The setting is a scifi aristocracy. There's an Empire, but the true power behind the throne of the emperor is Tytania, a 'landless' clan conisting of five families of nobility. The heir of one family is named as the Clan Lord, and the other become the Four Dukes -- once the existing Clan Lord can't continue his duties, one of them will succeed.
Tytania is based on a large space station above the imperial planet, called Uraniborg. Their space navy keeps all the other planets, nations and nobles in line. If one of the Four Dukes sails out, someone somewhere is getting in a lot of trouble...
The series starts off with the fight between Duke Ariabart and a minor republic somewhere. The huge Ariabart fleet makes short work of the advance guard, but something inconceivable happens: the opposing admiral, Fan Hulic, has a trick up his sleeve and with this clever ambush defeats the mighty Ariabart fleet!
However, when he comes back to his planet, it turns out that the government had expected him to lose as part of a secret deal with Tytania. Hulic gets a small reward and is sent on his way -- Tytania will return, and no doubt they would want to have a chat with the guy who defeated one of the Four Dukes... And indeed, Tytania wants to make Hulic work for them (since he shows promise). But to others, who do not like to live under the jack-heeled boots of Tytania, Hulic is a symbol: he showed that Tytania can be defeated!
Fan tries to live an easy life, but everywhere he goes, he is chased either by Tytania or by one of the many resistance movements. He gets caught up in everything, and slowly anti-Tytania forces are growing and getting themselves organised. After Count Alses (the younger brother of Duke Zarlish) kills Kallen, Fan's sort-of girlfriend, he resolves to see what a universe without Tytania would look like. With his quick wit, he comes up with plan after plan to slowly whittle away the strength of Tytania.
There's a really large cast of characters, but most stay in the limelight for only a few episodes before Hulic moves on again. But it's quite interesting that we see both sides of the story: in one scene, we may see the Tytania High Council discuss and plot something, and in the next we see Hulic and his band of merry men react to the developments. The series isn't very action-packed: most of the 'action' is quite static, where you see people sitting around a table formulating a plan of attack...
However, there are a lot of side-plots and slow-moving episodes that kind of detract from the narrative thrust the series has. And sure enough, the series ends without any real resolution -- it remains to be seen if the rest ever gets animated.
The character designs are pretty basic and the backgrounds are sort of bland. But the CGI space battles are quite impressive to watch (even though you know those were the parts that were cheapest to make). The voice acting is nice, with the main cast being voiced by well-known voices. And the music, while not an important part of the series, is unexpectedly nice. The opening theme puts the 'opera' back into 'Space Opera'. ;)
- Interesting setting;
- Large cast of characters with believable motivations;
- Plots, counter-plots and counter-counter-plots.
- Could have benefited from cutting out some scenes (or even whole episodes) to get further into the story;
- Bland designs and lacklustre execution;
- Stops mid-story.
All in all, a 7. If you're into scifi that's well thought out and don't need constant action, look into this one.