(They're not all Germans, you know.)
I first watched Legend of the Galactic Heroes way back when I was a 12-year-old dumbass, at my first anime club. I remembered that first episode-- as many do-- as a bunch of crazy-named fellows talking about a bunch of boring stuff. And yeah, there was a space war, but mostly it was these guys talking about this space war. I couldn't make anything of it.
Anyway, it's been ten years, and most of the impressions about anime that I'd made myself while watching VHS fansubs turned out to be wrong. So, I figure, I was certainly wrong about LoGH too. I've grown myself an attention span and the tiniest bit of maturity, I figure, so I can do this. I'd just read A Song of Ice and Fire: if I could get through an epic fantasy there was no reason I couldn't do epic sci-fi. By the way, I hear that some companies out there translate and publish Japanese novels of interest to fanboys now: one of you, please, put out the original LoGH novels. I want so badly to read them.
Back in February, intent on proving to myself how wrong I'd been, I went ahead and downloaded all 110 episodes of the main story: this excludes two movies, a one-shot special, and a 52-episode side-story series which (tragically) isn't fully translated at this point. For a month or two, they just sat around on my computer being intimidating. Then, about a month later, I started watching the damn thing, and I just couldn't stop.
I've been waiting two or three months to make this post: at first I wanted to just post about it really quick and let it go, but I didn't feel like I'd have a full grasp on it, and I felt like it deserved better. Then I wanted to talk about it as I went along, but I realized that like with Tsukihime, I'd never finish the show nor ever finish talking about it. So I wanted to wait until I had finished, and then go back and make a big post all about LoGH, why it is such a must-watch, why it is a grand achievement unlike anything you have ever seen in anime or likely will ever see again. Then I realized I had too many things to say about LoGH, and I had to split it up into separate posts. Many of them. Many big posts. And that puts us where we are right now.
When talking about LoGH, I will avoid as many major spoilers as possible-- for example character deaths--
bit given the sheer breadth of the story, it will be hard to avoid some minor points. Don't feel bad about this: the kinds of things I will talk about are points that the show itself makes obvious long before the point. Talking about this show from the point of view of just the first episode would be both extremely difficult and of no use to anybody. A lot of the screens will be from the LoGH movies, which represent the beginning of the story without the weaker animation of the early episodes. Bit of a bait and switch, but I love LoGH and I want you to love it too.
If/when you do get the show, do yourself a favor and make sure you're watching the version translated by Central Anime. The other version going around is a rip of the Hong Kong bootlegs: while the script is not outright unreadable like the average HK sub, it is still quite poor. Being as LoGH is so dialogue-driven, a bad script ruins it. Central's job is exactly the kind of fansub I like: simple, well-written, and humble.