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  • Accidental Innuendo: Well, this is the internet.
    "But Bittenfeld, knowing it's a trap, decides to plunge in anyways!"
  • Adaptation Displacement: Not many people are aware that the anime is directly based off the novel series.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Invoked very deliberately with most characters. The story is about the conflict between two galactic superpowers, and both sides have characters with sympathetic goals... whose means to reach those goals usually boil down to trying to destroy one another, as those goals often conflict. The series also doesn't shy away from showing that even fundamentally good men sometimes make short-sighted decisions that end up hurting innocents, even if it looked like the right decision at the time, nor are they immune from acting rashly on self-interest or sentimentality.
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  • Anvilicious: Surprisingly averted for the most part. While there are a good deal of filibusters and author tracts in-verse (even from the narrator), they come from different perspectives, all not necessarily treated as better than others. Yang himself lampshades this by pointing out contradictions and hypocrisies in his own beliefs. Those said, there are times when Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Awesome Music: The classical music accompanies the space opera quite well.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Episode 62, in which Attenborough inexplicably shows up in a pirate costume for exactly one scene. This is never brought up again. It is, however, entirely in-character.
  • Complete Monster: Duke Otho von Braunschweig will take any measure to secure power, launching a civil war when the former Kaiser's grandson is made ruler of the empire instead of his daughter. Continuing the Goldenbaum Dynasty's despicable eugenics policy, Braunschweig allows himself and other nobles free reign to torment common folk, viewing the latter as inferior. An incompetent but vile military commander, Braunschweig threatens the family of a genius admiral to force him to serve; executes the sole surviving noble from a lost battle for the mere suspicion of treason; and happily throws away the lives of countless soldiers for his war. For killing his oppressive nephew, Braunschweig orders the Westerland Massacre, nuking the entire planet out of rage. This repulsive act causes even Braunschweig's own noble followers to commit mass defection and even suicide.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: You would expect that either Reinhard or Yang Wenli would be the most popular characters of the show. Granted, they are popular, but who is the absolute darling of ficwriters and discussants? The enigmatic, electronic-eyed and utterly ruthless Paul von Oberstein.
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    • In Pixiv and similar circles, Muller is unusually popular, launching several rarepairs in the process.
    • Attenborough, whose importance was considerably pushed in the anime compared to the original books, is beloved because of his quotable lines and comic relief moments, and for being a very competent tactician in his own right.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Not all that surprising in hindsight. This series is full of Bishounen.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Getting Reinhard/Kircheis and Reuenthal/Mittermeyer out of the way first, you'd be surprised at how popular Ferner/Oberstein — usually unrequited — is with fanartists.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: How some fans interpret the relationship between Reinhard and Yang.
  • Genius Bonus: In episode 39, Yang explains his view on the political situation between the Alliance, the Empire, and Fezzan to Julian. Anyone with a background in political science (especially in international relations) will recognize his explanation as a simplified version of the Realist school of though, especially the Balance of Power theory.
  • Harsher in Hindsight
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    • There's a moment as early as episode 17 where a character mentions to another that if he's in trouble, "I'll get you to come save me". And then, around sixty episodes later, Yang is shot and dies, with Julian arriving minutes too late. He died within a single year after marrying Frederica, and during which they spent less then three months living in peace together. Considering how things turned out in the end, his inner monologue after proposing to her about how he didn't peruse her romantically before this point because he doesn't deserve family happiness becomes tragically accurate. It becomes more heartbreaking considering Kei Tomiyama's death.
    • Bittenfeld's joke about Drei Großadmiralsburg Fortress needing to be renamed if another high admiral were to pass away. Lutz dies the very next episode.
  • Heartwarming + Hilarious in Hindsight: Episode 13 has Kesler having to deal with Reinhard's "scorched earth" tactic on a planet, while dealing with a woman named Vier, whom he would have did Childhood Friend Romance with, but left to join the military, and when he sees her again, he hears she was married and has a son, but find out her husband died in combat, and the kicker, Vier is voiced by Sakiko Tamagawa, who is currently the wife of Shuichi Ikeda (Kesler's voice actor).
  • It Was His Sled: It's pretty well known just how far the series takes its Anyone Can Die policy.
    • Likewise, the Empire defeating the Alliance is a rather hard spoiler to avoid, given that it comes up in almost every discussion of the show.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Paul von Oberstein is the most ruthless of Reinhard von Lohengramm's inner circle. A man infamous for his Dissonant Serenity and ruthlessly pragmatic advice, Oberstein devotes himself fully to Reinhard and his new dynasty, using his tactical and political brilliance to help entrench Reinhard as the rightful ruler of the crumbling Empire. Seeking to destroy the Goldenbaum dynasty, Oberstein hears that its mad duke Braunschweig is planning to nuke the rebellious colony Westmoreland, and intentionally delays Reinhard from hearing the news to let the attack happen. This has the effect of the entire empire unifying around Reinhard in revulsion, just as Oberstein planned. Oberstein makes himself a hated figure to keep any loathing directed from Reinhard, manipulating other admirals as he sees fit to keep Reinhard's empire safe and even uses himself as bait to lure out the last of the Terran cultists in the final episode to eliminate the final threat to Reinhard's rule, seemingly aware the empire he has forged has no place for him.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Oberstein keeps teetering on the edge, and arguably crosses it with the Westerland incident - made only worse by the fact that his actions proved to have an overall positive effect for Reinhard and his followers. In the novels, both he and Reinhard charge straight toward the Horizon by simply and explicitly agreeing to let Westerland be attacked. The OVA adaptation has Oberstein give Reinhard an inaccurate estimate of how long he has to act; Oberstein quickly sends a recon probe to capture the propaganda footage, while Reinhard waffles and only sends in The Cavalry when it's too late. This results in Oberstein making a shallower approach — since it's possible the faulty estimate was a genuine fault based on bad intel — but still crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Of course, one can't mention the Westerland incident without mentioning its architect, Otho von Braunschweig. There's a reason Oberstein's gambit worked — nothing says "brutal, ruthless tyrant" like ordering the casual annihilation of an entire planet's population for rebelling against him.
    • Adrian Rubinsky starts out as a ruthless schemer who only cares about profiting from the war. At the end of the show, however, he dies of a malignant brain tumor. Then we find out that his death would trigger bombs all over Heinessen, killing god knows how many people in the process. Any why? Only so he might take Kaiser Reinhard down with him. For someone who was a Magnificent Bastard for most of the show, this act of pointless destruction sure makes him seem like a monster.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped
    • Nationalism and Religious Extremism are nothing but tools for Sleazy Politician to meet their goals at price of others. These messages was given within the show that emphasized through the Free Planets Alliance's manipulation of nationalistic zeals for sake of public support caused them to launch a failed invasion into Imperial territories along with civil war among the disgruntled military and the government before its defeat by Galactic Empire due to its moments of weakness and the Terrarist Church who wish to restore the prestige of Earth by any means.
    • Yes, Democracy Is Flawed. While it may bring better standards of life and allow citizens to have voices to administration, it also allows ambitious politicians to take advantage of public approval to cause decay into the system. This is further emphasized by various cycles of democratic nations in the show to enter into its phase of authoritarianism and decadence with cases like the Earth's downfall as the interstellar hub by the revolt of oppressed interstellar colonies, the birth of Galactic Empire from Rudolf's exploitation of the Galactic Federation's politics during its stagnant final years due to complacent decadence and self-interest, and the downfall of Free Planets Alliance from an ill-fated invasion out of a bad idea to gain public approval.
  • Stoic Woobie: Oskar von Reuenthal. He has mommy issues, which are his Freudian Excuse for never being able to form a lasting relationship with his lovers, knocks up a woman who wanted to kill him, and is wrongfully accused of treason twice, the second time deciding to go along with it because he's too prideful to clear his name a second time despite knowing that he's outnumbered and will probably die. No wonder why he's Mittermeyer's drinking buddy, who wouldn't want to buy the guy a drink (besides Oberstein and Lang)?
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Die Neue These's theme song "Binary Star" sounds an awful lot like Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now".
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A significant portion of the fanbase reacts like this at every version of the story that is not the OVA. The second manga, the Die Neue These adaptation... (People eventually warmed up to Die Neue These but only when it proved to be more like the OVA than people expected. The new manga still has a large number of detractors, however.)
  • Values Dissonance:
    • There are a couple of jokes about Frederica's cooking ability that given that she's both a naval officer and later, a politician would seem a little out of place in a modern, western show.
    • While Frederica may hold a relatively low official rank, the unofficial power she commands is rather substantial. As both Yang's wife and his adjutant, Frederica is basically his closest and most important advisor, and inherits his full political power following his death. It also seems likely that, with the end of the war and the new peace, that she will continue to hold a prominent role in Heinessen/Imperial politics.
    • A greater source of dissonance, at least from the point of view of modern liberal democracies, is the willingness to admit that autocracy can be preferable to democracy under certain circumstances. In the end, the Autocracy dominates the entire inhabited galaxy (with Heinessen left as a Democracy reservation), though there are hints that it will become a Constitutional Monarchy through gradual reforms.
  • What an Idiot!: Even a galaxy with two legendary geniuses and a cohort of highly competent supporting characters has its share of complete idiots.
    • One from the My Conquest is the Sea of Stars movie. Vice Admiral Paetta has Reinhard von Lohengramm's fleet dead in his sights when Reinhard pulls his high-speed right turn and starts to flee the battlefield, giving Paetta's fleet a perfect chance to wipe them out by attacking their vulnerable flank.
      You'd think: Paetta would do the obvious and just shoot, but he refuses to give the order after thinking there's a nonexistent "trap"! Yang yells at him to fire, but by the time he listens Reinhard's fleet is out of the way and they're facing the main Imperial fleet. Reinhard's wholly intact fleet remains to provide a decisive advantage over them. For bonus points, Alliance Fleet Admiral Lobos(another huge idiot) calls Paetta's idiocy out.
    • The conquest of Iserlohn owes as much to the sheer stupidity of Imperial Admirals Stockhausen and Seeckt as it does to Yang's brilliance and Schoenkopf's heroics. Seeckt's stupidity rivals Paetta's example. Yang's fleet is facing him down ominously and Yang threatens to turn the Thor Hammer cannon against him if he comes any closer.
      You'd Think: He'd listen to Oberstein's perfectly well-reasoned advice to attack the Alliance fleet, and that Yang is bluffing about having control of the Thor Hammer because he's afraid of the giant cannon's destructive power because he isn't moving into the fortress.
      Instead: He refuses out of fear of Yang's reputation. So far, this isn't too idiotic, but there's what happens next.
      Next: Then, when Yang actually seizes control of the very weapon Seeckt is so terrified of and uses it to blast a colossal hole through his fleet before asking him to surrender or flee, Oberstein gives him the advice any person with a working brain would give him - take Yang's offer and flee with his remaining ships because the situation is hopeless.
      You'd think: Seekt would just do as Obserstein says and run. The giant cannon he's terrified of just vaporized a thousand of his ships; nobody can accuse him of cowardice in the circumstances.
      And instead: Seeckt dismisses Oberstein and decides to go on a suicidal charge in the face of the Thor Hammer. He also decides to send Yang an infuriating message about "having a soldier's heart" and "fighting to the death". No surprise that every surviving ship flees after Yang targets and obliterates Seeckt in the next shot. Oberstein's little summation of his stupidity is the icing on the cake.
    • The Free Planets Alliance politicians who thought about invading the Empire after the fall of Iserlohn were bad enough, but having the entire military planning being left to the incompetent Commodore Falk without any input from proven genius Yang Wen-Li or the highly experienced Fleet Admiral Sithole and Vice Admiral Bucock. Just charging into the Empire assuming that they would be supported by rebelling locals and not war-gaming any possible counterattack scenarios was doomed to fail from the get-go. Not noticing the suspicious lack of imperial forces? Giving up your supplies to local Imperial citizens as a result of Reinhard's scorched earth policies, and then trying to steal food back when the invasion force ran short? Great way to destroy any sympathies for the Alliance among Imperial Citizens and remain weakened, overstretched and demoralized for when the counterattack came. Worst of all, Fleet Admiral Lobos napping and Falk refusing to wake him up prevented a blanket withdrawal order from being issued in time to escape from Reinhard's fleets. The result? A near-total annihilation of the Alliance invading forces and leaving the Alliance perilously weakened with respect to the Empire.
    • The battle between Geiersberg and Iserlohn is awesome, but so is the level of stupidity on display. Admiral Cazerne discovers that the Geiersberg Fortress has been fitted with engines and has been sent to fight Iserlohn. At his side is Admiral Merkatz, an Imperial veteran who has served on Geiersberg for years and who gives technical information about the fortress along with his adjutant Schneider..\\
    • You'd Think: Cazerne would use the 14 hours before Geiersberg came into gun range to formulate some kind of plan to neutralize it. One of the critical pieces of information is that Geiersberg's main weapon is always on top of its armor layer and can't submerge like the Thor Hammer, which means they can get rid of the most powerful threat to Iserlohn and their fleet in one or two blasts.\\
    • Instead: They waffle and formulate no credible plan for dealing with the incoming fortress, opting to wait for Yang to return. Both fortresses engage in a Wave Motion Gun duel that causes some damage but achieves nothing before Kempff begins his siege..
    • Admiral Kempf gets a spectacular one. He finally figures out that he needs to use Geiersburg Fortress to ram Iserlohn Fortress to get rid of the stalemate between both, which is the solution that Yang and Reinhard have been independently thinking of.
      You'd Think: He would finish evacuating his Geiersberg and either remote-controlled it or stayed with a volunteer skeleton crew willing to sacrifice their lives. Even if he perished in the attempt, his fleet and his troops wouldn't be sacrificed meaninglessly.\\ Instead: He sends his fortress charging straight at Iserlohn with over one million troops in the throes of evacuation, with Mueller's fleet in close proximity. Even if he'd succeeded in ramming his fortress into Iserlohn, he'd have suffered the same number of casualties in the explosion of two fortresses. As it is, Yang foils the ramming attempt, Geiersburg is gutted by a point-blank Thor Hammer blast, and Kempf loses over 90% of his attacking forces with nothing to show.
      For added idiocy: Mueller, a very competent subordinate and far more compassionate leader to his men than Kempff seems to enthusiastically follow his superior's idiotic plan. Mueller was willing to argue with his superior and deliver good suggestions if necessary, having him not point out the simple need to finish evacuating before ramming seems inexplicable.
    • The Alliance politicians throughout the show and their attempts to prosecute Yang even when it is evident that Yang is the only person with the ability to hold off an invasion by the Empire.


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