If it were not obvious from the first Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel it should be painfully apparent that Yoshiki Tanaka is dedicated to having the lives of Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li be mirror images of each other. It is important to note they are never presented as the same man on opposite sides of the conflict. They are not doubles of each other. They are strategists who look remarkably similar but differ on some key points that make all the difference.
They are both young men who are clever and clear thinking who are viewed as lucky upstarts by the older corrupt establishment. At the same time their younger rivals view them as something that must be torn down for their advancement. Both commanders long to change the sickly systems they reside within but still few willing to step up to the challenge. Both leaders have a single loyal person constantly by their side along with a highly capable cadre of supporters who are the few people able to see their ability.
At the same time how both men view the path to reform is radically different. Reinhard believes that he must be the one who helms the change and will crush anyone who stands in the way of his righteous rule. Yang believes that any true change must come from the will of the people despite the fact that he knows the masses rarely have the will to enact that reconstruction or maintain the disciple to support it. This colors their attitudes, alliances, and strategies.
With civil wars in both the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire the character of both Galactic Heroes is put into stark contrast. The crisis will show the strengths, weakness, and characters of both of them as well as the organizations they exist within.
While the first book introduces Yang Wen-li and Reinhard von Lohengramm then pits them against each other in successive battles to quickly drawn us into the world (OK, minus the big history chapter at the beginning); the sequel works to show us the philosophies of these two intelligent leaders in much greater detail.