This is a steampunk version of the life of Alexander the Great. Being Greek myself, I really need to mention how it feels like having your culture’s historical figures turning into amusement.
ART SECTION: 7/10 [Macedonians in tight bikinis!]
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
- The animation is done by studio Madhouse, of which I consider the best in overall at its field. It did a fine job to convey the weird world of the series.
- Very unusual artwork. Makes it feel almost like it’s not an anime. The faces, the body figures and the machinery are very distinctive and just for that, they deserve a good notice. I simply get tired of watching series with identical looks. In this case, the world is a grim, dark-colored, steampunk version of the Mediterranean world. Quite original, both in presentation and feeling.
- Ok, having Macedonians and Persians dressed with cyber implants, facial mascaras and tight bikinis was… weird. It made them look bysexual at best. It is one thing having Hollywood presenting ancient Greeks as gays, and another having Japan in cooperation with China, Korea and America making them look like transvestites in an alternative reality. Ancient Greeks were simply admiring the male human figure. ADMIRING, not screwing from the ass damn it; how hard is it to understand?! They were MALE PEDERASTS, not PERVERTED PEDOPHILES! … Anyway, although they will feel ugly and feminine to an average otaku, the character figures are also as distinctive as the backgrounds.
- Animation & Lightning / Visual Effects don’t strike as special. They have their moments of excellency but most of the time it will be just swords swinging, 3D objects spinning and simple filters thrown in the background.
SOUND SECTION: 6/10 [Deep talking, followed by eerie music]
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
Nothing much to write about. Voice acting and music themes had a serious tone to them, boosting the atmosphere. And most characters use a very scientific form of dialogue. But I wouldn’t go all the way to call them exceptional. You will like them but you will also never go OMG on them.
STORY SECTION: 9/10 [Alexander meets Neon Genesis Evagelion]
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 2/2, Complexity 2/2, Plausibility 2/2, Conclusion 1/2
- I was left speechless by the way they mixed, like, every genre there is, with historical events, many good sci-fi ideas, existentialist issues and metaphysical concepts. I really urge you to be aware of the historical Alexander’s story beforehand, as the series adapts several genuine events based on ancient texts, along with several fictional events, which dress the final product in lovely ways. In reality, Alexander never went after Pythagoras’ mystical artifact, was never the target of a mystical cult and never heard of the teachings of the Jewish Kabala. But all the same, the story became a lot more interesting because of those touches.
- With only 13 episodes in length and a really multi-layered story, there is no time gone to waste. The story doesn’t focus only on Alexander but also on his several allies and rivals, making the whole very realistic. Some episodes will feel very boring but that doesn’t make them fillers that drag the story for no reason. Every episode has something to offer and usually in a different way than before.
- Based on the context of the story, I can say it has a reasonable explanation most of the time. It does provide explanations about everything metaphysical and it does excuse Alexander’s devilish luck as part of a master plan, ordained by the fate of the algorithmic cosmos. And even has Alexander going against his own destiny, thus not succumbing to fatalism, an ever-present element in ancient Greek theater that I loath, since it always leads to out-of-place and illogical Deus ex Machina solutions to every problem.
- When the last episode is over you will most likely yell, “Where is the rest of it?!” Once more, we have a series that doesn’t know how to wrap things nicely. Some may say that Alexander’s will to go against his destiny was the conclusion; but I leave that to your own judgment.
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10 [Send out my elite cyborg assassins! … DARN; I look good in leather! (touches himself)]
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 2/2, Catharsis 1/2
- All major characters have different personalities, goals and develop by the end of the show.
- Almost all characters have a vague background story and the ending does leave it open to what each one of them was doing. Plus, the story evolved around Alexander’s catharsis and left the rest without a clear one.
- I wouldn’t call them attractive, as they don’t look like your average trendy or emo dudes. And they do feel like transvestites most of the time. Still, their distinctive clothes and way of animation make them stand out.
VALUE SECTION: 4/10 [Becoming master of the world has its toll.]
Historical Value 0/3: None.
Rewatchability 1/3: Low. No reason to watch it again. It may be good to spur you deeper into history, philosophy and mysticism but not to watch the series again. There is simply nothing to expect from a second watch if you were paying attention the first time. And those Macedonian transvestites need a lot of tolerance on your part!
Memorability 3/4: It may not be the best presented series ever, but it will definitely be carved in your mind; a very unique feeling that will stay for good.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10 [This bikini is too tight]
Sadly, this is not a series I enjoyed a lot. It had an awesome story and interesting characters, but in the same time it was not appealing in a mainstream way. Not that I like lukewarm, run-of-the-mill series. It’s just that this sort of presentation was hard to like. The colors were too dark, the characters looked too weird and the ending was too vague. It felt most of the time that it was the story concept that is attractive and not the characters themselves experiencing the story. Plus, the whole deal of someone wanting to rule the world doesn’t feel so special these days as there are many famous anime with leads aiming at the exact same thing.
What is the meaning of life? Who are we? Where are we heading? … Shoot; I ran out of mascara!
- As far as animation style goes, you can always check out the much inferior Aeon Flux, made by the same guy.
- If you dig stories about metaphysical concepts and personal dramas, there are fine titles like Neon Genesis Evagelion, Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, Habaine Renmei, Ergo Proxy, The Vision of Escaflowne, Brigadoon, ZegaPain, Argento Soma, Betterman, Soul Taker and Rahxephon.
- If you dig protagonists who aim to rule the cosmos, then head for Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Death Note, and Code Geass.