Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden: Golden Wings – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden: Ougon no Tsubasa

 

Related: Legend of the Galactic Heroes (main series)

 

Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Science Fiction Action Drama

Length: 59 min.

 

Positives:

  • The finale.
  • Extra backstory titbits.

Negatives:

  • Missed backstory opportunity.
  • No political intrigue.
  • Lower production values until the finale.
  • Uncharacteristic melodrama.

(Request an anime for review here.)

Oh boy, more Legend of Galactic Heroes in the gaiden chapter, Golden Wings. Time for some complex characters and political machinations that grip me from start to finish!

Well…? Where are they?

Golden Wings goes back to Reinhard’s infancy, back to the death of his mother and the ultimate purchase of his sister, Annerose, by the emperor. Reinhard doesn’t take kindly to this development, of which his father, a poor noble, is complicit. He joins the military with best friend Kircheis to gain status and take back his sister.

While it’s nice to receive extra pieces of Reinhard’s past, Golden Wings doesn’t explore them enough. His mother’s death is a single scene with no scaffolding to create impact, but worse is the sale of Annerose to the emperor. They could have made more of a plot out of this – used the entire film, honestly. How does the emperor know of the daughter of a poor, lowly noble? How did they meet? When did he take a fancy in her? Did they spend time together first? All we see is that the father accepted a large sum in exchange for his daughter and then we move on to Reinhard in the military. What a letdown.

This missed opportunity points to the lack of political intrigue in Golden Wings as a whole. The emperor’s former favourite lady grows jealous of his new diversion, Annerose, and wanting to harm her, she sets her sights on Reinhard. Nothing would hurt Annerose more than the loss of her brother. The jealous woman sends an officer to have Reinhard removed…taken out of the picture…dealt with…meet with a little accident. I expected this to be the cover for some deeper plot, but no, it’s as it seems. A jealous woman wants Reinhard dead and sends a cartoony villain to kill him. No surprises, no twists. The finale is good for the action, certainly, though too straightforward for this franchise.

Lastly, Reinhard is far too melodramatic a couple of times – out of character.

By the standards of any other anime or as a new series, Golden Wings is okay. However, okay isn’t good enough for Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Only excellence need apply.

Art – Medium

Several major characters look little like their main series counterparts – not for the better. Outside this, the shot composition and environment designs lack the creativity to make up for the limited animation. Only the finale looks great in its horrific destruction.

Sound – High

The voice work is still strong, though the script lacks the sharpness of political intrigue.

Story – Low

The early days of Reinhard’s life. Golden Wings doesn’t live up to the main series, yet is harmless in the end.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: For Legend of the Galactic fans only – even then, maybe not. Only to see it for extra backstory. You can safely skip this one.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: N/A

Negative: N/A

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