It had been a while since we saw them in Die Neue These, so I suppose it only makes sense that we check back in with the Dominion of Fezzan. There are a couple structural things we can take from this week’s episode: 1) That as with the past couple entries, things are still deep in an expositional structure setting up the next major plot beats, and 2) that compared to some of the shuffling that had occurred over the previous episodes of Collision thus far, we are firmly back into the territory of ‘near-directly recreating episodes of the old OVA‘. Part of that’s to be expected, of course, being a point in the same source material which both versions chose to adapt structurally similarly. It ultimately just drives home how much of the information imparted in this segment is a fundamental backbone for what other parts are to come, even if what’s here isn’t the most especially exciting part of the story.
They do try, a little bit. The directorial designs of this episode love using daylight to frame and style the proceedings as we see our focal characters here, Fezzan’s current Landhesherr Adrian Rubinksy and his gopher Kesserling, meeting with other leadership in dealings we’re assured are most sinister. White light pours into the windows behind Kesserling as he manipulates commissioners from both major factions, and things cool down into the oranges of evening as he reconvenes with Rubinsky towards the end of the episode, communicating the passage of time as well as what an average ‘day in the life’ all this manipulation has encompassed. The music as well comes off as a simple but strong asset deployed alongside the cinematography of all this, driving up the presentation of all these conversations considerably compared to the overt exposition of the type we got last week.
So beyond those presentational ambitions reminding us that they originally intended us to watch this thing in a theater, what are we getting, content-wise, out of Die Neue These in this entry? Rubinsky makes a remark late in the episode about setting up pieces in plans that may only turn out to be useful much later down the line. LOGH is no stranger to slow-burn schemes, so the plot here is mostly about seeing some of those setups occur. Well, that and indulging more of Yoshiki Tanaka‘s analyses on the interconnected machinations of conflict throughout history. Hey, did you know organized religion has had a broad role to play in such things! They’ve been hinted at in previous stories, but the beginning of this episode has Rubinsky meeting with a Bishop of the Church of Terra, expositing that Fezzan’s long history of prolonging the war between the Alliance and the Empire has been at the behest of this organization’s beliefs.
There are obviously…fraught implications for a story as densely analytical as LOGH to suggest that the true masterminds of overarching conflicts are an ancient religion and their integrated financial backing. But for what it’s worth, as they have in other variations of the series, the Church of Terra here do come off more like a critique of general organized religion and their holds on society, as opposed to secretive villains operating under the guise of a marginalized group. Hell, Rubinsky himself directly compares the group and its influence to Christianity, specifically, so there’s not really any concern for conspiracy theories. Besides, the point Rubinsky arrives at by the end of this little chapter is that such notions of understated, belief-based control of the overall masses is an outdated concept for megalomaniacal masterminding, seeking as he does to prove that control via economical capital is the modern path forward. It’s an interesting meta-concept baked into the broader thematics of LOGH, and like all the players this one introduces, sets the stage with more elements we’ll be able to watch unfold (slowly) as the story goes on.
As for said introduced players, well, they sure are introduced! Some are going to be relevant sooner than others, if this adaptation’s structure sticks as close to the old versions as it currently seems to be doing, meaning that Alliance Commissioner Henslow and his planted grudge against Yang will be the one to watch for the near future. Though my personal favorite of those we see Kesserling meeting with is probably Remscheid, whose hairdo proves that even with the glossy redesigns Production I.G is deigning to give to much of this cast, they’re still committed to several LOGH characters looking stupid as hell. There’s also Schumacher and Landsberg, who exist as a solid example of the series’ constant commitment to the idea of the threads of stories never fully being finished, representing as they do ongoing remnants of the nobles’ coalition from the Empire’s previous civil war. Also I just like the framing of the little darkened-room meeting that Kesserling brings them into, and the way the animation portrays the absolute contempt that Schumacher has to bury as he ‘looks forward to working’ with Landsberg.
Honestly, the most compelling character introduction is arguably the one who doesn’t even live past the end of the episode, courtesy of the series spicing things up with a little vehicular manslaughter, as you do. The investigator known as ‘Nidhogg’ makes clear that the folks of Fezzan aren’t the only ones engaging in manipulation, and needing to make sure he couldn’t communicate any of his findings to Oberstein acts as a demonstration of how deep Rubinsky and Kesserling’s machinations go. The mere suggestion that a platonic rule between Reinhard’s order and Yang’s leadership could exist hinges on that economic elite singled out as Rubinsky’s driving force in this episode. Early in the LOGH story as we technically still are, it presents a theoretically-tempting concept that even new viewers can guess won’t be followed up on for some time. But as with all of its introductions of players to be important later, it still presents the kind of conceptual intrigue we keep coming back to this story for, dressed up strongly this week as well.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Collision is currently streaming on
Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary artistry. He can be found staying up way too late posting screencaps on his Twitter.