Japan’s fascination with ancient times continues. Last week, Hitoshi Iwaaki’s historical seinen Historie won the the Manga Grand Prix at the 16th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. Praised by critics as one of Iwaaki’s strongest works, the manga was also the recipient of the Grand Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival two years ago.
Historie narrates the life story of Eumenes, a real-life secretary and general to Alexander the Great. Unlike Mari Yamazaki’s comedy Thermae Romae --another recent series featuring a similar setting-, Historie is presumably a much more somber read. The manga has been running in Kodansha’s Afternoon Magazine since 2003.
Similarly to Thermae Romae, Historie’s plot partly deals with the difficulties surrounding the interactions between different cultures --except in this one there are far less bathhouses and more war, poverty, and despair. While Historie is a work of fiction, Iwaaki claims to have made an effort to stay somewhat true to historical facts.
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