Tytania, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and a focus on factions

Lately, I’ve resumed watching Tytania, a space opera anime about the conflict between the four dukes of the Tytania clan on the one hand, and happy-go-lucky, Irresponsible Captain Tylor-esque rebel Fan Hyulick on the other. The two sides are parallel protagonists rather than protagonist/antagonist; each gets its own point of view and plenty of screentime. Tytania’s distant forebear, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, follows a similar structure: on one hand, ambitious young Imperial nobleman Reinhard von Lohengramm; on the other, Yang Wen-li, champion of democracy and arch-slacker extraordinaire.

But…

Normally, I love what a talented storyteller can do with multiple points of view. But in the case of both Tytania and LOGH, I wish they’d stuck to only showing us the respective Imperial side in each anime. In the case of LOGH, this is pretty simple: I find the Imperial characters, and their story arcs, far more interesting than their foes. In the case of Tytania, though, that’s only part of it.

Tytania, you see, features a lot of in-fighting between nominal allies. For the four dukes, defeating the rebel is as much about winning glory as it is about neutralising a threat. So they backstab and sabotage one another, in between more prosaic squabbles about whose idiot brother punched whom first. That is a subject matter I’d like to see much more of, in anime, games (I would love to try the board game Republic of Rome sometime), and other media. I can always find plenty of stories about rebels and evil empires; stories about competition within the imperial elite are a rarer beast. And that is why I wish Tytania had focused more on the latter and less on the former.

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