Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden is the first of two OVA adaptations of side stories from the Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu novel series. This first adaptation follows the achievements of Reinhard von Müsel and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire before the fateful Battle of Astarte.
The Silver-White Valley
Reinhard and Kircheis graduate from their military academy and are immediately sent to the frozen frontier planet Kapche-Lanka. Unbeknownst to them, their new superior schemes to kill Reinhard on behalf of a rival of Reinhard's sister Annerose von Grünewald.
Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night
Reinhard and Kircheis are assigned to the Imperial Military Police, where they uncover the corrupt and oppressive practices of the Empire's law enforcement. They are soon ordered to investigate the murder of a student at their alma mater.
As Reinhard awaits the bestowal of his new title of Count von Lohengramm, he sends Kircheis to the artificial resort satellite Kreuznach III for a vacation. Restless from the lack of work, Kircheis assists the local police with a drug trafficking case related to an attack on a disgraced former Vice Admiral.
A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights
While Reinhard is still a commodore in charge of only a single squadron, he laments the incompetence of his superiors during a battle against the Free Planets Alliance. Amassing military successes under the direct command of Vice Admiral Richard von Grimmelshausen, Reinhard repeatedly clashes with Hermann von Lüneburg, a commodore and former regimental commander of the Alliance's infamous Rosen Ritter.
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden, better known as “Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Side Stories,” is a complex and compelling web of politics and personal dynamics set against the backdrop of a vast and intricate cosmos. In a galaxy far away, two major powers—the autocratic Galactic Empire and the democratically oriented Free Planets Alliance—endlessly clash in an arena of galactic supremacy. However, not all battles are fought on the ultimate scale; some are intimate, personal, and every bit as impactful. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden tells these tales, providing rich insight into the lives and personalities of a host of captivating side characters.
Notably, the series fills in the gaps for many characters’ pasts and delves deep into some of the major players’ personalities and motivations, including the fascinating origins of the series’ protagonists, Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li. The unmatched depth and breadth of the world-building in Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden paint a remarkable canvas, enriching the primary storyline in new and unexpected ways.
The first aspect that perhaps struck us most strongly in Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden is the phenomenal character development. Throughout the series, characters that were merely touched upon in the main plotline are given extensive exploration here. The characters are complex, fascinating individuals, each with their own motivations, struggles, triumphs, and failures.
The second-season Gaiden episodes particularly stand out for their intensive focus on Reinhard and Yang, providing a rich and enlightening view into their formative years. It will leave you with a newfound respect for these characters and a richer understanding of their motives within the primary series.
The visual and auditory artistry are stellar, mashing futuristic aesthetics with a classical touch. The grand orchestral numbers backing each episode enhance the dramatic tension and leave an indelible mark on the viewer. As far as the animation quality goes, it’s comparable to the main series (which is solid) but shines especially in the highly detailed space battles.
One critical aspect of Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden that must get its due credit is its profound and thought-provoking narrative. The series dives headfirst into exploring myriad themes from warfare ethics to political corruption. The dialogues are carefully written, often layered with philosophical musings, making this anime not just a visual spectacular but also an intellectual journey.
In conclusion, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden is a treasured extension of what can only be described as an epic space opera. If you’ve watched and loved the main series, then this is an absolute must-watch. You will find layers of depth added to beloved characters and the galaxy they inhabit. And if you haven’t, Gaiden offers a taste of the main series’ depth and breadth without requiring extensive background knowledge. Whether you choose to rent, buy, or stream, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden will provide an unrivaled and unforgettable viewing experience.
Epic, engaging and highly captivating – Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden gets a solid 4.5/5 from me. Whether you’re a veteran Galactic Hero fan or just starting, watching this will for sure elevate your overall anime experience, and you may just find yourself glued to the screen a lot more often than you anticipated! If you love rich character backstory, intricate plots, and eye-catching animation, this one is for you. Buy it, rent it or stream it – just watch it!
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