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…