Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes (銀河英雄伝説, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu), referred to as Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel (incorrect German, translating to "heroic tales from the cosmic island") in the opening credits and sometimes abbreviated as LOTGH (銀英伝, Gin'eiden), is a series of science fiction novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka. In humanity's distant future, two interstellar states – the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance – are embroiled in a never-ending war. The story focuses on the exploits of rivals Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li as they rise to power and fame in the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance respectively.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Cover of the original novel of Legend of the Galactic Heroes volume 1, first edition (Tokuma Novels, 1982).
(Ginga Eiyū Densetsu)
GenreSpace opera,[1] military science fiction[2]
Novel series
Written byYoshiki Tanaka
Illustrated byNaoyuki Kato (vol. 1–5)
Yukihisa Kamoshita (vol. 6–10)
Published byTokuma Shoten
English publisher
Original runNovember 30, 1982November 15, 1987
Novel series
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Side Stories
Written byYoshiki Tanaka
Illustrated byKatsumi Michihara (vol. 1, 3-4)
Akira Kasahara (vol. 2)
Hiroshi Yokoyama (short stories)
Published byTokuma Shoten
Original runSeptember 1, 1984July 31, 1989
Volumes4 (+5 short stories)
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings
Written byKatsumi Michihara
Published byTokuma Shoten
PublishedAugust 10, 1986
Written byKatsumi Michihara
Published byTokuma Shoten
MagazineShōnen Captain
Original runAugust 1986February 2000
Anime film
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars
Directed byNoboru Ishiguro
Produced byShaun Clayton
Written byTakeshi Shudo
Music bySetsuo Sasaki
Licensed by
ReleasedFebruary 6, 1988
Runtime60 minutes
Original video animation
Directed byNoboru Ishiguro
Music byShinsuke Kazato
StudioKitty Film Mitaka Studio
Licensed by
Released January 8, 1988 March 17, 1997
Runtime25 minutes (each)
Anime film
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings
Directed byKeizou Shimizu
Music byTomoki Hasegawa
StudioMagic Bus
Licensed by
ReleasedDecember 12, 1992
Runtime60 minutes
Anime film
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War
Directed byKen'ichi Maeda
StudioMagic Bus
Licensed by
ReleasedDecember 18, 1993
Runtime90 minutes
Original video animation
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: A Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights
Directed byNoboru Ishiguro
StudioMagic Bus (#1–4, 13–14, 20, 24)
Shaft (#5–8, 17)
Artland (#9–12, 16, 21–23)
Mushi Production (#15, 18–19)
Licensed by
Released February 9, 1998 September 26, 1998
Runtime25 minutes (each)
Original video animation
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Spiral Labyrinth
Directed byNoboru Ishiguro
StudioMagic Bus (#1–14, 16–17, 19–23, 27–28)
Artland (#15, 18, 24–26)
Licensed by
Released December 24, 1999 June 27, 2000
Runtime25 minutes (each)
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Portrait of Heroes
Written byKatsumi Michihara
Published byTokuma Shoten
MagazineMonthly Comic Ryū
Original runOctober 19, 2006September 19, 2012
Written byRyu Fujisaki
Published byShueisha
MagazineWeekly Young Jump
Original runOctober 8, 2015 – present
Anime television series
The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Kaikō
Directed byShunsuke Tada
Written byNoboru Takagi
Music byShin Hashimoto
StudioProduction I.G
Licensed by
Original networkFamily Gekijo, Tokyo MX, MBS, BS11
Original run April 3, 2018 June 26, 2018
Anime film series
The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Seiran
Directed byShunsuke Tada
Written byNoboru Takagi
StudioProduction I.G
ReleasedSeptember 27, 2019 (part 1)
October 25, 2019 (part 2)
November 29, 2019 (part 3)

An anime adaptation of the novels, produced by Kitty Films, ran from 1988 to 1997. There is also a manga based on the novels, with art by Katsumi Michihara. In addition, there are several video game adaptations with the most recent release in 2008 being a real-time strategy game. The series did not receive an official English release until 2015 when North American anime and manga distributor Viz Media announced they had acquired the license to the novels. On the same day, North American anime licensor Sentai Filmworks announced their license to the anime and the anime was later released on Hidive starting on June 20, 2017.

A new anime adaptation by Production I.G ran from April to June 2018, along with a film series that was released from September to November 2019.



In AD 2801 the Galactic Federation is formed, which results in political power moving away from the planet Earth (now named Terra) and the Space Era calendar replacing the Gregorian calendar, with 2801 AD now being SE 1.[3] Rudolf von Goldenbaum, an ex-admiral turned dictatorial politician is elected to power, makes himself Emperor Rudolf I, absolute monarch of the renamed Galactic Empire, and restarts the calendar again, starting the Imperial Calendar on SE 310/AD 3110. Rudolf adopts extremist policies including the suppression of any opposition and the extermination of anyone perceived too weak, such as the disabled and those in poverty, which he carried out until his death in IC 42/SE 351/AD 3151.[4] He also moves the capital of the Empire to the planet Odin, third planet in the Valhalla system.[5]

In IC 164/SE 473/AD 3273, a group of serfs in the Altair star system manage to escape captivity and make "the Long March of 10,000 Light-Years" into the Sagittarius Arm to escape the Galactic Empire, which is located within the Orion Arm. These people set up the Free Planets Alliance, a democratic republic, using the Space Era calendar, founding the Alliance in SE 527/IC 218/AD 3327 on the planet Heinessen. In SE 640/IC 331/AD 3440 the first battle between the Empire and Alliance occurs, resulting in a major Alliance victory. The two realms have been at war ever since.[6]

A third realm is also set up, the Dominion of Phezzan, a planet-state (city-state on a galactic scale) with connections to Terra. It technically remains a part of the Empire and pays tribute, but it also maintains a relationship with the Alliance. Ruled by a domain lord called the "landsherr" Phezzan gains power by acting as both the paragon and trickster, providing the only link between the Empire and Alliance whilst simultaneously playing the two sides against one another.[7]


The story is staged in the distant future within our own Milky Way Galaxy, starting in SE 796/IC 487/AD 3596.[8] A portion of the galaxy is filled with terraformed worlds inhabited by interstellar traveling human beings. For 150 years two mighty space powers have intermittently warred with each other: the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.

Within the Galactic Empire, based on mid 19th century Prussia, an ambitious military genius, Reinhard von Müsel, later conferred Reinhard von Lohengramm, is rising to power. He is driven by the desire to free his sister Annerose, who was taken by the Kaiser as a concubine. Later, he wants not only to end the corrupt Goldenbaum dynasty but also to defeat the Free Planets Alliance and to unify the whole galaxy under his rule.

In the Free Planets Alliance Star Fleet is another genius, Yang Wen-li. He originally aspired to become a historian through a military academy, and joined the tactical division only out of need for tuition money. He was rapidly promoted to an admiral because he demonstrated excellence in military strategy in a number of decisive battles and conflicts. He becomes the archrival of Reinhard, though they highly respect one another. Unlike Reinhard he is better known for his underdog victories and accomplishments in overcoming seemingly impossible odds and mitigating casualties and damages due to military operations.

As a historian, Yang often predicts the motives behind his enemies and narrates the rich history of his world and comments on it. One of his famous quotes is: "There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good."

Besides the two main heroes, the story is full of vivid characters and intricate politics. All types of characters, from high nobility, admirals and politicians, to common soldiers and farmers, are interwoven into the story. The story frequently switches away from the main heroes to the Unknown Soldier fighting for his life on the battlefield.

There is a third neutral power nominally attached to the Galactic Empire called the Phezzan Dominion, a planet-state which trades with both warring powers. There is also a Terraism cult, which claims that humans should go back to Earth, gaining popularity throughout the galaxy. Throughout the story executive political figures of Phezzan in concert with the upper-hierarchy of the Terraism cult orchestrate a number of conspiracies to shift the tide of the galactic war so that it may favor their objectives.

Christopher Farris of the Anime News Network wrote that the novels focus on "personal matters of the main players" instead of being "rote historical accounts", while the 1988-1997 anime series focuses on "the big picture of the war" with multiple characters chronicled, and the 2018 series focuses "only on the major plays by our two main actors to fit within its shorter, more focused format."[9]



The series proper is based on a 10-novel series written by Yoshiki Tanaka, as well as a number of other shorter stories set in the same universe. It won the Seiun Award for "Best Novel of the Year" in 1988.[10] On July 2, 2015, Viz Media had announced that it had licensed the novels for release in North America under their Haikasoru imprint.[11] The company has only licensed the first three novels, but will license more if sales are good.[11] The first novel, Dawn was released on March 8, 2016 with Ambition released soon after on July 19, 2016. The final volume, Sunset, was released on November 19, 2019.

Daniel Huddleston translated the Viz novels.

Anime adaptations

1988–2001 anime

My Conquest is the Sea of Stars

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars (銀河英雄伝説 わが征くは星の大海, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu: Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai) is the first animated adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka's Legend of the Galactic Heroes series of novels. It was originally released in Japan on 6 February 1988. The film chronicles the first combat encounter between Reinhard von Müsel (who later adopted the Lohengramm name) and Yang Wen-li, the two primary protagonists of the series. The main original video animation (OVA) series followed only months later.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes (銀河英雄伝説, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu), also known by the (ungrammatical) German title Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel, which is written on the official logo, sometimes abbreviated as LOTGH. This is the main series. It is the second and longest-running animated adaptation of Yoshiki's series of novels. It was released in direct home video installments during four separate periods between December 1988 and March 1997. The OVA comprises 110 episodes, which together total more than 2800 minutes of animation. It was later shown on television and has seen multiple releases on both DVD and Blu-ray formats.

Golden Wings

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings (銀河英雄伝説外伝 黄金の翼, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu: Ōgon no Tsubasa) is the third animated adaptation of Tanaka's novels. It was originally released on home video in Japan in October 1992, then released in cinemas in December of the same year. Its art style is notable in that it follows the art style of the manga rather than the other animated works. Its ending theme song is "Futari Mita Yume ~Two of Us~", performed and composed by Hiroyuki Matsuda, written by Gorou Matsui and arranged by David Campbell.

Overture to a New War

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War (銀河英雄伝説外伝 新たなる戦いの序曲(オーヴァチュア), Ginga Eiyū Densetsu: Arata Naru Tatakai no Ōvachua) is the fourth animated adaptation of Tanaka's novels. It was originally released in Japan on 18 December 1993. It expands upon the events covered in the first two episodes of the 1988 OVA series.


Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden (銀河英雄伝説 外伝, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu Gaiden) is the fifth animated adaptation (counting films) of Tanaka's novel series. It was originally released in Japan between February 1998 and July 2000. It served as a prequel to the main series.

Series 1, released in 1998, is the first animated adaptation of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden, or side stories, series of novels, consisting of adaptations of the short stories "Silver-White Valley", "Dreams of the Morning", "Songs of the Night", "Dishonour" and the novel A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights.

Series 2, released between December 1999 and June 2001, is the second animated adaptation of the side stories from the Legend of the Galactic Heroes series of novels, consisting of the adaptations of the novels Spiral Labyrinth and part of Star Crusher (adapted as "The Third Battle of Tiamat"), as well as the original stories "The Mutineer", "The Duellist" and "The Retriever".

English release

On 2 July 2015, Sentai Filmworks announced their license to the anime series at their panel at Anime Expo[12] and later commented that they hoped to create the "definitive release".[13]

On 20 June 2017, Sentai Filmworks announced the streaming release on Hidive's anime streaming service starting the same day.[14]

2018 anime

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (銀河英雄伝説 DIEディ NEUEノイエ THESEテーゼ, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu: Di Noie Tēze) started being produced by Production I.G during 2017.[15] Shunsuke Tada directed the series and Noboru Takagi supervised the scripts. Yoko Kikuchi, Iwao Teraoka, and Katsura Tsushima designed the characters. The mecha designs by Naoyuki Kato were drafted by Atsushi Takeuchi, Shinji Usui, and Shinobu Tsuneki. DMM Pictures, Shochiku, and Tokuma Shoten were credited with production of the anime alongside Production I.G. The anime stars Mamoru Miyano as Reinhard von Lohengramm, Kenichi Suzumura as Yang Wen-li and Yuichiro Umehara as Siegfried Kircheis. The series premiered from April 3 to June 26, 2018 and ran for 12 episodes.[16] The opening theme is "Binary Star" by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Uru, and the ending theme is "Wish" by Elisa.[17]

A second season, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Seiran (The New Thesis: Stellar War) premiered in Japanese theaters as three films of four episodes each in 2019.[18] The films premiered on September 27, October 25, and November 29, 2019, respectively.[19] The ending theme for the films is "Tranquility" by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Anly.[20]


1989 manga

The first manga adaptation was authored by Katsumi Michihara, and adapts the first two volumes of the original novel. It was published from 1986 to 2000 and collected in eleven volumes. A four volume continuation, Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Portrait of Heroes, was published from 2006 to 2012. This manga story is faithful to the original, possibly more faithful than the anime. However, there are some changes that could be considered major, e.g. the sex of several characters is changed. Akira Kasahara cooperated in drawing mechanics.

2015 manga

A manga adaptation by Ryu Fujisaki started in the 2015's 44th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump on October 8, 2015.[21] As of March 19, 2019 thirteen volumes have been published.[22]

Stage productions

2014 stage production

On 12 February 2014, the latest stage production of Legend of the Galactic Heroes opened, and it ended with an announcement of a new anime adaptation. Tanaka's secretary, Hirofumi Adachi, confirmed the news and relayed the producer's comments that the new anime is not a remake of the earlier anime, but another anime adaptation of the original novels with a new staff.


The series was adapted in 2012 as a musical by the all female performance troupe Takarazuka Revue.[23]


Publishers Weekly criticized the Viz translation of the first novel, arguing that it is "a slog" as it is too close to the Japanese original; the publication also criticized the lack of female characters and stated that the ones present are "shallow".[24]

Anne Laurenroth of the Anime News Network gave a positive review to the 1988-1997 anime. She stated that despite its length, it has, which was arranged well in advance, "one of the most satisfying anime endings ever written".[1]

See also

  • Japan portal
  • Anime and manga portal
  • Novels portal
  • Speculative fiction portal


  1. Lauenroth, Anne (2017-08-02). "Why Legend of the Galactic Heroes is Worth Your Time". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  2. War Is Boring (March 13, 2016). "It's Time to Start Watching Japan's Best Military Sci-Fi Series". Medium. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  3. Tanaka, Yoshiki (March 8, 2016). Legend of the Galactic Heroes. 1: Dawn. San Francisco: Haika Soru. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4215-8494-2.
  4. Tanaka, Volume 1: Dawn, p. 14-17
  5. Tanaka, Volume 1: Dawn, p. 25
  6. Tanaka, Volume 1: Dawn, p.19-21
  7. Tanaka, Volume 1: Dawn, p. 23
  8. Tanaka, Volume 1: Dawn, p. 26
  9. Farris, Christopher (2018-05-16). "Legend of the Galactic Differences". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  10. "Seiun Award List". Seiun. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  11. "Viz Adds Legend of the Galactic Heroes Novels, One Punch Man Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  12. "Sentai Filmworks Adds Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Higurashi Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  13. "Ask Sentai #16: Foppery and Whim? Ok.", sentaifilmworks.com, 7 August 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  14. "Sentai Filmworks Releases Streaming Details for 'Legend of the Galactic Heroes'". Sentai Filmworks. June 20, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  15. "Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gets New Anime Project by Production I.G in 2017". Anime News Network. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  16. "New Legend of the Galactic Heroes TV Anime Premieres April 3". Anime News Network. February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  17. "New Legend of the Galactic Heroes Anime Reveals Music Staff, Posts Main Theme". Anime News Network. February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  18. "New Legend of the Galactic Heroes Anime Reveals Cast, Staff, Promo Video, Dates, Titles". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  19. "Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Anime's 2nd 'Season' Reveals Screening Dates, Visuals". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  20. "SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]、『銀河英雄伝説 Die Neue These 星乱』EDテーマでAnlyとコラボ". Barks (in Japanese). July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  21. Rafael Antonio Pineda (September 28, 2015). "Shiki's Ryu Fujisaki Launches New Legend of the Galactic Heroes Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  22. 銀河英雄伝説 13 (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  23. "All-Female Performance Troupe Takarazuka Revue Presents 'Legend of the Galactic Heroes'". Crunchyroll. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
  24. "Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Vol. 1: Dawn". Publishers Weekly. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
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