The penultimate episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on reactions to the losses of the battle on the Iserlohn and Imperial sides. Julian begins a journey of happiness in the midst of despair, while the Imperial admirals deal with preparations for the end of Reinhard’s life. Rubinsky plays his final hand on the entire city of Heinessenpolis, killing many, but not his intended target. Finally, Julian and Reinhard begin their negotiations before the latter tells him that the wrong people are negotiating the future.
The episode begins with news of the truce reaching Iserlohn, the soldiers at the fortress celebrated. The mood changed quickly as the names of the dead were announced as Merkatz, Schenkopp and Mashengo’s deaths created a dejected mood. The Rosenritter in particular had suffered massively with the remaining members all returning injured. Cazellnu could only bring himself to remark that he didn’t think Schenkopp could die. Julian then called the fortress and Frederica was unable to hide her gratitude under the scolding words for acting on his own. Julian was then asked what he would do next, and he said he would head to Heinessen with the remaining Imperial forces to negotiate with Reinhard. They would give up Iserlohn in exchange for a recognition of political autonomy for Heinessen before eventually asking for a constitution that would open up the Empire. Julian said it would take time and patience, but Frederica gave her approval when she said Yang could return there. The reasoning behind this policy was that Iserlohn was too powerful, so the Empire would always view them with caution. Moving to Heinessen would be a way to show the Empire they intended to rely on diplomatic strength instead of military strength.
After the call ended, Frederica told Cazellnu that they would have to move soon, and he assured her the Imperial forces would not find a spec of dust when the arrived. Cazellnu then said his wife wanted to invite her to dinner, and joked that a refusal would lead to mutiny. Frederica accepted the invite and returned to her room. When she stepped in, she thought about leaving that room behind and then remembered the time she had spent with Yang before thanking him for making her life much fuller.
The Ulysses had survived yet another battle and it headed to Heinessen serving mainly as a hospital ship at this point. On board, Poplan regretted that Schenkopp would be there to meet him in hell. Then he lamented about how the great epitaph that he had written for himself had been wasted. Attenborough noticed as Poplan gave his birthdate that he had past 30 years old. The two exchanged barbs about the real meaning of the age and who it benefited. Then Attenborough asked where Julian was, and Poplan said he was busy consoling a girl who had lost her father.
Julian walked through various corridors filled with people being treated for injuries. He finally made it to the hangar and heard Karin singing alone. Julian interrupted her and she explained that it was a song that her mother sung often to Schenkopp and then after he left her. Julian was then interrupted when he was about to say what happened to her father as she already knew. She then said he always looked like he would return even if he was killed multiple times, but now she would be unable to take revenge. That revenge would have been in the form of showing him her child and telling him he was a grandfather. She then walked over and Julian comforted her as she began crying. She then calmed down a little and apologized for getting his shirt wet. Then, she asked if he loved her and demanded he say it if he did. He did so almost instantly. Karin then wiped her eyes and said democracy was great because it meant a corporal could give an order to a junior grade lieutenant, which wouldn’t happen in an autocracy. The two then kissed as the narrator said this the day that marked the deaths of Yang and Schenkopp would also mark the beginning of a new stage of their relationship when they got married in the future.
At the beginning of this scene, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was something that would belong better in the Macross universe. It was a nice song and all, but it was really out of character for all involved. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel happy at the end of this.
Julian returned to meet with Attenborough who pointed out that Julian had lipstick on him. Julian said Attenborough was cruel with that remark, before Attenborough said it wasn’t a good sign for Julian if he didn’t know his girlfriend did not wear lipstick. Returning to business, Attenborough asked when the meeting with Reinhard would be. Julian said it depended on the Kaiser’s recovery, but Attenborough said that it wasn’t certain that would happen since he had heard it was a terminal disease. Attenborough then asked rhetorically why so much blood had to be shed by people when matters could be settled by talking before he said he had no right to criticize because he had shed blood on foppery and whim. Julian said it was stupidity, but he wondered whether humanity would change for the better if that stupidity disappeared.
On the Imperial side of the equation, they suffered no deaths of important admirals in the battle, but Reinhard’s condition meant they suffered much deeper. Bittenfeld reacted angrily to the news in saying the gods of Odin had no justice if they let Oberstein live as Reinhard died. Mittermeyer managed to calm him down by saying that a commotion by a High Admiral would trouble the forces and then saying that the Kaiserin and Prince Alec had more reason to mourn than he. Deep inside, Mittermeyer was struggling with similar feelings about fate and justice in the universe. He returned to his quarters and after quickly downing a drink asked the spirits of all of the fallen Imperial admirals to keep Reinhard alive since he was still needed. He dreamed of being unable to stop Reinhard from entering Valhalla to meet the other admirals to conquer it. Mittermeyer woke up and sarcastically remarked about that expedition.
This was a fantastic piece of imagery. Poor Mittermeyer is left alone as his friends go off to take over the afterlife. It is sad that he has lost so many of those closest to him.
On June 10th, the fleets arrived on Heinessen with Julian returning to his homeland for the first time since Yang’s wedding. Julian remarked on how much things had changed on Heinessen since he left. Attenborough said that it was a result of Heinessen being a center of democracy to a planet on the periphery. Julian wondered aloud what had happened to the ideals of Ale Heinessen. He then paid a visit to Murai in the hospital. Murai knew that Iserlohn would have to be handed over, and that marked the end of an era called Iserlohn. It was certainly the end for him and others, but it would mark the beginning for Julian’s generation.
Julian then visited Wahlen about the treatment of injured Iserlohn soldiers. Wahlen recognized Julian from before but could not pinpoint it until Julian said it was on Earth. Julian apologized for lying to him then, but Wahlen said there was no need. Wahlen then remarked that they had lost so many friends, which brought some emotion out of Julian. Later, Julian met Müller, who asked who was more fortunate since Julian knew of Yang’s death when it happened. Müller said with Reinhard that they would have to prepare for his death before having to begin the mourning process anew when it happened. Julian thought about how the journey for those alive must go on. As he rode to the next generation, he thought how blessed he was to have those conversations with Imperial admirals. Then, he thought about how his actions would be viewed by history, but he thought there was no other way but to fight to create the present situation.
At a hotel room, Boris Konev was busy calculating interest for the information he gave to the Iserlohn crew. Marinesk questioned whether he would get the money, but Konev said that Iserlohn would give them the money and he also wasn’t working on foppery and whim. After he was finished with the calculations, he said he wanted to become a merchant fitting of the coming age and trading in information. After Marinesk gave him generic advice about merchant relations, they headed off to see the Iserlohn crew.
Konev arrived at the hotel to see Poplan engaged in a game of 3D chess. Poplan sarcastically asked Konev where his leader Rubinsky was. Konev informed him that Rubinsky was dying and had a year left to live. Since Reinhard returned, he was now engaged in a hunger strike. Poplan said that was unusual for Rubinsky who would normally do anything to survive, but Konev said that things change when the end is near. As Konev commented on Poplan’s chess play, Poplan challenged him to a match.
On the night of June 13th, Rubinsky’s hospital room was heavily guarded. Inside, however, he pulled a tube out of him that caused his heart to stop. A nurse called doctors in and they went to work trying to revive him. One of the soldiers radioed the situation in and glanced over to one of the doctors shaking his head to indicate there was nothing left they could do. The soldier relayed the information that he was dead, while Brentahno on the other end remarked that it was a rather inconspicuous death for someone behind so many conspiracies. Then, the ground started to shake as Rubinsky’s brain waves shocked. A series of man-made explosions began virtually leveling the entire city. It was later learned that Rubinsky had low-frequency detonator implanted in his head and had set the explosives to go off upon his death as part of a plan to take Reinhard with him.
Of course, this little plot is just absurd and really belongs in the realm of cliche evil super villainy. The doctors somehow don’t notice something implanted in his head…when they discovered he had a brain tumor. Also, planting so many powerful bombs underground without anyone noticing seems incredibly unlikely.
On the outskirts of the city, Bittenfeld rushed to Reinhard to try to get him to evacuate. Reinhard initially refused saying if he had to die on Heinessen he wanted it to be there rather than running away like a refugee. Bittenfeld argued with him saying he had to return to his wife and child on Phezzan and that he was executing his duty by protecting him. A group of officers came in and lifted the couch Reinhard lie on, and they all successfully escaped danger. Mecklinger remarked on the incident later by saying the meritorious act of saving Reinhard was only made possible by the fact that Bittenfeld did not care about the works at the Art Institute. The narrator then said the remark also criticized Bittenfeld in tone for allowing so many fine works of art to be destroyed by the flames.
Three days later, the flames were extinguished. About 30% of the city was burned to the ground and 5,000 lives had been lost. The military police under the orders of Oberstein quickly found out that the details behind the incident and had the documents relating to the matter sent quickly to the Ministry of Military Affairs. Police were mobilized and rapidly arrested those who were suspected of involvement. Among those arrested was Dominique who remarked to her interrogators that this was the bouquet Rubinsky had offered to Reinhard. Now that his fight with the Empire had reached an unsatisfying end, she did not express sympathy for Rubinsky because he would have refused it. Oberstein then stepped into the light and asked if she knew where Elfriede was, but she did not know and Oberstein did not press any further. Dominque was held for 2 months for interrogation and her indictment ended up being suspended. She promptly disappeared when she was released.
On June 20th, the meeting between Julian and Reinhard took place. Reinhard greeted Julian as he arrived to the table. When Julian sat down, he said he had heard Julian was 19, and told him he was an Admiral with the Goldenbaum Dynasty, and he only had a friend who thought the two of them could conquer the galaxy. Julian said that he accomplished that, which Reinhard acknowledged. Reinhard then said when they first met, Julian said he had good ideas for the Lohengramm Dynasty. After Emil gave the two of them cups of tea, Reinhard asked what he had planned to ensure the Dynasty’s long term future. Julian started by asking Reinhard to establish a constitution and to create a parliament, giving him a container known as constitutionalism. Reinhard said it would be a good container to pour wine in, then he asked what would be next. Julian said it would take time for people to get used to the structure before a good leader could emerge from it. He then realized that time was exactly what Reinhard didn’t have. Reinhard then said his plan was more about pouring the Galactic Empire into his container. Then he said that he would be heading back to Phezzan because he had to meet with a few more people for the last time and invited Julian along with him. Julian was surprised, but Reinhard said he would have more luck telling his ideas to the next ruler. He said that Hilde had a much better perspective on politics and that she would be more receptive to Julian’s hopes and dreams with concrete plans. Julian realized later that Reinhard was showing incredible gratitude to his wife, but as Reinhard was showing signs of fatigue, their meeting ended after 30 minutes. Julian had left without the satisfaction of accomplishing his goals. Julian walked away from the hotel and saw that the conqueror’s flag was fluttering weakly.
Meanwhile, Attenborough was predicting that there would still be many more incidents to come and he intended to see things out by traveling with Julian to Phezzan. Poplan asked what he would do with the fleet, and Attenborough said he would leave Soun in charge of the fleet since he was 1.6 times more responsible than he was. Poplan was asked if he would stay on Heinessen, but he said he hated being left at home as a kid. Attenborough said that he knew Murai would live an easy lfie from now, but the two of them could not share the same fate.
The next day, Julian met with Schneider before they parted ways. Schneider was to head off to see Merkatz’s family before he could say his journey was at an end. He hoped to see Julian again, which the narrator said should always happen when the two of them part alive. He then said that Julian hoped that the end of Schneider’s journey would be a happy one.
On June 27th, Reinhard boarded the repaired Brünhild for what would be his final journey back to Phezzan.
Thoughts: That episode felt like it should have lasted longer than the 28 minutes it went. Plenty of incident, but in the end nothing had changed but for lost art and the lives of a couple million inhabitants of Heinessen. With 1 episode left, I suppose the only loose ends left are De Villier and Reinhard’s death since succession seems to be decided.