(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.
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.
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 Heroes – Ghostlightning 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.