Historie takes place in ancient Greece and follows the life and childhood of Eumenes, who historically was the secretary and general to Alexander the Great. Historie includes characters such as Aristotle and King Philip II of Macedon and begins around 343 BC, which was a time of Macedonian expansion.
Historie is a historical manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki that tells the life story of Eumenes, a secretary and general to Alexander the Great. Although the story is fictional, Eumenes was a real person. Historically, his past is largely a mystery, hence Iwaaki was able to take artistic liberty in his manga.
The Mainichi newspaper calls Iwaaki's vision of Eumenes' past "Bold and unique." Jason Thompson, one of the best-known manga critics in the United States, says that in terms of scale, ambition, and plotting, Historie is the author's masterpiece. (Source: Wikipedia)
In 2010, Historie won the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival Grand Prize in manga division and in 2012, 12th Osamu Tezuka Culture Award.
Alright, let's make Historie.
Haha. Oh, wow, bad pun.
If your a true fan of historical manga, then you'll most likely enjoy this for it's content. Especially if your into ancient greek/persian history. The story at the beginning lacks a little something that I like to call complexity, and it continues on that way until some things happen that cause Eumenes to leave his hometown.
As with all of Iwaaki's work, there will be some that find the art a little plain or too sketchy for them. This is definitely not art that would be pleasing to those who are fans of shiny, glittering bishonens from a hardcore
shoujo manga. This art really makes you feel like you can see the soul of a character just by looking through their eyes.
Speaking of seeing a characters' soul through their eyes, I'm pretty sure Eumenes (especially young Eumenes) has no soul to should through his eyes. He is the only character that you can't really feel any emotion other than an indifferent bliss radiating from them. He's more of a cold and calculating scholar for most of the series, even when he learns potentially traumatizing stuff. I suppose due to the nature of his race, that's how he is supposed to be though. But some of the other characters, woah. You can tell right away whether they are kind-hearted or filled with malice.
Any fan of Historical or even Seinen manga will undoubtedly enjoy this. It's simplistic, but thoroughly enjoyable. It draws on in with something that I can't quite put my foot on, maybe it's the little quirks of humor that are thrown into the story while not taking away from the seriousness.
Admittedly, there's not a whole lot of action. Just a fight here and there, then one pretty epic battle, but again not too many fights. So if your a real hardcore fan of action manga, then that might put you off. If your a fan of highly detailed art, then Historie's art, again, might put you off. Other than those two downfalls, there's really not too much else that's all too bad about it.
When it comes to historical themed works, most are adjusted and tweaked upon to create an arguably more fascinating story behind such setting. Historie is no exception, and although it is based on a real person by the name of Eumenes, Iwaaki Hitoshi was able to take an artistical approach on it as that person's past is shrouded in mystery. The author of this work managed to create a fascinating story in which people familiar with the greek history will find themselves pleasantly entertained. However, there are some issues with the manga, being the inconsistent jumps in timelines as well as its direction the biggest
hinderance for some.
The story of Historie is focused around Eumenes, which spans from his childhood to his adult self as introduced in the first few chapters; he was historically Alexander the Great's secretary and general. This should also speak for the setting itself: it takes place around 343 BC, which coincides with the Macedonian expansion. In addition. Eumenes meets several reknown people in greek history such as King Philip II or Aristotle. What further enhances the experience of this work at a personal level is to observe how Iwaaki treats and incorporates his story in the several occurrences that take place, mostly of what happened in reality. This concerns mainly occurrences such as political conflicts, expanding on the different factions of the current world and how these affected either the life of the protagonist or the Macedonian reign itself. As for the pacing, it was surprisingly well done, despite its share of slice of life moments: it felt fast and satisfying, which in turn keeps the reader interested in the story.
The introduction of the manga isn't that well executed as desired, as opposed to when the author begins to deal with the past of Eumenes himself. Herein readers find themselves intrigued with his past, seeing themes such as racism, conflict, warfare and love treated in the narrative. The manga puts enfasis on the intelligent nature of the main character, meaning it tries to solve various conflicts through ingenuity rather than brute force. Other aspect worth mentioning is the little technological improvements that were being made in that epoch, be it either the creation of chess, making a moving toy, saddling, etc. What however can be a problem is the direction of the story: this often sways a lot between either Eumenes or Alexander himself, in which in various instances feels detached from the storyline.
Concerning the characters of Historie, these were not big by any means, where its main focus lay on fleshing out and developing Eumenes himself. He is an eccentric character from a disputable origin for that time; a man who has a thirsts for knowledge, sometimes indifferent, yet cunning in his area of expertise. In fact, his intelligence is one of the aspects that drives the story forward and enable him to encounter all the different characters. Speaking of which, there are historical figures introduced in which some are interesting to observe, as well as their past; however, there is not much development to be found on the part of these to the exception of few, which in turn can be an issue to some. There are no real motives to speak of, seeing that these are real historical characters, yet any inclusion of these would have maybe been a good addition to enhance the characters.
As for the art style of Historie, it is consistent, yet simplistic and basic: character designs are very simple sharing the same facial model, being the hairstyle the only real defining factor; the same could be said of the backgrounds as well. This doesn't mean that there are no great panels: there are in fact some very detailed and impressive drawings that depict the whole scope of either the battle or scenery itself. Concerning the occasional combat scenes, this are somewhat basic as well, yet it is apparent that the author improves over time. It also must be noted that there is hardly any use of shading techniques, which means that the panels often feel empty.
Historie was overall a very good read, in which following the life of Eumenes is one of the biggest aspects I enjoyed, including the approach of the setting itself. Naturally, there were some issues to be observed where the indecisive direction of the author is the main culprit. Being a fan of the historical genre, I could definitely recommend this manga to anyone with a slight interest in it, besides that it has an interesting story and character behind its premise. I might want to add that the bimensual releases can be very paining for the reader, so I would suggest to take your time reading this work.
There were only two reviews of this manga, and thus I decided to give my own review. Remember, this review may contain spoilers.
Historie's setup is the same as the popular seinen manga Berserk. We start out with a future view of the main character. Then it goes into a flashback mode, to see what has all led up to that point.
The story of Historie follows Greek/Macedonian/Persian history. Though this should not be viewed as educative, since not all history aspects of this manga are correct. It stays fiction after all.
We start out with Eumenes, a scythian boy who grew up alongside Greeks, even believing he
was a greek himself. Eumenes constantly has weird dreams about a woman with great swordmanship. After some shocking events with a scythian slave, he hears the truth from the potential killer of his ''father''. He hears he was a scythian boy all along, and thats when everything changed.
He is sold as a slave, and makes many encounters with new people, eventually becoming acquinted with Macedonia.
The art is nowhere near special or shocking. The art is good, and the background often stays clean, to emphasize the characters facial expressions. The character designs are well-done, and just from expressions you can see what the character is feeling.
The characters in this story are well developed, though some seem a bit shallow, the important characters shine through with realistic emotions and such. The protagonist Eumenes really shines through, and is considered a ''natural genious'.
If you like historic manga, you will lvoe this title. The characters are likeable, the story is good so far and the historic aspect of this manga is often correct. ( Characters mentioned, events that occur etc).
However, don't go looking for this manga expecting a epic highly-detailed story about the wars of Macedonia. You should read it for its story, and the character development.
---Note: This is a ongoing manga, my score is only for now. I will edit and/or change my entire review if my opinion changes.
-- Please give me feedback, this is my first review on MaL if you disagree on some points, or think I should elaborate on some points please do mention this.
Iwaaki Hitoshi is mostly known for his series Parasyte, but only recently it got the popularity that the fans sought for the series. It was by most positively received, because it offered something both for veterans and new faces regarding this medium. Be it from the ideas, to its theme exploration, to body horror, to high paced fights, but what was most important was its revival and how positively it was received overall in the industry. As such I was really looking forward to watching the series, and the most important question was if it will meet my expectations.
To say it lightly, I was rather disappointed. There where many problems, which led me to be distanced to the author but curiosity got the better of me. This led me to reading his ongoing series, Historie. What really got me curious about Historie was its premise, which interested me mostly because of the involvement of The Great Alexander. However, Iwaaki wouldn’t be Iwaaki if he wouldn’t add some spice to the story with his unique ideas, that where so apparent in Parasyte. To my surprise Alexander wasn’t the primal focus of the story, or at the very least wasn’t at the moment, but rather it is about the life of the one who shall become his secretary, Eumenes.
The story starts out bizarrely with the introduction of Eumenes and many historical figures be it Antigunus, King Philip or Aristotle, who meet by chance. It was a bit off putting how it started out, but the story really starts kicking in when we get introduced to the life of our protagonist. From his childhood, to the very premise, that being the secretary of Alexander. The story moves surprisingly fast, especially when you take in account its slice of life feeling or at the very least that’s how I see this manga. Well, as mentioned the story moves fast, it has a variety of stories which are longer or shorter depending on how important the content of the arc is, however what really makes the stories move so fast might really be the combination of Iwaakis story telling abilities and his simplistic yet easy for the eye art. For that very reason his thematic use in this work is not entirely explored the way I hoped for, although you might say that it might be more of an don’t tell but show thing. On another hand the story is not really presented well. What do I mean? First it doesn’t have a sense of direction. Is the story about the life of Eumenes? Or the life of Alexander? The show doesn’t tell us what the ending point might be. Will the story end with Eumenes death? Or will it be Alexander’s? That might be one component you might take in account especially when you think about the scope of the story. Secondly the story has that absurd feeling of being way too convenient for Eumenes. It feels sometimes like a school oriented show, where the protagonist doesn’t need to do anything and something will happen anyway, but that is only a minor problem to me. On another hand I ask myself, how historically accurate this manga is. It says that History is made by winners but it is done the same way by the losers. As such a lie can have a bit of truth, and truth can be based on lies. As such historical shows have the luxury of interpretation. It can be historically accurate yet very differently presented. Such thing for me is Historie. Sadly I don’t have any knowledge regarding that time period or especially Alexander’s life, or even more so of Eumenes particular life. But I do see Iwaakis writing style being used, which leads me to the last story component I want to talk about, that being the plot twists. For one the twists in this show aren’t shocking or come out of nowhere, they seem all predictable but what I really like about them is the way it questions me. Has that really happened or is it fiction be it from Iwaaki or any other author? Which leads me to the conclusion of how awesome historical tales really are, but that certainly depend on the author and not the historical facts.
Let’s move on to the characters.
You know how Macedonia’s and Greeks tend to argue about which state Alexander’s is from? Which I found really funny, but sadly there is no real dispute to what character might become your favorite in this series, of course at the moment it would probably be Eumenes. For me the characters merits aren’t really their development, which is not really well handled by the way, but rather is the way they are characterized. Eumenes is an eccentric character, with a passion for reading. From that very trait almost his whole character is made of. It shows how a single passion may change your very life. From that point on we see his younger life, to his origin, to him using odysseys journeys as a way to look at his very own adventure, to his later days in Macedonia. However, as mentioned development in form of aging or rather getting experienced through out his aging, isn’t very well handled, or at the very least isn’t at the chapters I am currently at. His characters origin seems to don’t have a big role with his later years, and so do his initial traits change through out time, which realistically looked aren’t that important, but for me they are in such a medium. Another think I liked about him is that while clever, he isn’t the most intelligent individual in the series, despite that he is certainly portrayed as such, as he is the protagonist right, right? None the less he stays for me on a positive note. Other characters aren’t developed or presented as much as he neither is, nor is Alexander as he is currently still in his childhood, but he starts out interestingly as well. We shall see how Iwaaki will handle his character.
Moving on to the art.
When I looked at he art of Parasyte I wasn’t fond of his art style, as such other as well have mentioned how bad he is, but you grow on it. His style is very simplistic. The art quality ranges depending on what scans you read. Either they are taken from the magazine or from the tankoban volumes, or the quality changes depending on it. His panels are usually composed of primarily character movement and a lot of white space, which as mentioned is simple and easy going, maybe even bad if you are really want to call out his art, but as mentioned it somehow works with his writing style. I wasn’t really paying that much attention to his art in general as I was more focused on the story but I still want to call out one thing I particularly didn’t like, that being his portrayal of emotion. It sadly doesn’t work. I strangely feel distanced more to the characters because of the art. The reason isn’t because the characters are emotional bricks like Rey or other what was it called...maybe kuderes or the like , but how not much attention was put on the faces. Oh, and the comedic moments on the most part don’t even make me smirk.
Lastly I wanted to say, despite all the negative things I mentioned Historie still works. I readied around 70 chapters in a couple of days. It never gets really boring, but I think the fans surely are agonized how the story might move slowly when you wait every month for a chapter release.
So don’t read it all at one go and take your time with it.