The 3rd and final Legend of the Galactic Heroes movie takes the story from the aftermath of Tiamat though the battle at Astate. The movie takes in 2 separate story lines revolving around Yang and Reinhard before circumstance brings them together for the 2nd time in battle. Ultimately, this proves to be a much more comprehensive and refined look at Astate than the main OVA’s first pair of episodes.
The thing that was obvious from the beginning is that the defining conflicts in the early part of the series are abundantly clear here. Reinhard has to fight against the nobility and the Kaiser from within the system. Yang has to struggle with the lack of power and his own feelings. They combine to make great one-off stories in this movie.
Yang’s story comes first. After bailing out the Alliance forces at Tiamat, Yang is greeted by his best friend, Jean-Robert Lap. The reason he is there is because he wants to ask Yang if it is okay to ask Jessica Edwards to marry him. Yang is fine with it, but he doesn’t seem particularly happy himself even if he thinks it’s the right thing to do.
In the next few scenes without dialogue, they then head to see Jessica where after a few moments he proposes. Jessica looks over to Yang as if to ask if it is fine and he nods, though still not showing any emotion. The three of them then end of at a restaurant drinking heavily as couples dance in front of them. Lap ends up too drunk to dance which allows Jessica to ask Yang for a dance. They get started and Yang’s dancing is as terrible as ever, but Jessica begins crying. Things could have been so much different all those years ago if Yang had known how to dance properly. Maybe they all would have ended up happy. Instead, Lap and Jessica already know that their own happiness together is compromised by betraying the feelings of their best friend.
Yang, meanwhile, deals with this in the only way he knows how. He goes to another bar and winds up hungover the next morning. That would be before having to assemble with the other officers in front of Trunicht.
Reinhard, meanwhile, is flying high. He’s now in the rank of High Admiral and also about to be given the name Lohengramm. Most importantly to him, he’s able to visit his sister once again. He and Kircheis still possess a youthfulness in front of Annerose, perhaps to make up for the time they lost as children. However, Annerose wants Reinhard to slow down in his ambitions. He’s made it about as far as he can at age 20 and the quest for even more prestige on the battlefield means he will have to take more risks to endanger his safety. Fortunately, they think they are safe. Or so they think.
Lichtenlade and Ehrenberg were busy making it impossible for Reinhard to succeed. They decided that Reinhard would lead the next expedition into Alliance territory. To make it harder for him, they would replace the men who had served him well at Tiamat with more experienced men who would be disgruntled at serving under a young admiral. In addition, Braunschweig sent details on to Phezzan so Rubinsky would sell them out for their own gain.
So it came to pass that this dragged both Reinhard and Yang back into action much earlier than expected. Yang had finished criticizing Trunicht to his face before getting the call that his fleet was being called in to defend against Reinhard’s fleet. In addition, Lap was called to the front for the first time, though he hated being there. Plus, he had to deal with Julian’s insistence on becoming a soldier. Reinhard, meanwhile, knew he was being set up with the personnel assignments, but knew he had to deal with it the same. He also had a meeting with Friedrich about his position in the nobility that went rather badly.
Reinhard then had to pitch his plan to 5 rather unconvinced admirals. He planned to take advantage of the Alliance’s plan to split their 3 fleets by defeating them 1 at a time. Only Fahrenheit looked intrigued, something which Kircheis saw and as a result meant that he would be spearheading the attack.
Before the battle began, Yang submitted a plan to avoid defeat to Paeta who promptly rejected it. The Alliance was going to try to repeat the famous victory at the Dagon Starzone, not simply settling for a draw. Once again, Yang’s plan probably would have worked out better than anything else the Alliance had come up with.
Reinhard’s fleet quickly cut through the 4th Fleet of Pastoll, a veteran admiral who was quickly overwhelmed by Reinhard’s tactics. Yang desperately pleaded for Paeta to abandon the 4th Fleet to meet up with the 6th Fleet so they would have a numerical advantage. Unfortunately, hubris meant they couldn’t abandon their comrades.
In the 6th Fleet, Lap was busy trying to convince his commander of the threat the Imperial fleet possessed. No one took him seriously, though. Even as the Imperial ships came in from the rear of the 6th Fleet, stupid decision after stupid decision meant that the flagship, the very ship Lap was on was surrounded quickly be Imperial cruisers. They were offered the chance to surrender. Lap desperately pleaded for it to be accepted. They had already lost, living on in shame was better than dying for nothing here. Unfortunately the fighting continued. Lap would never see Jessica again, and many lives were lost purely because of pride.
With the rout nearing it’s end, Yang prepared for the worst as Reinhard laid siege to the 2nd Fleet. Then came the moment of destiny. His ship was hit, numerous officers were injured leaving only Yang and Attenborough capable of leading and Paeta conscious enough to hand Yang command.
As before in the main OVA, Yang clumsily took charge promising to save as men as possible in the fleet. Reinhard charged though the 2nd Fleet, which Yang let him do before reorganizing behind him. However, before they could completely reorganized, Reinhard continued to charge at the 2nd Fleet’s flank. This led to the Ring of Death formation on the battlefield which was soon abandoned as both sides were accepting of the result.
Reinhard could return to Odin as the legendary commander destined to rule the galaxy after defeating the nobles who tried to down him. Yang would return and be given his own fleet to try to conquer Iserlohn. However, his first real task on returning was reconciling his own feelings for Jessica with his duties.
Thoughts: For what began as a bit of a whimsical attempt at blogging this series, I never thought that I would get to the end. In the over 3 years that I’ve been writing on this series, I’ve had the opportunity to take in parts of a legendary saga that you simply don’t see any more in modern anime. There were 167 entries in this series. Hopefully, each week I was able to improve and make this more enjoyable for my readers. Those first few posts were a little rough, probably because I wasn’t much of a believer in the material to begin with.
So I have to give a few thanks to people out there who made this possible. Thaliarchus for providing the idea to write at least on the first few posts in this series. Ghostlightning for providing feedback that put more of my thoughts into the 2nd half of the main OVA even though he really abandoned the Gaiden series (can’t blame him to be honest). Central Anime for making it possible to watch this to begin with, though they probably ended up better off that I watched Golden Wings with Hong Kong subs. Dkratsas and megaroad1 who made discussion on the later blog posts much more interesting even if much of the Gaiden series were tedious at best. Also, thanks to all of the readers and commenters out there who have come here over the years. Long may it continue, even if there is no more Legend of the Galactic Heroes to write about directly.