Historical fiction is a literary genre where action takes place in the past sometimes featuring real historical figures, setting and social norms that are drawn from from that particular period. There are many novels of the genre but i decided to use the same cathegorisation for their manga equivalent. For such manga to be good, authors ussually have to research the very period troughly in order to make it as interesting and detailed as possible, as it is such, there are not many to count but they are many levels above of what you would usually expect from the very medium and mostly targeted to adults (seinen).
Here I will pick out and update as I encounter some that are focused on non-japanese history, because I decided to give those a separate post:
Set in the renaissance Italy follows the story of young student Angello di Canossa and how he meets one of most enygmatic figures in history as considered today – Cesare Borgia (his life and conduct inspired one of my favourite reads of all time, Machiavelli’s Prince on the side note), author Fuyumi Suoryo made it in collaboration with a Dante scholar so it has many details about the time and young Cesare Borgia facts that I’ve migh have not stumble across differently. As the great political intrique unravels, history has never been more fun as experienced trough manga format. It is currently publishing.
Epic tale about brutal Vikings. Do I need to say more? Well I should, I guess. Cannot pinpoint precisely the very historical period, but it is definetly around the time Christianity started protruding northern regions of Europe (Denmark, Norway, England)… It follows the story of a young Viking Thorfinnon a path of avenging the murder of his father, shows the beginning of feudal age, Viking plundering and formation of kingdom. Very exciting, interesting and thrilling read you easily get hooked on. Currently publishing.
What is so great about this? As Alexander the Great filled our history textbooks, movies were made about him and he is one of the greatest conquerors of human history, we think it’s fairly known and even overused as a topic. This manga is a story about Alexander as a side character because it actually follows exciting life and deed of one of generals – Eumenes who is like cunning king Odisseus, from his early life (which was drawn from private papers of Hieronimus and later from private papers of Eumenes). Portions of the story are made up to make it more interesting, but the world and society depicted is very, very accurate as far I can tell. This manga will make great appeal to whoever likes strategy, reading about ancient battles and trivia about historical people. One of my personal favourites and currently publishing.
Otoyomegatari (A Bride’s story)
Young English scholar travels trough Asia and meets young brides as he researches cultures, but that is just story on bigger scale and connection between more of them in different parts of world. First young bride Amira is from nomadic people that may origin from Mongolians in today’s Kazakstan (I guess). Story starts as she is to be wed into a different town and to her surprise the groom is younger than her, afterwards it shows a lot of hers day-to-day adventures as she accustoms herself to new way of life. As the young scholar reaches today’s Turkey, story starts to follow two energetic and mischiveous twins in a coastal village. This manga is adventurous, romantic and more focused on everyday life in these exotic cultures… so far at least, because it’s currently publishing.
This is a Cinderella like romance set in Victorian London that follows the story of a young maid named Emma. As a child, she was kidnapped from a way back home to her poor fishing village and upon arriving in London she escaped and was taken as a maid in home of old governess. One day an ex pupil from aristocratic family visits the very old lady that raised him in the childhood and falls in love with Emma… even the very story format was used repeatedly in lot of books, movies and such, this manga delivers well reserched Victorian London, customs, class differences, beautiful illustrations and enjoyable read to those who are in the mood for some romance. Written and drawn by Mori Kaoru as well as Otoyomegatari. Finished publishing.
From the same author as Historie, Iwaaki Hishi (that is easily seen just from a glance), this one volume short piece placed in small city state of Syracuse tells a story about final moments of mathematician Archimedes who by the legend has made several war machines for defending the city (which are depicted in it). A short and interesting read. Finished publishing.