Legend of the Galactic Heroes

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

So far, this column has tried to maintain a balance between older, acclaimed anime, new and exciting possibilities, and hidden gems. But now it’s time to revisit one of the biggest and best anime franchises out there – no, I’m (sadly) not talking about Gundam since most of it is not legally available, but an anime that is often hailed as “the endgame of anime.” I’m referring, of course, to Legend of the Galactic Heroes

If Gundam is to Japan what Star Wars is to the US, then maybe the closest comparison to Legend of the Galactic Heroes (as noted before on this very website) is Game of Thrones, or even Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Set nearly a millennium after mankind moved away from planet Earth and colonized the galaxy, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an adaptation of a series of novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka that chronicles the rise and fall of two interstellar states – the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic but bureaucratic Free Planets Alliance – and the war between them. 

Though the show mostly follows one high-ranking military commander on each side, Yang Wen-li of the Alliance, and Reinhard von Lohengramm of the Empire, it is an epic space opera that follows hundreds of characters across the galaxy in a vast and complex story that was for the longest time considered a bit of a holy grail of anime due to it not being released in the US. Thankfully, that time has passed, as you can now stream all 110 episodes of the original anime that ran from 1988 to 1997 (plus several movies and a prequel series!). But if the older animation isn’t for you, the first quarter of the story was remade starting last year with stunning animation.

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It’s been over a week since the end of HBO’s Game of Thrones. No matter what you think of the finale – whether you are still mad over Davos not becoming Prime Minister of Westeros, or thought it was a perfect conclusion – there’s no denying the impact the live-action adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series had on people’s lives and pop culture.

It will be some time before we get another medieval fantasy TV show of this magnitude, if we ever get it, but in the meantime, fans are craving for the next big binge. Instead of looking at other similar shows that you will inevitably compare to Game of Thrones, why not look towards something different and watch some excellent anime shows? Here are some of the best shows to watch that will scratch different Game of Thrones itches.

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