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Historie follows the life of Eumenes, a boy with strategic talent who grows up to serve as a secretary and general under 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.
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Not a very good 'historical' work, and not a very good fictional one either
I'm usually not stuck up on historical accuracy, in fact I usually prefer historical novels that make it clear from the start whether they're realistic or not, because then I can focus on the story-telling and not the nagging question of "did this really happen?" Still, I'm not against embellishment for the sake of a good story. The problem here starts with the writing.
The main character is incredibly bland: the few moments of strong emotions he has are over in like 3 panels, then it's like it never happened before. It doesn't feel like there's depth or continuity to his character apart from being good at everything he tries. And he is indeed good at just about everything: an instinctively strong fighter, someone with great knowledge, a master orator and actor too, inventor and craftsman. It could have been fine, I love smart well-rounded characters, except much of it was very poorly developed. His initial fighting prowess, for example, is based on something as flimsy as a single childhood memory (there's a limit to suspension of disbelief).
Worse, he gathers admiration and respect from whomever just glances at him for a while, which eventually starts to feel ridiculous. He is also so lucky that in the end, I went to check out his historical background, to see if the problem was just me not accepting real historical events. It turns out that Eumenes was never the son of some Scythian warrior, but the son of a poor Thracian wagoner, and didn't appear to have ever been a slave. Instead of working with existing historical events, and making the character compelling through great writing and dialogue, the author basically chose to embellish his background instead, except it resulted in forced and unbelievable writing.
From this point onwards, the historical issues became more jarring (for me): - Hephaestion is Alexander's double-personality. What? - Aristotle performed CPR (18th century). Aristotle is plenty interesting by himself, -why- did the author feel the need to hype him with CPR? - The author chose to hype Eumenes by making him invent a variant of chess. Chess was invented around 600 AD, not BC. (the ancient Greeks played checkers. Not the same thing)
Herein lies a problem with the writing: instead of using or embellishing existing events of that time period (which I would be fine with), the author patches in 'cool' discoveries from other time periods or invents extravagant backgrounds to hype the characters. To me, this was really distracting in a bad way.
Now, apart from that, historical manga can also be very interesting when they immerse you into an era and offer lots of interesting facts about the era. Sadly Historie is pretty superficial on this aspect. It mentions a lot but never goes in-depth into any particular aspects: customs, religion, food, economy, education, technology and craftsmanship, inner politics, military etc. It feels like the author is throwing in trivia from a textbook instead of allowing the reader to truly explore and immerse within that time period. Worse, the characters often feel like modern people wearing greek clothes. Change their names and clothes, and they could be in any time period, really. An example that irked me early on for example was Eumenes commenting that Balsin seemed too young to be married, yet I was taught that back then, girls were married very young to ensure their virginity (like, starting from age 14), whereas men were married much later (because of military service). This is just an example.
Basically, I found Historie to be a pretty poor 'historical' manga (unbelievable inaccuracies, nothing about the era gets truly explored in-depth and just serves as fodder for story progression), and not that good as a fictional story either (forced events, bland Gary Stu main character etc.). Still, it could turn for the better as it heads into better documented periods and events.
... Last updated on February 10th, 2014, 6:20am
I dont like the split personality thing
Just read until chapter 60 and I totally agree with Odette, the split personality thing is too much. First it portrays Alexander as a soft-hearted personality and this will greatly undermine his position as a determined, ambitious, and sometimes brutal, leader later (if the author decides to go that far). Second, Hephaestion is too important to be erased this way. If Iwaaki wanted to avoid the homosexuality I would prefer he were completely wiped out of the story rather than being Alexander's split personality. Of course this is manga not history so the author can imagine part of the story but to be honest, everytime the Hephaestion name is called in this manga I still feel like being banged in my head.
The sad thing about these types of manga that have a lot of truth as we know it or is based off of true events is that some people will take it all as fact. I've seen people posting in forums about a certain manga (the name escapes me) writing about some event occurring that never happened. The bad part was that they went on about it for several paragraphs, acting like they were some history buff, and connecting this false event to other real events. I do feel these types of manga are helpful in that they do speak a lot of truth, but it's dramatized for entertainment and some people don't grasp that aspect. I'd say about 95%, if not more, of the dialogue is just a guess or dramatization as well. After reading about 40 chapters, I can say that much of this is dramatized as there is no way to know so much about a somewhat obscure figure is history (there are factual events, but much is a filler of sorts to keep a flowing story between the historically accurate events). Still a decent read to kill time if you're bored during winter or unemployed lol. In the long run, you really wont learn much more then what's already in history books or taught in history classes, especially if you've taken AP world history in high school. Then pretty much all of the real events is a review While I wont correct everyone's spelling errors, I must point out that he is a close confidant of Alexander, not confident as one commenter wrote. One letter different, but completely different meanings.
... Last updated on November 27th, 2012, 1:46am
It is quite an epic manga. The first couple chapters might feel a bit slow, but afterward it turns into something really engaging, deep and even shocking. The history offered, while hard to say perfect, is otherwise well researched.
The plot twists are original, and are very fluid with the story. There is quite a bit of detailed gore, yet the gore has impact to it. It isn't just the usual slashy stuff, but intense, with meaning behind it that even heavily affects the characters involved. If blood or violence is happening, the other characters react - it feels quite human. Though sometimes, there are some scenes that might make you loose your lunch if you happen to be eating. I know I have some images that I could do without!
The art style is quite nice. I personally had to briefly get used to it, but I like it since it feels Ancient Greekish. It suits the storyline and theme quite well.
There are some downsides: Eumenes is a very likable character. He is rational, intelligent, calm and empathetic. But I feel like, at times, he gets things too easily. Yes, he does face one brief hardship where he comes from being of high status to a slave, but his stint as a slave is very short - in fact, life gets better quickly, where he becomes a beloved and very succesfuly skilled member of another culture that had immediately adopted him. If he is in trouble but comes out of it, I find sometimes it is based moreso on the help or work of others, not so much getting out of it on his own. Additionally, whatever he puts his hands on as an activity, he does well right away.
And while he can be a passionate person, sometimes he feels a bit emotionless. Nevertheless though, he is a fairly good protagonist, and you will be interested in his journey.
Another downside aspect is the Alexander/Hephaestion. I agree with a previous poster - I'm not exactly fond of this whole split personality thing. It feels.....unrealistic and a bit a bit cheap. I would really much like it better if the author used the actual historical Hephaestion. Even if it a possible romance never became apparent, it would still be interesting to witness the dynamic relationship these two figures had with one another. As Alex's closest friend/confident, it would have been intriguing to see how they both dealt with things like the wars, the arranged marriages, and Alex's "wild" side with the drink.
I'm not sure if it is because thre was uneasyness with having a malexmale plot (Which would be strange I suppose. There is plenty of yaoi mangas out there that are popular and well loved) or if it because there was a worry that Hephaestion would take too much away from Eumenes story and connections with Alexander. I'll probably opt for the latter.
I also wish a little bit more for Olympias. She is a pretty tough lady, who acts like a man. Which is great, but I would opt for more than just seeing her be naked 90% of the time who has sex with men daily then kills them or kicks them out.
In total though, it is a recommended read. It is complex and thourough, very suitable for an audience who wants something real, serious and adult, that also involves plenty of enough complex characters.
... Last updated on May 4th, 2012, 12:06pm
Everything about this manga is awesome, but I think the one aspect of this manga is its protagonist. He stands out because he is even-tempered & RATIONAL. You see why he would do this or that or acted the way he did.
I honestly cannot wait for the last volumes of this manga for the sole reason of how Iwaaki Hitoshi will handle Eumenes' demise. Historical Eumenes did not die pretty (forced starvation); he was basically betrayed by his army that he commanded. I can't wait for Iwaaki's interpretation of Eumenes' end and his whole "becoming a general" saga (if he will touch this aspect of Eumenes' life story). Oh. & Eumenes, to me, was not an "Alexander fanatic." There were written accounts of him not agreeing with Alexander, esp. with Hephaestion (in fact, he HATED Heph). I say he respected Philip II more, a testament of how complex and intriguing he really was
edit: Another thing that makes Eumenes such an intriguing character is that some "classicist" Alexander historians (Bosworth, to name a few) surmise & point to Eumenes as partaking "in the collusion of high-ranking generals" that conspired to kill Alexander the Great. In fact, Bosworth pushes his theory that Eumenes was the biggest contributor in Alexander's death. So the mangaka has many, many pathways in his "liberty taking" of historical!-Eumenes. I hope he makes Eumenes sorta' like a "villain" in the end, one who despises what Alexander, his general & king, has become & commits to regicide.
... Last updated on April 14th, 2012, 12:42am
i'll just leave here some things about it which can possibly make you dislike the title 1. Aristotel. At first I thought it would be boring manga with a strong science plot. I assure it isn't like that 2. Don't be scared by the front picture on this page. The art is likeable right from the earliest chapters. 3. There's no much historical stuff - you won't be bored from that. 4. It's not fighting, it's not typical seinen. You'll be disappointed if you're looking for something like this
And just a few words: I'm not skilled in writing praising comments, but this manga is just interesting. really.
Solid Historical Manga
Over-all, this manga was almost exactly what I was looking for after reading one too many shounen action series. It's realistic, calm, mature, smart, and cool. I haven't done the research to know how much of this series is true but, no one alive today can claim that they knew everything about that time period, that's why I'm willing to give the author some leeway in order to make an engaging story. Speaking of story, I have to say that story is the one thing that the author might be lacking in after 71 chapters. Most series would have an overarching story in gear now but Historie seems content to follow the adventures of Eumenes and Alexander for now. We'll see how these events tie into the future.
The story is very good, it gives a nice feel. You feel like what is portrayed here is really history (though keep in mind that it is not, the author takes liberties with history, though it is for the best. Still follows it on the major points). The characters are believable, well portrayed, and you can't help but get engulfed in this manga. If you wanna strat reading it, free a lot of time because in all likelihood you won't be able to get up from your seat.
Anyway it is still at its beginning, there obviously will be at least 200 more chapters or so if it is not discontinued, so be prepared for a long, but very enjoyable ride
... Last updated on January 25th, 2012, 12:36pm
Ok, like cesare, i put this off for years just beecause it says seinen. Now i regret not having read it earlier as now i find it too aewsome to put down. I havent had such a good read for months and now I cant wait to see what happens next. The only thing I hate is hephaistion being a split personality. He's supposed to be Alexander's best friend, lover and confidant. But anyway, all good. I love how Olympias is portrayed. And anyway, Alexander is my favorite historical hottie of all time (next is Cesare) but here I could see his 'child' side and its just toooo awesome
If you want not only to read manga and kill time, but also to somehow educate yourself in history and art of war, I recommend you to read this. Art is nice, main character is interesting and funny, plot is entertaining.