2 Replies to “12 Kingdoms: Enough Kingdoms, Enough Episodes”

  1. One of my all-time favorites. As hard as it is to believe now, there used to be a time when Isekai-shows were decent (Escaflowne, Those Who Hunt Elves, El-Hazard, Now and Then Here and There, etc).
    This adaption is actually an interesting case where the anime made major changes to the original content and didn’t screw things up – for example, Yuka was barely a character in the novel and Youko was spirited away to the 12-kingdoms world alone in the first arc. Ironically, in relations to what you said about the brutality, the novels are even darker by the way.
    Not sure about casual fans, but for the fans of the novels the issue with the ending was that it ends right before a very good arc that resolves plot points that haven’t been resolved in the anime. Besides, considering that it’s a series of novels written by the author of Shiki, and that the later novels are just as good, you’d always want more.
    The novels are still ongoing by the way and it’s a real shame that there is no plan for adaption and no plans to translate them to English (only first 4 volumes have been officially translated and I heard the translation quality was extremely dodgy). It is also still being illustrated by Akihiro Yamada who is a top tier illustrator and it is rare for unique and genuinely good art style to make it into anime form those days, which is again a shame.
    If you like the show though you should try Saiunkoku Monogatari. Not as good, but pretty good. I’d say try Fushigi Yuugi as well since it has a similar vibe, but it really is nowhere as good and too shojo-ish (for me at least).

    • Fushigi Yuugi was probably one of the first 30 anime I watched, and that has a lot to do with why I hold it in high regard. If I’d watched 12 Kingdoms under the same circumstances as Fushigi Yuugi — 16 years ago and with subtitles — there’s no doubt in my mind I’d have given it a higher score.

      I’m not surprised that 12 Kingdoms has a lot more left in the tank. While quality varied from arc to arc, I got the sense that the author accomplished only a fraction of what she wanted to do. My favorite arc was the second to last one, “Kaze no Banri, Reimei no Sora” (A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky at Dawn). It seemed like that was the level of quality I could expect from future major arcs.

      I’ve never seen Saiunkoku Monogatari, but I’ll take note if it’s recommended by at least two more independent sources.

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