That’s right, after an entire decade spent watching anime I can finally call myself a true anime fan! I’d seen ‘The Big 3’, watched all of the gateway shows that I could get my hands on, and devoted a sizeable amount of time, money, and fortitude to this hobby. I’d even converted other people to the anime fandom! Yet, despite possessing these credentials, I wasn’t able to call myself a true anime fan until now. And why’s that? Because I’d never finished Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LoGH) until this year.
Whilst many people argue that, to be a true anime fan you have to have seen X, Y, and Z, and LoGH almost always features on these lists, please take the above paragraph in the good humour that was intended! Whilst I would assert that it might be jumping the gun to call yourself an anime fan after having only seen the one show, I don’t think you have to have completed a checklist before considering yourself a part of the fandom. Nevertheless, I think LoGH is a show that all self-proclaimed anime lovers should watch for the following reasons:
It Broadens Its Viewers’ Perspectives
LoGH thoroughly and meticulously explores man’s capacity for great evil. Though there are two opposing sides, the Alliance, a democratic nation, and the Galactic Empire, an autocratic one, neither one is definitively good or evil. Throughout the series the Empire cleansed “inferior” subgroups, shed innocent blood, and engaged in assassination, however, the Alliance were no better. Members often engaged in political subterfuge, extremism, and hypocrisy. Saying that both groups were also capable of things like selflessness, bravery, and integrity. It’s an important reminder that no one person is better than another because of their background, beliefs, and political ideologies, because, as human beings, we are all fallible, imperfect creatures. Once we begin to understand this we can start treating each other with the respect that we all deserve.
It’s Well Ahead of Its Time
Many of the issues that characters faced, including injustice, the threat of war, and imperfect leadership, are all still extremely relevant for us today. LoGH was also immensely progressive in its treatment of women. Its female characters are more empowered, intelligent, and integral to the show’s story than many female characters today. All this in spite of the fact that LoGH first aired 40 odd years ago!
It Further Demonstrates That Substance Is More Important Than Style
LoGH might look dated, by today’s standards, but its story is told so well and with such care, not to mention that its characters are so well developed, that it further demonstrates that the way that an anime looks should always play second fiddle to its story and its characters. This is something that many of today’s shows ought to take note of!
Admittedly, LoGH isn’t exactly what you’d call “accessible”. Should you want to watch it legally, it is only available on one streaming platform: HIDIVE (which I’d suggest is less value for money than Crunchyroll). Accessibility aside, it’s 110 episode run-time is pretty daunting. Regardless, I think that it is important for all anime lovers to watch it. I’m certainly glad that I finally made the time to!