The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki Northern War

Title:The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki Northern War
The Legend of Heroes 閃の軌跡 Northern War
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Northern War
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Tatsunoku Production
ONO Yuuki
Lavian 'Lavi' Winslett is a minor soldier in the Northern Jaegers, a military unit defending North Ambria. She's also the grandaughter of Vlad Winslett, who was once a national hero but proceded to betray his homeland. When the balance of power shifts and North Ambria is placed in danger, Lavi is ordered to form a special platoon with Martin S. Robinson, Iseria Frost, and Talion Drake for a highly dangerous spy mission to the Erebonia Empire. Together they must get information about the possible existence of a "Hero of the Empire" that threatens North Ambria.

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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4606#628]
(Four episodes watched):

This sort of felt like a sequel or continuation of some story that was already underway, and indeed it seems to be based on a pair of 43 minute OVAs. But I had feared that it might be the fifth or seventh incarnation, so that's good news for me since it shouldn't be too late to get on the bandwagon, so to speak. We get to know Lavi fairly well, which is a plus, though I wish it had been made more clear whether she considered her grandfather to be a hero or a traitor. Weird monsters exist, like jelly-like 'Dromes' and giant abominable snowman-like creatures, but they seem like little more than a stunt to show how brave Lavi is. I'd rather the show concentrate on politics and different factions and who can be trusted and who can't, etc. It sort of feels like anyone watching this is expected to have already watched the OVAs and therefore know which nation is which. Having not done that, the story here seemed to have a lot of holes in it for me and I was left with just a vague idea of what's going on. Also, what exactly is a 'hero'? Is it something more than a brave person who leads and inspires others? Is it a sort of noble class? Do they have supernatural powers? I wish I knew. Maybe its just a videogame thing. Anyway, the mention of Lavi going on a spying mission in the synopsis has yet to happen at the end of episode one, but it intrigued me and made me decide to watch episode two even though episode one hadn't thrilled me.

In episode two politicians, including Hogan, Commander of the Jaegers, argue about what to do after the empire annexes another minor country. Somehow the empire is both expanding and riven by a civil war, apparently. There's a confusing scene at the Jaegers camp in which the driver of an armored vehicle is possessed (I think) somehow, and threatens to crash it. I wish I had some idea what sort of magic is possible in this alternate world. Lavi prevents the accident and as a result is assigned to lead a spying mission into the Empire. Is she being punished for acting without orders, or rewarded for preventing a minor disaster? It's not clear. Either way, it makes no sense to send a couple of ordinary soldiers to learn whatever they can about a 'Hero' (some sort of Mobile Suit, apparently) that the Empire is thought to possess. Nevertheless, I sort of liked Lavi and her comrades and wondered what would happen to them.

How in the world would this show present a passable spy mission conducted by ordimary soldiers? Answer: it wouldn't. The mission, which begins in episode three, was little more than a joke even though it hadn't been intended as one. Lavi and the others barely even try to accomplish their mission. She wanders off from the fancy ball they are watching because she's bored, and, lo and behold, stumbles upon a plot to attack the party. Obviously, that's how spies get things done! As far as I could tell this was a well nigh insane plot which had nothing to do with the Hero. This fancy ball doesn't have a single security guard, apparently. And in the end Lavi and the others draw great attention to themselves (she is acclaimed a hero for foiling the plot) which is about the last thing a spy ought to do. In the end I felt that this had made no sense at all and it seemed clear that this show would make no attempt to spin a believable and gripping story, and therefore I was left wondering if there was any point in watching any more of it.

But this show had managed to get a weak hold on me, and I gave it one more chance to get better. In episode four Lavi and the others go to a hot spring resort (surely they deserve a reward for the hard work they have been doing as spies!) but find the supply of boiling water has somehow been cut off. They investigate, and the solution made little or no sense and what's more had nothing whatsoever to do with their mission. About the only thing they have accomplished is learning from talk on the street that everyone is confident that this 'hero' is real but nobody knows who or what it might be. Wasn't this show supposed to be about 'legendary' and 'heroic' deeds? I have no idea whether it will ever get serious or just remain as flippant as it is all the way to the end.

Last updated Sunday, February 19 2023. Created Saturday, January 14 2023.

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