Late in the 29th century, mankind migrates to space and it paves way for a new united government, the Galactic Federation. A couple of hundred years later, Rudolf von Goldenbaum assumes power and reforms it as the Galactic Empire by installing himself as Kaiser. Rudolph rules like a space-age Hitler by installing discriminatory policies such as the Inferior Genes Act that allowed him to eliminate and/or sterilize people with any disabilities. No longer wanting to tolerate his rule, a great number of people defect the Empire and create a new nation, the Free Planets Alliance.
Though 150 years have passed, the Alliance and Empire are still at war with no end in sight. But all of that is about to change as Yang Wen-li (of the Alliance) and Reinhard Von Lohengramm (of the Empire) rise through the ranks, and both have the ability to determine the outcome of this war. However, they are not alone because as generals, they need good soldiers in order to succeed. In addition to these two co-leads, who are some of the greatest heroes from Legend of Galactic Heroes: Die Niue These? Read our list to find out!
10. Annerose Von Grunewald
The tragedy of Annerose, the sister of Reinhard, is the main drive behind this anime in relation to the Empire. After losing their mother at a young age, Annerose becomes both a sister and mother to her brother despite being a teenager at the time. After her father sells her to the Kaiser to become his concubine, Reinhard learns the true harsh realities on how the ruling class exploits its citizens.
Though she may not have her freedom, she does what can to spend time with her brother whenever he has R&R. The fact that she (somewhat) chooses a life of servitude so she could support her family is not only tragic but also heroic for willing to make such a sacrifice. If it weren’t for her situation, the Empire wouldn’t give birth to its greatest hero, her brother Reinhard.
9. Julian Mincz
Though he is only 14, he is a good foil to Wen-li’s casual and somewhat lazy nature. Julian wakes him up, cleans his house, makes his tea, and all of his meals. If anything, not only is he Robin to Wen-li, he’s like Alfred as well! His work ethic and his usefulness to Wen-li demonstrates that in some unique way, he is a hero with how he contributes to keeping Wen-li sane with all the crazy things he has to deal with on his job both against the Empire and the administration of the Alliance.
8. Oskar von Reuenthal
In contrast to Mittermeyer, his best friend who is faithful to his wife, Reuenthal is a womanizer and is distrustful of women for reasons the audience can understand upon learning of his origin. But putting aside his flaws and his dark past, what makes Reuenthal a hero is that he is very dedicated to Mittermeyer who he helped save from a court-martial after killing a fellow officer. When they work together, some can say that their combined friendship and power rivals that of Reinhard and Kircheis. Even though Reuenthal is conditionally loyal to Reinhard, Reuenthal also wishes to gain power for himself but still supports those he truly cares about.
7. Wolfgang Mittermeyer
Out of all the men in the Empire, Mittermeyer, also known as the Gale Wolf, is probably one of the most duty-bounded heroes in this anime. Just like Reinhard and Kircheis, Mittermeyer comes from a common background and serves their sense of wanting to make the Empire (and galaxy) a better place. While he is a great general on how he conducts his battles with efficiency, he isn’t afraid to stick to the rules and has a sense of honor. His honor is high to the point that he executed an officer of noble lineage for killing a woman just to rob her and it almost got him a court-martial. Last, while most of his peers are playboys or like to party around, he is very faithful to his wonderful wife showing he’s an ordinary hero.
6. Paul von Oberstein
While he may seem meek and creepy, Oberstein is a brilliant tactician who knows what he’s talking about but due to his inferior ranking amongst his superiors (and mostly their stubbornness), nobody takes him seriously. What also hurts his initial reputation is that he deserted Iserlohn fortress during the battle but when we know his point of view, we can’t blame him. He saw right through the Alliance’s plan and he did his best to advise his superiors of when and when not to act, but they didn’t listen to him and they pitifully lost. Thanks to consulting with Reinhard, he is spared a court-martial and can resume his military career under Reinhard’s command.
In addition to his great mind, what makes him a great hero is that he overcomes adversity despite requiring cybernetic eyes to get around his visual impairment. He also supports Reinhard’s quest and motivations to become Kaiser because he hates being born into a system that at one point eliminated individuals such as himself. The fact that he also wants to eliminate an establishment that discriminates against him is what ultimately makes Oberstein a hero.
5. Jessica Edwards
To a certain degree, the Alliance may have a higher moral ground in this war, but it doesn’t mean that the government has the best interest of its citizens. After the initial Battle of Astarte at the beginning of this series, the Alliance Defense Secretary makes a speech to honor the dead and that the war must continue. When you watch this series, you can recognize that the Defense Secretary is just saying what he says for the sake of keeping his own power and maintaining the status quo.
All of that changes when Jessica Edwards, the fiancee of a soldier who died in Astarte, steps to the front row and confronts the Defense Secretary if he knows what true sacrifices are since it was her and the families of the dead who have to live with it, and not the Secretary who did not lose any family in the Battle of Astarte. After surviving persecution from a nationalist group that supports the Defense Secretary, Jessica chooses to seek political office in order to make a true change. The fact she makes a true stand for the victims and as opposed to the self-serving establishment is what makes her a hero.
4. Walter von Schonkopf
Walter Von Schonkopf is the commander of the Rosenritter unit, composing of Alliance soldiers who are defectors from the Empire. Due to him and his unit members originally being from the Empire and with some of their other former soldiers defecting back, a lot of people in the Alliance have trouble trusting them. However, after Wen-li witnessed Walter standing up for a waitress who was being harassed by another Alliance officer, Wen-li entrusted him and his unit their most dangerous mission the Alliance could ever offer - infiltrating and taking over the Iserlohn fortress, this anime’s equivalent to the Death Star. The fact that he accepted and succeeded in this risky mission with the reputation his unit has for having traitors shows he is a true hero in this anime.
3. Siegfried Kircheis
Kircheis is the lifelong best friend of Reinhard. After promising Reinhard’s sister he’d look out for him, he sticks to his word and never leaves Reinhard’s side. Though Reinhard is of superior rank, in private, Reinhard acknowledges Kircheis as his equal and always seeks his counsel. Though Reinhard takes a majority of the spotlight, Kircheis still contributes much to the story and proves his own individual worth. Due to some of Reinhard’s out of control ambitions, he is always there to help him get back to his senses.
His biggest claim to fame as a hero in this series was ending the rebellion of Maximilian von Castrop, the son of a corrupt cabinet member who extorted money from the Empire and uses that money to live a frivolous life of luxury. Kircheis succeeds without losing any men and acted with no support from Reinhard showing he is equal to his best friend as a strategic general.
2. Reinhard von Lohengramm
Reinhard serves as the co-main lead and is on a fast track to becoming one of the Empire’s best generals in its history. He is a brilliant tactician, a cunning politician, highly charismatic, comes across as impatient but is still a very caring person. Motivated by the Kaiser taking away his sister, he grows up in a world where the strong exploit the weak and wants to gain power in order to help the weak. Though the Kaiser is aware of Reinhard’s goals to usurp him, he welcomes it knowing that his family line should end in order to institute real change and knows deep down inside, Reinhard is the man for the job.
While Reinhard does not condone Rudolph, the founder of his nation for his cruel actions, he is still inspired by his legacy in that a single man can make a difference but this time, he wants to be a positive influence. Due to his motivations, it makes us wonder if dictatorships can be good if the right person is in charge.
1. Yang Wen-li
At number one and representing the Alliance, we have the Hero of El Facil, Yang Wen-li. Though he is not as ambitious or as charismatic as Reinhard, as a tactician, he is far superior. Thanks to his casual nature and his less than average grades at the academy, he comes across as unassuming and you’d think he’d probably amount to nothing. However, his applicable knowledge of history is what overall contributes to him being a legendary tactician.
Whenever there’s a situation no matter how impossible the odds are, he just references to his keen memory of history, applies it to the situation he is in and it works. When the Battle of Astarte was in a dire situation due to the formation, upon taking command at the death of his superior officer, all he had to do was slightly change the formation by joining certain fleets and it gave him the advantage.
Though Reinhard wants absolute power, Wen-li just wants to be a historian but the fact that his men and superiors need to prevent him from leaving the military. Despite how much the Alliance needs him, there are those in a superior position in the government who feel threatened by his popularity and influence.
The biggest tragedy in this anime is that under different circumstances, Wen-li and Reinhard could have been best friends. Despite their nations being at war against one another, they (along with their supporting cast) are both the good guys but express it in different ways based on the influences of their upbringings. We all know if these two got together, they could somehow find a way to make peace. Although Wen-li acknowledges peace isn’t permanent, the people should value it while they have it.
In the end, he just wants to pursue his true passion in life and Reinhard wants to help the people. The fact they both make sacrifices and stick to their principles in their own ways is what makes them heroes.