Mein Admiral! My Favorite Character in LoGH and Possibly All of Anime

(The much delayed third of three posts on Legend of the Galactic Heroes. As they will cover the entirety of the series, there will be spoilers. Also included at the end of the post is a listing of interesting posts that other authors have written on the series.)

I had intended to write this post back when I finished the series and wrote the other two, Legend of the Galactic Heroes and the Weight of History and The Nobility of Realism in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but for the longest while I wasn’t sure exactly how to express what I wanted to. But responding to a comment on my previous post finally made it click for me. Listing favorite characters and defining how and why they’re one’s favorites is an inexact and very subjective thing. It can also be difficult to figure out which characters are your favorites. But among everything I’ve watched to this point I have to conclude that Wolfgang Mittermeyer is my favorite among my favorites. Beyond characters that I respect or think are cool or entertaining or skilled, Fleet Admiral Wolfgang Mittermeyer is the one that I admire most.

Despite being one of the most senior commanders in the Reich’s forces I would have to say that Mittermeyer’s public life is only the minority part of why he’s my favorite character. Mittermeyer’s military accomplishments are certainly impressive and worthy of note. He was one of the earliest members of Reinhard’s faction along with Kircheis and Reuental and served him with loyalty and martial ingenuity all throughout his rise to power and consolidation of the new Reich. He earned the nickname “Wulf der Sturm”, The Gale Wolf, for the speed and tenacity with which he fought for his empire. And he also rose through the ranks under the old regime in spite of his common heritage. When the ranks of the imperial navy were too often filled with aristocrats who became officers by birth Mittermeyer’s talent alone allowed him to rise quickly in rank at a young age. But through all this he remained humble. He was always earnest and forthright, though skilled enough to analyze and deal with politics when he had to, remaining outside some of the nastier conflicts that arose in the top ranks of the Reich.

While many lived for their careers and ambitions, Mittermeyer managed to still have deep friendships and a loving marriage. His long time friendship with Oskar von Reuental was one of my favorite dynamics in the show and set up one of my favorite short arcs, Reuental’s tragedy of a rebellion. Reuental and Mittermeyer were different in almost every way. Reuental was ambitious, of noble birth, couldn’t seem to manage any real romantic relationship, and was sometimes sullen and other times angry while Mittermeyer was driven by loyalty, was a commoner, a happily married man, and usually happy and content with life. But even so they were best friends and often discussed their lives and their work over drinks. Mittermeyer and Reuental were TRUE BROS to each other even when Reuental’s rebellion had to be put down by Mittermeyer himself. Reuental’s final moments and Mittermeyer arriving just a little too late to speak with him before he died were some of the most touching in the entire series. The way Mittermeyer maintained this friendship even when he and Reuental were so different, even when they became enemies, was one of the reasons I admired him so much. And beyond just this friendship he also looked out for Bayerlein, his young adjutant. He offered him advice both professional and personal and made sure he didn’t stray too far from being happy in both realms. When Heinrich was orphaned and without a master after Reuental died he also took him into his household along with Reuental’s son. I love to see when characters grow and take on new responsibilities and as the end of the series approached Mittermeyer began to become something of a mentor to those who served under him, something I also find very admirable.

DDDDDDAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!

Mittermeyer’s home life was exceptional among his comrades too. With the exception of Reinhard towards the end of the series Mittermeyer was the only one of the top admirals and officials who was married. He and Eva made such a cute couple, it was really heartwarming to see her come to welcome him back after he was away on nearly constant campaign in service to his Kaiser for so long. I think that this part of his life reflected how well-centered and down to earth he was. He had ambition to see Reinhard come to power, to protect his friends, and to ensure the best possible future for the Reich but he never let ambition rule him or prevent him from being happy in his personal life. They weren’t able to have children themselves but once they took in Felix and Heinrich they had the family they always wanted. I have to think that for all the ambition of many of his comrades Mittermeyer ended up the happiest in life.

He could even be moe.

So after all this fanboying, I guess the reason why Mittermeyer ranks as my favorite is that he led something of the life that I would like to lead. I admire him in the way one would look up to a role model, to use that cheesy term. I’ve never looked at any personal, real or fictional, and thought to myself “I want to be like this person” but Wolfgang Mittermeyer’s story has a lot of what I’d like to achieve in it. Doing work that matters. Valuing loyalty to friends and leaders who’ve earned it. Being there for friends and looking out for those around me. Having a good balance of professional and personal focus. And having such a warm and loving home to come back to. (Well, minus the children, I don’t really want any in the future myself.) And most importantly having perspective and being able to live a content, happy life. When so many others didn’t or couldn’t Mittermeyer still stayed grounded even at the center of historic events. And for these reasons he’s at the top of my favorite characters list.

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Further Legend of the Galactic Heroes Reading

These are some other blog posts on the series that I found or were recommended to me that I thought readers might be interested in.

All the Lights in the Sky are Our Enemies: Reflections on Legend of the Galactic HeroesGhostlightning on the ethical dilemmas of LoGH.

Can you see those stars, Felix? Or are you just drunk with blood-colored dreams? - Bateszi’s highlights of the series.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Epic – Baka-Raptor on the true meaning of “epic.”

Lower Mid-Table’s LoGH coverage – Emperorj took on the gargantuan task of blogging every episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. He’s just recently moved on to the Spiral Labyrinth sidestories.

Funeral Games – Animanachronism on whether Legend of the Galactic Heroes is more anime or novel.

12 Days of Anime #7: Galactic Heroes selected me – How Scamp came to watch and love Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

Favourite Anime Characters - At the end of the list, Yang Wenli is Scamp’s favorite character.

Marriage in Anime (A Godannar and LOGH post) - Schneider’s post that covers several of the marriages in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

On the Second Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: Two Amazing Rivals – Andrea_Chii on Yang and Reinhard’s rivalry.

Wolfgang in the Middle – IKnight’s take on Wolfgang Mittermeyer.

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16 Comments

  1. Posted March 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    You may have missed IKnight’s take on the character, “Wolfgang in the Middle” which provides a great contrast between Mittermeyer and his friends.

    I too, like Wolfie a lot, and perhaps because I see myself a lot in him especially a few years ago when my wife and I were having much difficulty conceiving. As much as I acknowledge his merits, I always thought Wolfgang was the poor man’s Galactic Hero:

    I never thought he was that much of a tactician despite how the narrator and Reinhard make him out to be.
    He didn’t have the dark, romantic stories of the others (Reinhard, Oskar, even Paul)
    He was specifically a poorer man’s Kircheis

    Which is how I felt about myself though obviously in a far humbler context (not involving galactic empires, nor anything legendary). I have far more brilliant and successful friends than I am, who value and regard me as Wolfie’s friends do him.

    I am far luckier than him though, I do have a daughter of my own, and all my friends are still alive. He can have his legendary life. I’m quite happy to admire it from afar.

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I guess it’s exactly how he’s not the legendary kind of character that makes me admire him the most. He didn’t stand out for ambition or personal narrative or unconventional tactics but he was dependable in his leadership and felt relatable. Other admirals had more style or more unorthodox tactics but Mittermeyer fought well and consistently with proven tactics. And outside of combat the way he kept things in perspective and made personal happiness and contentment was another factor that drew me to the character.

      I’m not really dramatic, or have a ‘dark past’ or anything myself, I tend to have the more humble goals that he did (in comparison to the others in Reinhard’s inner circle.) So I guess I see some of myself and also some of what I’d like to be in him. That latter part makes me look up to the way he lived unlike any other character.

  2. Posted March 5, 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve not read your post but its appearance has given me the final push to pick up this series. Looking forward to the ride.

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      You’ll love it. Great to see someone else start the journey. Keep me updated on how it goes.

  3. Crusader
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Great Post I like the guy myself those Mein Kaiser Reinhard’s adventures in love beat him out just a tad…

    Interestingly enough Mittermeyer was the last man standing, the least ambitious one the one who did not set such lofty goals the one who was simply good, but not great. Still Oberstein is my personal favorite in Reinhard’s circle but only because Kircheis got out too early…

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. I’d have loved to see more of how Wolfgang and Eva met and got together and I’d bet that it would easily rival Reinhard’s courtship of his love.

      Yeah, that’s what I liked about Mittermeyer. He was among many great leaders, tacticians, and politicians but he always kept focused on what was important to him, a happy life doing what he thought was best. Kircheis could have been really interesting to see develop if he hadn’t left the stage so soon.

  4. Posted March 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Mmm, it’s true that Mittermeyer lives through some dramatic events while remaining (mostly) a sensible, reliable chap. (And it’s him who’s left holding the baby at the end.) Though I don’t really share your admiration for him, this post has made it very comprehensible.

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      It took me a while (quite a while) to figure out how exactly to put this put your comment in my last post helped me brainstorm what I wanted to say and finally put this third post to rest. Thanks for that. I can certainly see the appeal of many of the characters in the series, but to me the humble, less ambitious Mittermeyer will always be my favorite.

  5. Posted March 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Ernst von Eisenach is the real best character. After that I’m a Yang man. Then, in this approximate order, Reinhard (particularly before he became Kaiser), Reuental, and Schenkopp. Maybe there’s another one or two, but I’m sure Mittermeyer is somewhere in my top 10. Cool dude. Biggest drawback is that he was a bit too stable. I would’ve liked to see him flip out and do something crazy.

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      The Eisenach snap will live forever in the annals of space opera.

      It was really interesting to see the one time when Mittermeyer did snap. When Lang was trying to set up Reuental and Mittermeyer found out he just about gunned down the minister inside the palace until he was physically stopped by his subordinates and told that it wasn’t worth it. It’s just another episode in what made Mittermeyer and Reuental’s friendship so great. The one time that Mittermeyer actually lost his cool and it was for his best friend, even when he himself was starting to wonder about the path Reuental was heading down.

  6. Posted March 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Mittermeyer is totally my favourite character on the Reinhard side of the story hehehe

    • Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Awesome. I know Yang is your favorite and he’s mine on the FPA side of things. Quite close with Mittermeyer too. Though he’s still my favorite even though Yang fought for the side that I would have taken in the conflict.

      • Posted March 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        That’s one of the beautiful things about LOGH to me since there are no clear “good guys” and “bad guys” just people you can relate to no matter which side of the situation/war they are on. ^__^

  7. Posted March 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Before I start, I have to say it’s been a few years since I’ve watched LoGH so I hope I am not forgetting major plot points here!

    Mittermeyer was a great character for sure, but I have mixed feelings about him.

    I have never served in the military, but I just find it somewhat improbable that in an entire field of super alpha males, that Mittermeyer would have such great success. During the course of the series, we are ‘told’ over and over that he’s a great admiral, but with the exception of the repeated showing of how fast he can move a fleet (of which the Black Lancers were nominally just as fast and more aggressive), there really is scant evidence of his tactical brilliance unlike some of the other admirals.

    As well, Wolfie is never shown to really be all that ambitious, at least in comparison to his comrades. In a way, it’s almost as if he gains his position because he’s Reuental’s friend, and because he’s the one guy who’s the most like Kircheis that Reinhard likes. Wolfie doesn’t fight for recognition or glory like the other guys, and rarely seems to be at the lead at major strategic points. We’re just generally told that because he’s so smart he’s put in charge of other people, and have to take it at face value which I find a bit of a cop out in a show like LoGH where even minor characters get to show how they shine.

    Wolfie acts all professorial from the onset, which is a tough thing to do. In my personal experience, to climb the ladder and to gain the opportunities to shine and show yourself so that you can be properly recognized, people are extremely aggressive about these things and fight very hard for this. Even if you’re excessively smart, if you don’t truly fight against everyone else for the opportunities, things will pass you by, and in a military with millions of members it’s almost inconcievable that Mittermeyer would have risen so fast so quickly considering how professorial and generally agreeable he is shown to be. While I don’t doubt that he earned his spot as the Fleet Admiral, I just think the series did a poor job showing this, and as such I find it hard to accept it.

    I more or less agree with Ghostlighting when he says that Mittermeyer is more or less the ‘poor man’s Kiercheis’. While the old redhead is shown to be just as kind and caring a character as Mittermeyer, there is at least considerable time devoted to showing how he easily handled various tactical decisions as a commander instead of vaguely pointing to his abilities to move a fleet really fast.

    Overall, I liked Mittermeyer as a character. He was more or less Reuental’s Kircheis (conscience), and also the one guy who showed Reinhard what it means to be a family man. But there’s a lot of other guys I would put above him in my list of top characters from LoGH even on the imperial side.

  8. Posted March 7, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The one thing I remember Mittermeyer doing was early on when he was attempting to quell some uprisings on a planet he was in charge of. Some soldiers had pillaged a village and raped some women, but rather than turn a blind eye, he condemned the officers to execution by firing squad and attended to witness the punishment himself. That bit told me so much of his character: that he’s a man that adheres to his moral values not just when it is convenient, and holds himself and others to a high degree of personal responsibility.

  9. Darkfireblade25
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    question, what blogs do you recommend for this show? i’m planning on watching this and i want to get everything i can out of it.

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