Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Flight

By Yoshiki Tanaka. Released in Japan as “Ginga Eiyū Densetsu” by Tokuma Shoten. Released in North America by Haikasoru. Translated by Tyran Grillo.

So the war’s over and the Empire won… now what? We knew that things weren’t going to begin to slowly wrap up given we still had five more books to go, and so, unsurprisingly, we see that maintaining the peace and holding on to what you have is not as easy as it seems. Reinhard is dealing with assassination attempts, the fact that not all of his underlings are capable and brilliant, and everyone and their brother telling him “you’re the Emperor, now get married and have an heir”. As for Yang, he is now married, but heirs may have to wait, as his very existence seems to annoy people on both sides, none of whom think he simply is retiring peacefully. Which… well, they’re right, he isn’t, but things really don’t go the way he hoped. As for Julian, he makes it to Earth, and finds it ruled by a petty tyrant held up by a group of misguided religious zealots. Insert wry political commentary here.

Reinhard doesn’t get as much focus here as previous books, despite the assassination attempt. Honestly, that attempt, done by Hildegarde’s cousin, seems more narratively designed to separate the two of them for a bit more, as everyone and their brother is telling Reinhard to find a wife and Hilda is the really obvious option. It is sort of amusing seeing him justify not only letting Hilda and her father not be killed/exiled for unthinkingly leading him to the assassin, but even keeping their positions – though the whole scenario does throw into sharp relief how little Reinhard seems to have actually grown up, and how important (still) Siegfried is to him. He’s really good at war, and really good when he has a rival like Yang. When he lacks both, what’s going to happen?

Not that Yang has been removed from the picture just yet. There are some amusing scenes of his attempt at domestic bliss, though given they mostly revolve around “Frederica only knows how to make sandwiches” it’s probably for the best that he’s quickly arrested. There’s a rumor going around that he’s starting a rebellion, everyone thinks that Yang wants to start a rebellion, therefore Yang must be starting a rebellion, even though it’s not quite true. (Yang DOES want to do something, but not for a few years – a plan that gets blown to hell by the events of this book.) Reinhard and Yang always make good contrasts, and here it’s seen by how much Yang is trying to avoid being the face of the opposition. He’s a charismatic leader that could easily be another Reinhard if he wanted, he and everyone else knows it, and he hates the idea.

The romance is not just Yang and Frederica, by the way. Leaving aside everyone telling Reinhard to get married, it looks like Julian has been introduced (somewhat clumsily, I will admit) to his future love interest, who I’d call a tsundere if this weren’t written in 1985. And von Reuentahl seem sto be sleeping with the girl who’s trying to kill him. That’ll go well. You get the sense that the author is trying to move pieces for the final arc, and sometimes they move smoothly and sometimes they hit you in the face. Still, Legend of the Galactic Heroes fans won’t want to miss this. Given this was a mostly politics book, I expect a lot more space battles next time.

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