The 110th and final episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes sees an emotional farewell to everything that had happened before it. The episode begins with a break on the case of the Terraists, and Oberstein gets to work plotting to stop them. Meanwhile, Reinhard makes final plans on who he wants to be near him when he dies and what to do after. The Terraists then make their move and try to kill Reinhard and successfully kill someone of importance. Finally, Reinhard meets the end in an emotional, yet still defiant manner.
The episode begins with Schumacher being interrogated at a hospital as he was one of those injured after the bomb attack on Heinessen and his identification had been forged. After he gave his real name, the officers questioning him found his name on the list of those wanted for high treason for the abduction of Erwin Josef. Schumacher complied fully with the questioning so he didn’t have to be tortured or drugged. He confessed that the body of Erwin Josef that had been discovered a year earlier was actually someone else. He told the officers that Erwin Josef had run away, and Lansburg had stolen a body from a morgue that was a similar age to him. He told them that the records Lansburg wrote of his death were merely an incredibly believable delusion which Schumacher thought must have been the greatest work of his life. Then, Schumacher told the officers that the Terraists had not yet given up and the remaining cells; a mere 30 in number, had infiltrated Phezzan. If they were eliminated, Schumacher said that would be the end of the cult. As the interrogation ended, Schumacher was asked what he planned to do now. He said he only wished to return to the farm on Phezzan where he worked with his former subordinates. The narrator then informs us he never got his wish. Though he was pardoned and made it back to Phezzan two months later, his farm had been dismantled and his subordinates left. Streit later recommended him as a commodore in the Imperial military, but he disappeared in a battle against pirates. His information did, however, make its way to Oberstein.
An easter egg within this scene was shown as they were looking up his name. The names of Michael and Ralf appear on the screen, which I can only assume is a reference to the brothers who competed in Formula 1 at the time.
On the Brünhild, Julian and Reinhard talked frequently as the traveled to Phezzan. Reinhard was particularly entertained by the anecdotes relating to Yang, but they did talk about more serious matters. The two came to an agreement about the surrender of the Iserlohn forces and the establishment of a self-governing territory in the Barlat Starzone, which included Heinessen. On the question of a constitution, Reinhard could not come to an agreement. He joked that future generations would have little to do if they decided everything right there, but Julian understood that Reinhard was recognizing what could be done at the moment, while also laying down a challenge to those in the future to see if their values would not be corrupted by peace having survived war.
Reinhard is deadly serious about what future generations must do. Even to the end, he wants a system of government that will be led by the best and most uncorrupted people in the universe. He clearly remains unconvinced that just implementing constitutionalism would be enough.
On July 19th, the Brünhild arrived on Phezzan and Reinhard immediately went to the Walserd Provisional Imperial Residence, where the Kaiserin and his son were living after the fire. Julian and his men were placed at the Hotel Berncastel which was 10 minutes away by foot, but guarded by Imperial soldiers. Attenborough observed the security outside the window and said he could live with it. Poplan was surprised that Attenborough would take a cautious position, but Attenborough said that a man had to know when and where to pick his fights. If there would be a parliament in the Empire, then that would be the ideal spot. Attenborough then asked what Poplan would do after this, and he said that becoming a space pirate would work for him, or anything where he would not have to bow to anyone. Attenborough then asked if Julian had heard about Trunicht’s fate, and the narrator informed the audience that knowledge of that episode became well known through Rubinsky and Dominique’s confessions. He then says that Trunicht was working to implement constitutionalism within the Empire as well, which made Julian shudder a little to know that he had the same goal though with vastly different means.
This seemed rather odd to bring up now, but it probably raises a good point. To Julian, the idea of being the one to convince the Empire to take up a constitution is a bit of a lottery. Trunicht had worked within the Imperial system after he left Heinessen the first time, but because of his deserved reputation as a backstabber and villain, he could never get in position. Julian, on the other hand, did so through bravery and combat skill. Neither way was without a significant loss of lives.
One July 25th, Reinhard’s condition took a turn for the worse. Reinhard’s fever remained extremely high and he lost consciousness repeatedly. Annerose and Hilde took turns caring for both he and Alec, which lessened the strain on the slightly. The next day, Reinhard continued to get worse. He stopped breathing for about 20 minutes, but he was eventually resuscitated and regained consciousness. The cold, rainy weather also had a couple of citizens asking if Reinhard was taking the sun with him as well to the other side.
At 16:20, the Imperial admirals were all summoned and they sat in what was designated as a waiting room. Oberstein left on an errand 5 minutes later. Kesler started by saying it was lamentable that the conqueror of space was chained to land and a sick bed. Bittenfeld then ranted about the doctors not doing their job properly and vowed to punish them. Wahlen then responded by complaining about how the others always had to control him and that his explosions caused them numerous problems. The two were about to come to blows until Eisenach splashed them with a bottle of water. Mittermeyer then told them that Reinhard was enduring an incredible amount of physical and mental pain, and that his admirals should be able to do the same.
Meanwhile, Reinhard regained consciousness and was busy dictating part of his will to Hilde. He asked that the High Admirals be promoted to Imperial Fleet Admirals only after his death and under a declaration by the Kaiserin. At 18:30, Mittermeyer was called separately, which made the other admirals dread what was coming, but it was about another matter. Hilde asked Mittermeyer to bring his wife and son, which surprised him, but she said it was the Kaiser’s request. At about the same time, Streit arrived at the Berncastel and requested Julian’s presence before the Kaiser. Julian glanced over at his comrades before he asked if it was bad, but Streit just asked him to go with him. Julian understood, and as he walked to the car, he asked Yang to be his proxy to witness the end of an era.
These two paragraphs show an important eye for the future. The potential for conflict between the admirals is high with them each having fleets named for their commanders. After Reinhard’s death, there would be just one person on top of the military chain (Mittermeyer), and by promoting the others to Fleet Admirals, he divides the power of the military to a larger number of people.
They arrived at the Provisional Residence and Julian glanced up to see Annerose on the upper floor. Streit told them who she was, and Julian thought that the Lohengramm Dynasty was able to exist because she was there.
Annerose entered Reinhard’s room and sat down, whereupon Reinhard told her he had a dream. She saw something in his eyes she had never seen before and was convinced as a result of his impeding death. It reminded her of the warm white ash after a fire had finished burning. She tried to tell him that he still had more dreams he wanted to fulfill, but he said that he had seen too many, much more than anyone deserved to see. Annerose felt a rupture in her heart and Reinhard thanked her for everything she had done for him, but she didn’t want to hear it. She thought about how all she wanted for him was for him to spread his wings throughout space after the death of Kircheis, who had been the only thread connecting them. Reinhard then handed her his pendant saying he no longer needed it, and that he was also returning Kircheis to her. Reinhard then fell unconscious, but the doctor monitoring him said he was merely asleep.
I think the comment about returning Kircheis is key here. I think it represents an apology of sorts from Reinhard to his sister. He probably believes that he had taken her only source of happiness away from her when he convinced Kircheis to join with him. Then to have him die meant that she would never be happy. Realizing that she would be alone, all he could do was hand her the reminder of the happiness the 3 of them had together.
At 19:00, there was a report that a suicide bomber had destroyed a liquid hydrogen tank in the suburbs, with the bomber determined to be part of the Terraist cult. Kesler told his men that this was probably a distraction and that they remained determined to attack them directly. He told the other admirals he was taking command as the defence of the residence was reinforced. At 19:50, Oberstein returned and informed the other admirals that the last remaining Terraist would be attempting to take the Kaiser’s life that night. Mecklinger asked why the Terraists seemed so desperate to attack now, when the situation would change soon without their intervention, but Oberstein said he lured them out by leaking information that said Reinhard would destroy the Earth as soon as he recovered from his illness. Mecklinger angrily questioned why Oberstein would use the Kaiser as bait for such a plan, but Oberstein argued that Reinhard would not be avoiding death, and for the future of the dynasty the Terraists had to be completely wiped out. Bittenfeld prepared to attack Oberstein, but Müller blocked him and said they had to stay organized and follow Kesler’s orders.
Over the next 2 hours, battles were fought both inside and outside the residence. One Terraist was picked off by an Imperial soldier with Julian hearing the shot. Attenborough asked if they should go and Julian said they should. He asked Karin to stay behind as he, Poplan and Attenborough exited the room. The 3 moved slowly with Julian observing that the cooperation between the republicans and the Empire may only be possible because of the mutual hatred of the Terraists. Poplan then commented on how he never would have imagined fighting to protect the Kaiser even 50 days earlier. Attenborough then spotted the body of a Terraist, who had managed to get far into the building despite his injuries. Attenborough took his weapon because none of the three were armed, then the lights went out. In a corridor down the hall, shots were exchanged and a Terraist sprinted around the corner toward them. Attenborough shot him in the chest killing him, and Poplan took a pistol and rifle from him.
They then heard an explosion, which was followed by 4 Terraists running from the house in celebration at believing they killed their target. One of them was shot in the back before Julian confronted the others. After a brief exchange of fire, Julian killed 2 of the 3, which left just De Villier, who was quickly surrounded by Attenborough and Poplan. Julian demanded to know where the Grand Bishop was, and De Villier pointed to one of the bodies on the ground. Poplan kicked the body over, then ripped off a mask which revealed someone who was young. De Villier said the man merely believed he was the Grand Bishop as he had been hypnotized. He then said the real Grand Bishop was buried on Earth and he may be excavated in about a million years. De Villier said he hid the truth from the other followers, but the 20 who attacked the residence were the last of them. Julian suddenly recognized De Villier and blamed him for Yang’s death before shooting him. De Villier got up and called Julian a fool for killing him since there were other elements trying to destroy the dynasty. Julian said that wasn’t a matter of his concern and he shot him only because of what he did to Yang. He then yelled at him for killing Patrichev and shot him, then Blumehart and shot him again, before he continued firing into De Villier’s dead body. Attenborough walked over and told him that he didn’t have to take the main role on his own since he left nothing for them. Then, a group of guards showed up and ordered them to drop their weapons. Wahlen recognized them and asked what had happened. Julian said the man he shot was the archbishop of the Terraists, then asked if Reinhard was safe. Wahlen said that the room they bombed was not the Kaiser’s, but they had been made to believe it was. Reinhard was safe for the moment, but they wondered who was in the room.
Julian has one final moment of seeing the red mist. His execution of De Villier is definitely something Yang would have frowned on, but it is completely with Julian’s character. Finally, the Terraist angle comes to an end, though.
On a couch in the room, Oberstein was critically injured. One of the medics said they needed emergency surgery, but Oberstein said it was hypocritical and a waste or resources to perform surgery on someone who clearly wouldn’t make it. He told them to tell Larbenard that his will was in the third drawer of his desk and to do whatever it said. He then added that they should give chicken meat to his dog. Since he wouldn’t live much longer either, they should allow him to do whatever he liked. The medics shook their head, before Oberstein clarified that Larbenard was his butler. The narrator then informed us that Oberstein was dead 30 minutes later. While he had died in place of the Kaiser, those who knew him remained divided over whether it was a self-sacrifice or that he had made an error in his plans.
In the overall analysis, I would lean to this being self-sacrifice. Being the pragmatist that he is, the era that would follow Reinhard’s death would not need someone willing to do the dirty work necessary to keep the Empire going. Also, having also been guilty of probable war crimes, he could have seen his death in a prison. In addition, the fact that he had a will prepared and that the only thing that loved him unconditionally was close to death probably meant that he intended to die that day.
There wasn’t long to linger over Oberstein’s death. At 22:15, Mittermeyer returned with his wife and son. They entered Reinhard’s room which was filled with many people. Evangeline took a seat with Felix next to Reinhard’s bed. Reinhard thanked her for making it, and he said as a father, he wanted to leave his son a friend who was on an equal footing to him. Mittermeyer then told Felix to pledge loyalty to the Kaiser Alec, then Felix reached over and grabbed Alec’s hand. Felix then went to reach for Alec’s other hand, and Mittermeyer tried to pull him away, but Reinhard told him to stop. Reinhard thought Felix was a good child and asked him to be a friend to Alec.
Reinhard went to lie back down and then asked where Oberstein was. Hilde went to wipe his brow and said that Oberstein was away due to compelling reasons. Reinhard said that it was typical of him. He then grabbed Hilde’s hand and told her that he was certain she would rule space more wisely than he. He said that if she wanted to implement a constitution she could, just as long as whoever held power was the wisest and most powerful in the universe. He said that if his son did not live up to that level, then there would be no reason to continue the dynasty. He added that if she did everything she wanted, he had nothing left to hope for. Finally, he told Hilde that “once space had been conquered they would all…” and with that he had spoken his final words.
Reinhard von Lohengramm was dead at the age of 25, having reigned for just over 2 years. Hilde rose up and told those at his bedside that Reinhard had not died of illness, but he had in fact used up all of his life. She told everyone to forget that he had died from illness and she bowed her head unable to hold back the tears in her eyes, while Annerose began crying uncontrollably.
Hilde’s words are really the definitive way of remembering Reinhard. He lived at full speed for all of his 25 years, and compressed the life of someone 3 times older into his short time.
Elsewhere, Julian told Karin that a star had fallen. Müller informed him that after the funeral, Alec would be elevated to Kaiser. He went on to tell Julian that all of the agreements they had made about Heinessen and the Barlat Starzone would be observed. In exchange, Julian said that the Iserlohn Republic would live up to its obligations in the deal as well and he also expressed condolences for Reinhard’s passing, which Müller said he would pass on to the Kaiserin.
After Müller left, Karin commented on the fact that only a small area would remain a democracy. Julian said that 500 years of war and billions of lives had been lost to achieve such a small thing. He said that if people had not lost interest in politics at the time of the Galactic Confederation or handed over power to a despot or even learned from history how unhappiness what they were doing would cause, they never would have had to sacrifice as much as they had. Politics always takes vengeance on those who take it lightly in his words. Karin then asked if Julian would go into politics now, but he said it wasn’t on his schedule. Instead, he would continue as a soldier to fight the autocratic Empire, and when he was done with that he thought he would become a historian to record Yang’s achievements for later generations. He thought it was the responsibility of this generation to leave something for future generations to contemplate.
I think Julian’s remarks on politics are symbolic of the author’s real beliefs. That is to say that he isn’t necessarily against a particular way of governing, but he is against people who refuse to learn from history and don’t engage in politics.
Poplan then entered the room and asked when Julian was planning on leaving Phezzan. Julian said with all of the matters still to be attended it would be about 2 weeks. Poplan then announced that was when they would be parting as he intended to stay there. Julian began to try to talk him out of it, but Poplan said he had already decided, and it wasn’t as though he was going to stay on Phezzan forever. Julian instantly knew this was the only way Poplan would part with this era. Julian accepted it and said they should have a farewell party. Poplan asked for the the 3 of them not to die old and that in a couple of decades they should meet again and badmouth those who had died before them. Julian said that sounded good. Poplan left, then Karin and Julian stared into each other eyes before the latter said they should talk to Attenborough to arrange a schedule. The two then left with Karin holding Julian’s arm.
Elsewhere, Mittermeyer held Felix under the stars and pondered what to do since keeping busy would allow him to replace the sense of loss. Felix then cried out “Vater” as he looked at Mittermeyer, who felt that Reinhard’s spirit had entered his adopted son and allowed him to speak his first words. Mittermeyer then put Felix on his shoulder and asked if he would one day travel the stars, and whether he would do so alone or with someone else. Evangeline came outside and received news of Felix speaking his first words, which pleased her immensely. Felix then looked up at the sky and began reaching for the stars as Mittermeyer received an answer to his question. As he continued to reach, the narrator asks if that is the fate of humans everywhere, to always reach for things that are unattainable. Evangeline suggested they all go back inside and they headed in that direction.
Thoughts: I began this series of posts as a bit of a skeptic while throwing around football references that none of my readers would get. I didn’t think that over the 109 weeks it took me to watch this that I would ever come to enjoy this series as much as I did when I first began. So I’ve finished what will probably become the defining series of posts on this blog, and I have come to realize a few things. The main thing is that Legend of the Galactic Heroes probably has timing to thank for being as good as it is. The beginning coincided with an era of spending on animation, which allowed a lengthy adaptation of a novel to be produced without compromise. The first few story arcs were rough, but there was enough there to create demand for it to be finished later. Had the adaptation process started more recently, I would think the result would turn out to be like Tytania. Another thing is having to learn to write to an audience. I wasn’t really writing to anyone in particular over 2 years ago, but about a year into this and struggling between various formats for the posts in the first 2 seasons, I settled on more of a summary with commentary format due to some input from one of my earliest readers. Finally, I’m not going to say the journey is over quite yet. It may take a few steps in a different direction.