end he consistently opposed Merkatz and only talked common sense. Murai says that Julian has something that makes others trust him, and he should try to preserve that to the best of his ability.
Later, Yang gives Julian a card with a large sum of money on it. He says that money gives you freedom and Julian should never find himself at a loss as to how to spend it. He also asks Julian to deliver a letter to Bucock for him personally.
The episode ends with Julian departing with Yang and Frederica finally realizing that he has actually left them.
Thoughts: This episode seemed about as close to filler as any episode before this in the series. It didn’t seem like much was happening apart from exposition and a Julian love-fest…The character designs for this episode was very inconsistent, to the point where Yang looked like a giraffe at one moment before having no neck the next…With the next episode marking the halfway point of the season, here’s hoping something interesting happens.