12 CommentsManga Driver / By Scamp /

Manga Driver: Historie


Volumes: 7 (ongoing)

‘Alexander the Great as written by the author of Parasyte’ was my entire knowledge of Historie going in. In my mind I had the image of Rider from Fate/Zero stabbing parasitic aliens that eat your face with his spear, but sadly twas not the reality. Historie is actually about a secretary of Alexander the Great, an orphan who goes on many adventures before becoming Alexander’s aid.

At least, that’s what the back of the books promise. There are seven volumes out and Alexander is still a kid and hasn’t recruited any secretaries yet. This might sound like the plot moves really slowly, but that isn’t really the case. Heck, sometimes it glosses over seemingly massive plot twists in barely any time at all. In one scene the main character has been sold as a slave on a ship, but the slaves kill their boss and taken over the ship. However in the space of two pages the author goes “and then the ship sank”, a turn I thought deserved a little bit more exploration than just a two bloody pages.


Historie_V03_089The problem with Historie is it feels very aimless. The main character references the Odyssey and how much he likes the character of Odysseus because, unlike the other war heroes who get by on sheer brute strength, Odysseus wins battles using his brain. The story does appear to be following an Odyssey-esque tale, following our main character as he thinks his way out of the situations he finds himself in. The main character is rather likable because of how much cleverer he is than everyone around him and the audacity of some of the stunts he pulls off. The story does seem to forget random other parts of his personality that I thought were going to be a big part of his story. The start introduced this idea of his struggling with his barbarian upbringing and possibly savage inner side, but the next several volumes don’t bring that side of him up again.

The main story also doesn’t seem to be able to focus on a particular side of the main character. The earlier volumes are about his barbarian upbringing and wild side. Then he goes into the Odysseus tales of valour through intellect shtick. Half of the time though things just happen to him. Sold to slavers, picked up by Macedonian King, making toys for mentally disabled kids. It all just falls into his lap with no input on his part, which I don’t feel makes a good use of the traits they were supposedly developing. Plus the latest volumes seem to have forgotten he exists entirely and have focused exclusively on Alexander, now that they’ve finally introduced this king of kings.

It’s not that Alexander’s story isn’t interesting in itself. The writing in Historie is generally very good. I just wish the author would sit down and decide what it was he wanted to this story to be about. Parasyte had a laser sharp focus with what it wanted its story to tell. Historie feels like a bunch of Ancient Greek history thrown together into a pot. Also in comparison to Parasyte, I’m starting to realise the author doesn’t have the greatest art. Parasyte was able to hide that with its bizarre and imaginative body horror. Historie is gory, but it doesn’t define the story the same way it does in Parasyte. In fact, I’m not sure what it is that defines Historie, beyond the whole Ancient Greece setting, which is exactly the problem. It’s a very well written manga. I’m just not sure what it’s writing about.

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  1. Aelms
    Posted June 14, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    This is great and all, Scamp. Now when the **** are you reading Punpun?

    edit: obligatory ass-kissing so I don’t get perma-kicked

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t like Solanin so not interested in checking out Punpun anytime soon

      • sqa
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Ha ha… Punpun isn’t that much like Solanin. I just read a bit of Solanin and, yeah, not “completely” different but damn close to it.

        It’s something like Solanin is to Beck as Punpun is to Aku no Hana. Fair warning.

  2. WhoserPainter
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Btw still waiting on your montage of The Adventures of Rider and Waver..It’s been a long time coming.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      That would require me to learn how to video edit more. Also it would require me to watch Fate/Zero again, neither of which I want to do

  3. Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    This manga is on my wishlist.

    And yeah the title and premise don’t have the most universal of appeals I have a rough idea as of why the author would struggle to piece the story together.

    I’d like to see just how well or badly the story is presented.

    The thing about basing a dramatized story into history, is that you should have a very good knowledge of all the events, people etc. You are basically filling in the blanks in terms of character development, who were this people, why did the act this way, what was their personality etc.

    At least if historical accuracy is your goal otherwise throw plot out of the window and write whatever you want.

    An example of this was Rose of Versailles, yes they had this made-up main character to help advance the plot and twist things for the sake of drama, but the real people were very well depicted.

    Oh Marie Antoinette how easy was to hate on you.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Maybe sticking to historical accuracy is exactly the problem. It takes the flow out of the story. Then again, they’re not nailing a tone or style the same way Rose of Versailles manages to do

  4. Kyano
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for reviewing Historie, I was keen to hear your view on the series. This is one of my favourite currently-running mangas, but I agree with much of your criticisms. I think the aimless quality is the result of the author basically just picking out what he feels are the juiciest parts of Eumenes’ autobiography and not worrying much about the overall flow of the storyline. The sudden change of pace once they reach Macedonia is pretty jarring (although I don’t mind it so much since I’m a bit of an Alexander the Great geek). 7 volumes in and I think he’s still setting the scene for the real meat of the story, which will presumably be Alexander’s reign and Eumenes’ role in that. I’m expecting this one to be very long. Having said that, I think the pre-Macedonia parts would make a neat historical fiction anime!

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I agree that I think the /real/ story hasn’t begun yet, but that’s a dodgy path to go down. If that really was the case, these earlier chapters shouldn’t have been so long. I don’t want to be the guy who yells “IT GETS BETTER I SWEAR” about anything

  5. Nyan :3
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Check out Shokugeki no Soma, it’s not that popular but i like it.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard of it, but there’s not a whole lot of it out yet so ehhhh

  6. leokiko
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    You should try Kingdom, it’s similar.

    Hmm…also, Kyou Kara ore Wa? xD

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