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Update 7/15/2022 10:10 a.m. ET: Good news everyone, last night Hidive tweeted out that Legend of the Galactic Heroes has returned to its streaming service. Original article continues below:
If you were wanting to set aside some time and finally tackle one of the most intimidating classic anime in your backlog, I’ve got bad news for you: Legend of the Galactic Heroes has been delisted from anime streaming service Hidive.
Yesterday, Twitter user Kirby Noodle noticed Legend of the Galactic Heroes was missing from her favorites list on Hidive. Searching in her history tab revealed a message saying the anime was no longer available in the United States. According to a screenshot of her subsequent email correspondence with Hidive, the anime’s removal wasn’t a technical or service error; Legend of the Galactic Heroes is in fact “currently unavailable” on Hidive.
“Our content consists of owned and licensed programs. In cases of licensed programming, sometimes that content is temporarily unavailable,” Hidive’s support team said in the email. “At this moment we do not have a time frame for when the title you mentioned will return.”
Kotaku reached out to Hidive for comment.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a series of OVAs (original video animations) from the ‘80s and ‘90s that adapted author Yoshiki Tanaka’s space-opera novel Ginga Eiyū Densetsu into an anime of epic scope. Its 110 episodes chronicle the galaxy-scale clash between charismatic military tactician Reinhard von Lohengramm and his brilliant rival Yang Wen-li as they rise to power during the 150-year-long, stalemated war between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.
Although the anime received a remake in the form of 2018’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (aka The New Thesis - Encounter) on Crunchyroll, fans like Kirby Noodle don’t consider it a replacement for the classic OVAs.
“LoGH has a legendary status within the anime community for good reason,” Geoff Thew, self-proclaimed “anime pope” and creator of the anime YouTube channel Mother’s Basement, told Kotaku. “It’s one of the hugest and densest stories in all of anime, and due to the way it was adapted from the original novels, it’s also one of the most visually impressive anime of its era, too.”
In contrast to TV anime, Thew told Kotaku that OVAs like LoGH, which were sold in stores on VHS or LaserDisc, had the advantage of not being beholden to TV schedules. Because of this business model, the production quality of OVA anime like LoGH took precedence over mass marketability.
“They really, truly, don’t make ‘em like that anymore, and it’s a real shame that the premier example of the format has once again become inaccessible to the average anime fan,” Thew said.
At the end of its email, Hidive’s support team recommended Kirby Noodle check out its current top shows instead: I’m Quitting Heroing, The Executioner and Her Way of Life, Ya Boy Kongiming!, and Gate.
“Out of curiosity I watched the first episode of Gate…and I can’t say it’s a good recommendation for fans of Legend of the Galactic Heroes,” Kirby Noodle told Kotaku.
Another Twitter user agreed with her sentiment on Gate, saying it was “kinda insulting” on Hidive’s part to recommend the series.
Word of Legend of the Galactic Heroes’ delisting prompted fans to dig for other anime that’ve been delisted from Hidive over time, and they’ve compiled quite a list so far.
If you were wondering if there were any other OVAs on Hidive that are more attuned to LoGH’s vibe, Thew recommends folks check out Patlabor: The Mobile Police, Armored Trooper VOTOMs, Wicked City, and Demon City Shinjuku. If you’re looking for a more modern recommendation, Thew suggests Made in Abyss, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, and seconded Hidive’s recommendation for Ya Boy Kongming, adding that it’s “actually one of the best, most original shows this year.”
Although the news of LoGH’s delisting soured Kirby Noodle’s day, she’s still holding out for the space-faring anime to one day make its return to the anime streaming platform.
“I hope Hidive will listen to its subscribers and try and get one of its flagship series (no pun intended) back on to the platform,” she said.