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Mixing Fact and Fiction: Historical Fiction in Anime


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Marcus Carr



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 38
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:34 pm Reply with quote
What, no Girls und Panzer? Razz

Not sure about accuracy, but Intrigue in the Bakumatsu feels like a history lesson. With supernatural stuff.
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Peebs



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:57 pm Reply with quote
I immediately thought of Joker Game with its spy school. There's also Arslan Senki, but not too sure on that one as I have not read the original source. There's also Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu which seemed to depict the era and rakugo, which is something I had never seen, rather well.
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SaharaFrost



Joined: 13 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:58 pm Reply with quote
One of my personal favorites is Kaoru Mori's Emma ~A Victorian Romance~. Even if you're not a big fan of the romance genre, Kaoru's meticulous depiction of Victorian England is worthy of appreciation.
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Chocoreto



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 105
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:30 pm Reply with quote
Maria the Virgin Witch is the most accurate anime title in depicting medieval warfare??? Are you freaking kidding me??? In a world where BERSERK exists, Maria is the one anybody would pick in order to say "Hm, yes, this is exactly how wars went down back then." Like ???? Seriously???
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
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Location: Serra Gaucha/Minnesota
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Berserk is completely unrealistic actually. Maria's depiction of warfare is very realistic by contrast. The reason why is because in Maria the outcome of warfare has no direct place in the plot so that they can treat in a more realistic fashion.

Also,.a masterpiece of historical warfare in manga is Kingdom, there is an animated TV show as well but I haven't watched it.


Last edited by Jose Cruz on Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Key
Moderator


Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 15697
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:05 pm Reply with quote
Chocoreto wrote:
Maria the Virgin Witch is the most accurate anime title in depicting medieval warfare??? Are you freaking kidding me??? In a world where BERSERK exists, Maria is the one anybody would pick in order to say "Hm, yes, this is exactly how wars went down back then." Like ???? Seriously???

Yes, seriously. Anyone who's heavily studied Medieval warfare (as I have) would agree. The Devil's in the details, you see, and that's where Maria wins out big-time.
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VocalChameleon



Joined: 27 Apr 2013
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:07 pm Reply with quote
I agree that Joker Game is a compelling tale. The storytelling does a fine job of weaving the stories of these spies into history and the depictions of the technology at the time are well-handled by the animation department.
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:17 pm Reply with quote
What have any of these to do with the sub-genre besides Barefoot Gen (BUT the manga wasn´t old enough to qualify when it was published and it is written by a 1st hand witness too) and Le Chevalier D'Eon. Millennium Actress can somewhat count too, i guess.
Regardless, someone needs to look up the definition of "Historical fiction". I am librarian, so knowing genres is literately my job. The suggestion that Maria the Virgin Witch can teach you ANYTHING about the Hundred Year's War or Medieval Europe is also either ludicrous or just sad. What do they teach you in America Confused ?
No no no, i had to do 40 minute presentation about life in the Middle Age as an university assignment this very month, i had advanced history classes when i did my Abitur and i have a history book on the Middle Ages on top of my bed right now... Moving on.

Historical fiction in manga/anime is this: Cesare, Historie, Rainbow Samurai, The Rose of Versailles, Vagabond (or the Samurai Trilogy film series) and the many manga biographies by Yokoyama Mitsuteru.
PS: Hacksaw Ridge ain´t an anime but watch it anyway. It´s the best war film in nearly 2 decades and the vapid magical girl "war" anime that inspired this "editorial" isn´t set on Planet Earth. FMA could count too by that logic, so would Magi, and why not Berserk. It features a hundred year long war too... Oy.


Last edited by residentgrigo on Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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zrnzle500
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Joined: 04 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:52 pm Reply with quote
^Look at the map on the official website and tell me that isn't a map of Europe circa 1939-1940 with some minor name and border changes.
If changing the names and borders were sufficiently different to say that it isn't set on Earth then various Gundam series are not set on Earth or thereabouts as the names and borders of the countries are different. I don't think you believe that. Even the calendar is the same in Izetta, as it is set in 1939-1940. It is set in an alternate version of Earth and even then most everything is exactly the same as the real Earth of that time so to argue that it isn't historical fiction at all is to miss the forest for the trees.
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:13 pm Reply with quote
@zrnzle500 I am not killing more brain cells on this. A WW2 map is found below, making up nations stands directly opposed to what the topical genre is about by definition and i don´t remember magic + immortality being covered in my WW2 classes (mind my country on the left and i had 3 years of WW2 classes). https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/63/WWII_in_Europe_1939-1941-fr.svg/2000px-WWII_in_Europe_1939-1941-fr.svg.png
I will also remind everyone that Berserk has the very same continents as our planet (Vol.34), but since when is it set on earth? And no, it also has nothing to with history either. Nothing.
Most of Gundam also isn´t set on earth (even the Universal Century is a fictional setting and RL references are being removed year by year), nor does an entry with a historical setting exist. The Battlestar Galactica remake would qualify too, by that logic. Look up the ending.

In summary: Ken Follett writes historical fiction. Read a book by him or watch the The Pillars of the Earth adaptation.
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unready



Joined: 07 Jun 2009
Posts: 373
Location: Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:22 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The Shinsengumi ... referred to by some historians as a death squad ... has been widely romanticized over the years since...

Understatement.

Like the German Gestapo of Nazi Germany, they captured the imagination of the general populace by dressing in very stylish uniforms. Fortunately for the general populace, the Shinsengumi probably spent more time and effort killing each other than terrorizing the supporters of Emperor Meiji, two things you won't see in romantic depictions of them.

They're probably romanticized because they were kind of the last hurrah of the Edo-era samurai. Once Meiji defeated Tokugawa for supremacy, he outlawed top-knots and swords in public, two things that distinguished samurai men from other social classes.
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unready



Joined: 07 Jun 2009
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Location: Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:48 pm Reply with quote
Peebs wrote:
There's also Arslan Senki, but not too sure on that one as I have not read the original source.

The "original source" would be the Persian (Pars aka Iran) Legend of Arsalan, about a prince born to a queen captured in war with Egypt, who grows up thinking he's an Egyptian prince, finds out he's not, and decides to return home.

FWIW, Arsalan pre-dates the story of Moses, so you gotta wonder about the influence there.

Aside:
Yaldabaoth (the god of the Lusitanians in the novels/manga/anime) is a "real" divinity (kind of like an angel in Christianity) in Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic religion from northern Persia. In Zoroastrianism, Yaldabaoth was delegated the task of creating Man. After creating Man, he became covetous and told Man the he (Yaldabaoth) was the only god, that all other gods were false, and Man should honor no other gods before him. Man eventually figured out that Yaldabaoth was the false god. This story would have been known to the ancient Jews from their captivity in Babylon, so you gotta kind of wonder about that, too.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 456
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:56 pm Reply with quote
residentgrigo wrote:
The suggestion that Maria the Virgin Witch can teach you ANYTHING about the Hundred Year's War or Medieval Europe is also either ludicrous or just sad. What do they teach you in America Confused ?


It sounds like you aren't even willing to try and listen. But, for the sake of those who are genuinely interested...the official Japanese website for the show was regularly updated with historical and cultural notes about the medieval period, which reflects that a lot of actual research went into producing Maria the Virgin Witch after all:

http://junketsu-maria.tv/special/nazenani_01-02.php
http://junketsu-maria.tv/special/nazenani_03-04.php
http://junketsu-maria.tv/special/nazenani_05-06.php
http://junketsu-maria.tv/special/nazenani_07-08.php
http://junketsu-maria.tv/special/nazenani.php

Evidently, the show does not even try to directly tell the real history of the period in terms of providing a strict chronological narrative involving the major historical figures and events. In that sense, it's not historical. But there's a lot of accurate information in those notes, and by extension in the show, that the average person definitely doesn't know about Medieval Europe. So yes, observant viewers can learn a thing or two.
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unready



Joined: 07 Jun 2009
Posts: 373
Location: Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:21 pm Reply with quote
There's a lot of historical anime that never makes it to the West.

Hyouge Mono comes to mind as the most likely to have been seen lately. Even then, people will have had to have seen it as a fansub, since it hasn't been licensed. I doubt it ever will be licensed. Setting its unique perspective aside (pov of a guy obsessed with art and tea), it also plays fast and loose with the accepted facts and timelines of the period, but it isn't any worse than most historical fiction.

Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Tokugawa, Soueki (the tea master), and Furuta (the main character) actually existed. I suppose for dramatic purposes, the story has Hideyoshi kill Nobunaga and frame Akechi. The accepted version of history is just that Akechi killed Nobunaga. It's a really good story about the end of the warring states era and the eventual rise of the Tokugawas.
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zrnzle500
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Joined: 04 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:39 pm Reply with quote
@residentgrigo I'm not arguing that it is historical fiction in the purest sense, just that it has historical elements. Looking at the map again, aside from Eylstadt and the names, all the countries depicted in the map are exactly the same which was my point.

On the existence of magic, D'eon has as much magic as Izetta which even you think of as historical fiction.

And if Gundam isn't based on Earth, why is the Federation called the Earth Federation? Why do they refer to the planets as Earth and Mars in Iron Blooded Orphans? Even in the most trivial and semantic sense you are wrong on that point. If you don't want to argue about it I'll leave it at that.
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