13 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Scamp /

The Denial of 82

*Warning* Spoilers for Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

It was always going to happen. The story demanded it. Yang Wenli was the type of character whose relevance as a hero and a saviour would only be truly recognised after his demise. If anything, it took too long for him to finally leave the scene. The frightening level of his influence was completely clear back around the second time he took Iserlohn. In a way, it felt like the ‘ideal’ time, story-wise, for him to die had already passed. I let myself think that since it had passed, it would never come.

But if he was to die, you felt it would have to have meaning. A victory for the opposing forces, struck down by a significant character in an act of righteous vengeance and fury. It need not be Reinhard. Corruption in the ranks and killed by a man he once thought his friend. Executed in a trial under the Imperial government. A guerrilla attack by Oberstein because he felt Reinhard wasn’t in the right frame of mind to launch a proper attack on Iserlohn without putting himself in grave danger. Not some crappy sneak attack by a character we barely knew from over 50 episodes ago. Not by a bunch of nameless brainwashed Imperial grunts. This was just part of the story that would heighten tension between the two sides that actually wanted peace. A pretty standard manoeuvre by LOGH story-telling rules.

It’s ok. They’re generic grunts who couldn’t hit a barn door with a cannon, let alone the diminutive Yang with a pistol. Characters were sacrificing themselves so he could get away. The fat guy whose name you never knew stopped the advance sheerly because his bulk meant they couldn’t move his body out of the way of the door. If that’s not an ideal way to save the life of Yang, then I don’t know what is.

The whole scene started to feel surreal. Yang wandering around the ship in a sleeping-pill induced haze, apparently unaware of the serious danger he was in. He’d stop to listen as gunfights echoed off on the other side of the ship, but it felt like a different world. Yang never looked like he was in danger. But apprehension was really starting to take hold. How hard can it be to find a room to hide in? Surely you haven’t got a problem with hiding under a bed? Don’t go down a darkened corridor you idiot!

It’s ok, it’s just his leg. He’s a nobody who doesn’t know how to finish a job. Sure it severed an artery, but people in this show have lived through worse. Look, you’re even taking preventative measures by tying it up to quell the bloodflow. Schenkopp and his team of trusty axe-wielding nutters are on the ship now; it’s going to be ok. They’re calling your name Yang, why aren’t you answering? Stop making silly jokes and answer them. No, get off the ground. Listen, Julian is calling for you, they’ve defeated the badguys. You’re going to pass out like that Yang. Yang? No, don’t put a stencil picture! No…wait, no….

Maybe if I watch it again, things will change. Maybe Yang will take Poplan or Schenkopp or some other more capable fighters. Maybe this time he won’t take a sleeping pill and actually have his wits about him. Maybe he’ll actually pick up a gun. This time he’ll call out to Julian. Why didn’t you answer him Yang? This time Julian will reach him on time. They were on the ship together. He must have been less than 50 metres away. It was just his leg, he can’t actually…die…from…tha…

*Warning* Spoilers for Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
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13 Comments

  1. Posted September 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what this anime is all about… it seems pretty old.
    But everyone seems to be fanboying or fangirling over it. I dunno, can you tell me maybe what this anime is about? I’m not veeery interested, most because I’m kind of an atrfag and like my anime artwork to be pretty and shiny, and experimental. Mieh~

    • Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      If you actually sit down and watch the show (I’ve watched random episodes) the imagery present within it is very powerful, and I think despite being old, the presentation is such that an artfag can enjoy it.

  2. Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I watched this episode around the same time Sean Taylor got shot in the leg. Had to relive it. What a fucked up coincidence.

  3. luffyluffy
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Those bright yellow subtitles gorged my eyes out D:

  4. Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    One day, I WILL get around to watching this show. It’s just that after looking at the number of episodes, I get kind of intimidated.

    Oh, and for those asking, I hear this anime described as basically what Star Wars SHOULD have been.

  5. Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    @Leah-san Speak carefully and respectfully about the sacred show in Scamp’s hour of grief! (And try watching it sometime, it’s excellent if you want a great epic of a story.)

    @Scamp It’s still kind of hard to digest what happened and come to terms with it, even now, almost two months since I finished it. I’m not sure you can ever really have it settle down in your mind, you just keep moving on with the events in the story afterwards. The way he was drowsy from taking the sleeping pills just made the whole thing even more surreal. I’m still wondering why he didn’t call out. I think the closest explanation I can come to was that being drowsy just amplified the usual stoic, accepting way he saw history and his place in it. But that explanation still doesn’t feel very satisfying.

    • Posted September 27, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Ah~
      I’m sorry.
      I was just kinda confused.

  6. Someone
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    For some odd reason Yang’s death never affected me to the extent that….

    HUGE FUCKING SPOILERS

    Reinhard’s death did.

  7. Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I remember it was sometime last summer. This was supposed to be the last episode I watched before going to bed, but I stayed wide awake, staring at my bedroom ceiling for hours.

    I’d like to think there’s an aura around LotGH. When we were younger fans, when anime is fresh, bright, and full of possibilities, the dated art and character designs, the boring sounding synopsis, lengthy episode count, and even the yellow subtitle font scared us away. But when we got older, when we tired of the same recycled stories and flat personalities, when we perceived how modern producers seems content to wallow in creative stagnation, LotGH becomes the elephant in the room. Only then did we seek it out.

    Of course, In this way, LotGH’s audience is self-selecting: only those able to appreciate its brilliance get to see. I kind of like it that way.

  8. Scamp
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t the last word I have to say about LOGH. I’ll write a post aimed at those who haven’t watched it yet. You know, you guys weren’t really meant to read this post. This is a pretty friggen major spoiler. Ah well, I did warn you

  9. Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I remember watching this episode. I shot through LOGH at an unreal rate but after this one I had to stop. There was too much to think, and to feel, to carry on that night.

    Yang Wenli is still one of my favorite characters.

  10. Posted October 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I still cry when I think about Yang’s death…. I kinda love him way too much though… I honestly thought Julian would have been the one to die… I think what hurt the most is watching everyones reactions for 3 episodes in a row after his death. That was harsh :|

  11. Posted October 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    A space commander isn’t always good on the ground; for Yang, his knowledge in close quarters operations is just utterly horrendous; of course even then this was too— plot-devicy.

    I thought it took him too long as well, but for diff reasons xD. Respect the man like Reinhardt did, but I seriously couldn’t stand his ‘democratic idealism’, even as the world is falling apart around him.

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