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EP. REVIEW: The Twelve Kingdoms


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Xe4



Joined: 04 May 2015
Posts: 84
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:05 pm Reply with quote
I remember watching the first arc and thinking it was good. The first four episodes are ok, but I didn't really get into the arc until a few episodes down the line, so I'm definitely interested to see what the reviewer thinks of those.

I dropped the series instead of watching or skipping over the recap episode for some reason, so I may just pick it up again from there.
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Gonbawa



Joined: 28 Jun 2016
Posts: 37
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:32 am Reply with quote
Zefram wrote:
Plus there is a novel about Empress of Kyou.

I read all of them and this one (The Wings of Dreams) is my favorite. The Empress of Kyou really is a great character : it's a pity that this story was never adapted in anime. Perhaps because all the MC are 12 Kingdoms local people, therefore it's no more an "isekai" story.
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ChimeyChime



Joined: 02 Mar 2018
Posts: 46
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:18 am Reply with quote
Quote:
but what little I've seen has me itching to no more


I think you meant "know" more?

I really loved this anime, but I still prefer the books in some areas. For example, in the book Youko is alone throughout all of this, whereas in the anime she's got some classmates who have been shoehorned in to act as mouthpieces.

I dunno, the book just makes her despair hit harder because she's all alone and then her character growth just makes that much more of an impact to me.

That being said, there are some scenes that I find were done better in the anime. No spoilers, but later on there are a few details that are fleshed out or showed from the perspective from a different character and I think it works very well compared to what the book did.

All in all, the story in both the anime and the books will always have a special place in my heart. Smile
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 3213
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:40 pm Reply with quote
Xe4 wrote:
I remember watching the first arc and thinking it was good. The first four episodes are ok, but I didn't really get into the arc until a few episodes down the line, so I'm definitely interested to see what the reviewer thinks of those.

Things pick up quickly once that unusual furry guy shows up.
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1546
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:18 am Reply with quote
To the reviewer's opening dilemma this week (Ep3-4) the feature I disliked most about 12K is the title/term/personal name/place name "salad" and the importance placed on it, but people should realize the blame lies on the nobility of China and the Japanese tendency to want to out-do the Chinese. I believe a lot of the life of nobility was tailored to make things as difficult as possible for "commoners" to navigate so only those with great memories could get everything right (keep it all straight). Be thankful you weren't born into nobility back then.

The single thing I find amazing about 12K is that, with as much animosity as there has been between the Japanese and Chinese, this anime was made during a period of renewed interest in China from Japanese teens and so celebrated the ancient Chinese. It remains in the top five of all time in anime in some lists. Other than that, I think the series was needlessly slow, convoluted and boring. However, it was far better done than Hoshin Engi Confused
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:58 pm Reply with quote
Still must be some interest now, too. Ono's four-part novel released last year sold out its initial press run of 500,000 copies.

I could have done with less Suzu.
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Agent355



Joined: 12 Dec 2008
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Location: Crackberry in hand, thumbs at the ready...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:45 am Reply with quote
I saw 12 Kingdoms years ago and loved it; I’m glad to revisit it, especially with a reviewer watching it for the first time! In my head, I classify not only as “old school shojo isekai” but as part of a cohort of sci fi/fantasy stories with strong adventurous action elements led by female protagonists who, if they didn’t start out confident and capable grew into their roles. I’m thinking of Basara, Red River, Please Save My Earth, Fushigi Yugi and it’s sequels, , and their spiritual granddaughter Yona of the Dawn. I’ll admit that their mixing in my mind comes from a frustration of Viz and other English publishers mostly giving up on “action shojo” in the early aughts, and it’s not quite accurate to categorize a novel series like 12K with manga, but they all have elements I love that I feel don’t get enough love, in the form of anime adaptations or English releases.

On the argument of 12 Kingdoms being different because Youko wants to go home, what struck me rewatching these early episodes is how much Yuka would fit right in as a modern day isekai protagonist. She’s the otaku/chuuninbyo who has always dreamed of being whisked away to a fantasy world and believes in her heart of hearts that she’s truly cut out for it (and that no one is missing her at home). But she’s being framed as a jealous rival, trigger happy and potentially dangerous, sliding towards full on antagonist. Which makes a great contrast to Youko, the actual “chosen one,” purer of heart, who is being forced to be violent against her will. I don’t remember Yuka’s arc completely, but just from these episodes I sense their is great pain behind her protagonist desires (“if you don’t want to be betrayed, don’t trust people in the first place”) and her probable pull towards the Dark Side will be all the more tragic.

I wish 12 Kingdoms and Escaflowne were assigned to the same reviewer to add some points comparing and contrasting old-school shojo isekai, although maybe the similarities aren’t strong enough to last more than a few episodes—so far we got the protagonist who wants to go home and the classmate love interest who will be supplanted by a fantasy world counterpart (kinda)?
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1546
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:42 am Reply with quote
Fluwm wrote:
..<> And if anyone has mixed feelings on these early episodes... just be patient and wait for Rakushun....
He was my favorite character in the series and highlight if you ask me. However, bright spot that he was, the story was slow even after he appeared though better paced than the beginning. As a joke, I like to pose the question, "does the title En-Ho mean he is the "Ho" of En"? (just being dumb Wink )
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 16240
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Agent355 wrote:
I wish 12 Kingdoms and Escaflowne were assigned to the same reviewer to add some points comparing and contrasting old-school shojo isekai, although maybe the similarities aren’t strong enough to last more than a few episodes—so far we got the protagonist who wants to go home and the classmate love interest who will be supplanted by a fantasy world counterpart (kinda)?

Comparing/contrasting the two would be interesting, but it would be more of a contrast than a compare because the two actually have little in common beyond (predominately) having a female isekai protagonist, having premium openers and closers, and having appeal with female audiences. One's mecha, one's not, one's more high fantasy/sci fi mix, the other is more classical Chinese fantasy, and of course one heavily features romance elements while the other is utterly devoid of it. (Seriously, outside of spoiler[the unreciprocated yandereish love of the former Queen of Kei], is there any romance in 12K at all?)
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 830
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:11 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
(Seriously, outside of spoiler[the unreciprocated yandereish love of the former Queen of Kei], is there any romance in 12K at all?)



spoiler[Magic biology. Huge shrug. But sennin can't have children, that we do know.]
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Alan45
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:06 pm Reply with quote
Children are completely unnecessary to romance or love. They are only a (frequently undesireable) byproduct.
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 830
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:20 am Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
spoiler[Children are completely unnecessary to romance or love. They are only a (frequently undesireable) byproduct.]


Since you're clearly not afraid of spoilers and you clearly haven't seen the show, some background.

spoiler[The creatures in the setting don't reproduce sexually as we understand it. They grow on trees; this is in the OP, so. A married couple pray to god and a fruit grows. Animals -- and demons -- grow on different trees. Youko as queen is an immortal, a sennin; sennin can't marry and so can't have children. Can they have sex? We don't know if anyone in-setting has sex, and this goes double for sennin. If they can/do have sex, then Youko and Rakushun probably are. Certainly they're emotionally intimate, but the show isn't about their romance by-and-large so it's kinda a sideline. Unlike say Moribito, where Balsa and Tanda are deffo emotionally intimate but equally deffo not having sex for various reasons including their work focus, Balsa's emotional scars, and "I forgot that that was an option" for both of them.]
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Alan45
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:38 am Reply with quote
@nargun

I have seen the show. My comment was not specific to the show but to life in general. Key was talking about the absence of romance.spoiler[ I wasn't trying to get into the world's approach to children, which is one of the odder aspects of the novels.]

Youko spoiler[is too busy fighting for her life and trying to find a place in a strange world to get much beyond friend ship.]
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Nom De Plume De Fanboy
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 376
Location: inland US west, pretty rural
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:21 am Reply with quote
The reproductive system introduced later in the show makes a person wonder what the prostitute/courtesan seen in Episode spoiler[ 4] was there for. Not to take it too seriously, but maybe they just have erotic dancing or dirty songs or just tell dirty jokes to the customers. Rolling Eyes Smile

But some of the customers in the cafe part of the place were certainly ( and unpleasantly ) hitting on spoiler[Sugimoto], while spoiler[Takki] was trying to ( minor spoiler[sell the girls to somebody] so they'd work there.

It's minor I guess, because it has nothing to do with any friendship or romance later in the show, but I think the show isn't too consistent in how they portray this. Maybe it's an anime only thing, with the staff thinking it needed more jeopardy for the girls, to crank things up. That happens sometimes.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 3213
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:50 pm Reply with quote
I always thought sex in Twelve Kingdoms happened more or less on the same lines as human sex. It just wasn't the method of reproduction but still a source of pleasure and intimacy.
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