A flashback episode showing Reinhard von Lohengramm’s backstory.
The episode starts with a much-needed overview of the show’s universe: in the year 2801 AD – now 1 SE – humanity formed the Galactic Federation, which spanned countless planets and star systems.
However, after a man named Rudolf von Goldenbaum is elected president and consolidates all his power (declaring himself emperor for life), the Federation morphs into an authoritative regime called the Galactic Empire.
People and worlds who missed the ideals of the old Federation rebel and form their own group, the Free Planets Alliance. War breaks out between the Empire and the Alliance that still rages on today.
The bulk of the episode focuses on Reinhard von Lohengramm’s backstory in the Empire, growing up in an upper-ish class family, and befriending his neighbor, the similarly aged Kircheis.
After Reinhard’s sister Annerose is taken away to serve the Kaiser (essentially she’s “purchased” to be his mistress), Reinhard vows to topple the leadership of the Empire.
I’m glad we finally got the show’s rich history fleshed out a bit more and learn about Reinhard’s past (he reminds me a lot of Gundam‘s Char Aznable), including his relationships with his sister and Kircheis. We also meet a few important side characters, notably several Imperial officers, who will show up later. I prefer Yang-focused episodes, but one can’t deny that Reinhard’s story is interesting, at least.