A Story Of Time
So here comes more of that Past part of the site everyone, today is another Legend of The Galactic Heroes Gaiden episode, the second of the four part Hero of El Facile series in the Spiral Labyrinth OVA’s….
Summary:The episode begins as any other with an announcement of the year, this time circa 479 RC (788 UC) September 19th, and confirmation that Yang Wen-Li was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain at 10:25 AM that day and then again from Captain to Major at 16:30 that very same day.
And He Sure Seems Excited About It. Typical Yang
As should be obvious to any military buff, this is almost unheard of and Yang is now a record holder for the shortest time served as a captain before promotion to major. In a meeting with an official, Yang is annoyed at the smiling man telling him how proud he should be of himself and that he’s in a better position than Al Heinessen, founder of the Free Planets Alliance was at the same age of 21 when he was exiled. Yang thinks to himself that maybe this would count if Heinessen were telling him this himself, but the smiling man has it so easy not having to work himself to death for a cause he doesn’t entirely believe in. Yes Yang is very much a celebrity right now as the Hero of El Facile and he’s even been given a press manager who introduces himself to Yang outside the official’s room.
Yang marvel’s at the fact that this man was his superior, a captain that very morning and now Yang outranks him. (It is incredible even I agree, something to think about) Anyway, Yang is introduced to his new living quarters (which I believe are the same one’s he will be living in with his ward Julian. They look the same anyway). He also finds a message on the machine from a fluff piece magazine asking him to lend them an interview for a Most Desirable Bachelor’s piece. He deletes this message wanting no part in that type of stuff and the next one is also for a guest appearance offering him a very large sum of money.
Biggest Frown EVER!
The third message however, talking about a reunion piece with Yang and his father’s first wife get’s him thinking about how life as a soldier and a hero has changed him, and he wonders what she would think.
Over the next couple of days Yang is having a very hard time adjusting to the formalities and parties he is expected to attend, it’s really not at all his style. He also bumps into a distant relative of his he doesn’t know, making things even more awkard and confusing for him. Yang begrudges this relative for not stepping in after his fathers death to give him the support he needed to pay for entry into history school. He seems to blame this man for the “mess” he is in and this is juxtaposed with jealous soldiers at the party talking to themselves about how Yang’s life is set. (It’s a very neat little scene) In the end his superor officer, a rather large gentleman comes up and congratulates Yang, which makes him feel somewhat better about the situation.
Slightly Awkward Indeed
A few months later Yang has settled into his new establisment, but is avoiding most phone calls and contact outside of a close circle of friends. When one of them happens to call from his academy days, Yang plans to get together and they discuss where they imagine themselves 10 years down the line. Yang hopes not to get sent to the frontlines of the war with the Reich Empire and his friend assures him that won’t happen, but Yang isn’t so sure that the military plans to let his talents go to use anywhere but with the war. As for where Yang sees himself ten years and further from now, either dead, or a burden on society as an old war veteran. He wonders what has turned him into this pessimistic man as another friend from the academy calls and he ultimately decides to pick up the video phone.
This man is General Alex Cacaellan, a rebel with policitical ideas differing from the FPA government and who the FPA is keeping a close eye on. He summons Yang to his office, saying he has “Heroes work” for him. Cacaellan is aware of Yang’s discontent with the military, but warns him that an early discharge would mean even more of those awkard parties, ad offers and use by political candidates as a vote attractor, it won’t necessarily be any less stressful a life than the military in other words. He encourages Yang to hold out at least another 5 years to entitle him to a pension for military service that Cacaellan insists he deserves. They then discuss two candidates for Yang’s Lieutenant, and he chooses a man named John Lapp, who is more loyal than the other candidate Dwight Boron, but has a diffferent strategic theory than the army is used to. After that Cacaellan gives Yang a task to occupy the time between now and his next military assignment. He is to investigate the death of one Bruce Ashby, a soldier and a hero who was believed historically to have died in the 2nd Tiamat battle in UC 745 with honor and valour. However, now there are rumours reaching Cacaellan that he may have been murdered. Yang’s job would be to prove for the military that Ashby did die in battle, thus verifying there records and allowing the army to save face and continue to invoke Ashby’s name in speech and propaganda. Yang says this is none of his business and that the brass doesn’t want the truth, but a legend to use to their own end.
The episode ends in the credits role with Cacaellan telling Yang to use this mission as an opportunity to prove his worth for the rank of Major and for the possibility that he might get further chances to conduct historical research and not be assigned to military affairs & strategy. Ultimately despite all his reluctance, Yang remembers all the people who have supported him along the way and those who believe in him as a hero, and he decides to do something to help his society.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed seeing Yang struggle with the breakneck pace at which he suddenly found himself thrust into the limelight as a national hero and celebrity for his work at El Facile. At first Yang wants no part of it and is looking for an easy way out of the army, but then he begins to see that people close to him and those not so close to him who are just average FPA citizens are all looking for a hero in this long and bloody war with the Reich Empire, and that he needs to play that part. Ultimately, Yang accepts the title of the Hero of El Facile at the end, whether he knows it or not, and so begins the Legend of One Galactic Hero. The first OVA before this one focused entirely on Reinhard Von Lohengramm’s backstory, and I expect this one will focus on Yang’s. These two are the Galactic Heroes of the title and their impact on the history of the galaxy is barely beginning. It will be fun to see where the Spiral Labyrinth OVA goes from here on out. Please join me for the ride if you are interested.
Rating: Ten Out Of Ten