Legend of the Galactic Heroes (銀河英雄伝説 Ginga Eiyū Densetsu?) or "LOGH" is a series of science fiction novels by Yoshiki Tanaka. An anime adaptation of the novels ran from 1988 to 2000 as well as a manga based on the novels, with art by Katsumi Michihara. There have also been several video game adaptations with the most recent release in 2008 being a real time simulation.
Neither the novels, anime, nor manga have been released officially in the English language. However, there have been English fan translations.
Set somewhere in distant space around the 35th century (the late eighth century of the story's "Space Era"), Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a story of the epic struggle between the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance.
The original Japanese title is often abbreviated as Gin'eiden (銀英伝?) in Japan, while English-language fans often abbreviate the series title as LOGH (capitalization for the acronym varies).
The story is staged in the distant future within our own Milky Way Galaxy, approximately in the 35th century. Unlike many science fiction stories, there are no alien civilizations. A portion of the galaxy is filled with terraformed worlds inhabited by interstellar traveling human beings. For 150 years two mighty space powers have intermittently warred with each other: the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.
Within the Galactic Empire, based on 19th century Prussia, an ambitious military genius, Reinhard von Müsel, is rising to power. He is driven by the desire to free his sister Annerose, who was taken by the Kaiser as a concubine. Later, he wants not only to end the corrupt Goldenbaum dynasty but also to defeat the Free Planets Alliance and to unify the whole galaxy under his rule.
In the Free Planets Alliance Star Fleet is another genius, Yang Wen-li. He originally aspired to become a historian, and joined the military only because he needed money for tuition. He was rapidly promoted to an admiral because of his demonstrated excellence in military strategy. He becomes the archrival of Reinhard, though they highly respect one another.
As a historian, Yang often narrates the rich history of his world and comments on it. One of his famous quotes is: "There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good."
Besides the two main heroes, the story is full of vivid characters and intricate politics. All types of characters, from high nobility, admirals and politicians, to common soldiers and farmers, are interwoven into the story. The story frequently switches away from the main heroes to the Unknown Soldier fighting for his life on the battlefield.
There is a third neutral power nominally attached to the Galactic Empire called the Phezzan Dominion, a planet-state (city-state on a galactic scale) which trades with both warring powers. There is also a Terraism cult, which claims that humans should go back to Earth, gaining popularity throughout the galaxy.
2039: A massive nuclear exchange between the powers which dominate the Earth (identified as the United States of Euro-Africa and the Northern Coalition) destroy most major cities.
2129: After 90 years of chaos Earth is united under the "Earth Unity Government" based in the capital of Brisbane.
2166: What will be a massive research installation on Io is begun.
2253: A slower-than-light vessel is launched for Alpha Centauri but never returns.
2360: The first faster-than-light drive is developed, but turns out to have deleterious effects on females.
2391: The problems with FTL are solved.
2402: A habitable world is discovered near Canopus.
2404: As the first colony ship is launched for Canopus, Earth's government establishes a "Navigation Safety Department" which later becomes known as the Department of Public Safety.
2428: The Department of Public Safety reorganises itself as a formal navy.
2682: Disgruntled colonies unite to complain about high taxes, interference in local administration, and their lack of proportionate representation in the Humanity Congress which is weighted to ensure that Earth will always have the deciding vote. Earth responds by trying to make Sirius into a scapegoat, accusing them of spreading subversion as part of a plot to take over.
2685: Earth's denunciation of Sirius makes it into the natural leader of the dissident colonies. They establish the "Sirius Congress" and begin to gather military power.
2689: Earth attacks Sirius VI (aka Rondolina) to suppress the dissidents. Earth's forces become increasingly undisciplined, culminating in a massacre of the city of Laglane.
2703: The lack of discipline among Earth's forces leads to a devastating defeat at the hands of the much smaller rebel "Black Fleet".
2704: The Black Fleet blockades the inner Solar System for two months and then attacks the starving population, killing most of them.
2706: The leader of the revolution, Carl Palgrem, dies of a heart attack. The rebels fragment into numerous factions that fight for control.
2801 (1 U.C.): The United Stars of the Galaxy is formed, centered on Theoria, the 2nd planet of Aldebaran, and a new calendar era is adopted, "Universal Calendar" beginning in this year.
2906 (106 U.C.): In order to deal with the ongoing threat of space pirates descended from elements of the Sirius/Earth war who never reintegrated into civilisation, the U.S.G. authorises the creation of a large military to combat them.
3096 (296 U.C.): Rudolph Von Goldenbaum, having rocketed up the ranks to Admiral by the age of 28, retires to run for a seat in Parliament, forming the National Reform Alliance. The public is eager for a strong-willed leader to take over since the U.S.G. has become decadent and disorderly.
3110 (310 U.C.): President-for-life Goldenbaum declares himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire and a new calendar, the Reich Calendar.
3120 (320 U.C., 9 R.C.) Emperor Rudolph declares the Inferior Genes Exclusion Law which mandates sterilisation of the handicapped and execution of the mentally ill and terminates all social assistance of the poor. He begins selecting "superior genetic specimens", all of whom are white and have Germanic names to form an aristocracy with titles handed out by Rudolph.
3141 (341 U.C., 42 R.C.) Emperor Rudolph is succeeded by his grandson Sigismund, and widespread democratic rebellions break out, only to be suppressed. Billions of people lose their citizenship and become serfs for being family members or associates of executed rebels.
3263 (463 U.C., 164 R.C.) Ale Heinnesen, reduced to serf status for being a member of a rebel's family, masterminds the escape of 400,000 serfs from a labour camp on Altair VII.
3327 (527 U.C., 218 R.C.) The refugees, travelling more than 10,000 light years to flee the Empire, arrive at a habitable world and decide to start the Free Planets Alliance from there, reviving the Universal Calendar.
3440 (640 U.C., 331 R.C.) The Empire discovers the Free Planets Alliance and war between them begins.
The anime series is based on the novels. The anime is made of 110 25-minute episodes (divided into 4 sections). The first episode was released on home video in December 1988, and the last in January 1997. Since Legend of the Galactic Heroes was released directly to home video and not shown on TV first, it is technically an OVA (quite possibly the longest ever). However, it has since been shown on TV several times. There are two hour-long movies, one 90-minute movie, and two series of side stories (Gaiden) which are all prequels to the 110 episode series.
- Legend of Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars (Movie, February 1988)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes 1st season (December 1988 - 1990, 26 episodes)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes 2nd season (1991–1992, 28 episodes)
- Legend of Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings (OVA, December 1992)
- Legend of Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War (Movie, December 1993)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes 3rd season (1994–1995, 32 episodes)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes 4th season (1996–1997, 24 episodes)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes Side stories 1st season (OVA, 1998–1999, 24 episodes)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes Side stories 2nd season (OVA, 1999–2000, 28 episodes)
The series, while 20 years old, has not been released officially with English dubbing or subtitles. Even so, it has been ranked highly on most international sites about anime and/or space opera. For example, its AnimeNewsNetwork user rating as of October 2010 was approximately 8.7 out of 10, and in was ranked #21 in the site's Top 50 Best Rated Anime (bayesian estimate).
The manga edition is authored by Katsumi Michihara, and is derived from the first two volumes of the original-novel. This manga story is faithful to the original, possibly more faithful than the anime. However, there are some changes that could be considered major, e.g. the gender of several characters is changed. Akira Kasahara is cooperating in drawing mechanics.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes release history
- List of Legend of the Galactic Heroes characters
- List of Legend of the Galactic Heroes media
- List of Legend of the Galactic Heroes episodes
- Seiun Award - Best Novel of the Year in 1989, Best Artist in 1990
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes at the Internet Movie Database
- Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Official Website - Official site of anime version (Japanese)
- Nekomatagi Club - Official site of Katsumi Michihara, author of manga version (Japanese)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediacs:Legend of the Galactic Heroesko:은하영웅전설