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Legend of the Galactic Heroes (銀河英雄伝説, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu) is a series of science fiction novels by Yoshiki Tanaka. An anime adaptation of the novels ran from 1988 to 2000 as well as a manga based on the novels, with art by Katsumi Michihara. There have also been several video game adaptations with the most recent release in 2008 being a real time simulation.
Neither the novels, anime, nor manga have been released officially in the English language. However, there have been English fan translations.
Set somewhere in distant space around the 35th century (the late eighth century of the story's "Space Era"), Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a story of the epic struggle between the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance.
The original Japanese title is often abbreviated as Gin'eiden (銀英伝) in Japan, while English-language fans often abbreviate the series title as LOGH (capitalization for the acronym varies).
The story is staged in the distant future within our own Milky Way Galaxy, approximately in the 35th century. Unlike many science fiction stories, there are no alien civilizations. A portion of the galaxy is filled with terraformed worlds inhabited by interstellar traveling human beings. For 150 years two mighty space powers have intermittently warred with each other: the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.
Within the Galactic Empire, based on 19th century Prussia, an ambitious military genius, Reinhard von Müsel, is rising to power. He is driven by the desire to free his sister Annerose, who was taken by the Kaiser as a concubine. Later, he wants not only to end the corrupt Goldenbaum dynasty but also to defeat the Free Planets Alliance and to unify the whole galaxy under his rule.
In the Free Planets Alliance Star Fleet is another genius, Yang Wen-li. He originally aspired to become a historian, and joined the military only because he needed money for tuition. He was rapidly promoted to an admiral because of his demonstrated excellence in military strategy. He becomes the archrival of Reinhard, though they highly respect one another.
As a historian, Yang often narrates the rich history of his world and comments on it. One of his famous quotes is: "There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good."
Besides the two main heroes, the story is full of vivid characters and intricate politics. All types of characters, from high nobility, admirals and politicians, to common soldiers and farmers, are interwoven into the story. The story frequently switches away from the main heroes to the Unknown Soldier fighting for his life on the battlefield.
There is a third neutral power nominally attached to the Galactic Empire called the Phezzan Dominion, a planet-state (city-state on a galactic scale) which trades with both warring powers. There is also a Terraism cult, which claims that humans should go back to Earth, gaining popularity throughout the galaxy.