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Off Topic / Sharing / Venting => Anime / Manga => Topic started by: Minelauva on September 23, 2014, 10:48:20 PM

Title: Adaptations / Historical series
Post by: Minelauva on September 23, 2014, 10:48:20 PM
I wanted to start a discussion about manga that have either been inspired by actual events or are adaptations of another work (literature for instance).

In France, the series Thermae Romae (, published a few years ago, encountered a huge and justified success (I highly recommend it to those who haven't read it yet). This has started a new trend and French manga publishers keep licencing series inspired by historical events (usually European ones). It makes sense, as series like this are perfect to attract new readers, those who are perceived as snobbish and traditionnally read french comics (I mentionned this on the chatbox a while ago). Some of these series are good and genuinely interesting, and some have clearly been chosen because they fit the criteria (seinen about European history, right length, right Japanese publisher...). I wanted to mention a few of these series and ask for your opinion on the subject.  :cool:

I would like to talk more specifically about series that have been inspired by actual historical events (and not only a general historical period) or are adapted from another work. In these cases, the mangaka, not matter how talented he or she may be, is not free to do whatever he/she wants. There are huge constraints on the characters, the intrigue, and that's the reason why I tend to consider this type of series uninteresting. I never understood why we could find the Bible in manga, or adaptations of Karl Marx books, in France, whereas josei doesn't sell.  :umm:

But there are exceptions. On a side note, I remember watching the anime adapted from The Rose of Versailles ( as a child and loving it. I couldn't help being amused by the liberties it took with historical reality though, and I hadn't studied this period in class yet. Anyway, an example that comes to my mind is Cesare ( I think it is the only true historical series that I have liked. I know I just stated that I had loved Thermae Romae, but despite appearances, even though it is very well documented, it is a comical series, not an historical one. That's what I loved about it by the way. Similarly, I have read other series that were set in the past (Blade of the immortal, House of five leaves) but they were not inspired by actual events. Cesare, on the other hand, aims to relate the life of Cesare Borgia with as much accuracy as possible, while remaining a work of fiction. An ambitious challenge, from the author of Mars ( (h ave you read this shoujo? I loved it!!!!). I got curious. Verdict: it's not bad. Not fascinating, a bit dry sometimes, but definitely worth a read. So it is possible to create interesting manga from historical events. I didn't think someone else than Tezuka ( could manage it.

As for adaptations, a couple of months ago, I started reading Baraou no souretsu (, which is inspired by several of Shakespeares' plays, themselves inspired by historical events. I usually avoid this kind of manga, because I am not convinced they bring anything new to the original work. But since in this case, the author is Kanno Aya (Otomen, Akusaga...) and the series is published in Princess, I got curious. A tragedy, written by Shakespeare, remade into a shoujo manga, and apparently fairly good according to the reviews I read?! I had to read it! :huh:
I liked it. The series has been licenced in the US and will most likely be licenced in France as well. I intend to buy it. I started reading it ironically, not expecting much, but I got hooked. Of course, its elements are typical of a shoujo manga: all the characters are young-looking and exceptionally beautiful, the pace is intense, the intrigue highly suspenseful... I can't help thinking that the results would have been more interesting if the series had been a josei. But what makes this series a success is precisely the fact that we're far from Shakespeare. The mangaka has created her own world.
It's also made me curious about the original works, that I haven't read yet, and about the part of English history that inspired them. I will be honest though. The fact that I know nothing of the original works and events probably helps me accept the series.

So, what about you? Are you interested in this kind of series? Have you read those I have mentioned? Do you have any other examples or counter-examples?  :lalalala:
Title: Re: Adaptations / Historical series
Post by: Hats on September 24, 2014, 05:02:00 AM
I'm afraid I won't be adding much weight to the conversation because there's a lot of historical material that I haven't touched. If I say more than I should, then I'll just come off as glib. I'll definitely be prodding at your suggestions during my vacation in October so that I can give you my viewpoints on the above.

I'll have to agree that Rose of Versailles was interesting. I think it was one of the first ones I saw as a pre-teen, but I can never pinpoint where or how I saw it. It has so permeated Japanese culture that it's like I knew who Oscar was before I was even born. It was such a huge hit in the '70s. My mom gets all teary-eyed over Andre being shot and dying in Oscar's arms, while I bowl over with laughter because I can't get the image of the Japanese comedienne who portrayed Andre in a Gaki no Tsukai epi out of my head.

I don't know what Japan's fixation is with 18th century France, but I do recall watching another historical anime called Le Chevalier D'Eon, which featured D'eon, who was a spy for the king. I don't believe it's historically accurate, and the inclusion of "dark magic" and horror may have been a bit of a stretch, but it was very beautiful to look at.

I think what makes these adapations work is that the authors are allowed to take some liberties to create a world that is reminiscent of the time yet not necessarily entirely accurate.
Title: Re: Adaptations / Historical series
Post by: badzphoto on September 24, 2014, 11:58:44 AM
Fun discussion.

I've read The Rose of Versailles (in French) but the story is so sad I've stalled at finishing the extra story volume! However, the chibi version is listed on but it's not available for order. I wonder why. I wouldn't mind check in out the chibi version of Oscar and the gang  :ohh:
I've watched Le Chevalier D'Eon and it seems to be interesting, but I don't think I want to rewatch it even though it's pretty, but it's a bit dark and bloody IIRC, it's been awhile.
Yen's version of  Thermae Romae is on my to-be-read pile (so many books so little time!)
About Cesare Borgia, there's Cantarella ( ( by You Higuri also  - I haven't read it, but the art is very pretty.
Not to change the subject, I read Mars and really liked it. I also read ES ( ( by the author - very intense Sci-fi if you enjoy the genre, then check it out.
Maybe I'll check out Baraou no souretsu when the volume is out since I do like the author, but the series seems intense!
My friend is a big fan of Kaze Hikaru by Takeo Watanabe but I can't get into it knowing the story after I watched Peacemaker Kurogane anime and that was it for the era for me! Knowing that some characters may meet the bloody ends isn't my cup of tea. I think that if I can get over my prejudice and give it a chance I may be a fan. But ...
How about Ooku? Granted it's not historical, more like AU of shogunate, I enjoy the characters and the story.
Minelauva, how do I have url behind the text like your "Mars"? Thanks.
Title: Re: Adaptations / Historical series
Post by: Minelauva on September 25, 2014, 03:02:30 AM
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Title: Re: Adaptations / Historical series
Post by: badzphoto on September 26, 2014, 03:29:00 AM
@Minelauva. Thanks.