The animated series Reign: The Conqueror is like much of the animation Peter Chung is involved in: it’s strange. A reimagining of the life of Alexander the Great, the story is set in a strange future that draws on the Greek myths, where the protagonist, Alexander, is born of a tyrant ruler, Philip II, and a serpent-loving witch, Olympias. Alexander grows up to be a clever but aloof character who his father detests.
Much of the story is spent slowly developing the politics of this confusing world, which is often hard to follow. Moreover, Alexander’s aloof nature makes it difficult to empathise with him, even when a band of warriors, who also don’t fully understand him, join his mysterious quest for speed and add some much needed character to the story. Throughout it all, the viewer gets a sense that Alexander knows more than he is letting on but the story unveils this so slowly that it’s difficult to want to keep watching.
The series is presented in a realistic American style animation similar to Chung’s AEon Flux, but was produced by the Japanese and animated in South Korea. It looks good and the characters are well designed, however, seeing most of the female and male characters walking around in unnecessarily revealing lycra costumes is a little disturbing and adds to the animation’s bizarre atmosphere.
Better than Chung’s AEon Flux, I find it hard to recommend Reign: The Conqueror due to its slow and confusing story. However, if you’re seeking something different, it may be worth checking out.