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“Binary Star” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] and Uru

An epic sci-fi anime needs a suitably epic theme, even one that borrows a riff from a Starship song.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making my way through Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These, a modern remake of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a space opera anime series that ran for 110 episodes between 1988 and 1997 and was based on Yoshiki Tanaka’s original novels. The series, which is set in the distant future and focuses on the rivalry between two opposing admirals, is filled with massive space battles and political intrigue.

Such a series obviously needs an epic theme to set the tone, and “Binary Star” does just that — and then some. Written by acclaimed composer Hiroyuki Sawano (under the “SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]” moniker), “Binary Star” is filled with sweeping arrangements and evocative lyrics (e.g., “For the candles in the darkness/Burning up the sorrow/There’s no end to sadness/We didn’t learn”) delivered by Uru’s soaring voice.

Yes, the song’s central riff is totally lifted from Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” but that really doesn’t matter once the song hits the chorus and Uru’s voice heads for the upper stratosphere. In other words, I guarantee you’ll never hear the word “Binary” in your head the same way ever again.

“Binary Star” is the opening theme for Die Neue These’s first two seasons. For season three, the opening theme was changed to “Dust,” which was also written by Sawano with SennaRin on vocals. It’s an OK theme, but it just doesn’t have the same heft as “Binary Star.”

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and is also available on Blu-ray/DVD.

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