Episode 18, "Bloodshed in Space"
Synopsis: The boyar nobles, who have made Geiersburg Fortress their base of operations, launch their forces against Reinhard's. However, their strategy is flawed, and Wolfgang Mittermeyer is able to chase them off to Retenberg Fortress. From there, Mittermeyer and Oskar von Reuenthal's forces engage armored troops in a corridor in armed combat. Leading the Lippstadt forces' armored division is Ovlesser, an enormous brute, who Mittermeyer and von Reuenthal lure into a trap. Reinhard, on the advice of Oberstein, returns Ovlesser to Geiersburg, where he's executed in suspicion of treason. Oberstein's plan to throw the nobles into a state of uneasiness is a success.
So the title of the episode, "Bloodshed in Space" is pretty accurate, no? That fight in Retenberg between Ovlesser and his subordinates and Mittermeyer and Ruenthal's forces had sprays of the red stuff throughout. Not to mention Ovlesser's ultimate fate was plenty bloody, too. I wonder if they'll be using some shots of soldiers in damaged ships and their horrific injuries and deaths, like you got sometimes in the OVA. Guys trying to put their guts back into their bodies and such. But this episode was good for action.
Speaking of accuracy, this was a pretty accurate adaptation of Chapter 4 of the second Legend of the Galactic Heroes novels by Yoshiki Tanaka. There were a few differences, though. For instance, the chapter starts with the scene where Reinhard names the nobles as rebels (changed to simply "traitors" in this series, at least in the subtitles), which was put in an earlier episode.
Second, the tactics deployed by Mittermeyer during his battle with Staden are a little different. In the books, he leaks a transmission that causes the overly careful Staden to second-guess his movements. Here, the Mittermeyer fleet makes a bold charge through an opening in the minefield while Staden and the noble with him attempt to split around it.
Finally, there's no scene as in the book featuring the Phezzani bar De la Court, where Boris Konev meets and speaks at some length with Marinesk, his first officer. Instead, the only part adapted is the scene where Kircheis allows his ship by, and they move that to the end of the episode.
I can't blame them for changing Mittermeyer's tactic of leaked misinformation, because it's used several times in LoGH, so removing this instance allows it to stay a bit fresher when it's next used. Second, charging through that thin passage in the minefield is more action-oriented and makes the battle more exciting.
The other thing they changed was the method for capturing Ovlesser. In the novels it was:
[...] a pitfall, a whole gouged out of a floor made from compound crystalline fibers. Or more precisely, irradiation by inverted populations of hydrogen and flouride had been carried out over a period of three hours from the level underneath the sixth corridor, weakening the fibers' molecular bonds so they could not withstand the shock of [Ovlesser's] weight and actions.
Here, it was, I don't know, I guess you would call a catwalk or bridge, rigged to drop a section so that Ovlesser falls into some kind of weird substance that his armor gets stuck in. An interesting deviation. In the OVA, he's just a stupid brute that falls into a simple hole in the ground that goes unexplained. Here, Ovlesser's capture isn't as embarrassing. It's a gambit pulled off by two clever officers, Mittermeyer and Reuenthal.
It's good to see Mittermeyer and Reuenthal get more to do. They'll become increasingly important to the story as it continues.
I really have to hand it to the stoic strategist Paul von Oberstein's idea here. Capturing Ovlesser, executing his subordinates, then sending him back to Prince Braunschweig completely untouched, it was pretty cold, but effective. Most experienced leaders would see it for the trick that it was (Ansbach certainly did), but Braunschweig is just hot-headed and short-sighted enough to see it as a case of betrayal right away instead of thinking it out, due to his inexperience. And Ovlesser, of course, would only make it easier to execute him by being violently outraged at the accusations. He may have at least saved his own life if he had simply allowed himself to be taken into custody for the time being. This trick only worked because of the personalities involved and Oberstein is good at surmising temperaments (well, with Ovlesser, it was pretty obvious). And Braunschweig refuses to see it as the trick it was, which means the nobles will think Ovlesser was truly a traitor and be thrown into confusion. Checkmate.
I think my favorite scene was Merkatz explaining to his aide just why he didn't object more to Staden's plan, because the nobles need a major defeat before they finally learn to trust him. It's a hard lesson, but he's hoping they start to seeing Reinhard as a skilled enemy that needs to be dealt with professionally. Merkatz doesn't owe these people anything, after all, considering how he was basically threatened into joining them.
Next time, Bagdash, sleep beds, Olivier Poplin (hopefully), and a protest gone wrong.
4 out of 5