I’m back! Welcome to the second season of Lyfeblerd. It’s been a while and I’ve been dying to get back into all the great manga, manhwa, light novels and other books out there.
This time I’ll be taking a deep dive into the first volume of Yoshiki Tanaka’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes (Ginga Eiyū Densetsu). I’m stretching the rules a bit with this one though as it’s technically a novel and not a light novel. But since it’s spawned multiple anime and manga adaptations, I think we can make an exception.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes was first published in 1982 by Takuma Shoten. Tanaka-sensei went on to release nine more volumes by 1987, with Viz Media picking up the novel series for English publication in 2015.
I think that’s enough background info and time for us to dig into the story. So strap into your seats for a cosmic adventure of politics and intrigue.
A Cosmic Adventure
Legend of the Galactic Heroes takes us to a world in which humanity has expanded far across space. We’re introduced to two sovereign nations, the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.
The Galactic Empire is a Monarchy that recently experienced a Civil War that left its Emperor nothing more than a figurehead. Now ruled by the brilliant and ruthless Reinhardt Von Lohengramm, the usurper begins to introduce a series of reforms designed to strip the elitist nobles of most of their power and influence.
On the other side of the galactic pond, we have the Free Planets Alliance which advocates democracy but is actually riddled with corruption. The contradiction isn’t lost on Yang Wen-Li, Commodore of the Second Fleet and bane of the Galactic Empire, but for him, all he seeks is a quiet peaceful life. Unfortunately though, both the ruling powers of the Alliance and his enemies in the Empire won’t let him be.
In Volume 1, Dawn, we are introduced to these warring factions and a third player, the Phezzan Dominion. Filled with political intrigue, espionage and space warfare, we meet a vast cast of characters as they try to survive and protect their nation’s way of life. The Alliance and Empire are unaware of the forces that pit them against one another as a growing conspiracy takes root in the first book and spreads its tendrils into the remaining volumes.
Even if you aren’t interested in long space operas, I think everyone should read the beginning of volume one because it gives us a sort of retrospective of their world and how it got to where it is. How the empire was formed and all of the political machinations. It’s really insightful. Really in-depth. One could easily assume that it’s part of our history if only the space race had already taken us to the stars in real life. There are so many fun things that go on before the main story even begins. Before you’ve even met the lead characters yet and you’re already engaged. Already in love.
Galactic Opinion Poll
The first pro would have to be the writing. At first, let me be honest, I was scared to read the first book. I’ve enjoyed lots of sci-fi across various media and know that some of them can be boring. Especially in the beginning. Now I’ve been seeing Legend of the Galactic Heroes for years, but I’ve never really taken the plunge and I can’t really say why. Maybe because some of them seem devoid of life, coming off more like a documentary.
Now don’t quote me on this but another pro is how it feels like it inspired a lot of the popular sci-fi content out there. Particularly in Japan. It bears a lot of similarities with Star Wars, but only on the surface. There’s no missing the Death Star and Iserlohn Fortress, but they aren’t the same thing. Legend of the Galactic Heroes’ planetary-sized battle station could be described as a mini colony or small country. It takes millions of people to run the fortress after all. There are essential and non-essential staff, recreational facilities and more.
As for the technology, the story presents it as if it were feasible today. Then there are the characters and their quirks. In each book, there’s a page that lists all the characters in the story and seeing it there the first few times was daunting. Looking back, my advice would be for people to read normally without trying to memorise every name on that list. Just enjoy the story until the names and faces in your head click.
In the End
It’s an epic space opera that Gundam fans would particularly like, filled with political intrigue, space battles and loads of drama. Listen to the episode to hear everything I had to say about the series.
However, with my lack of any significant gripes with the series so far, it’s safe to say I’m a fan and I enjoyed it a lot. I believe Legend of the Galactic Heroes is another one that’s great if you go in blind, but it may not be a good choice for those that don’t already have an interest in science fiction stories.
If you like Legend of the Galactic Heroes and want to get it, then follow the link below or try out another manga.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Dawn, written by Yoshiki Tanaka – https://amzn.to/3KjiKHF
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 1- Activation by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko – https://amzn.to/3DxEhIV
Not a fan? Then give this light novel a try instead.
- Yukikaze by Chōhei Kambayashi – https://amzn.to/3YeofwY
Please note that as an Amazon Associate, Lyfeblerd earns a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
Till the Stars Align
And that brings us to the end of this episode. I hope you guys had fun. After covering the first three books in the series, I’ll probably be dropping legend Galactic Heroes for a bit to return to it at a later date. I also won’t be giving you any hints on what the next episode will bring. Who knows, maybe it’s another guess. You’ll just have to wait and see.
This is old man Cryptte signing out. Keep reading the things you love and support your local comic book scene.
The theme song is Dreams by Rewayde, provided by Argofox.