ANIME TOP TEN (LIST #1) - #2: Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1988)

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Director(s): Noboru Ishiguro
Script: Akinori Endo, Hiroshi Komishikawa, Hiroshi Toda, Shigeru Yanagawa, Shimao Kawanaka, Takeshi Shudo, Yuho Hanazono
Music: Shin Kawabe... and tons of classical composers
 
Where does one even start to praise Legend of the Galactic Heroes? How do I describe it to people who've never seen it? I'll give it a try. Watching this show feels a lot like reading a really good novel. It's almost an education. Let's start with the world-building it does. A fully fleshed-out world where the characters thrive and strive, work and play, live and/or die is spread out before the viewer. It also has a huge cast of interesting characters, from flakes to geniuses (or both, if you're Yang Wenli), murderers and kings, warriors and politicians. There are discussions of politics and philosophies that are remarkably well-constructed, if a bit simplistic at times. Following the characters' stories really immerses you in their lives, giving the show a real emotional weight to major events in their lives. Like Yang Wenli says, 
"There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good." It's 110 episodes of brilliance. Go watch it now. Already have? Watch it again. Already doing it? Not if you're reading this, you aren't! Get back to it!