The Twelve Kingdoms (TV)
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The name used in the story for Japan, "Wa", is written using the kanji 倭. "Wa" is the on-yomi reading, whereas a kun-yomi reading would be "Yamato". This is the name (and kanji) commonly used to mean "Japan in ancient times". The name of the kingdom of Kou, where the story initially takes place, is written using the kanji 巧. The normal meaning of this kanji is "cleverness, adroitness or ingenuity".
The song that Suzu sings in front of Riyou in ep 22 is a fighting song written for the Imperial Restoration in 1868 and popularized during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. It became famous in the West when Gilbert and Sullivan incorporated it into “the Mikado.” as the “March of the Mikado's troops” (contemporary Victorian gossip believed it to be a lewd brothel song).
The lyrics go: 宮様々々 御馬の前の ピラピラするのは/何ぢやいな トコトンヤレ トンヤレナ/ありや朝敵征伐せよとの 錦の御旗ぢや/知らなんか トコトンヤレ トンヤレナ, in romaji: Miya sama Miya-sama on’uma no mae no pira pira suru no wa/Nan jai na? Tokoton’yare ton’yarena/Ariya chouteki seibatsu seyotono nishiki no mihata ja/shiranka? Tokoton’yare ton’yarena= "Your Majesty Your Majesty, what is that fluttering in front of your horse? -Cannot you recognize the rebel-subduing brocade flag?"
The other name used for Japan in The Twelve Kingdoms is Hourai (蓬莱) which means fairyland in English.
As shown in episodes 14 and 21, Youko's name is written 陽子. 陽 or "you" has several meanings including the yang (positive) part of the yin-yang principle. It also means sun and heaven. 子 means child.
In the preview for episode 36, Keiki's English voice actor, Kurt Strauss, mistakenly says that the next episode is number 35.
When King En pays a visit to King Tai, Chris Kent, the English voice actor for the King of Tai, tells Taiki that King En has reigned even longer than King Sou. In fact, King En has ruled for 500 years while King Sou has ruled for 600 years. The subtitles say, "the reign of King En is second to only that of King Sou."
In several episodes (e.g. 15, 16, 21) the soundtrack playing is the same as in a game called "Heroes of Might & Magic IV" (the game was released 2 weeks before the anime and is in no (other) way related to it)
Although there is an 'ending' per se, the series lacks a proper conclusion because the anime production ran out of material to adapt from author Fuyumi Ono’s unfinished novel series.
In episode 28 ("A Great Distance in the Wind, the Sky at Dawn: Chapter 6"), as Youko begins her study under Enho, she takes the name Chuu Youshi (written 中陽子). This is simply how Youko's Japanese name would be said in the language of The Twelve Kingdoms without the "jima". Nakajima Youko is written 中嶋陽子.
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