Twelve Kingdoms

A fantasy of ancient Chinese atmosphere. You will know the essence of oriental philosophy.

anime "Twelve Kingdoms"fantasy
referenced from Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

recommendation : 3

maturity level : 5

The rating, or number of Stars, is my personal opinion.

year of creation : 2002

The anime “Twelve Kingdoms” is based on a very popular fantasy novel. According to the publisher’s website, the series has sold more than 12.8 million copies as of September 2021. “Twelve Kingdoms” was produced as far back as 2002, so the visuals may not be as good as some of the more recent anime (In other words, it is a testament to the remarkable progress that anime has made in recent years.)

However, “Twelve Kingdoms” remains an anime that can be enjoyed by mature adults with its beautiful ancient Chinese-style visuals, emotional music, finely crafted worldview, and magnificent storyline.

You may be wondering, “Why is China the subject of a Japanese anime?” In Japan, which has absorbed Chinese culture for a long time, it is not uncommon for Japanese people to know more about Chinese classics than Chinese people. And then, there is a history of sublimation into a unique Japanese culture. Japanese people love to learn about other cultures with respect.

I intend to someday introduce on this blog a Japanese anime featuring the Shi Huangdi and a Japanese anime featuring the Vikings of Scandinavia.

Highlights: A well thought-out worldview. Chinese fantasy with a sense of eternity.

This anime features beautiful visuals in the style of ancient China and emotional music to match. Incidentally, some of the opening music resembles that of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and there are suspicions of plagiarism, but “Twelve Kingdoms” was produced first. In other words, it is not plagiarized.

The concept of this story is that the main character grows through various experiences, but the political games and intrigues are also interesting and well worth watching, as it is hard to believe that this is a fantasy work. This anime also gives a detailed setting to the political form and bureaucracy of the national and local governments, which adds depth to the story.

This anime has aspects of good old-fashioned adventure action. For example, the king hides his identity and joins the bandits to fight the bad guys together. Having shown justice and bravery, the king reveals his identity after the battle. Everyone becomes fascinated with the king.

It is well worth watching. This is truly an anime for mature adults.

Setting: We are drawn into the story because the details are realistic despite the fantasy.

In recent fantasy anime, the protagonist is taken to a completely different world, but they quickly understand the situation and are able to communicate with each other, which seems unnatural. Of course, there is a positive side to this, in that the story moves along at a brisk pace.

In this anime, the characters have a hard time communicating and understanding the situation. Like the characters, we have difficulty understanding the situation. That is what gives this anime its reality.

The king of this world is told that he has been chosen as king by a holy creature resembling a unicorn, a messenger of the Creator. It is a very dramatic scene. However, when she begins her activities as king, she faces a problem. The king himself is only a part of the governing structure under the law, and since the bureaucrats have strong authority over her, she cannot easily conduct politics even though he is the king.

To add, the author of this story also set up the bureaucracy in great detail. Such an accumulation strengthens the basic structure of the story and thus makes it an interesting anime for mature adults to watch. This is possible because the author is well versed in the Chinese classics.

This anime contains a lot of information and therefore satisfies mature adults.

Story: This anime puts the characters through a variety of experiences. This is because character development is the theme of this story.

Experience makes people grow. That is the main theme of this story. It is a work with a sense of gravitas not seen in recent anime.

Therefore, straightforward objectives, such as defeating a bad guy or saving someone, are not the main theme. Also, there are no events such as acquiring items or improving status, as is the case in recent fantasy. If you watch this anime with a misunderstanding of this point, you may think that it is just a story like Alice in Wonderland, where you get caught up in incomprehensible things one after another. Please watch this anime while imagining the psychology of the characters rather than the events.

Yet, this anime is also a good old-fashioned good-good-punishable-evil story. You can also feel the simple joy of punishing the bad guys.

Travel with the main character through this different world and get familiar with it. It will gradually become more interesting.

Troublesome part

This anime has so many names of people, places, government positions, and other common nouns that you may be confused at times. You can enjoy the adventure adventure enough without being confused, but if you are really curious, stop watching for a moment and look it up on Google. Both this anime and its original work have long-time, devoted fans, so there is information on the Internet that can help you.

This anime is both simple fun and interesting to look up and understand. It is a great anime.