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Anime / Reign: The Conqueror

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Alexander: Recklessness is speed beyond one's capacity to control. But might increased speed lead to increased capacity?
Aristotle: A horse that eats its rider is neither steed nor speed.

Reign: The Conqueror is a Japanese anime first released in 1999 under the title Alexander Senki. It was released in English by Tokyopop in 2003, and aired on [adult swim] and Showtime Beyond.

The series was a re-imagination of the life of Alexander the Great, based on the novel of the same name by Hiroshi Aramata. Character and setting design for the show was conceived by Peter Chung, the Korean-American animator who created Ĉon Flux.


  • Awful Truth: For Aristotle, when he looks inside the Platohedron and discovers the most powerful force in the universe is not reason but passion. As a Greek philosopher, this is the total antithesis of everything he's ever believed and taught.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Just about all of Alexander's group of friends, but he takes the cake.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Alexander and his parents do not have a healthy home life.
    • Phillip tried to kill Alexander shortly after he was born, and was narrowly stopped by Olympias' python.
    • Olympias behaves seductively toward her own son while lovingly telling him how he will destroy the world.
    • Olympias and Phillip have a loveless marriage. Phillip later divorces Olympias in favor of a much younger and more submissive wife, and Olympias retaliates by arranging Phillip's assassination.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Alexander wears a stylized "A" in this series.
  • Cool Horse: Bucephalus, which also doubles as Hellish Horse; Alexander spends the first episode finding and taming him in order to acquire the "speed" he needs for his Fragile Speedster tactics.
  • Cutting the Knot: The Ur-Example — animated. In this adaptation, Alexander is told about the legend fortelling that the future ruler of Asia would untie the knot, but ignores it until he discovers a talented physician in the city who refuses to leave until the knot is untied. Alexander steps out for a moment, and the rest is legend.
  • Cyberpunk: The series retells the story of Alexander of Macedon in a futuristic, technologically advanced setting.
  • Decadent Court: The Macedonian Court has shades of this. Attalus and Aristotle have their own ruthless agendas.
  • Dirty Coward: Ptolemy. In the epilogue, when he makes an attempt on Alexander's life to fulfill a prophecy that he would become the Great King of the World, he's more fueled by the fear that he'll be the next to die of Alexander's past True Companions. Ptolemy skitters away when Alexander foils the attempt, and lets him go with a promise that the prophecy would come true someday.
  • Doomed by Canon: Everyone.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Alexander on one hand, Aristotle on the other. This is important.
  • Expy:
    • Talks like Yoda, Diogenes does. His short stature, ugly cute face, and role as eccentric mentor to the protagonist also bring Yoda to mind.
    • Olympias has ashen white skin and green hair. She's also a scheming sociopath who's prone to evil laughter. In some ways, she's a gender-flipped Joker.
  • Exact Words: How Diogenes keeps Alexander from sacking Athens; Alexander offers him a wish, but warns that he will take something from Athens of equal value. Diogenes smirks and asks Alexander to step a bit to either side; he's casting a shadow, and he was enjoying the sun's warmth. As a result, Alexander claims Athens as a territory of Macedonia instead of looting it.
    "Diogenes asked for the sun! So Alexander will bask in Athens' prosperity, which is like the sun."
  • Face Death with Dignity: Phillipas and Philotas ( who willingly faces death as a scapegoat to secure his king's rule over the Persians).
  • Fanservice: Mostly for the girls. Many of the male characters wear tight and/or revealing clothing.
  • Gonk: Given that this is a Peter Chung cartoon, these were bound to appear alongside the noodle people. Attalus' two servants and Diogenes are short and ugly.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Every historical character who was a warrior receives one especially Alexander. Even Darius is portrayed as a competent commander who actually has the guts to take on Alexander one-on—one!
  • Historical Beauty Update: Well, if they actually made the characters look anything at all like they should in reality, then they probably would have to draw them in realistic outfits too. So where's the fun in that?
  • Historical In-Joke: The series puts its own spins on the legendary exploits of Alexander, including cutting the Gordian Knotnote  and Diogenes asking Alexander to stop blocking his sunlightnote .
  • Humongous Mecha: Aristotle dabbles in these on the side.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Olympias has always been proud of how her son was fated to destroy the world — and occasionally gets annoyed that he's ambivalent about it.
  • MacGuffin: The Platohedron.
  • Manchurian Agent:
    • Alexander and Olympias brainwash an assassin to kill Phillip.
    • Aristotle brainwashed Cassandra to serve as his Mole in Alexander's clique, particularly when he attempts to have her assassinate him during the invasion of India. The conditioning breaks when Cleitus, her lover, Takes The Bullet for Alexander.
  • McNinja: The shapeshifting assassins of the Pythagorean Cult who attempt to take Alexander's life throughout the series.
  • Mother Looks Like a Sister / Older Than They Look: Neither Olympias nor Philip appear to have aged by the time Alexander grows up.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Olympias, dear God. She keeps a colossal python as a pet, watches in delight as demons devour a human sacrifice in a flashback, and laughs while remarking that her son will destroy the world. Roxana finds her especially frightening.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Olympias. Her laughter is haughty and sinister.
  • Noodle People: This being a Peter Chung anime, many of the characters are tall and ridiculously thin.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Diogenes. He appears to be an eccentric and crude homeless man, which hides his deep knowledge of the cosmos.
  • Pendulum of Death: A variation of it in one episode. Ptolemy is held eagle-spread by chains high above the ground while a giant rotating axe blade slowly rise towards his crotch. Alexander was able to cut him free. A bawling Ptolemy holds Alexander as they escape.
  • Prophecy Twist: Throughout the entire series, Alexander struggles with the prophecy that he will be the one to destroy the world. Early in the series, Diogenes teaches him that it might count if he destroys it to rebuild it in a new image. Ultimately, his actions and passion destroy the Platohedron, a philosophical model of the world that had subsumed reality itself. In the end, he looks at a young child named Euclid writing geometric formulas in the sand, and declares that he's seeing "the world [he] destroyed being made anew."
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Everything that Alexander and his allies do, no matter how cruel or unethical, is excused on the basis that Alexander is a "god" who will usher in a new era.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Clearly fits this in respect to the history involved.
  • The Scape Goat: After conquering the Persian empire, Philotas is implicated as a traitor responsible for a Pythagorean attempt on Alexander's life - he's arrested immediately after killing the main assassin. When Alexander struggles out of bed to stop the execution, Philotas tells his king to let him die to avoid looking weak in front of the Persians.
  • Schizo Tech: Gravity-defying vessels appear in the same setting as swords and horse steeds.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Alexander allows an assassin to take the life of his father, after very visibly stopping a much more obvious assassination attempt. It's strongly implied that Olympias and Alexander arranged Phillip's assassination.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Darius orders his army to retreat at Issus although he was winning because Alexander is being ambushed by the Pythagorean ninjas.
  • Stripperific: One of the few male instances of a Chain Mail Bikini. Because apparently the only thing you need to protect in battle is your nipples and crotch.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The anime is loosely based off of the historical and legendary exploits of Alexander of Macedon. Nearly every named character is based on a real life individual but all of which have major deviations from their historical source.