Best Historical Animated Film Outside Japan
While historical fiction is a notable genre in the anime, such shows are most often set in Japan, especially since titles involving samurai have always tended to be popular. Alternatively, many shows that want a slightly more “exotic” historical touch have sets strongly inspired by real-world locations, but are always fictional versions of them with different names, as in Principal Princess Where The story of Saiunkoku.
In contrast, the number of anime titles set in named real-world historic locations outside of Japan, and within an explicitly stated time frame, is rare. However, these shows that name actual places and dates stand out for this very reason, even when the stories still involve an element of fantasy or paranormal with their historical elements.
Here are seven historic fictional anime titles that take place outside of Japan and offer specific real-world locations and timelines for viewers to immerse themselves in.
Le Chevalier D’Eon (Paris 1740-50)
The very underrated Knight of Eon is an original anime set in pre-revolutionary France during the reign of Louis XV. King Louis himself, along with many other historical figures from the real world, appear in the show, including Queen Marie, young Louis XVI, the Marquise de Pompadour, the Duke of Orleans, and Maximilien Robespierre, among others. In fact, D’Eon himself is loosely based on the historical figure of the same name; in the anime he is possessed by the spirit of his late sister, explaining his character often dressing as a woman, but in real life he was a French diplomat, spy and soldier who managed to infiltrate the court of Empress Elisabeth of Russia presenting as a woman, and who began to live publicly as a woman from 1777.
Rose of Versailles (1780-90s France)
The very iconic Rose of Versailles takes place in France in the years preceding and during the French Revolution. Although the manga initially focuses on the character of Marie-Antoinette, it later follows more closely the fictional Oscar FranÃ§ois de Jarjayes, which is also the main focus of the anime. The show, while quite a product of its time with its disproportionate number of sparks and reveling in its lush Rococo aesthetic, is a historical drama at its most compelling and remains an incredibly influential work today.
Black Butler (Victorian Era London)
Even if black butlerThe anime does not take place in a single year, it was established in the manga that the main protagonist Ciel was born in 1875, placing the series in the second half of Victorian-era England – d ‘ especially as we know that the Jack the Ripper cases, which Ciel is personally investigating, took place in London in 1888. Queen Victoria herself also makes an appearance, albeit in a villainous role. The show uses its setting to show beautifully detailed (albeit historically inaccurate) clothing choices, as well as the (very historically accurate) obsession some of its characters have with the occult. Therefore, black butler is often deliciously dark and certainly never lacks tension.
Emma: A Victorian Romance (Victorian-Era London)
Although much less known than the likes of black butler, Emma: a Victorian romance presents a setting that is no less captivating, albeit in a much more calm and subtle way. A historical romance, Emma takes place in London at the end of the 19th century and follows a housekeeper who falls in love with William Jones, a man whose middle-class merchant family tries to rise into the nobility and therefore disapproves of the relationship. While no specific year is given, the very down-to-earth and understated setting lends a strong sense of realism to the series which, unlike most other historical fictional animes, does not feature any element of fantasy or fantasy. paranormal.
Chrono Crusade (1920s New York)
Located in New York in the roaring twenties, Chrono Crusade is an oldie but a goodie. At first glance, anything may seem fine – the jazz scene is booming, contraband alcohol is plentiful, and many people lead rich and prosperous lives. Beneath the surface however, demons lurk and are hunted down by our main characters, who, as members of the Order of the Magdalen, roam the land to help eliminate these demonic threats. Viewers who particularly like an immersive experience may enjoy the English ADV dub, as the script incorporates a lot of authentic and well-documented period slang, which adds a lot of fun and energy to the series.
Baccano! (1930s New York)
Historically speaking, Baccano! is a very interesting title because it tells three different stories set in three different timelines, apparently jumping between them depending on the mood. However, the most notable of these stories take place during the Prohibition era in the United States – more specifically, these events occur from 1930 to 1935 in Chicago and New York. Filled with rival gangsters, information brokers, independent assassins and practicing alchemists, Baccano! presents a smooth, jazz-filled frolic with very few, if any, dull moments.
91 days (Illinois 1930s)
Although taking place in the fictional town of Lawless, most of the events of 91 days nonetheless take place in a specified year – 1932 – during the American Prohibition Era. However, it takes on a distinctly different tone from that Baccano!, with its main protagonist, Angelo Lagusa, determined to take revenge for the murder of his family by the Sicilian Mafia. Interestingly, Angelo’s apartment in Episode 1 would be located in the real town of Normal, Illinois, while the town of Lawless itself is likely named after the American film of the same name. An anime-original, 91 days is an extremely violent and angst-filled title – though it also presents one of the most quietly convincing conclusions of such a bloody proceeding ever seen in the anime.
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