#14 – Historie by Iwaaki Hitoshi

Historie by Iwaaki Hitoshi

Historie by Iwaaki Hitoshi
Serialized in Afternoon
Published by Kodansha

Life has its strange ways of twisting fate. It can take you to the deepest trench of fandom only to fish you out and show you something your heart has always longed for. In this case, it took a simple reminder of Parasyte and its author and how he has that strange new title running in Afternoon, Historie.

It didn’t take me a chapter to be swept away. A young man fleeing the Persian continent, dragging Aristotle with him in his makeshift pedal boat. The historian in me could not help but squee over this romantic tale of a young man following the footsteps of Odysseus. And did I add that you have Alexander the Great in manga?

Oh yes, Historie has one great history to offer.

Since these aren’t parasitic aliens, maybe I can read it with greater ease
Historie has been in my radar for some while after knowing that this was the written by the same author as Parasyte. When I had the chance to gloss over Parasyte, I immediately fell in love with Iwaaki Hitoshi’s style, more so, his manner of story telling. It’s much like reading Urasawa for me. You’re drawn by the protagonist into the story and then you see his eyes and his face change as things happen to him. It’s quite simple in terms of art, but really, their expressions say a lot.

Honestly, it takes a lot of courage for me to read Parasyte1, hence when I found out that he was writing a new title, I thought I’d check it out. In a heartbeat, I found myself drawn back inside the room of my Ancient Western History class, caught in the tales of voyages and Athenian intellect.

Yes, Eumenes is a lot like Odysseus

Eumenes' epic

Historie is a historical retelling of the life of Eumenes, a Scythian boy raised as an academic under the tutelage of a Cardinian merchant. His whole life he believed that the was a Greek like his family however, life takes a different turn when he found out about his Scythian roots and he was stripped of his rank and was sold as a slave.

As the manga puts it, Eumenes was like the Odysseus of his time. He had enough wits and balls to get him by and pretty much that’s what made him earn his freedom. His life could even compare to that of Odysseus. He was sold to a ship only to be caught in a mutiny and a shipwreck, landed on an island of barbarians, caught in a epic drama of protecting the town of his loved one, and then greeted by the Macedonian army upon his return to his hometown. His life is quite colorful for a young man, but as more of Historie unfolds, you know that Eumenes’ is bound for greater things.


A view of the Macedonian army

One of the sweeping images in the story was when the phalanx formation before Cardinia came into full view to Eumenes. Yes, the history fag in me could not stop squeeing seeing those legions of men shouting in unison and turning left and right as Eumenes passed through. I have only imagined such formations (and have seen some students fail to mimic them) but to see them in pristine lines and at attention within the bounds of a manga panel was just amazing. Iwaaki really illustrated them well, showing readers the imposing strength of the Macedonian army.

But more than that, as he details more of Eumenes’ life, you’ll also see the detail he spends in drawing the clothes, the town, the environment, and even the armor. Although the magazine prints are not as detailed, he compensates for it once he ports it for the tankoubon. Macedonian Greece is alive in Iwaaki’s hands. And for my benefit, Alexander the Great was a breeze to see on the manga. Ah! So handsome!

Again Khursten, you can’t miss it’s historical truthiness, right?

Alexander and his hoplites

I actually started reading Historie with little expectation of its extent as a manga. As I said, the title caught me. But when I saw Aristotle fleeing for Cardia, I knew I was bound to read something amazing. I honestly don’t remember the exact historical event of this one apart from the key players of this period. There was Philipp II, Alexander the Great (and his horse Bucephalus), Aristotle, and Hephaestion. Eventually, I’m sure I’m bound to cross Darius the Third. Hence to see these key players come alive in a manga panel was an overwhelming event for me. Yes. I screamed from the top of my longs when I saw that young blonde Macedonian eyeing Eumenes. YES. I KNEW HE WAS ALEXANDER! OH GOD! HE WAS AMAZING! *A*)

However, despite this Macedonian spectacle, I’m greatly relieved that the story of Historie doesn’t focus on Alexander. We have read many tales of Alexander, from his heroism to his ghei. Hence, Historie was a breath of fresh air to the Macedonian spectacle, learning something new about this character named Eumenes, as well as seeing the lives of Phillip the II and Alexander through new eyes.

I’m honestly looking forward to Iwaaki’s retelling of Macedonia’s greatness. Really, if he can draw their phalanx this well and this early, imagine what that same army look like once the cavalry and the elephants are in. Oh god, I can’t wait to read more of this amazing manga.

On a segue, I got myself to reading more about Eumenes. Here’s Plutarch’s description of his life! Yeah, so now you know what you’ll be looking forward to with Historie.

  1. I get creeped out easily. ;_; []

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4 thoughts on “#14 – Historie by Iwaaki Hitoshi”

  • Ahahahaha!! I know. This was a crucial mistake on my end! I managed to score my friends’ December afternoon and lo and behold young alexander is there. GOD… I THOUGHT THIS WAS HIM ALREADY. NOW I REALLY CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE REST. ;A;

  • I’m sure western comics has their own fare too~ :3 I just can’t remember the titles now but Marvel did something quite interesting by taking their heroes to the 1600s.

  • wow great find.
    I am not into American comics so I do not have a valid point of comparison but the amount of research, earnestness, effort and sincerity that goes into the craft of mangaka’s are really a sight to behold.

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