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EP. REVIEW: The Twelve Kingdoms


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MagicianMan



Joined: 28 Jun 2020
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:02 am Reply with quote
I think part of the reason for the weird feelings about the end of this arc is that the anime adds a lot of material and also expands on things that weren't as prominent in the book. These changes don't always merge well with the main story. IIRC I don't think we ever see the king of Kou or the false queen of Kei directly beyond maybe a page or two. They felt like distant plot devices more than actual antagonists.

That said, the book has the same skip to the end feel when it comes to Yoko claiming her kingdom. Yoko finding the inner strength to become the ruler of Kei is treated as the real climax of the story and the actual battle is more of an epilogue.
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Key
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:02 am Reply with quote
To clarify further on episode 15-16 comments, Youko and Keiki listening to the seeming- young woman (forget her name) tell the story of Taiki is a framing device exclusive to the anime version. In the source material, this arc was just an entire separate novel (the 2nd) in which Youko didn't appear at all. This is an approach you'll see again in the fourth arc.

I have always thought that setting this story in the context of educating Youko on the importance of the king/kirin dynamic, and how irrefutable the selection process is, was a wise choice.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:51 am Reply with quote
I don't mind this storyline, but it's slooooooooooooooooow. And I don't feel like we're learning much from it. Oh it's throwing fancy words at you non stop, but none of them are explained/explored? Who is the official lady? Is she a human/god/super unicorn? What's her job? No clue.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:24 am Reply with quote
I'm not sure, but you are probably talking about the senin. They're sort of like priestesses. They're effectively immortal and their duty is to care for the kurin, especially young kurin.

Edit: I should add that I am talking about *these* specific senin. Senin in general can be considered immortals who serve in a variety of ways. The ones that you're talking about serve the kurin.

As best as I can recall, we only see one guy that might be a god (he had a flying horse, IIRC) and that was really briefly. Other than him, gods are only mentioned, never seen.
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Key
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:24 pm Reply with quote
^
The only character to appear in the series who is specifically referred to as a "god" is one that appears in this arc. I don't remember if he popped up in these two episodes or a little later, so I'll spoiler-tag it: spoiler[it was the guy who was drawing water from the pond after Taiki took a bath in it, as he regarded it as effectively being holy water.] (I'd look up his name, but I am away from home right now and don't have easy access to the series.)

To clarify a bit further, seinin are all of those in the registry as being immortal. Most commonly they are key government figures or support staff (like the young ladies looking after Taiki), but the third arc will show that such is not always the case.

Oh, and it's "kirin," not "kurin."
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Sennin. Sen as in sendai, nin as in ningen. It's the word usually translated as "immortal" when used in chinese folk religion / myth, I think.
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Zefram



Joined: 02 Oct 2019
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:03 am Reply with quote
The anime was cancelled when it got back to Taiki's story. The only reason it continued is that author had released couple of other books unrelated to Taiki in between. Anime cut off a short novelette about Kingdom of Kyou/ruler Shushou, and a major book about backstory of Taiki's story and reappearance in our world with Youko and Shouryu making guest appearances there. Then author stopped for 18 years just releasing a short story book in 2013 and just recently concluding Taiki's story.
So the anime adaptation writers who made a kind of not-wise decision to adopt the story from Youko's point of view run out of material because the last few books are not from Youko's point of view at all and final novel concerning Youko and Taiki ends in cliffhanger.

I hope the anime will restart and adopt last few books now, I think there is enough material for good 26-39 episodes for sure.
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Key
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:21 am Reply with quote
In response to the episode 19-20 review, it's important to remember that the scenes back in Japan during this arc - where Yuka encounters Kaname - are anime-original. Taiki being brought to understand that he couldn't have bowed before his chosen king if he wasn't the right choice was the climax of the source novel and the end of that part of his story. The anime version sets up more anticipation of additional story to come concerning Taiki, but it was never animated. That is easily the single biggest problem with the series.

I think it's also important to understand that Taiki's story ends where it does here because the point that it serves in the anime version has already been made. Taiki's situation illustrates that kirin cannot make the wrong choice in who they choose as monarch. (Granted, the choice does not always work out well in the long run, but it is always the right choice at the time.) They are literally physically unable to bow before anyone but the right choice. That means that the fact that Keiki bowed before Youko when they first met is an indisputable affirmation of her right to rule. That was something she had not totally accepted in her heart at the beginning of the arc, and Taiki's story helps her accept that.
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Fluwm



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:01 pm Reply with quote
Ah ahaha I knew it... almost 2 months of (at least) tri-weekly scrolling through ANN's front page and not seeing any 12K content. For shame, ANN! Ya' gotta promote the classics!

Re: the anime's cancelation, was it actually canceled or did it simply end? It always seems weird to me when I read about series being canceled, because the result is often so negligible--like is there really a substantial difference between ending a show at 43 or 49 episodes instead of 50 or 52?

Regardless, I think 12 Kingdom's structure was a big problem. You spend so much of the show getting invested in Yoko and her arc, and then take a long break for an unrelated arc before getting back to Yoko, and then shift once more to an unrelated story. That's not to say the other arcs are any less compelling necessarily, but it's a pretty big ask.
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ValkyrieZeroZeroOne



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:06 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
You will learn more about the sword and scabbard before long. It's workings are not arbitrary and will have important implications to the story and to Yuuko in particular.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that maybe the the best single line of dialog in the whole series concerns this. (Though we have a long way to go yet to get to that.)


I agree, although that episode in general was brilliant (spoiler[especially Youko's monologue at the end, where she delivers her first imperial edict]). I have a friend who could never even get through the first arc of Youko's story (I don't think she even got as far as Rakushun's introduction), and to this day I try to convince her that it's worth going through because spoiler[what you get by Episode 39 is some of the best slow-burn character development I've ever seen in anime (or any other medium)]. That last episode of The Sky at Dawn is just spoiler[the pinnacle of that character development we've seen in Youko since the first episode] and my favourite piece of Hisakawa Aya's voice work.
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thedarkemissary



Joined: 07 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:54 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Regardless, I think 12 Kingdom's structure was a big problem. You spend so much of the show getting invested in Yoko and her arc, and then take a long break for an unrelated arc before getting back to Yoko, and then shift once more to an unrelated story. That's not to say the other arcs are any less compelling necessarily, but it's a pretty big ask.


It's getting real good now. Now that the foundations of the world building and rules about the politics and fantasy elements have been established, it takes off. This was my Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones existed. Multiple storylines, multiple protagonists, multiple antagonists, high court intrigue, fantasy and magic, gripping character introspectives.
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Zefram



Joined: 02 Oct 2019
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:42 am Reply with quote
Fluwm wrote:
Ah ahaha I knew it... almost 2 months of (at least) tri-weekly scrolling through ANN's front page and not seeing any 12K content. For shame, ANN! Ya' gotta promote the classics!

Re: the anime's cancelation, was it actually canceled or did it simply end? It always seems weird to me when I read about series being canceled, because the result is often so negligible--like is there really a substantial difference between ending a show at 43 or 49 episodes instead of 50 or 52?

Regardless, I think 12 Kingdom's structure was a big problem. You spend so much of the show getting invested in Yoko and her arc, and then take a long break for an unrelated arc before getting back to Yoko, and then shift once more to an unrelated story. That's not to say the other arcs are any less compelling necessarily, but it's a pretty big ask.


I think it was more cancelled than run out of the material, because at the time there were 2 novels remaining. First novel was a short one, like one of the short stories about Taiki and Shoryu which take about 5-7 eps each. However, the second book was a doozy. It had 2 volumes and would have taken as many episodes as any of major arks. It was continuation of both Taiki's and Youko's story. However, the major problem with that book is that ends in sort of cliffhanger. Everyone decides to bring Taiki back from our world and gathers together and then the book ends.
Maybe the anime creators did not want to end story on such cliffhanger, however there were million pretty good anime that ended on more drastic cliffhanger and never restarted. So I believe it was a creative difference that led to cancellation of the series not the natural ending due to lack of source materials.

Then the book author took 15 year break with one collection of short-stories book in between and just this year released the conclusion to "save Taiki" arc. That book is HUGE - 4 volumes. Thats 24 episodes on it its own. I hope a 2nd season of 12 kingdoms is being discussed. There should be at least another long anime lasting a good 3 cours if not more.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:46 pm Reply with quote
Concerning episodes 24-25: yeah, in both novel and anime form this was one of the most difficult parts of the series to watch, and outside of Taiki's arc, probably the part that I have rewatched the least. (I typically start a few episodes past this point when I rewatch the third arc). And I heartily agree that this is not a difficult = bad situation, either.

But what makes this arc special is how much all three of these girls grow from the low points they are at now. For anyone watching this series for the first time, you have a real treat ahead of you.
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ValkyrieZeroZeroOne



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:40 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
But what makes this arc special is how much all three of these girls grow from the low points they are at now. For anyone watching this series for the first time, you have a real treat ahead of you.


I can't think of any title where I enjoyed the character development more. It was a hard slog to get through it, but the rewards are great. I can only say to those finding it tough going, keep going. I'd be amazed if you were disappointed by the time the credits roll on Episode 39.
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timber



Joined: 12 Dec 2014
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:11 pm Reply with quote
ValkyrieZeroZeroOne wrote:
Key wrote:
But what makes this arc special is how much all three of these girls grow from the low points they are at now. For anyone watching this series for the first time, you have a real treat ahead of you.


I can't think of any title where I enjoyed the character development more. It was a hard slog to get through it, but the rewards are great. I can only say to those finding it tough going, keep going. I'd be amazed if you were disappointed by the time the credits roll on Episode 39.


My favorite arc. I like how these girls mature, and that ending episode with Youko's proclamation it gives me goose bumps every time I watch it, it embodies that whole arc so well!
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