Blogging Legend of the Galactic Heroes – Golden Wings

Funny how this probably scarring incident is never brought up again by anyone.

The Golden Wings movie is the first of the crop of movies from the series that I have seen, and to be honest, it probably shouldn’t have been made in the first place. The story takes in Reinhard, Kircheis and Annerose’s first meetings, some childhood antics and early military career landmarks. Finally it ends on Iserlohn, or something resembling it.

The movie begins with a scene where Reinhard and Annerose witness their mother get killed by a runaway car. After a brief narration about the what had transpired in the war to date, the scene turns to Kircheis’s childhood home where new neighbors have moved in. Captivated by Annerose in the window, Kircheis attempts to jump a hedge before Reinhard runs out to greet him. They greet each other where Reinhard says he will only call him Kircheis, who appears quite nervous.

A few scenes then play out of running through fields and various innocent incidents before the day Annerose is taken away by the Kaiser’s men. Reinhard protests furiously over it, but his father drowns himself in alcohol with the payment he received from the Kaiser out in the open.

Almost mandatory beverage needed to watch this.

The next scene is the introduction to the military, where Reinhard suddenly showed up one day in uniform and told Kircheis what he did. Then at the academy, the two of them get into a fight with the other cadets.

Some time passes before they take a visit to see Annerose, who worries about what will happen to them on the frontlines. Then later Reinhard speaks to Kircheis about how the Empire is corrupt under a statue of Rudolf before vowing to do what he did.

A Rudolf statue that can be described as brutalist, or the artist had never heard of curves.

Several years then pass, and Reinhard is now at the rank of Major, with Kircheis one rank lower, on board Iserlohn at age 16. The men serving under him predictably scoff at their youth. Kircheis hears some of the disgust from a group of men but says they won’t be saying anything bad when Reinhard proves his abilities. They challenge him to a fight which Kircheis seemingly wins with a single blow.

Meanwhile on the Alliance side of things, Yang announces the plans for the 5th attempt to take Iserlohn from the Empire. Later, he talks to Attenborough about how he hates war and that the military needs to think differently when it comes to planning.

Back on Iserlohn, Lennenkampt is asked by Klembacher (the name was translated so badly I guessed) to talk to Reinhard and Kircheis about some details in an investigation requested by a member of the court. He agrees since Reinhard’s promotion seemed suspicious to even him. In the meantime, Reinhard and Kircheis were busy getting into a fight over Annerose’s honor.

Reinhard is then interrogated about Helder’s death by Klembacher, but he gives away nothing. Later, Kircheis is asked the same thing and he tells Klembacher that he only answers to Reinhard. Just as he was about to be taken into custody, the Alliance began their attack and Reinhard grabbed Kircheis away.

With a color palette like this, it is almost as though they were aiming for camp.

Reinhard’s ship prepared to sortie, but Klembacher was there to monitor him under Lennenkampt’s orders. The fighting began outside, and Reinhard retorted to Klembacher’s demands to destroy an Alliance ship by pointing out his lack of actual combat experience. As Klembacher prepared to shoot Reinhard, Kircheis took aim to stop him.

The chaos of close combat with the Imperial ships meant that the Alliance ships were safe from Iserlohn’s Thor’s Hammer. However, Yang observed that it didn’t mean they wouldn’t be fired on at some point. The battle between fighters was being dominated by the Alliance. The next phase of the battle began as the Alliance sent in unmanned ships to crash into Iserlohn. Panic ensued on the fortress, but in the midst of it all, Reinhard’s ship was still able to hold its own.

Iserlohn's signature armor is missing, which makes the Alliance's failures even more astounding.

After returning to Iserlohn, Reinhard and Kircheis end up separated and the latter knows something is up. He fights off two guards and runs to where he believes Reinhard is. The concern was valid is Reinhard is caught in a trap by Klembacher. Reinhard ends up surrounded by guards with their weapons trained as the Thor’s Hammer is about to be fired. Reinhard then switches one of their monitors to a view of the weapon being fired, which blinds all of them.

Kircheis arrives and shoots the other guards. Reinhard then runs after Klembacher, but one of the guards trips him and Reinhard falls into a pit. Kircheis grabs him at the edge, though Klembacher had returned to finish his job. He kicks Kircheis repeatedly, but he won’t let go. When Reinhard tells Klembacher who his real target is, Kircheis reminds him about Annerose. Klembacher kicks Kircheis one last time and he lets go of Reinhard, who is able to grab onto a cable on the way down.

Kircheis then fights off Klembacher, which buys enough time for Reinhard to climb up. Reinhard then grabs a cable which he uses to trip Klembacher and tie around his neck in the process. Klembacher’s momentum takes him into the pit and is hung on the cable once it tightened.

Finally, it's nearing the end.

With the battle over, Sitolet reflects on another failed attempt to take Iserlohn and hands responsibility for it over to Yang. Kircheis recovers from the beating he took in the fight and after reminiscing over their childhood with Reinhard, they vow to return to the days when they and Annerose were free.

Fake Yang is of course fake.

Thoughts: I actually watched this with a group of people over Skype. That’s Scamp, kadian1364, Caraniel and Roghek for the official record. I don’t think the fact that it was at a time where we usually watch terrible anime will affect my interpretation of it. Frankly, it sucked a lot. It took the canon of the series and decided to take a piss on it. I honestly don’t even know what they were going for here as it doesn’t seem like the type of thing to appeal to an audience apart from those absolutely desperate for some BL involving Reinhard and Kircheis. And the character designs, my goodness what were they thinking with fakes Yang and Attenborough. At the very least, I know nothing could possibly be worse than this with the title of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Now I can go back to the modern classic (by comparison) story of The Duelist.

11 thoughts on “Blogging Legend of the Galactic Heroes – Golden Wings”

  1. God, that sounded like something out of a really bad fanfic. I still ponder watching it tough, just to make fun of that Herr Hagen wannabee.

    1. I think the only way you could start making fun of it would be to merely view it as something else with characters with the exact names of those in the series. Otherwise there’s just rage throughout.

  2. Agree with your sentiments on this one.
    I remember that the first time I watched this I thought to myself, that this trainwreck of a movie had to be have been done before the 110 episode OVA. The producers then became aware of what a terrible mess they had made with it and improved upon it, to finally give us the masterpiece we know and love.
    I was then astonished when I checked and it seems to have actually been produced right during the middle of the series. What the producers were thinking, I do not know. About the only thing going for the film is the animation in the hand to hand combat scenes, which is certainly more fluid than in the series (which it should be with a film budget and duration).
    This one can safely be consigned to the annals of obscurity.

    1. The hand-to-hand combat scenes in the series can just be summarized by pools of blood and Reuenthal’s backflips, just to give a taste of their quality. There just aren’t enough of them here to make up for the improved quality. Hopefully this will be forgotten in due time.

  3. I’m not sure of the *exact* background of Golden Wings, and maybe you’re aware of this, but this was made as an anniversary movie using the art style etc of the manga. So its not as if whoever actually made this (not Artland … right?) thought “hey, we’re going to do a better Yang or Attenborough” – they just went with a different design that is canon .. for the manga. I think thats how it works.

    Anyways, I didn’t actually read the review because I’m going to watch the CA version first (when it comes out) but as I understand it, the 5th Battle of Iserlohn that occurs in GW is acknowledged as happening in the main series. Which is interesting.

    1. Yes there is that aspect where the battle of Iserlohn takes place. However, Iserlohn is so changed as to make whatever happened here entirely irrelevant to anything. Waiting for the CA version is probably best for just understanding it, but I can’t see it changing this train wreck.

  4. Well, I finally saw it since CA’s version of it came out. And … well … I just didn’t find it that bad. It takes a long time to do not very much, since so much of its almost 60 minutes running time is spent rehashing stuff we had already seen in the main series, but I don’t think the different way everything looks and sounds essentially changes what happened or somehow makes what happens irrelevant to the history of the main series*. The only obvious canon error I found in it was at the very end the narrator (who is the same guy as always, thankfully!) appears to say Reinhard got the Lohengramm countship after this – which isnt the case. He got it after My Conquest Is A Sea of Stars.

    *Which, as far as 5th Battle of Iserlohn is concerned, Sitolet tried parallel pursuit, and the Empire fired the Thor Hammer anyway in desperation, thereby winning the battle. Exactly what it says happens in the main series / Gaiden. Sure, Iserlohn doesn’t have its hydro-metal, but so what? Clearly you could just superimpose Kempff’s 8th Iserlohn and Reuenthal’s 9th Iserlohn tactics (i.e. fighters attacking each other, bombing the surface, etc) over what the Alliance was doing, the difference is quite slight.

    Oh, another potential canon error is the account of Herder’s death which conflicts with the relevant Gaiden episode- but I interpreted that as being the guy-who-looks-like-a-woman’s made up version, not what actually happened.

    1. I think the role of watching with others really plays into it. However, I don’t think they could make a more camp character if they tried. As far as the hydro-metal, I think it really only played a factor up to Yang’s 6th? Iserlohn attack. However, I remember that as one of the main selling points in the main series to make it feel impenetrable.

  5. Haha yeah he was pretty camp. But dealing with the hydro-metal was a big factor in the “conventional” attacks on Iserlohn that were seen in the main series (and will see again soon … :)) – you’ve got Kempf using Geiersburg’s gravity to pull the hydro-metal away from the far side of Iserlohn so Müller could attack its exposed outer walls (and submerging the Thor Hammer), as well as Reuenthal having his ships bomb and shoot the surface and unsettle it so, exposing the surface again and preventing it from using its weapons (and Yang replying by firing the thor hammer from underneath anyway). The absence is notable from GW, but yeah like I said in my mind’s eye I could picture how the main series would deal with it if they had used the main series’ art style.

  6. The thing is, the depiction of Iserlohn here is actually being loyal to the original novel.

    The Anime(OVA) staff thought the original novel’s description of Iserlohn felt too much like Star Wars’ Death Star, so to give it some originality they decided to add that ‘liquid metal armor’ story.

    I read the novels and I have the full set, and having read them all, I do feel that the Anime version of LOGH is quite superior to the original novels, unlike other cases such as ‘Lord of the Rings’.

    But Michihara’s Manga version design is also canon in a way. ‘Golden Wing’ did not screw up; it merely transported the ‘official’ Manga version into screen quite truthfully. It is natural, however, for people who got used to the OVA design to feel annoyed by Michihara’s design.

    1. I agree with almost all of this. I think this section of the novels was probably either a poor adaptation from an entertainment perspective or too narrow an adaptation. I think you already raised something I believe. Canon is not always better.

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