At the time of writing I’m only four episodes into Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which isn’t far at all considering the sheer length of the series as a whole. I’ve promised myself that I’ll take it back off my on-hold list when I’m finished with Tytania though because this is providing a sort-of practice run in the particular brand of space opera and its SRS BSNS approach to storytelling. This is indeed galactic warfare as serious business, although I’m finding Tytania to be a little less straight-faced than its older cousin.
For starters the character who I’m guessing is the hero of the piece is a bit of a comedic one. Unlike the members of the Tytania clan he isn’t a stuffy po-faced aristocrat in a ridiculous outfit: when he was going into battle he preferred bubblegum over wine or Manly Tea and was willing to try an unconventional tactic that not even Ariabart could ignore. This seems to be a story of a young upstart bringing down the biggest military power in the galaxy simply through independent thinking, which makes it hilarious – in the sense of irony rather than that of LOL slapstick. Luke Skywalker has nothing on this guy.
The irony is of course that although Tytania is apparently invincible their one weakness is more severe than anyone could have guessed; the weakness being they are prepared for any eventuality apart from failure. Tytania never fails so their school of thought, which is completely effective for the rest of the time, never takes it into account. Their tactics are perfect save on thing: there is no Plan B.
I think it was Churchill who once said that even if there is a shortage of troops an army should always have a force set aside as a reserve. Tytania operate with no reserve, no Plan B. As soon as they are up against an opponent whose abilities and acumen are unknown, they are just as vulnerable as anyone. Fan Hyulich is an unknown quantity; a military commander who thinks outside Tytania’s box. And he’s now fired by his superiors because they see such a renegade as a liability. Oops.
The idea that one individual and his one battle could bring down an entire fleet of Tytania ships is dangerous because their hold over their subjects relies on their reputation as being unbeatable. Tyranjia would never I suspect have even considered a military confrontation with Tytania had that one battle not disproved Tytania’s invincibility; their eventual defeat is down to Tytania, again with irony, pulling the same stunt Fan Hyulich did. Tytania have won this time but in the process effectively admitted that their older, inflexible, way of thinking is no longer the best idea.
Tyranjia’s rebellion was of course sparked by the death of its leader, a member of the Tytania clan. Whether his wife’s reluctance to back her nation’s move for independence was due to her remaining loyalty to the family she married into or whether she still believed it was a futile course of action, we will probably never know. Either way it showed Tytania make a move to restore the perception of its invincibility and quell any rebellion with cold, calculated efficiency.
Lots and lots of talking heads, Tytania’s trademark. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, either
The sheer scale of the story means that in order to win a battle both sides must lose thousands of ships, which I’m guessing contain hundreds of people in each. This scale is matched by the pomp and circumstance of the Tytania clan and the way they operate: a concept mirrored in the sword piercing several spaceships in one go during the op animation sequence and the operatic song lyric that ends on “Conquer the universe!” There is that elaborate clothing too of course, which serves no practical purpose in battle but must have a considerable psychological effect on those who serve under them; much like the swords that Abh commanders swish around on the bridges of their vessels in Crest of the Stars. As Fan Hyulich’s fluke(?) victory proved, the Tytania influence is partly military muscle (huge-ass spaceships with zillions of laser guns) and partly the perception of power found in their imposing presence and reputation.
Owen’s mini-blog post did indeed set it out first but I’d also suspected there was a pattern in the choice of drinks served up for the Tytanian commanders. There’s the Manly Tea of course, but they seem to resort to coffee after losing a battle to reflect on the accompanying bitterness; that of defeat. In contrast they prefer a good glass of red wine to celebrate victory; a drink that is red like blood and intoxicating, just like the feelings of drunken overconfidence that comes with owning your opponent. Could Fan Hyulich warrant the need of the first shipment of Dr Pepper when Tytania contemplates “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?”