The cast of Legend of the Galactic Heroes is almost as immense in scale as the series itself. So immense, in fact, that at the beginning of the show (and once each subsequent season) they have to put subtitles bearing their names for each of their on-camera appearances! Here is a list of these truly memorable individuals who helped shape the face of history forever.As always, please beware of spoilers. Humans are only human after all.
"Do you think that what was possible for Rudolph is impossible for me?"
A young noble whose family had fallen on hard times, Reinhard von Musel was nevertheless content, with his best friend and older sister providing him with all the happiness he needed. This changed when he found out that his sister Annerose had been taken to the Imperial Palace as a concubine for the Kaiser. This abuse of authority drove him to swear a lofty oath: he would fight and eliminate anyone who stood in his way to rescue his sister, or die in the attempt. Along with his friend, Siegfried Kircheis, he abandoned his father and entered the Imperial military academy in the Imperial capital. With the patronage of Kaiser Friedrich IV he rather quickly rose to the rank of Admiral and was later inducted into the high nobility with the title of Count von Lohengramm.Reinhard von Lohengramm possesses a strategic genius evident both on and off the battlefield, and perhaps even more importantly, a keen eye for human talent. His nigh-unfaltering confidence, personal charisma, and refusal to cater to those with noble lineage garner him a significant power base among common soldiers and dissatisfied nobles alike. He has also earned himself quite a few enemies among in the more conservative nobility for these very qualities, but he is in many ways protected both by his military reputation and the Kaiser's favor.When Reinhard took to the field personally, it was aboard the white battleship, Brunhilde.
Expy: Could be seen as an expy for Frederick the Great, the King of Prussia (1740-1786). Military and tactical genius? Check. Talented politician? Check. Childhood companion who was both best and only friend? Check. Witnessing said friend's death at a young age? Check. Affectionate older sister? Check. Frugal in regards to personal affairs but lavish in warfare? Check. Sexually ambiguous? Check. Loner? Check. Wore nothing but military uniforms? Check. Saved by a miracle during a battle? Check.
Also, of Alexander the Great. Ascended to military power at a very young age, began many social and economic reforms, conquered all they saw before them, and both died of a young age when they had no more worthy foes to fight.
Heroic BSOD: Happens twice; once after Kircheis' death, and again when a would-be assassin calls him out for his willingness to sacrifice Westerland.
Hot-Blooded: It's rather unusual that he manages to be both this and extremely conniving.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Reinhard surrounds himself with these by gathering the most talented men in the Empire. Though Reinhard is incredibly competent in all fields, it could be argued that he has subordinates that excel him in the field they are working for (except warfare, though Reuentahl and especially Kircheis may be equal). For example, Hilda is a smarter politician than him. Reinhard relying on their superior abilities is what makes him such a supreme leader.
I Did What I Had to Do: This was Reinhard's excuse to Kircheis about his inaction regarding Westerland. After which he never made excuses for his decisions again.
Japanese Pronouns: After using "ore" and the more official "watashi" all his life, he graduates to "yo" and uses it exclusively after he becomes Emperor.
Man in White: Reinhard was known by his enemies as "the commander of the white ship" before they even learned his name. After a promotion or two, he dons a distinctive white cloak that he keeps for the rest of the series.
Only Friend: Kircheis, at least at the beginning of the story. As the story develops, he opens up to Hildegard, Mittermeier and Emil as well.
A Real Man Is a Killer: This belief is one of his few real character flaws, but its existence — and its manifestation in the belief that conflict or combat are the only means of determining a belief's worth — have galactic-scale consequences.
Took a Level in Kindness: Bloodthirsty, ruthless, and exploitative in the first few seasons, he eventually calms down, shows mercy to his enemies, and starts dealing with his subjects as human beings instead of expendable human resources. His men wonder if this is Badass Decay.
"Please, Lord Reinhard, promise me that you will conquer the universe."
If Reinhard von Lohengramm was compared to the light that would lead the Empire into a new age, then Siegfried Kircheis would have been the shadow that followed directly behind. Kircheis and Reinhard became close friends at a young age, and even then, Reinhard insisted on calling him by his surname Kircheis because he felt that Siegfried was too common a name for such an extraordinary person. Kircheis adored both Reinhard and Annerose, so much so that when Annerose was taken away and Reinhard swore to rescue her and asked for his assistance, Kircheis promised to follow and help him in any way he could. He joined military school and rose quickly through the ranks alongside Reinhard. Along the way he made another promise, this time to Annerose - to protect Reinhard and guide him on his way to power.Even though Kircheis' talents rival those of Reinhard himself, Kircheis does not share in his ambition, drive, and charisma. He is deeply devoted toward his friend, and possesses a wisdom, composure, and sense of morality that Reinhard occasionally lacks. Reinhard fully recognizes his friend's talents and depends heavily on Kircheis' advice and direction, if only in private.As a military commander, Kircheis is as kind and benevolent as he is brilliant, often demonstrating his preference for avoiding as much bloodshed as possible. He directs his forces aboard the red flagship, appropriately named Barbarossa.
The Ace: Genius tactician capable of making Yang sweat, expert marksman, good enough in combat to go toe-to-toe with Schenkopp... All while also being incredibly kind and acting as Reinhards conscience. Quite deliberate considering he dies very early on and everyone spends the rest of the entire story mourning his death.
Animal Motif: A dog. In the animated short Teikoku Momotarou he's the dog to Reinhard's Momotarou, and can only say "Yes, Reinhard/Annerose-sama!"
The Conscience: He is this for Reinhard. Possibly for the audience as well.
Our Ghosts Are Different : Even though Kircheis' spirit doesn't manifest itself in any sort of supernatural way, his very lack of presence is in itself profoundly haunting. Him appearing in Reinhards dream even leads to a truce between Reinhard and Yang!
Present Absence:And how. The phrase "If only Kircheis was still alive." is uttered by multiple characters several times over the course of the story and every implication is made that Reinhard wouldn't have had nearly as much trouble if Kircheis hadn't died.
What the Hell, Hero?: Unlike a true subordinate, he has no qualms whatsoever on calling Reinhard out for unwise or immoral decisions. The fact that Reinhard is perfectly willing to be directly influenced by Kircheis makes it clear that, in their minds, they are on equal terms.
"I don't care if you belittle republican democracy, profit at the expense of a nation, or deceive the people. But I won't allow you to soil the Kaiser's dignity with your filthy, feces-filled tongue."
The man with the Bewitching Eyes, Oskar von Reuenthal, was an exceptionally talented and capable individual, almost as much as Reinhard, and reasonably popular among the lower classes and the common soldiers. When he was born, his mother attempted to kill him (by gouging out his blue eye) because he was a constant reminder of her infidelity but could not bring herself to do it and killed herself instead. His father always held him responsible for that and began drinking heavily while telling him that it would have been better if he had never been born. Eventually circumstances lead to him joining the military where he met Wolfgang Mittermeyer and the two became fast friends, fighting together as common soldiers, then in the Panzergrenadiers, and finally in fleet actions as commanders where their exceptional coordination earned them the title of Twin Stars of the Empire.Reuenthal's continued service and his friendship with Mittermeyer lead him into the service of Reinhard von Lohengramm where his achievements allowed him to rise to the rank of High Admiral and later, to Governor-General of Neueland. Although he was never able to truly match wits with Yang Wenli, Reuenthal was still highly capable and proved instrumental in recapturing Iserlohn Fortress for the Empire. In the end it was his pride that caused his downfall, though even in disgrace he still remained loyal to the Lohengramm Dyansty.Reuenthal's preferred command ship was the Tristan, an Ace Custom with less firepower but a greater sensor range and speed.
Better to Die than Be Killed: Part of the reason he chooses to refuse the treatment that could save his life is even if he does survive, he would certainly have been dishonorably executed later for treason.
Bishounen: Aristocratic, very handsome and having mysterous mismatched eyes, he's acknowledged in-universe as a very attractive man with female admirers ranging from teenage girls to middle-aged women.
Broken Ace: Reuenthal is brilliant, loyal, and highly competent- but many of his personal decisions indicate a trainwreck of a psyche.
Major Injury Underreaction: It eventually kills him, but didn't stop him from deadpan snarking about it and going about his business almost as if there was nothing wrong with him.
Reuenthal (to his officers): Stop panicking. It's me who is wounded, not you.
Meaningful Name: "Reuenthal" can be, rather appropriately, translated as "Valley of regrets" (in German "reuen" means "to regret" and "thal" in place names means valley). His flagship's designation is "Tristan" which is related to the French word "triste" meaning "sad".
Reuenthal also has some curious parallels with his flagship's namesake, the classic Tragic HeroTristan.
In Wagner's Tristan and Isolde when the main characters first meet, Isolde tries to kill him in revenge for her fiancé, but in the end she can't do it. Later on she tries to kill him again with poison that turns out to be a love potion making them fall in love. Compare this with Reuenthal's relationship with Elfriede who tries to kill him out of vengeance for her family, but in the end she never follows through with it, and they develop a rather twisted relationship.
In the opera Tristan then proceeds to betray his liege lord (by continuing his relationship with Isolde), without offering any justification for his actions or pleading for mercy. Similarly, Reuenthal betrays Reinhard even though he knows he's being set up, and refuses to beg for mercy.
In other versions of the story, Tristan then marries another Isolde, Isolde of the White Hands. Reuenthal at least once remarks on Elfriede's beautiful white hands (noting that they're just like his mother's).
In most versions of the story Tristan is fatally wounded by a poisoned lance, but tries to stay alive until Isolde's arrival, only to die of grief when he thinks Isolde is not coming. Reuenthal is fatally wounded by a long, suspiciously lance-like ceramic shard. He tries to hang on so he can see Mittermeier for one last time, but in the end dies before Mittermeier arrives.
Mommy Issues: Most of his issues stem from the fact that his mother didn't love him. He even compares Elfriede to his mother.
"Do not think that Wolfgang Mittermeyer is double-tongued!"
A commander best known for his efficient and fast movements in space combat, Mittermeyer earned the nickname Gale Wolf even before entering Reinhard's service. He was born to a commoner family and although his father wanted him to take up a profession, he decided to enter the military instead where he climbed through the ranks with hard work and determination. Mittermeyer came to know Reinhard von Lohengramm after he executed a noble-born subordinate under his command for raping a civilian. To make things worse, the man was a relative of Prince Braunschweig, the next in line to the throne and so he was scheduled to be tortured and then executed. Reuenthal appealed to Reinhard on his behalf and he agreed to intervene in order to save Mittermeyer's life. From then on the four of them - Reinhard, Kircheis, Reuenthal and Mittermeyer - became comrades in arms and eventually became the most powerful men in the Empire.Mittermeyer had a loving, devoted wife named Evangeline, arguably one of the brightest spots in a series that became increasingly sad as time went on. The only sad part was that they could not have children. He also became extremely concerned for Reuenthal as he saw his vices catching up with him little by little.His flagship was of a similar design to the Tristan, an Ace Custom built for speed and a greater effective firing range. Its designation was the suspiciously appropriate Beowulf.
Reuenthal makes his decision to rebel knowing from the outset that his friendship with Mittermeyer would take a backseat to his integrity, and that they will almost certainly fight to the death.
Beware the Nice Ones: He is one of the nicest characters in the show, but he has executed his own men for robbery and rape of civilians. He also snaps spectacularly when he finds out that his friend Reuenthal was framed.
Gut Feeling: Mittermeyer is a very intuitive judge of characters and situations; a talent which enables him to always act swiftly and rightly, though not always cleverly.
Shipper on Deck: Appears to be this for Reinhard and Hilda; in Episode 58, when everyone's going on about marriage, he mentions to his wife that he feels that Hildegard is the only woman deserving of being Reinhard's consort, and that a child the two had would be bound to be brilliant.
Originally assigned to Iserlohn Fortress, Oberstein was a deeply unsettling man who wanted nothing more than to destroy the Goldenbaum Dynasty and all of its descendants. He was born with a birth defect that left him blind and had to have his eyes replaced with cybernetics. Oberstein was grateful to have been born under the current regime, as he would have been put to death under the Inferior Genes Exclusion Law in Kaiser Rudolph's day, but nonetheless believed that any government that was capable of passing such laws was not worthy of his support. After surviving the battle for Iserlohn, he returned to Odin to offer his services to Reinhard and became one of his top advisers.What set Oberstein apart from the Twin Pillars Reuenthal and Mittermeyer was his utterly ruthless personality. He would not blanch from any task that needed to be done to ensure the security of Reinhard's power and continued to perform his duties flawlessly even though it made him unpopular with the rest of the admirals. Many of the officers felt that Oberstein's decisions had indirectly caused Kircheis' downfall and feared that he would be prepared to remove them if they spoke out directly against the government. Because he kept mostly to himself, no one truly knew if he was directing all of this antipathy away from Reinhard intentionally or he simply did not care.
To a degree. Their ruthlessness and utter commitment to their ideal of government is comparable, but Robespierre was famed for his intensely charismatic oratory, whereas Oberstein... isn't. (And of course, more superficially, Robespierre was a dedicated republican, while Oberstein clearly prefers Enlightened Despotism.
Jerkass Has a Point: Despite being rather immoral and dishonorable, most of his advice and actions are the quickest way to get the job done. Even his advice that indirectly caused Kircheis' death was originally meant to suppress favoritism. Episodes 89 (him giving an explanation for his decision-making while the admirals look on in utter horror) and 103 (chewing out the admirals on their lust for glory) are fantastic examples of Oberstein's cold and calculating thinking.
Pet the Dog: In a rather literal application of the trope, Oberstein takes a old stray dog into his home for no reason other than simple humanity. As Bittenfeld remarks: "So people hate him, but dogs like him? I guess dogs tend to get along."
Poisonous Friend: Played with. His modus operandi certainly fits, his loyalty to Reinhard as to the key figure in his plan is indisputable, but no sane person would call him Reinhard's friend (or anyone's).
Psycho Sidekick: Reinhard really hates Oberstein, but keeps him around for this.
Token Evil Teammate: Nobody likes Oberstein (perhaps aside of his aide Ferner) - but it's heavily implied that he wants people to view him as this.
Uncommon for the daughter of an old noble family, Hilda took a keen interest in politics and statecraft from a young age and distanced herself from the social maneuverings of the other ladies at court. As the rest of the family prepared to support Prince Braunschweig in the Lippstadt Rebellion, she intervened and bartered with Reinhard von Lohengramm for protection of their holdings in exchange for switching sides. When Reinhard rose to power he appointed her as his personal secretary and she served in this capacity through most of the war. Fräulein Mariendorf was not only an efficient worker but astute in both politics and strategy, often advising the regent and later Kaiser in an informal capacity. She would not hesitate to intervene if she thought it was in his best interests and more than once, she was able to save Reinhard from certain defeat by outmaneuvering her opponents in the political arena while he was fixated on the battle in front of him. Throughout the series she tried to convince him to focus on consolidating his power rather than chasing after Yang Wenli but was very rarely able to dissuade him.Though officially only Reinhard's consort, she became sole regent of the Empire after his death and remained so until Alexander came of age. She was also instrumental in instituting democratic reform within the Empire and pushing it along the path to becoming a constitutional monarchy.
Heroic BSOD: Suffers a minor one when her sickly cousin turns out to be involved in a plot to assassinate Reinhard.
The High Queen: At the end of the series after Reinhard's death. He gives her all the power, allowing her to make the decision to bypass their son and move on to democracy if the boy isn't fit to rule. The narrator informs us that she does bring the Empire to prosperity and is instrumental in building a constitutional monarchy.
Honest Advisor: She always tries to guide Reinhard to do what is right/most practical rather than follows his will.
Hot Consort: Several characters remark upon her beauty, but this is not really played up.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: She favours the strategy that instead of trying to be proficient at everything, it's more efficient to find experts to work for you. And she herself is one to Reinhard when it comes to politics.
More Deadly Than The Male: Her tactics to defeat the Free Planets Alliance is more efficient than Reinhard's and ultimately it is her who brings decisive victory to Empire side.
Not So Different: To Oberstein, at least in term of what they think Reinhard should do. They both want to steer Reinhard from military conquest to concentrate on governing. And Reinhard comments that her tactics can be just as ruthless as Oberstein's.
Silk Hiding Steel: It doesn't take long for Reinhard (and viewers) to realize that Mariendorf is one of the most fearless and intelligent characters in the entire show.
Spirited Young Lady: She prefers politics to finding a husband or pastimes fashionable among the nobles. She also dresses in masculine clothing.
Squee: An unusual example. It pleases her greatly that her father allows her to handle their family affiliation during the Lohengramm faction vs Goldenbaum old nobles conflict, as she's very interested in politics and thus she can observe an interesting age and interesting people.
"Reinhard, when you are weary, please come to see me. But you must not be weary yet."
Originally Annerose von Müsel, she was Reinhard's older sister, the one thing he cherished more than anything else in the world, and the entire reason for his quest to overthrow the Goldenbaum Dynasty. Her beauty had captured the attention of Kaiser Friedrich IV and he made her one of the Imperial consorts with the title of Countess von Grünewald, much to the envy of other ladies at court. Through it all she never lost her kindness and consideration for those around her even when they were plotting to stab her in the back. She charged Kircheis with standing by Reinhard and protecting him always, a task that he was only too happy to accept.Needless to say, her withdrawal from Reinhard's life had a considerable impact on him and he would later remark that his triumphant ascension to the throne was made hollow and bitter because the two people he cared for the most were not around to share it with him. It would be a long time before they would see each other again.
"Command promises to return all of you home alive. Guarding our pride and discipline, shall we not follow the road home in good order?"
The youngest of Reinhard's admirals, Müller was constantly frustrated that the war between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planet's Alliance was coming to a close and he would never have the opportunity to prove his worth in battle or achieve glory equal to that of his peers. All this changed at the Battle of Vermillion where his tenacious defence of the Kaiser earned him the nickname "Iron Shield". From then on his fleet was charged with the final line of defence, protecting Reinhard whenever he took to the field. In all other theaters of war, Müller proved to be a capable Admiral and commanded respect that was second only to the three Fleet Admirals themselves.Although he suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of Yang Wenli, he saw the miracle-worker more as a rival and always itched for another opportunity to try and defeat him. During a lull in the fighting, he was even able to go to Iserlohn and pay respects as the Kaiser's unofficial envoy.Müller's command ship was the Lübeck until after Vermillion, where it was destroyed. He was given the Percival to commemorate his new title. Reinhard offered him a promotion to Fleet Admiral after Reuenthal's rebellion, but he turned it down, believing that he had not accomplished enough to deserve it.
Cool Ship: The Percival had very smooth lines and was the most advanced ship in the Imperial Navy at the time of its commissioning.
Friendly Enemy: Acts like this towards Yang Wen-li when the latter boards the Brünhilde and towards Julian when paying respect at Yang Wenli's funeral in Iserlohn. He also stands out among the admirals in that he is often chosen by Reinhard as representative in diplomatic work with the Republicans.
"Either way, the chronicles of our lives are written in blood, no matter which page we turn to. Even if we were to put a thick foundation of humanism over them we can't erase the color of blood there, can we?"
Bittenfeld was always infamous for his temper and desire to be in the thick of battle. His fleet, the Black Lancers, inherited these traits and earned considerable renown for their fast, devastating charges. Though his timely intervention turned the tide of battle for Reinhard on more than one occasion, Bittenfeld was as much a liability as an asset. He was the most aggressive of even the offense-minded Admirals and easy to bait into traps. Even when the noose was closed around him he still believed he could break through. Nonetheless, Bittenfeld was still a capable commander and knew to retreat when the situation could still be salvaged.His ship of choice was the all-black Königstiger, emphasizing speed and firepower above all else.
Dumbass Has a Point: Played with. He's not actually dumb by any means, but damned if he doesn't make everyone forget sometimes. It just makes it a little shocking every time he expresses a valuable (i.e. sensible) opinion.
A coolheaded admiral who shared Bittenfeld's preference for offensive tactics. Farenheit originally fought on the side of the nobles during the Lippstadt Rebellion and was Admiral Merkatz's second-in-command. He shared Merkatz's opinions of the nobles but, unlike his superior, he did not flee when the war ended. He received a pardon from Reinhard and was promoted to the rank of admiral when the regent recognised his skills. He clashed with Merkatz on several occasions during the war with the Free Planets Alliance and was eventually killed in the Iserlohn Corridor due to, some might say, the incompetence of Admiral Bittenfeld.His flagship was the Ahsgrimm, the only ship shown to possess a Wave Motion Gun.
Face Death with Dignity: After a brief reminiscence of his life, he orders the last survivor of his crew, a young boy, to evacuate quickly and to live on, and dies on the burning bridge.
Also known as the Artist Admiral, Mecklinger was a well-known patron of the arts even during the last days of the Goldenbaum Dynasty and was known to have composed many of his own works, even winning prizes for his paintings and piano playing. He did not take to the field as often as the other admirals but was always picked by Reinhard to manage the Empire's supply lines during long campaigns. When he was in battle, Mecklinger was shown to be a cautious commander who was every bit as good as the others, but playing consevatively cost him whatever advantages he might have gained.
Stoic admiral famous for being almost completely silent. Commanded through hand signals. Like Mecklinger, he was mostly in charge of logistical management rather than fighting on the front line but he is a competent commander.
The Voiceless: To the extent where almost everyone of his fellow high-ranking colleagues were shocked when he finally muttered a word late in the series. It was even lampshaded by the narrator, who helpfully provided the time and date of that occurrence.
His flagship is named after the Norse god Vidar, Odin's son who was famous for never speaking.
Commanded the Iserlohn garrison fleet until the Yang fleet recaptured the station. Was injured and hospitalised during a terrorist attack on Phezzan. Volunteered to stay behind to delay attackers during the attempt on Reinhard's life on Urvashi and was killed by them.
"Don't count on me valuing my life so much that I'd deal with you!"
Appointed Imperial representative to the FPA after the Treaty of Barlat. Was captured by the Rosenritters in conjunction with them breaking Yang out of jail. Hanged himself while still in captivity out of shame and despair.
"Losing something I lost before does not inconvenience me at all."
Stoic admiral who commanded the expedition against the Terraist headquarters on Earth after their first attempt on Reinhard's life. His left arm had to be amputated after a cultist stabbed him with a poisoned blade. Later saw action against the Iserlohn rebels and served as military governor on Heinessen after Reuenthal's rebellion.
Enemy Mine: He was not aware of them being on the opposite side but Julian and co. helped him in his mission against the Terraist
Nerves of Steel: Gets his artificial arm torn by a direct hit of an enemy gun and makes a calm remark, see the quote. He also stopped the unrest between Bittenfeld's and Oberstein's men just by parking his armored car between them and giving Death Glare.
Originally a military lawyer, Reinhard appointed him Superintendent of the Military Police, which in the Empire also functioned as a general State Sec service. Credited with reforming this corrupt and oppressive organisation and generally improving the Imperial Justice system. Risked his own life in order to rescue Hildegard and Annerose during the Terraist attack on the Imperial residence.
Big Damn Heroes: really, was it necessary for a chief of police to personally break into a burning building?
Always Lawful Good: Stopped Mittermeyer from personally murdering Lang for what happened to Reuenthal because justice only comes with law.
Meaningful Name: not him, but his flagship. Forseti was the norse god of justice.
"Alcohol is humanity's friend. Can I abandon a friend?"
Originally a simple student who wanted to be a historian, Yang Wenli eventually joined the military to pay off his debts and rose through the ranks to become a Commodore. At this point he was already known as the Hero of El Facil after his superior organizational skills helped avert a major crisis on that planet. After the Battle of Astarte, in which he saves the Alliance fleet from utter destruction at the hands of Reinhard von Lohengramm, and the capture of Iserlohn Fortress he becomes known as Miracle Yang and every battle afterwards served only to increase his fame. Unlike Reinhard he is a more subdued man who dislikes having accolades heaped upon him and would rather retire to live a comfortable life on as big a pension as he can accumulate through distinguished service. However, circumstances throw him time and time again into the war where he proves to be a greater strategist than even Reinhard. At one point, the Kaiser even tries to recruit Yang but he refuses, citing his loyalty to the principles of democracy regardless of how hopelessly corrupt it may have become.Yang's most glaring flaw is his lack of political acumen. He makes no secret of the fact that he despises both politicians and the military, and his ever-increasing tally of successes only serves to make people in power nervous. Several attempts are made on his life, which he manages to survive but which leave him in a much more precarious position or force him to act before he's ready. Yet, for every disaster, he is able to rally his forces and lead them to an even greater victory than before. Yang Wenli earns the respect of both his peers and his enemies as a miracle worker and a magician.Yang Wenli has commanded several ships in battle. The most iconic are the battleship Hyperion and the cruiser Leda II.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Yang Wen-Li loves napping, drinking tea and studying history, but he constantly finds himself in situations that require his tactical and strategic insights.
Character Filibuster: Quite often Yang will launch into long, detailed lectures and rants about war, history, and politics. Justified slightly in that he actually is a historian at heart and puts a lot of thought into his opinions and writes them down in various essays. Later he begins to point out contradictions and hypocrisies in his views, and eventually bluntly admits that his beliefs are likely biased and frequently expresses doubts about having done the right thing. Doesn't stop him from filibustering, though.
Character Tics: Please decide whether your hat looks better on your head or off it, Yang.
Functional Addict: Although we never see him drunk, Yang drinks a little bit just about all the time. It's to the point that people who live with him express their concern about it, and it's mentioned that his consumption is on the rise.
Heroic Neutral: Yang seems strangely unemotional about the ultimate fate of either government. When the nation he serves ceases to be his benefactor, he's quick to abandon it.
Smart People Play Chess: Subverted - despite his genius on the battlefield, Yang actually seems to suck a little at the game. This may be because he can't "break the rules" on the chessboard the way he can in real life.
"Please excuse me for this hypothetical situation, but if your beloved Kaiser passed away, would you consider changing the flag you uphold?"
Julian was an orphan who was introduced to Yang Wenli by his old friend Alex Caselnes. Yang adopted Julian as his ward and ensured that he got as good an upbringing and education as he could provide. From very early on, Julian felt that he was indebted to Yang in ways that he could not repay and became a soldier in order to make himself useful, despite his guardian's wishes. Eventually, Yang came to accept that Julian had become something he never wanted for the boy but still strived to end the fighting as quickly as possible. Julian studied everything he could learn about strategy, fighting, and leadership, becoming a popular mascot for the garrison at Iserlohn but eventually he proved himself to be every bit as capable as his teachers, uncovering plots by the Earth Cult and anticipating even Reinhard von Lohengramm's strategies. He was eventually chosen to succeed Yang Wenli as the military leader of the Iserlohn garrison.
Chef of Iron: His skill in the kitchen is at least as formidable as that on the battlefield.
Good Is Not Nice: Despite his unfailing politeness and often sweet exterior, Julian is also shown to be extremely insecure, and he can be surprisingly uptight, cynical, and mean. Also, while he's quick to extend mercy to those who ask for it, he feels absolutely no guilt about killing his enemies in battle.
You Are in Command Now: Julian is given full military authority in Iserlohn after Yang's death. Partially subverted in that, while he does have ultimate say in military matters, his main purpose is to be a figurehead under the guidance of the few who elected him.
After personally witnessing Yang's pivotal role in the Miracle of El Facil, Greenhill was inspired to follow her father's footsteps and join the military. She graduated as the Salutatorian of her class and was assigned to Information Analysis before Cazellnu transferred her to the 13th Fleet as Yang's adjutant, much to her delight.
The Scapegoat: He's one of these after the disastrous Battle of Amlitzer.
Shipper on Deck: He's implied to be one, playing an active role in introducing Frederica to Yang.
And platonically shipped Julian with Yang, basically forcing the kid on him without consulting him first.
For quite a while, he and Yang both tried to do this for Julian and the Cazellnus' elder daughter, Charlotte (in an Arranged Marriage sort of way, since Charlotte is a child throughout the series, and Julian was a minor too initially). This tapers off, though, after Karin arrives on the scene.
"We're fighting this revolutionary war out of foppery and whim. Got that?"
Attenborough knew Yang Wenli since their days in the Officer Cadet School, though they were each assigned to different fleets. Not much is known about his background but he rose quickly through the ranks and was promoted to a flag officer at an even younger age than Yang, and goes on to become the youngest admiral in Alliance history. He is a romantic at heart, casting his lot with Yang and his group out of foppery and whim, as he calls it, but this does not dull his edge in battle. Attenborough keeps a book of memoirs that he hopes to publish after the war is over.
Cannot Keep a Secret: It doesn't take long for him to reveal the identity of Schönkopf's daughter to the rest of the cast.
Christmas Cake: A rare male version: He gets a lot of flack from Poplin over turning 30.
Defensive Feint Trap: Does this so often it basically becomes his signature tactic. Justified in that he's almost always gravely outnumbered.
Rebellious Spirit: In Spiral Labyrinth, he expressed dislike for military regulations and being commanded by incompetent superiors, which he kind of inherited from his journalist father.
"If the majority of the citizens wish for dictatorship instead of democracy, how do you solve such a paradox?"
An expatriate who defected from the Empire along with his family, Schönkopf served in the Alliance army as the commander of a unit of elite close combat specialists known as the Knights of the Rose or the Rosenritter. He first gained Yang Wenli's attention when he and a group of his subordinates publically disciplined an officer for misconduct towards civilians and they were eventually instrumental in taking key points and installations from the Empire. With Schönkopf at their head, they have carved out such a bloody reputation that most soldiers on either side shuddered at the prospect of having to face them in combat. As one of Yang's most loyal subordinates, he had always believed that Yang should take power by force and set himself up as a benevolent governor, a course of action that Yang consistently opposed. In the past, Schönkopf had a reputation as a womanizer and fathered at least one illegitimate child.
An Axe to Grind: Hand-to-hand combat in the universe is usually fought with axes, and Schönkopf excels at hand-to-hand combat.
The Dreaded: Schönkopf is notorious amongst both armies as one of the most badass and dangerous people you could face on the battlefield. He's even been ambushed by enemy troops, only for them to turn tail and run away when they realize just WHO they just ambushed.
Ethical Slut: He thinks he is. His illegitimate daughter disagrees.
Originally an Admiral in the Empire, Merkatz was one of the few major commanders who sided with the high nobles during the Lippstadt Rebellion. He was appointed supreme commander of their combined fleets by Prince Braunschweig but was repeatedly marginalised by the constant demands and disunity among the rebels. Eventually his advice was ignored completely and the rebellion was put down. Merkatz himself escaped and defected to the Free Planets Alliance where he placed himself under the command of Yang Wenli and continued to fight in the wars that followed. In the aftermath of the war between the Empire and the Alliance, he was charged with putting together a clandestine fleet and waging a guerrilla war against the occupying forces.Merkatz enjoyed a certain comradeship with Admiral von Fahrenheit, but they eventually found themselves on different sides of the war. By this point he had resigned himself to defeating Fahrenheit by any means at his disposal.
"For our fleet, festivity is a necessity we cannot do without."
An ace pilot of the Alliance's Spartanian Fighter Corps, Poplin was eventually appointed as chief of the Aerial Defence Corps stationed in Iserlohn Fortress after its capture and remained with the Yang Fleet ever since. Outside the battlefield, he is often seen providing comic relief, be it his snarky banter with Konev and later Attenborough, or his alleged competitions with Schönkopf in being The Casanova.
Body-Count Competition: He and Konev before every battle bet on which of them will get the most kills. After Konev is KIA, he continues to keep score, and near the end of the show, he's well into the hundreds.
Big Brother Mentor: He tries to be one, at least, for both Julian and Karin. It's implied he is this for most of the young pilots and trainees in the Spartanians as well.
The Chief of Staff for Yang's 13th Fleet, Murai has a reputation of being a strict disciplinarian and is equally feared and respected by the members of the 13th Fleet. When Attenborough and Poplin heard that he is returning to the fleet after the re-capture of Iserlohn Fortress, Poplin even began to hum Chopin's Funeral March!
Commander Contrarian: Saw his role of Chief of Staff as such, since his superior is talented enough to not require a staff officer. Therefore he restricts himself to playing the devil's advocate and provides common-sense arguments against Yang's command decisions.
Consummate Professional: Murai is well-known for being a stickler for military order even before he joined the Yang Fleet.
"The Admiral has left all fleet deployment to me. This time, it is our turn to trust the Admiral."
The Vice Fleet Commander of the 13th Fleet, Fischer is renowned for his ability to execute perfect fleet manoeuvres and is thus highly valued by Yang, who requires his talents to allow the 13th Fleet to realise his brilliant tactics in the actual battlefield. This also meant that he rarely commands a separate fleet by himself, unlike Attenborough.
Boring Yet Practical: His talents in fleet deployment are not flashy at all, but are essential for the success of Yang's "magic".
A junior officer in the Alliance navy, Louis Mashengo's main claim to fame is as the only black man among the main cast in the entire series. He was shown to be a serious and reliable worker, having been assigned as a bodyguard for both Ensign Frederica Greenhill and Lieutenant Julian Mintz while they worked in enemy territory. He also joined Julian on his journey to Earth to investigate the true nature of the Earth Cult.
Initially a supporter of the National Salvation Military Council, Bagdash was dispatched to the 13th Fleet to assassinate Yang Wenli and provide the Fleet with false intelligence and decided to switch loyalties once his plans were exposed and he realised that the coup d'état was doomed to fail. An expert in intelligence warfare, he is often tasked to gather intelligence or conduct subterfuge operations, such as executing the initial phase of the Yang Fleet's re-capture of Iserlohn Fortress.
Fake Defector: The National Salvation Military Council tasked him as such. It did not work.
Heel-Face Turn: An exceedingly pragmatic one following the 11th Fleet's destruction (and, surprisingly, a genuine one, as Bagdash remains loyal to Yang and company for the remainder of the series).
"After all, someone will survive, won't they? The Empire, the Alliance, Earth or… me."
Last Landesherr of Phezzan. Went underground when the Empire invaded and annexed his planet and worked with the Terraists to subvert the imperial cause until his capture and subsequent demise from a brain tumor.
Suicide Attack: After a fashion: he had rigged several powerful bombs in the center of Heinessenpolis to explode the minute an implant in his skull no longer could detect his brainwaves. Already dying from a brain tumor, he deliberately unplugged his life support machine, hoping to catch Reinhard in the blast. He failed, but the damage to the city was considerable and the death toll in the thousands.
"If autocracy gives me the power I want, then autocracy will become my next benefactor."
Truniht was the Chairman of the Free Planets Alliance's High Council for much of the series and was generally a very slimy person. His defining characteristic, as commented on by many characters over the course of the series, was his utter shamelessness. Truniht was willing to do whatever it took to maintain his position and privileges, and did not truly believe in the concept of democracy if it didn't serve his interests. Even Kaiser Reinhard had underestimated how low he would sink when he offered Truniht a ministerial position in the newly-christened Neue Land (i.e.: the former Free Planets Alliance) government. He accepted without hesitation and continued to live comfortably right up until his death.While he was Chairman he retained the services of a vigilante group called the Patriotic Knights Corps and was also shown to have strong ties to the Earth Cult.
Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Truniht is revealed to have very little pride and has no depths to which he will not sink in order to ensure his own survival and position: If he must go down on his knees and beg to survive, then that is what he will do. Even Reinhart is disgusted by it, but is forced to keep him alive out of pragmatism.
A popular religion in both the Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. As its name implies, the base of Terraism is on our very own Planet Earth which largely declined in influence after a rebellion by the colonies and the establishment of the Goldenbaum Dynasty. The doctrine and beliefs are not touched upon during the series itself but we know that the leading bishops wanted to reestablish Earth as the centre of galactic civilisation and many ordinary people worked hard to make the pilgrimage back to the cradle of humanity. Originally just a minor inconvenience, they began to make their influence felt when Reinhard moved to crush the Free Planets Alliance once and for all, and masterminded many of the assassinations and events that drove the plot forward towards the end of the series.In addition to assassination, the Earth Cult had connections to many people in positions of power which it exploited regularly. Its members were not above the use of brainwashing and drug addiction, and in a pinch, the many pilgrims who lived in their complex in the Himalayas served as an instant army of fanatics. Needless to say, the series did not have many nice things to say about their religion.