Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alexander the Great "Reign: the Conqueror"

The wisdom of the Greeks in a Saturday-morning-style cartoon? Reign: the Conqueror is a Japanese animation series based upon the mythological life of the real historical figure Alexander of Macedon, also known as "The Great."

"All things of the world are numbers. We have nothing against you, but your number is the problem. Set your mind at ease. Your soul will be reincarnated. We bring you deliverance. Your death will be swift." - an assassin of the Pythagorean cult to his would-be vicitm, the young Alexander.

Animation in Japan is a prestigious adult genre. Its subject matter can run from science-fiction to the comic to the erotic to the surreal. Reign: the Conqueror combines slash-and-hack violence with mythologized Greek history, surreal lanscapes, sex, and science-fiction. The series depicts or alludes to Pythagoras, Plato, Diogenes and Aristotle. We see Alexander's mother couple with a god in snake form. We hear his famous exchange with Diogenes the Cynic, who, when Alexander offered him any gift that Diogenes could name, famously asked Alexander to step aside and stop blocking the sunlight. We see him conceive the city Alexandria as a futuristic capital to an empire "worthy of his soul." The battle scenes are stylized but brutal. The animation satisfies the adult and the boy within the man. This is not proper entertainment for young children.

The series is available on DVD and runs on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The series is available in English as well as Japanese on YouTube. Here is the trailer-style episode opening:

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