In a setting inspired by early twentieth-century Europe, lies the impoverished state of North Ambria (pseudo-Russia). Some years ago, North Ambria went all Lot’s wife and people and stuff started turning to salt, greatly weakening the country and leading to revolution. Now, North Ambria’s economy is reliant on its jaegers, members of a mighty private military company. Lavi is one such jaeger; notably, her grandfather was a hero of the revolution but is now considered a traitor. While on an escort mission, the jaegers stop to save a village from attack by giant ice slugs. When a huge yeti shows up, Lavi lands the killing blow. After the mission, she and a couple of colleagues visit a market and mingle with the civilians. Afterward, they witness warmonger jaeger leader Rogan call for a new revolution while warning that neighboring empire Erebonia (shades of imperial Germany) poses a grave threat.
The Legend of Heroes is a mega-series of role-playing video games, comprised of smaller subseries such as Trails of Cold Steel I-IV, and the eponymous “Northern War” is an event mentioned in the games but never directly portrayed there. With the story adopting the perspective of all new North Ambrian characters (chiefly Lavi thus far), this first episode, at least, doesn’t require any familiarity with the games, though there are occasional references that will be more meaningful to those who have played some of the games. I must highlight this episode’s music, which is an absolute blast and really helps to liven up the story. I’m also a fan of the story’s nods to real history. Other than war and revolution, this first episode doesn’t tell me a lot about where the story is headed, though it hopefully keeps this episode’s strong mix of action and humor. The OP also suggests a number of familiar faces from the games will be making appearances. I’m excited to see where this series goes.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War is streaming on Crunchyroll.