Blogging Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Valley of White Silver Episode 1

This cake is so delicious that it's beautiful

The first episode of the first Gaiden series of Legend of the Galactic Heroes begins with the story of Reinhard and Kircheis on their first assignment as Imperial officers. Already at the start of their careers, the two friends are having to deal with issues at the Imperial court. At the same time, as Kircheis fondly remembers his childhood with Reinhard and Annerose, they also have to deal with a lack of discipline from the other officers. By the end of the episode, Reinhard’s pursuit of honors on the battlefiel, hatred from the officers and a secret order from the court mean that the two of them will have to fight on the frontlines on their own.

Perhaps Benemunde needs to take a sip of a certain wine to calm her down

The episode begins with a clearly unhappy Benemunde, who is upset at the fact that Friedrich prefers to have Annerose at his bedside while he is sick to her. She thinks it is possible that one day Annerose may become part of the Imperial family. She then remembers that Annerose’s younger brother recently graduated from military prep school and got a higher rank and post than a normal graduate would. Then, someone tries to correct her on that by saying that Reinhard did not desire a comfortable assignment because of his sister because he is on the front lines. She then says she can make it easier for Reinhard to be killed, even if it isn’t by the enemy.

After the conversation, the recipient of Benemunde’s anger laments the situation. He notes how much Benemunde has changed in 11 years since she arrived. The woman he was traveling with then comments on the fact that men are the ones who cause women to change.

The return of the series court politics angle comes quite quickly here. I do like the line in the carriage about men being the one’s to change women, it was an excellent one-liner and it really applies throughout the series as a whole. I wish there were at least some attempt to name some characters here. Benemunde was recognizable, the other 2 are complete blanks.

There's absolutely nothing suspicious at all about this letter and the fact I asked you that particular question.

On Planet Kapche-Lanka, Reinhard and Kircheis report for their first assignment. They talk to Herder who lectures them that life on the front lines is different from the academy. After than, Reinhard is frustrated that his first battle will be in a frozen wasteland that only has strategic importance in preventing the other side from using its natural resources. Kircheis assured him that the situation meant that it would be easier to obtain glory on the battlefield.

Reinhard ends the conversation by saying he thought Kircheis would have been a great teacher if they had never met. This brings back flashbacks for Kircheis as he remembers meeting Reinhard and Annerose, then the manner in which they parted ways. Then imagining the treatment that she would have received at the hands of Friedrich which is then broken by a woman screaming.

Do not mess with the friend of this man

Kircheis runs over to see a woman being assaulted by a group of low-level Imperial officers. They demand that he stay out of their business, but Kircheis orders them to stop. They laugh at him, then Kircheis charged in and began fighting them. He deals with a couple of them before he is restrained. Just as Kircheis is about to be punched, Reinhard arrives and takes down their leader. They eventually disperse after Reinhard threatens to crush his throat with his boot.

I think these scenes serve as a few important reminders. One is that the Imperial military is rotten to the core with its ties to the nobility. That in turn makes Reinhard universally disliked by his superiors because he is the son of a low-level noble who happens to have a connection to the Kaiser that even he would not want. It is also a reminder that although Kircheis serves generally as the logical counterpart to Reinhard, that he is able to pick and fight his own battles.

After that incident, Reinhard discusses disciplinary measures with Herder. The argument is that Kircheis began the fight, so he should face the harshest punishment. Reinhard first argues that he was disciplining them for disobeying orders since Kircheis held a higher rank. Then, Reinhard points out that discipline at the base was poor and reflected badly on the Empire if they just dragged women off of civilian territory. Herder then says he will defer a decision on Kircheis’s punishment.

After Reinhard leaves, Herder and his subordinate talk about how to eliminate Reinhard. Herder holds a letter from someone in the court with the order to make sure Reinhard does not survive. Seeing as Reinhard wants to seek glory on the battlefield, they have the perfect assignment for them.

Reinhard and Kircheis then receive the order to go on a scouting mission on their own the next day. Reinhard knows it is clearly punishment, but he is actually looking forward to it. Kircheis remembers that Reinhard was always like that, and he recalled how he was persuaded to join the military by him. Reinhard then says that they will have to win that battle, then the next one after that.

Thoughts: This was definitely more entertaining than before and it definitely shows more effort was put into the Imperial side than the Alliance side when it came to these Gaiden series. The sending people into suicide missions intending to kill them was again used in Spiral Labyrinth, so I have somehow lost even more respect for that series. I believe this coming battle was alluded to in the main series, and the two of them did manage to fight their way out against numerous Alliance soldiers. Though they obviously survive, it will be interesting to see if they can evoke a greater dramatic tension than Spiral Labyrinth.

 

4 thoughts on “Blogging Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Valley of White Silver Episode 1”

  1. Nice to see that you’re going straight ahead with the other Gaiden. And yeah, it does seem that they put more effort into the imperial side of things than with the alliance. What I’d like to know, if that’s the fault of the ones who made the anime or if Yoshiki Tanaka himself wrote it that way. Sometimes I get the feeling that the empire just get’s the “best scenes” if you understand what I mean.

    And you make a valid point about Kircheis being able to pick and fight his own battles. Which is something one often forgets when watching LOGH. He sometimes just seems like an extension of Reinhardt’s will instead of an independent and important character.

    1. I think there may be an inherent bias toward complexity when it comes to fiction involving monarchies. There have just been more that have failed throughout time, so he had much more failed forms of monarchies than he did democracies. At least that is one possible explanation for the Empire being more interesting than the Alliance

  2. “And you make a valid point about Kircheis being able to pick and fight his own battles. Which is something one often forgets when watching LOGH. He sometimes just seems like an extension of Reinhardt’s will instead of an independent and important character.”

    I never got that impression about Kircheis. Whilst he serves Reinhard, he stands up to him when he does (or is about to do) something wrong (Westerland) more than once – and if anything becomes clear after watching Season 1 of the Gaiden, it makes Kircheis even more of the “golden haired boy” (to borrow a phrase in relation to Tacitus’ treatment of Germanicus) than he seems in the main series.

    Remember, not only was Kircheis a very good man in general, he was also a brilliant fighter and an awesome leader. He also bears the singular distinction of being the only man in Reinhard’s camp to never be taken in by Yang’s trickery. When Reinhard told Yang that he would’ve been a corpse at Vermilion if Kircheis had still been alive, I fully believed it.

    1. Kircheis suffers from being a right-hand man in some respects. When he did work on his own, he did his job as capably as one could. The fact that he never decided to forge his own path in the military isn’t a weakness. It was not as though he was able to take the easy road to the top by following his friend.

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