How does this new adaptation hold up to the classic OVA?
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These is the newest adaptation of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes series of sci-fi novels probably best known for the former 110 episode anime adaptation from 1988. How does this new adaptation hold up to the classic OVA, you ask?
The series tells the story of the eternal conflict between the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire in humanity's distant future, focusing largely on Yang Wen-li on the FPA side and Reinhard von Lohengramm of the Galactic Empire, as well as the people around them.
Die Neue These takes, what is in my opinion, a bold turn on the character design. It's almost like they want to proclaim that they're not trying to imitate the OVA. This new adaptation wants to stand on its own two legs here.
Just as a little comparison, here's a scene in episode 1 of DNT:
And here is the corresponding shot in the OVA:
And finally, the same scene but in the 1993 movie Overture to a New War:
As you can see, stylistically, the movie and OVA are much more similar than this new adaptation and personally, I'm not a huge fan of these new character designs. Die Neue These is unfortunately sorely lacking the tender moment between Kircheis and Lohengramm. It honestly feels a bit flat. You can see it's a lot more detailed shot, though. You can really appreciate the size of this fleet.
Speaking of the fleet, the detail here is impressive. But there's something about how busy things are that leaves me unsure of how I feel. The OVA is not exactly pretty, but there's something I love about the simplicity. The distinct shapes that give each class of ship character is a bit muddled in all the detail.
This first episode is the first half of the Battle of Astarte, adapting a big chunk of chapter 2 of volume 1 of the novels. It almost entirely takes the point of view of the Empire, only cutting to the FPA to show their reactions to Lohengramm's strategy in this battle. The Overture to a New War mainly tells this from the point of view as the FPA, while the OVA splits it fairly evenly between the two factions while also introducing a lot of recurring characters. The novel is a bit closer to OVA in how the perspective is split, but it doesn't have as much of the character introduction.
I'm not really sure about how I feel about Die Neue These. I like how it wants to go its own way, but I'm still not entirely sold visually. The music is fine, but it's not nearly as striking as the OVA. I initially questioned some of the choices of voice actors for various roles, as well. Overall, this is still the same LotGH that fans know and love. Still, the real question is does it just have a coat of fresh paint or does it truly stand distinct from the other adaptations?