Episode 45, "Emperor Overthrown"
Synopsis: Reinhard von Lohengramm calls on the support of a hundred million soldiers and a million ships to lead against the Free Planets Alliance in his punitive expedition. Many civilians volunteer to serve, fearing a return to the old ways the government-in-exile represents could curb their newfound civil rights. At a meeting with his top subordinates, Reinhard announces his intention to invade Alliance territory via the Phezzan Corridor, prompting suspicion over the intentions of the Phezzani. Heydrich Lang, who once led the old dynasty's secret police, approaches Oberstein with an idea for a new position for him as the head of an Internal Security Department. Rubinsky mulls over the competency of Boltik and the oncoming arrival of Julian Mintz from Yang's group. Reinhard announces the dethronement of Erwin Josef II and the enthronement of Katharin, an eight-month-old daughter of an aristocrat.
I feel like most of this episode was just repeating information that the viewer already knew so that other characters who hadn't learned it yet would know. And, sure, the other characters needed to know these things, too, but how many times do we have to pretend to be impressed that Reinhard is going to go through the Phezzan Corridor instead of the Iserlohn Corridor? We get it, it's not been done before, Reinhard's using Phezzan's lust for economic power and they believe they're using Reinhard's outrage and ambition for political power.
This episode covers (and kind of pads) Chapter 6 of the fourth Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel. From Mueller visiting Reuenthal and Mittermeyer at the officer's club (which I think looks really neat in this adaptation), to the War Council where Boltik is brought in, to Heydrich Lang's conversation with Oberstein, to Rubinsky wondering about Julian Mintz, it's all there, though not necessarily all in the same order. Other than rearranging a few elements, like Reinhard's conversation with Hilda being later, it's a straightforward adaptation.
The only real highlight of the episode is the introduction of notorious douchebag Heydrich Lang, who had previously been the head of the Orewellian "Department of Social Dicipline", which had been shut down by Reinhard's reforms. Because he had never used his position for his personal benefit, to enrich himself, he had survived any major purge of old officials. Here we have a true believer in the rule of an autocratic body. He comes arguing to Oberstein that his presence is necessary to keep public order, and proposes the creation of an Internal Security Department, which is just slightly less Orwellian-sounding, but not that much less. Men like Lang are the kind of people Reinhard despises, but also can't just summarily dismiss, because of their loyalty. Oberstein clearly sees the utility to have yet another stray dog on a leash, so he allows Lang to go ahead and form the new department, but we'll see how that causes conflict in the future.
I have to say, Junichi Suwabe's Oberstein is beginning to sound more and more like Kaneto Shiozawa's with every episode. Or maybe he's just so natural as Oberstein I think of him as just as much the character as the original OVA voice. Miyano's Reinhard sounds a bit more Horikawa-esque at times, too. The old Lang voice was a bit more boisterous than the new guy, though. And nothing can beat Wakamoto's Reuenthal.
One thing that's missing from this episode are some of the thoughts of the characters that filled things in from the book. Especially Kesserling's inner thoughts about his father, Rubinsky, as he watches him mull over the current situation. In the novel, Kesserling is champing at the bit to get rid of the Black Fox of Phezzan, hoping to likewise throw Boltik in the same hole. We lose some of that here when we just have to read his fairly blank expression. Maybe they could have had him talk to Dominique about it, but I guess we already kind of knew how he feels from a previous episode. This is just one example.
Anyway, not a lot to say about this episode. It's just kind of a thoroughfare between two more major plot points. Next episode should prove to be a bit more fruitful.
3 out of 5