This is the Holy Era, a 14th-century France-style fantasy kingdom. Before his daughter’s eyes, the king of Hortensia dies. He has been betrayed by Duke Rugis of Camellia, who has made a deal with dark forces from other world, a deal which allows him to become a wolf-like monster. At the same time, his warriors in red, aided by monsters, suddenly attack their brethren-in-arms. The Templar Knights of Camellia rescue the princess at great cost, and Fernando of Albert gives his life to achieve the feat. His brother Maurice, now one-eyed, leads the princess, disguised as “Marius,” to the house of Fernando, where Fernando´s heir, Alfred, gives her shelter, vowing to become a knight like his father and protect his kingdom. Vowing in turn to become stronger and assist him, the princess assumes the identity of Alfred´s squire. Five years after their encounter, their army will face its first battle against commander Roy Bachelot and his famous archers.
Yes, it is pretty formulaic. The disguised warrior maiden, the oblivious nobleman. The sacral kingdom defiled by a treason that gives an opening to the forces of evil. The rebels fighting the invaders. The father that must be avenged. The show does pretty much the usual. And yet…I do like it. Just as I was reading William Th. Walsh’s Isabella of Spain and a study on the France of Louis IX to foster my undying love for chivalry and the Middle Ages, I came across this tale of honor and courage. To see the evil and monstrous Rugis, the proud Roy, and whatever other red-themed villains that come along defeated by our heroes may be a good way of spending twenty minutes a week. Plus, though the Templars are not very Templar-like, I find this young Pope with glasses hinted at the opening intriguing, and I wonder, too, how Hortensia functions as a kingdom. We´ll see.
Hortensia Saga is available to stream through Funimation.