Marquis Reinhard von Lohengramm's plot to destabilize the Free Planets Alliance succeeds when the treacherous former Rear Admiral Arthur Lynch instigates a coup on Heinessen. Equipped with a plan crafted by Reinhard himself, Lynch encourages his longtime friend Admiral Dwight Greenhill to supervise the National Salvation Military Council's toppling of the civilian government. Seeking to defend democracy and restore the Alliance constitution, Admiral Yang Wen-li faces off against his fellow citizens—and, regrettably, the father of his devoted adjutant Lieutenant Frederica Greenhill. Now with the Free Planets Alliance thoroughly occupied with their own internal matters, the forces of the Galactic Empire can safely suppress the newly formed Lippstadt League led by Duke Otto von Braunschweig. However, with his friend and loyal subordinate High Admiral Siegfried Kircheis fighting far away in the noble-controlled frontier regions, Reinhard increasingly relies on the advice of the ruthless Vice Admiral Paul von Oberstein, whose influence within the esteemed Lohengramm admiralty steadily grows. Though bloodshed is inevitable on both sides of the galaxy, Yang Wen-li of the Alliance and Reinhard von Lohengramm of the Empire each ask themselves the same questions: how will history look back on their actions? Will the ends justify the means? [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Nothing brightens my day like a nuclear blast.
Well, actually, it isn’t the blast itself. Simply adding nuclear bombs does not make something good, at least unless you happen to be AI Gandhi in Civilization. For the rest of us, it is about how they are used. Death is easy, interesting conflict is hard. You could demonstrate endless slaughter on-screen and still have a boring show on your hands. And the interesting part need not be about the person who launched the missiles in the first place.
Thematically, we have the good old utilitarian moral dilemma. You know what I’m talking about: Would you actively sacrifice people to potentially save even more? While not a very original idea, it was implemented in a plausible and impactful way. It might warm a philosopher’s heart at least a little bit.
That said, the biggest payoff for the event will take place… you guessed it, in the next set of episodes, so make sure you are comfortably seated because you will have to wait even longer. The story in this is so long that even the swift pacing isn’t enough to deal with much of it here. Actually, one might argue that the plot is moving too fast already, and I think they would have a point. In this set of episodes, it is easy to notice a few scenes that were shortened compared to the OVA and a few scenes that were prolonged or added altogether (which were in the original novel but not the OVA). The original novel is still the best option overall, by the way. Aside from the obvious events, there is some interesting narration that couldn’t plausibly be fit into the adaptations.
The other main storyline is also interesting thematically. There is a lot you can do with people who try to correct political corruption and social flaws with drastic measures. Roads paved with good intentions and all that. What is the worst thing that could happen? While not exactly original as a general concept, it is rare to see it play out in a relatively modern setting and with political manifestos like these. It is also rare to witness the characters actually debate the issue and the not-so-cheerful outcomes that follow. That said, time constraints are a problem here as well. If I was the author, I would spend many more pages (and episodes) in these parts, but I suppose I will have to take what I can.
Here we have the series staple of “democracy is broken,” quite justifiably, judging by the events. While not terribly rare as a concept, usually fiction does not focus on the point quite so much or debate it at such great length. Broken democracy seems pretty difficult to fix though because every attempt also seems to result in disaster, as demonstrated on-screen. It is kind of ominous, really. If you follow politics even occasionally, you can notice that the idea of broken democracy is as timely as ever.
Some of the side characters are not portrayed in the best way possible. Braunschweig is supposed to be incompetent, but he goes a bit overboard. The same with a few of the other nobles. Falk is still too crazy, but he thankfully doesn’t waste a lot of time here. Most of this was in the source material too, so we can’t blame the adaptation crew for it. Meanwhile, some characters who might have seemed irrelevant suddenly play a bigger role, and some characters get to take the most of their limited screentime. Merkatz always seems to leave an impact in these parts.
Baghdash only gets about four minutes (actually, that is a decent amount), but we learn his always timely wisdom of “A man’s principles are his means of staying alive. If they get in the way of staying alive, one need only get rid of them.” Actually, that might warm a philosopher’s heart too. It warms my heart, at least.