The Legend of the Legendary Heroes – Those With Power…

Are badass? Yes, but more than that.

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is certainly one of the stranger shows of the Summer season. In essence, as someone on a forum said, “The creators crammed the slice of life adventure of Slayers into Legend of the Galactic Heroes and made the two share the time 50/50.” And to be honest, I’m finding that description eerily accurate. There’s a severe disjoint between Ryner’s adventure and Sion’s struggle. I’m not exactly sure how they’re going to reconcile the two, especially given Ryner’s and Ferris’s blatant disregard for their actual mission, but so far I’m finding Sion’s side to be far more enjoyable than Ryner’s happy-go-lucky adventure. At the same time though, Sion sure is showing some rather strange behavior. At first I assumed that it was part of some grander scheme of his, but now I’m forced to conclude that he’s merely another character who has let his emotions cloud his judgment.

Sion is pretty much Reinhard von Lohengramm from LoGH transferred into this fantasy universe and who has had his background muddled around a bit. He shares the same passion for change, and the same hatred for the nobles. They share the same problem of shielding their emotions, even in close company. But if there’s one difference between Reinhard and Sion, it’s the extent to which each is willing to go in order to achieve his objective. Whereas Reinhard is horrorstruck at any backhanded technique used to try to overthrow the old aristocracy, Sion is different. His hatred for the aristocracy pretty much knows no bounds. Already 7 episodes in, there’s a disturbing lack of morality on Sion’s part. Sion doesn’t aim to overthrow the old aristocracy as Reinhard did; he aims to destroy it.

No survivors. No mercy.

In Sion’s eyes, the nobles aren’t even people. They’re things that cause pain and are essentially obstacles in his way of creating a better world. There’s a great line from Eden of the East’s OP that comes from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, “The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power”, which I feel is really appropriate to describe Sion’s current position. He commiserates with the lower classes, sure, but in doing so he discriminates against the nobles. It’s fairly clear at this point that the author of the original light novels clearly has a very anti-aristocracy bent, which I think makes the entire matter rather one dimensional when it actually isn’t. In attempting to make the world a better place, Sion is essentially stooping to the level of that which he hates the most.

Becoming this guy? That’s stopping pretty low.

The extent to which Sion has truly turned into a corrupted being himself is most clearly evident in episode 6. For one thing, Froaude’s murder of the nobles and attempted murder of Toale Nelphi met with nothing but approval from Sion. The murder of the nobles is one thing for Sion, but the attempted murder of Toale Nelphi is a whole different matter. Sion went to visit the kid the day before. He ate with him, and saw his generosity, but in his now apparent bid to take over the continent in its entirety, he’s now targeting innocent people whose only crime is being born to a royal family? How can we call Sion a force for change when he goes against the very morals that made us love him in the first place? (reference to Obama totally intended by the way). At this point, it seems as if Sion is the representation of every adage on the evils of power out there.  What was once a force of good and change has become ultimately corrupted by his own ambitions.

An even more harrowing part in episode 6 was the story Ryner related about the tale of Froaude’s ring. In essence, the story was that a king from a certain land bestowed a ring upon a servant which could call forth shadows. The servant then used the ring to assassinate high ranking nobles from other nations, and his rampage was only stopped when a hero came and chopped off the finger with the ring. Of course, we’re only a little ways in, but the actions taken by Froaude and endorsed by Sion seems extraordinarily similar to the legend of the Ring of Shadow. The fact that the murder of the nobles and this story took place in the same episode is a rather clear indication that the director intends for us to connect the two. Our initial view of Sion as the wonderful force of change is slowly being subverted by the multiple layers of Sion’s scheming. Of course, what the series ultimately means to do with Sion’s increasingly concerning behavior remains to be seen.

But as of right now, the series seems to be preoccupied with a cautionary tale of power. After all, the three characters who have the power to radically change the world they live in, Ryner, Lucile, and Froaude, refuse to use it. For different reasons sure, but in order to achieve their goals, they don’t let their passion and emotion overcome them. Froaude and Lucile most certainly have their own agendas, yet they don’t lash out like Sion has. As immoral as their ultimate goals might be, they have the rationality to maintain their cool. Sion’s reaction to Fiole’s death proves that he lacks this ability, and considering how the series has thus far condemned this sort of unrestrained power, it’s highly likely that Sion will have to come to terms with this flaw of his soon.

By getting his finger chopped off? Perhaps.

It might be a bit too early to start calling out predictions, but the evidence thus far suggests a moral ambiguity on Sion’s end. He’s no doubt smart. He’s sent Milk and her team to keep track of Ryner’s activities, not particularly trusting of either Ferris or Lucile. However, his motives have to be questioned. The two heroes relics we’ve seen thus far have both essentially spawned demons when activated. At this point, it seems that if these relics are to be used for peace, they’ll be used as a threat against other countries or as a tool to conquer the continent in its entirety. To what extent can we trust a king that rose to power through domination? Does the ends justifies the means? Not for me.

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19 Comments

  1. Giant
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    For me I’m most interested in Ryner’s part of the story not to say that Sion’s isn’t interesting, but I just like Ryner’s better. What I wan’t to know is about the Alpha Stigma and the destructive power that comes with it, because it’s obvious that when Ryner is in bad ass mode he doesn’t care if your nobility or not if you cross his path he will kill you without regard. I really wan’t to know where this came from and how dangerous it is?

    Another thing is that it seems too me that Sion isn’t even the king and in fact it’s Lucille, it seems that everything Sion does or will do has to go through Lucille, and if Lucille doesn’t like it he will kill Sion without flinching. It seems like Sion is being used as a proxy for Lucille as Lucille just stays in the shadows. Well we will have to see how things go from here and hopefully it will get more interesting.

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      The way that the show seems to be paced, it seems like we won’t find anything else out about the Alpha Stigma until like episode 16 :P. It seems as if there’s an alter ego inside Ryner that appears whenever he succumbs completely to the Alpha Stigma, but unfortunately we have little information beyond that :(.

      We haven’t seen Lucile take an active part in the politics of the day-to-day though. The major thing he seems to be on the lookout for is the general philosophy of Sion’s rule. Beyond that, I’m not exactly sure if he cares of the specifics of what Sion does aside from making Roland prosperous.

  2. Zentari
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Yes for me. You are also forgetting that the setting is totally different ; in LOGH Reinhard was fighting against a decaying noble system who’s main opponent was also collapsing unto itself.Plus you say that Reinhard didn’t use underhanded means ? Did we watch the same show ? Sure he didn’t go that far but he was a sly one. One person was totally honorable (Yan) and see what did that get him….

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      In both shows, the nobility is depicted as essentially a force of stagnation and corruption. For all intents and purposes, I’d argue that the nobility that both of them were fighting against is more or less the same.

      As for Reinhard’s means, again I’m just pointing to the extremity to which Sion is willing to go. My memory is a bit fuzzy on some of the finer details of LoGH since I haven’t watched it in a while, but Sion is essentially condoning the assassination of essentially the heir to the Nelpha throne, plus the slaughtering of basically everyone who gets in his way. I can’t really say that Reinhard did or was looking to do the same thing. I suppose his worst action in that regard was the fiasco with the young Emperor, but again, it’s the lengths to which Sion is willing to go that I find trouble with.

      • Zentari
        Posted August 17, 2010 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        I’m not talking about the nobility , I’m talking about the general situation.We don’t know what Sion’s kingdom is up against while in LOGH the planet’s alliance couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

        Also blonde did have his sister which gave him more leeway that he would normally have on accomplishments alone and after he became Kaiser the general public was extremely supportive of the reconstruction effort.
        Sion on the other hand has none, he stays up as long as he is effective and we have seen next to nothing where support is concerned from the peasants.

        Sion’s motivation is also different, he wants revenge against the nobles while Reinhard wanted revenge on the Kaiser and a swift kicking of all the useless corrupt nobles.Unlike Sion however he was not against the idea of nobles as a whole.

        • Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          I’m not trying to argue that the setting for the two shows are essentially the same. There are vast intricacies to the LoGH universe that LotLH can’t possibly hope to handle, and there are multiple people in one universe that aren’t in the other (e.g. Hildegard, Froaude, etc). Sion’s and Reinhard’s personalities are quite similar, and their general situation is comparable to a certain extent, but it breaks down when you get into the specifics.

  3. Son Gohan
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem to me that Sion approved of the attempted murder of Toale Nelphi. He commented that he wouldn’t have put Ryner’s life in danger.
    Up to this point I don’t condemn Sion’s methods because his opponents are also fighting dirty (see poor Fiole’s murder). I don’t think that Sion dislikes ALL nobles, just the power-hungry ones.

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      If the series truly wanted us to realize that Sion didn’t want to kill Toale, they would have actually made Sion say “What the hell were you thinking Froaude! I didn’t tell you to kill Toale.” And Sion’s words at the end were actually pretty harrowing themselves. He said something like “Does that mean I tried to kill Ryner? Impossible! I never would have made such a mistake…” I see less of a concern for Ryner as opposed to a concern for his own ego.

      But is it reasonable for Sion to use those methods? To use an analogy, is it reasonable for the United States to murder civilians because al Queda did so? If he’s stooping to the levels of the nobles, then to what extent does he have any real morals?

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    The one who does not use the darker side of politics is a soon dead naive idealist. The one who does not use the brighter side of politics is a soon overthrown stubborn dictator. This is the lesson that the history of politics

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      The one who overuses the darker side of politics soon becomes either amoral or mired in guilt. And to be fair, the history of politics has shown that often times you can be idealist and still get away with it. Also, the phrase “darker side of politics” is a rather vague term. What’s encompassed in there? Assassinations? Corruption? Bribery?

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 18, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Basically anything you find morally repugnant. Morals are not the same across cultures, since they just represent the social rules of a particular grouping of people.

        Open bribery is considered par for course for some places in asia while other unnamed places prefer less visible bribery, such as being appointed chairman, director, ect of an affliated company or sponsored think tank after your term expires. Check the various countries of who was working as what after their political terms.

        Assassinations don’t just include physical kills though when no consequences happen, that would be employed. Its better to ensure no relatives of opponent X grow up hating you enough to work against you. Character assassinations work as well and much more commonly seen in developed countries.

        There is a difference between the practical idealist and the naive idealist. I’ll use chinese history as the background as it has a long history of official sole rulership.

        The Tang dynasty second emperor killed his own 2 brothers, and was not hesitant in going to war against the turuks. He, however, was also known for a reign that promoted the rule of law and increased prosperity and equality.

        Consider if he was a naive idealist. Also consider if he was a single-minded dictator

  5. ReddyRedWolf
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    My take in this is that Sion did not specifically order Milan to kill Toale. More like Sion gave Milan a Carte Blanche autonomy to do the dirty work. See the first time Milan offered his services he thinks Sion’s desire is domination of the continent. A Grand Roland Emipre. Sion would be the Messiah for all people. Since most nobles are trash. By that logic there can be only one Messiah. Toale’s countrymen from the lowly commoner to some of the nobility want him to succeed his grandfather than his pompous father. There can only be one Messiah in the people’s eyes hence Milan decided to kill him. Course Sion didn’t tell him Roland’s strongest magician and swordswoman are with Toale. Milan is a self admitted slime ball besides even Sion’s other subordinates don’t know about them or their mission.

    Nobility in both Roland and Nelpha are conspiring to kill their kings to obtain power for themselves. Unfortunately for them Sion recruited the Token Evil Teammate. A bastard killer to balance his shinning knights.

    As for Milk and company. Magic is a closely guarded secret among countries. Those who violate these rules are Taboo Breakers. Heck look at Ryner and Milk’s background Roland’s orphanages is like Old School Kirigakure of Naruto. Magic users are nothing but weapons. It could be coincidence or it could be not that Milk’s team is tracking down Ryner and Ferris. Remember the whole Relic Quest is for your eyes only and top secret. Milan doesn’t even know who Ryner is despite his reputation, the most powerful magician in Roland’s history. Since the quest is secret Milk’s team was sent probably for plausible deniability. Officially Ryner and Ferris are rogues. Nelpha and other countries gave legal powers Milk a officer of Roland to chase Roland’s rogues. And oh boy we’ve seen destruction after destruction in Ryner and Ferris trail. Sion would smell like a rose to the entire continent while these two will be rather infamous.

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Even if Sion gave Froaude a carte blanche, it still doesn’t change the fact that he never really reflected upon Froaude’s attack on the Toale household. The only thing he cared about was the fact that he made an error in allowing Ryner and Froaude to fight.

      I do agree with your theory of Milk’s team though, as they seem to be serving very little purpose beyond a mere guise. I find it hard to believe that anyone who’s seen Milk and her team fight can believe that she’s trying to bring Ryner and Ferris down though. The idea that Sion is using Ryner and Ferris as a sort of destructive force so that he can run in as the knight in shining white armor is interesting though. I’m not exactly sure if he knew of the relics’ true power, as he only read the paper that Ryner wrote and Ryner himself seemed confused at the relics when he found them.

      • Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Expanding on Milk’s group, it doesn’t seem like its coincidence that they have run into Ryner’s group twice given Milk’s infatuation with him. I do agree with the above comments that Milk was sent after taboo breakers in general, and not just Ryner. Interestingly, I have gotten the impression that the rest of Milk’s team doesn’t know of her relation to Ryner as they never seem to be around when Ryner and Milk talk.

  6. Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Gah, that’s insulting to LOGH. Yes there are similar themes and concepts involved, but LOGH actually did its research on how to develop political/military drama, focused on paralleling historical examples by the dozens and also presenting an “opposite theme” approach (the ever-modern-popular Republican govnt are portrayed as evil while the aristocracy become the efficient revolutionaries). Whereas the heavy anti-aristocracy tinge, plus the often one-dimensional approach, not to mention the slice-of-life tones that doesn’t take itself seriously, makes LOLH’s struggles extremely stereotypical and falls far short on impact.

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I agree. LotLH falls far short of LoGH in terms of depth and realism. The fact that LotLH devotes so little time to the political side of conflict means that there’s only a limited amount of depth they can give to the political struggle of Roland and Sion. And it’s kind of a problem, but I would hope to see Ryner’s path tied back into Sion’s struggle a bit more to get a greater sense of exactly what role he plays in this entire equation. I’m not really looking for anything mind shattering on the level of LoGH in this show. It’s kind of like LoGH cut in 1/32th of the time and dumbed down.

  7. Windaerie
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Good post, Mystlord. It’s nice to see that people are actually following the show. I once scoffed at it because of the title, but actually am quite happy with it now. Haha.

    I think the disjoint between Sion and Ryner’s storylines will be narrowed when we find out, as you mention, what Sion intends to do with the artifacts/relics. I still don’t understand what happens to the crazy beasts after they’re activated, because both times Ferris and Ryner just walked away as they were terrorizing the terrain. ><

    Also, what makes the show interesting for me is that even though we've seen flashbacks of Sion's past, we don't really know what he's thinking when he interacts with Froaude. What's his bigger picture, how does Ryner fit into it all, and does he plan to circumvent Lucille and Froaude in the end?

    I find this show highly intriguing, although I've gotten a little tired of the bantering between Ferris and Ryner…. :]

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I think the depths of Sion’s machinations are exactly what makes me still watch the show haha. He’s a pretty capable guy, but he’s revealed a couple of layers that make me wonder at what he’s really doing. I mean as far as we know, Sion just sent Ryner and Ferris off so he wouldn’t have to deal with them while he’s putting whatever plan he has into action… Though considering how harmless the two are, I somehow doubt that. I can’t wait to see exactly how all these different plot points will be reconciled :D.

  8. Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I actually don’t mind the split format of the show; it’s what caught my attention. Many shows overlook that the dramatic, serious, and noteworthy coexist with the quaint, mundane, forgettable every day. It also emphasizes Ryner and Sion each the qualities they have as a foil for the other. It’s not merely the combination of two genres, it’s the contrast of two different ways of life.

    It tickled and brushed my more retro sensibilities when it comes to fantasy shows, without devolving into a Slayers knock off.

    I do agree the political machinations aren’t as robust as LoGH’s, but that’s missing the point. The tension and conflict between ideologues as essentialized by the conflict between Yang/Julian and Reinhardt is central to the entirety of LoGH: not so for DenYuuDen. It deals with politics for sure, but I think it’s purely for the purpose of heightening the entertainment and tension of the goings-on, whereas in LoGH there was a very purposeful message being crafted.

    As for the scene regarding Sion commenting to himself, it seemed more to me that he was questioning whether he really could control Froaude. They talked very casually about how he could have just removed Froaude, but is it really that easy? I perceive more of a tension in the form of considering whether it’s more dangerous to have Froaude in his service or out of it (it’s quite doubtful that with his resources Sion could successfully have Froaude executed or disposed of). Ambiguity is there though, and I’m fairly sure that’s the point. We aren’t given any great specifics on his feelings other than the comment on Ryner, and I think that was more an exclamation despite himself. Knowing his prowess, Sion probably already took into account that Froaude is a loose cannon he’s trying to leash, and based on the conversations so far, what he did wasn’t necessarily surprising.

    The question is, is Sion approving because it’s what he wants, or is he only grudgingly doing so, since he clearly has no qualms about lying to the face of useful people?

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