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EP. REVIEW: The Twelve Kingdoms


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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:29 am Reply with quote
Hate when a show want to both have beastman and also have them able to become human at will. For one it really undermine the message, which is always some form of "don't judge by appearance". The writer judge that the audience won't like a character enough unless they have a human form, have some faith in your own message. Plus it seriously blunt the whole "beats people get ostracized" when they can just turn human whenever they want and blend in perfectly with the rest of society.
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Key
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:09 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Hate when a show want to both have beastman and also have them able to become human at will. For one it really undermine the message, which is always some form of "don't judge by appearance". The writer judge that the audience won't like a character enough unless they have a human form, have some faith in your own message. Plus it seriously blunt the whole "beats people get ostracized" when they can just turn human whenever they want and blend in perfectly with the rest of society.

Pretty sure original writer Fuyumi Ono was not trying to pitch any such message or operating under the principle that I bolded. Beings who can transform from purely human form into animal hybrid form (sometimes called lycanthropes in Western lore) are a staple of lore and mythology in many parts of the world, including the Far East. Everything else we have seen to this point for inhuman entities in the setting is, to at least some degree, based on mythological creatures, so the writer is just being thematically consistent here.

Also, don't forget that the tall blond guy has an animal-like alternate form as well, and he's definitely not a Hanjyuu.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:01 am Reply with quote
It's still reinforce the idea that human = good, non human = bad. The youma who can't transform into human are all bad (unless they're controlled by someone who can transform into a human). The only non human creature who are shown as good are the one who can transform into a human at will.
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Key
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:26 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
It's still reinforce the idea that human = good, non human = bad. The youma who can't transform into human are all bad (unless they're controlled by someone who can transform into a human). The only non human creature who are shown as good are the one who can transform into a human at will.

If you're going to take that angle about it, then you might as well label innumerable mythologies across the world and history as being human supremacist as well, as in many of them "good" creatures that cannot assume humanlike form are rare or nonexistent. Do you really want to push the complaint that far?
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thedarkemissary



Joined: 07 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:44 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
It's still reinforce the idea that human = good, non human = bad. The youma who can't transform into human are all bad (unless they're controlled by someone who can transform into a human). The only non human creature who are shown as good are the one who can transform into a human at will.


I think you missed the point completely. For one, Rakushun says he prefers to be in beast form. For another, the idea is that people would hate him regardless of what form BECAUSE he's different. Giving him a human appearance isn't to placate the audience, it's to flesh out the concept of "beastman" in the worldbuilding. Up until this point, not even Youko knew that beastman could even transform.

Not to mention,
Quote:
human = good, non human = bad.
if you've been paying attention, the only REALLY EVIL MONSTERS are the humans. Even the "bad" non-humans are being controlled by evil humans.
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EugeneW



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Illustrative of the above, the youma attacking Youko in Shadow of the Moon are controlled by Kourin, on orders from the Imperial Kou (whose orders will eventually kill them both). Many shirei possess human levels of sentience and intelligence and yet have no human form.
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:03 pm Reply with quote
thedarkemissary wrote:
I think you missed the point completely. For one, Rakushun says he prefers to be in beast form. For another, the idea is that people would hate him regardless of what form BECAUSE he's different. Giving him a human appearance isn't to placate the audience, it's to flesh out the concept of "beastman" in the worldbuilding. Up until this point, not even Youko knew that beastman could even transform.


It's a stand-in for invisible or possible-to-pass minority status, like jewishness or being gay. Rakushun could alter his behaviour to look like a non-hanyou, but:
+ the discrimination is a result of his being a hanyou [for "hanyou", read "jewish" throughout], not merely walking around in beast form. If he stayed in his full-human form he'd still be discriminated against,
+ he doesn't want to, because he wants to present himself as he is rather than to pretend to be someone else.

[also note that exactly the same thing applies to Youko's red hair back in japan; this isn't an accident, people write stories deliberately.]

Fundamentally, the story isn't trying to say "look beyond appearences".
Quite the reverse; it's about [in this arc] acknowledging the reality of difference, letting people be themselves. It's... how to put this. Start with the text: work out the "moral" from what the text actually says rather than declaring that the text is bad because it doesn't fit into the box you're trying to shove it. Which is... kind of ironic, really; neither the text nor Youko herself fit into the boxes that people try to put them into.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:00 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
meiam wrote:
It's still reinforce the idea that human = good, non human = bad. The youma who can't transform into human are all bad (unless they're controlled by someone who can transform into a human). The only non human creature who are shown as good are the one who can transform into a human at will.

If you're going to take that angle about it, then you might as well label innumerable mythologies across the world and history as being human supremacist as well, as in many of them "good" creatures that cannot assume humanlike form are rare or nonexistent. Do you really want to push the complaint that far?


That's what they were, but it makes a lot more sense coming from people for whom getting attacked by a wolf on the road is a very real possibility.

I'm not saying the show is explicitly saying human = good, non human = bad, actually the contrary. But it is implicitly acting that way because it's caving in to audience expectation (rightfully or not) that character need a human form to be properly developed as a character. Otherwise, why even show Rat boy human form? The story would work just as well if not better if none of them could turn human.

As far as preference, there's plenty of nudist who are more comfortable naked and who would prefer to go around naked all the time and send their children to school naked too. They're not allowed to do that, are they being oppressed (before you say beastman natural form is being a beast, human natural form is being naked)? In the show why don't beastman just turn human and move somewhere else and pretend they're human? Far from ideal, but it seems like a better situation than being treated as second class citizen. The show could have at least given they're human form some leftover beast feature so they couldn't easily hide it.

If the show want to use that as a stand in for some persecuted minority, it could have just done that, no need to bother with the non human part. Plus it's missing most of the point anyway since persecuted minority can't hide they're status.

Plenty of Youma attack people indiscriminately and aren't control by human. Human can be good or evil, but non human are purely evil (again, unless they have a human form, or are controlled by human/human form possesing person), that's just what the show has established up to now.
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Tylerr



Joined: 13 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:39 am Reply with quote
a shame this never got any more adaptations.

i kind of hated the anime when i first watched it, but on a second rewatch years later i fell in love with it and was really bummed to find out there wasn't even a manga adaption that finished it.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:11 am Reply with quote
Speaking of the last Queen of Kei, there *is* one good thing that can be said about her: when she realized her actions were killing Keiki, she was so horrified that she chose her own death rather than allow Keiki to die. She might've been messed up in the head, but her feelings for Keiki were genuine.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:08 pm Reply with quote
Concerning the pacing in episode 13, the anime actually isn't skipping anything; the original novel doesn't detail those battles, either. I've always agreed with this because, while there are actions elements in the series, it is not truly an action series. The impact that the battles have on Yoko - the realization that that spilling of blood goes hand-in-hand with being a King, as the Kong of En said - is what's important, not how the battles are won.

In general, I found episode 13 to be a very satisfying conclusion to the first arc, even if it is just the first major step in a bigger story.
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Xe4



Joined: 04 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:17 pm Reply with quote
I also thought the last episode of the first arc was a bit quick to wrap up.
This is about where I left the series, so I'm intrested to see what comes next.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:27 pm Reply with quote
I was a bit disappointed that Keiki got off scots free in all this. He seems to have done his job disastrously badly and I don't get why no one at the very least point it out. Can Youko request a new one?

At first I though that their world knew nothing about how our world worked and that's why Keiki didn't bother explaining anything to Youko, since he'd assume every world works the same way. But apparently our world is well known to them, he just didn't feel like giving her a few simple pointer/explanation (you're the new queen, here's a magic sword that will try to trick you, watch out for king Kou). Worse he forbid his servant from telling anything to Youko, I though he wasn't unable to communicate with her, but no he could have done that at any time, just didn't because Keiki didn't allow him.

He also managed to get discovered by King Kou almost immediately (how did Kou find that out anyway?). And he got capture upon coming back.

The show is a bit loose with how the unicorn decide who's fit to be a ruler (could be translation issue). They always say the unicorn pick, if that's the case that means Keiki last 2 pick were a women who went insane almost immediately and a highschool girl with 0 credentials or reason to believe she'd be a good queen, rat boy would be a way better ruler than her.
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q_3



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:57 pm Reply with quote
One could even say that strange unicorns distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:02 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I was a bit disappointed that Keiki got off scots free in all this. He seems to have done his job disastrously badly and I don't get why no one at the very least point it out. Can Youko request a new one?

At first I though that their world knew nothing about how our world worked and that's why Keiki didn't bother explaining anything to Youko, since he'd assume every world works the same way. But apparently our world is well known to them, he just didn't feel like giving her a few simple pointer/explanation (you're the new queen, here's a magic sword that will try to trick you, watch out for king Kou). Worse he forbid his servant from telling anything to Youko, I though he wasn't unable to communicate with her, but no he could have done that at any time, just didn't because Keiki didn't allow him.

He also managed to get discovered by King Kou almost immediately (how did Kou find that out anyway?). And he got capture upon coming back.

The show is a bit loose with how the unicorn decide who's fit to be a ruler (could be translation issue). They always say the unicorn pick, if that's the case that means Keiki last 2 pick were a women who went insane almost immediately and a highschool girl with 0 credentials or reason to believe she'd be a good queen, rat boy would be a way better ruler than her.

To address points here and in another post, the kirin (the unicorn-like creatures) choose rulers based on divine inspiration; it's not their judgment and it's not random. Those they choose are judged by the Heavens to have the qualities necessary for leadership, but there can be a steep learning curve if the king/queen was not a leader to start (as you're seeing and will continue to see with Yoko) and, since they are human, they can lose their way (King Kou, Yoko's predecessor, and others you'll see later on) or just never learn enough to be effective.

Yes, part of things going badly is on Keiki for not explaining anything, though in fairness they were in the midst of a crisis when he first appeared and he never had time to explain anything after that. His command to the servant he put in Yoko to give her fighting skill was not thought out well, but he also didn't anticipate not getting to see Yoko for a long time, either. Also doesn't help that Keiki is (as you'll see) maybe the most socially inept of all of the kirin that eventually appear.

As for King Kou discovering them almost immediately, the portals which open between the worlds are big, flashy displays, and King Kou (or perhaps more accurately, his kirin Koukei) did has some idea of where Yoko was when she was in the other world, so where they might come through would be easy to anticipate. Nothing inconsistent there.
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