The 101st episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes sees an outbreak of rioting from the starved people on Iserlohn and other possibly related actions on Phezzan. In response, the Imperial admirals want to take some action on Iserlohn, but decided to wait for Reinhard’s return. Meanwhile, Julian contemplates for a long time before Karin ultimately begins the decision making process that sees Iserlohn act.
The episode begins with a summary of the events that Oberstein raised at Reinhard’s wedding in the last episode. Due to a shortage of food and other supplies caused by Reuenthal’s revolt, riots broke out on Heinessen. Someone had manipulated the supply chain to exacerbate the situation, which was made even worse when one of the supply depots was bombed. Wahlen put down some of the riots, but even after offering military resources the situation remained unresolved. That was when he sent the report which prompted Oberstein to act. The crisis soon spread to Phezzan, however, as the navigation data stored on the planet was mysteriously erased.
On his honeymoon, Reinhard received this information from Streit. Reinhard was understandably upset, but Streit insisted the situation wasn’t fatal. The previous year, Oberstein ordered backups of the navigational data to be backed up onto the Military Affairs system even if it meant deleting other data. Reinhard ordered the data to be restored then told Hilde he would have to go to work. He said that he would not have to go on an expedition immediately, but the possibility remained that he could have to go while she was still pregnant and he asked for her forgiveness. She responded by telling him to do as he pleased.
Interesting how the relationship dynamic post-marriage is working out already. Reinhard is looking for something resembling normal and struggling with it a little, while Hilde seems to be in control without really saying anything.
Kesler immediately went to work on the investigation into the navigation data, and proposed leaking a rumor that there was an informant. The military police quickly caught their suspect and after 5 hours of interrogation he revealed that Rubinsky was behind the incident.
The next day, Bittenfeld expressed his usual anger; this time directed at Rubinsky. In order to catch him, Mecklinger proposed pardoning Lang on the assumption that he would work hard to bring down Rubinsky knowing he had been used. Kesler disagreed with the idea stating that choosing not to punish one criminal in order to catch another would go against the rule of law. After Mecklinger apologized for his suggestion, Kesler raised the possibility that Rubinsky and the Terraists may be connected and aiding each other.
The narrator then interjected and stated that Oberstein was the first to make this connection, however he had never told anyone about it. This trait would be criticized by future historians, but there were possible reasons for it. One was that he did not trust other people, while the other was that he did not think very highly of himself. As he rarely talked about himself to others and lived a secluded life, the latter seemed highly probable.
Bittenfeld then proposed attacking Iserlohn as it provided an excuse for the rioters. After Müller and Mecklinger stated that Iserlohn’s existence provided motivation to republicans, Bittenfeld wondered what Reinhard thought about the options on Iserlohn; to coexist or conquer? Mittermeyer said that Iserlohn held a special place for Reinhard that those present could not decide. Müller then said that Reinhard had built a state that eliminated Iserlohn’s strategic value. They could simply block both ends of the corridor. Bittenfeld then said that they should attack the fortress to send a message to the rioters, but Mittermeyer used the words of Blakke who said that the expansion of territory into areas where riots would occur was hollow. After Kesler raised concerns about the health of Reinhard from a potential expedition, the group agreed to at least wait until he returned to address the issue.
After Kesler’s revelation about the Terraists, I was this close to punching through my monitor like Mittermeyer before the information about Oberstein was revealed. It would be nice to know more about him, but I guess as this series is historical in nature, it wouldn’t make sense to have a massive backstory if he never talked about it.
At the same time on Iserlohn, Julian wondered how they should respond to the riots. If they acted, he wondered if they could win, but if they did not then those hoping for democracy would be disappointed in Iserlohn. After wondering what Yang would do, Julian thought about Reinhard’s command over his people. They see him as a liberator who is able to make his soldiers and his citizens see the same enemy. While it could be seen as inaccurate, when compared to the Goldenbaum Dynasty, Reinhard was truly a liberator. Julian also thought that if an election were held to determine the Supreme Ruler of the Empire, Reinhard would win easily.
After leading a group of younger soldiers around including Karin, Poplan dismisses them. Attenborough arrives at the same time and then reminds Poplan that he will be turning 30 this year and will thus join the rest of them as old men. Poplan said until his birthday he would still be in his youthful 20s, and when Attenborough asked when his birthday was, Poplan made up a fictional date. At this point, Karin broke out laughing before dismissing herself and walking away. The two men noticed how much more cheerful she seemed lately, then when Julian became the topic of conversation, the banter between the two resumed.
Karin ran over and joined a few female officers in conversation. They were planning a mixer with a few of the younger men and asked if Karin wanted to join. Another one quickly jumped in and said that Karin’s taste was more in men who looked good while deep in thought. Karin blushed and denied the characterization before she ran off on her own to the bench in the park. She stood over the sleeping Julian who awoke to see her holding a drink. After he brushes off a spot on the bench, she sits down and asks if he was thinking of something serious again, and he says that he has many responsibilities and obligations to fill. Karin then says in response that the people of Iserlohn chose to stand behind his decisions and that thee only way to act was quickly and without reservation. After Julian mumbles that it was a right rather than an obligation, he sits down and enjoyed his drink with her. These talks had a way of swaying Julian and perhaps took the weight of responsibility off of his mind for a small amount of time.
For all of the banter between the Iserlohn crew and the Imperial admirals, I think this is probably the first time we get any sort of perspective on women in the forces. It doesn’t exactly seem profound, but it provides some balance.
Much as momentum to act against Iserlohn was building in the Empire, on Iserlohn the feeling to act was building as well. Cazellnu brought the issue of starvation to Julian’s attention as a reason to act. Julian thought Reinhard was still ruling well, but Cazellnu said feeding one’s people is the foundation to ruling. Julian then thought about who was behind the incidents since the timing didn’t make sense as far as Phezzan was concerned. They could have stopped Reinhard early on, but chose not to. Poplan said this showed that Phezzan was not important to Phezzanis and that the interests of the Terraists were most important. Julian lept on this and said that by acting against the Empire they could be seen as aiding the Terraists. Julian then thought about what Yang had said about conspiracies never succeeding on their own. Poplan and Attenborough then got off on a tangent about experience and never losing. Bagdashu then jumped in and said that there was a resentment building among republicans that Iserlohn did not care about them since they were receiving requests to the effect of “don’t abandon us.” He added that the feeling came about when they allowed Mecklinger’s fleet to pass through. Julian, aware of his lack of confidence about this decision, finally reached it. He decided that now was the time to fight the Empire. He said that looking at Reinhard’s history, he would have more respect for those who fought to protect what they had or tried to grab, and that by fighting Reinhard they would be in a better position to negotiate when the time came. When Attenborough asked how they would do it, Julian said he had a plan to pull Wahlen’s fleet into the corridor.
For all the rationale given for Julian’s decision, it still seems like he would be falling into the Terraist trap. I suppose there’s the chance the group never counted on Julian jumping in at that moment.
On Heinessen, Wahlen received a report detailing a disturbing level of movement around Iserlohn. While he knew its existence posed a threat, he was angered by the fact they chose to act now. Wahlen knew they would have to seek assistance from the mainland forces for administrative help to deal with the riots. At the same time, he launched his own fleet into a position halfway between Heinessen and the corridor, so as to enable him to monitor Iserlohn and any potential riot activity. What Wahlen really wanted at this point was to be able to return home.
After reading Wahlen’s report, Müller’s and Eisenach’s fleets were prepared in the Schattenburg area in preparation for attack. Reinhard saw this as a chance to see what Yang’s successor was made of. First to step into battle would be Merkatz, who told Schneider that Iserlohn is in a perilous position of defending itself as well as the idea of republican democracy. Back on the fortress, Julian continued to question himself over the decision to fight the Reinhard von Lohengramm. After remembering that Yang had told him how brightly Reinhard shone on the battlefield, Julian saluted Frederica as the forces headed out of the corridor, where the first battle of the Iserlohn force under his command would begin.
Thoughts: So with 9 episodes to go, yet another conflict begins. I can see the logic in Julian’s decision, but it seems a bit too risky and costly. As I don’t see Julian being defeated completely here, I can only assume that this ends in some sort of draw that allows Iserlohn greater autonomy. However, when is anyone going to go after the Terraists again?