No Case Too Small: Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden, Part 1

The case in question is episodes 5-8 of Legend of the Galactic HeroesA Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights – Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night Part 1-4

I think we have all watched Legend of the Galactic Heroes and thought to ourselves, “I like Legend of the Galactic Heroes but it is missing something. The complex and nuanced space opera is good but what I really want is Reinhard and Kircheis flying around the galaxy in the battleship version of the Mystery Machine solving crimes.” Well don’t worry. Yoshiki Tanaka has you covered. In the Legend of the Galactic Heroes side story collection there are several mysteries with Reinhard and even one with Yang. We will be covering each of these little mystery stories in their own segments as I promised oh so long ago. We start with Reinhard and Kircheis being MPs in a way that would make Shuichi Ikeda’s Ulrich Kesler proud (who makes a small cameo no less).

While visiting their alma mater two events conspire to make Reinhard and Kircheis’ lives more difficult than they already are. The first is the fact that they have been promoted to service in the Military Police. The second is their first case is the murder of a student at their old military school. As with any good murder mystery it does not stop at a single victim. Reinhard and Kircheis quickly uncover a scheme involving graft, envy, and an exposure of the rotten core of the Empire.

When Karl von Reifeisen, an average but gregarious student, is found murdered in the school’s warehouse it leads to sticky wicket for the school since he was a from a prominent family. But there are few clues to go on. There are no witnesses, no known murder weapon, no real suspects, and the murder itself was not discovered until the next day and the police were not informed until hours after the body was discovered. Reinhard and Kircheis start their investigation with things distinctly against them. The fact that they only have a week to solve the case does not help at all. It does not help that the student assigned to help them, Moritz Von Hase, is a bit of wet blanket and robotic.

I was highly amused that since neither of them are in any way trained detectives Reinhard and Kircheis use their military strategy knowledge to try to solve the case. They constantly look at things like motive, means, and opportunity through the lens of a veteran solider and tacticians. It is like they were playing a table top RPG and the Game Master asked them to make investigations skill check and they asked if they could use their tactics skill at a penalty instead.

While Reinhard and Kircheis struggle to get a solid lead it seems that one drops in their lap in the form of a second murder. It quickly seems to be an open and shut case. The victim is the top rival of Moritz Von Has and all the evidence point towards the secretly colorblind student. But Reinhard knows a red herring when he sees one. Through the use of a clever fake final denouement Reinhard is able to get the true killer to slip up and implicate himself in both murders.

As a murder mystery this arc is fairly solid. Knox’s rule are all followed fairly closely. In the end it is not that complex a murder and possibly could have been solved in a single episode. It mostly lasts 4 episodes because the murder is a tool to examine larger issues with the main characters and the universe.

We see how Reinhard and Kircheis work so well together as they both solve key elements of the case. One of them is not the Sherlock and the other the Watson. Although if you had to pick a primary detective, like it is with all things, that role would go to Reinhard. But besides that we once again see how Kircheis acts as a vital buffer between the brilliant but overwhelming Reinhard and the rest of the world.

At the same time we see how corrupt and twisted the society the Empire has created has become. The innocent and the guilty are all destroyed by this incident equally. Even when the culprit is captured two innocent boys are dead and two other boys have their lives ruined even though they had nothing to do with the murders. And all for petty points of pride and selfishness. In the end all Reinhard can do is yell at those who would perpetuate the system as his vows to one day change it all.

As always Legend of the Galactic Heroes is one of those series that can do no wrong (unless you are talking about the Golden Wings but the less we mention that the better.) In that respect Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night upholds that tradition by show that no matter what you can do Legend of the Galactic Heroes can do it better. I mean they can even do musicals better than any other anime.

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