Kingdom is an anime series adaptation from the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara. Kingdom was the 3rd best selling manga in 2019.
The story takes place during the ancient era of China’s Warring States.
Two young orphans of war, Li Xin and Piao work hard to sharpen their fighting skills in the hopes of becoming great generals one day.
The series has aired two complete seasons and three episodes from Season 3 as of April 27th, 2020. The remaining episodes of season 3 have been delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
1. Quick Review
Yasuhisa Hara’s story takes us back to ancient China during its Warring States period.
During this time, many kingdoms had risen and fallen only to pave the way for the next generation of leaders to fight for power.
Ultimately, seven dominant states emerged from this vicious cycle of bloodshed.
In the kingdom of Qin, two young orphan slaves Li Xin and his best friend, Piao train hard so that they can make their dream of becoming great generals.
Their lives are forced apart when Piao is recruited to work in the royal palace.
After a violent insurgence takes over the kingdom, Piao and Xin are reunited.
On the brink of death, Piao is on a mission that will lead him to a meeting with China’s King, Ying Zheng, who bears a strong resemblance to him.
The series narrates Xin’s tale as he fights hard for honor and glory on his long journey to become a Great General of the momentous Seven Warring States.
Kingdom features some amazing character development that is witnessed throughout the series.
The main character Xin shows physical growth in combat abilities as well as mental growth.
Initially, he considers violence as a solution to all of his problems but as time goes by, Xin learns to use his intellect rather than immediately resorting to the use of brute force.
2. Info Card
KingdomAir Date: June 4th, 2012 – PresentStatus: Ongoing Studio: Studio PierrotNo. of Seasons: 3No. of Episodes: 81
3. Is It Worth Watching?
If you are into historic and warrior themed animes then this series deserves a place on your watchlist.
Kingdom boasts some unique character designs and the storyline manages to portray the significance of war in the historic era as well as the power struggle that took place in China’s past.
With an unusual blend of Chinese history and Japanese storytelling, the show bases itself on the concept of battle strategy and intense warfare.
The series revolves around Xin and Piao, two war-orphans in the kingdom of Qin.
Their dream of becoming powerful generals is shattered when Piao is forced to work at the royal palace by a retainer of the King.
He manages to escape during a rebellion that takes place in the kingdom and returns to Xin, but he is badly injured. Xin decides to carry out his and Piao’s dream of becoming great warriors.
Kingdom showcases some extremely large scale military battles and does an outstanding job in capturing the atmosphere on a battlefield.
Another feature that makes the show unique is that besides the fighting, the show portrays diverse and different strategies implemented by the generals to try and gain the upper hand over an opponent.
Xin is the protagonist of the Kingdom series.
As an orphan, he worked as a slave alongside his best friend, Piao who shared the same fate.
They worked in a poor village in the Kingdon of Qin but dreamed of leaving their mediocre past behind by becoming the world’s greatest generals.
Xin’s character is known to be short-tempered but is also kind at heart.
Over time, we witness Xin’s character development as he matures and understands that violence is not always the answer.
He possesses great strength and sword fighting skills as a result of constant training with Piao.
Piao is Xin’s childhood best friend and a fellow war orphan.
He is also one of the main characters of the series. Piao shares Xin’s dream of becoming one of China’s prominent generals.
Piao’s life takes an unforeseen turn when he is given a position at the palace as King Zheng Ying’s body double because of their similarities in appearance.
He accepts the position, only to die fighting at the hands of an assassin hired by the Cheng Jiao Faction. Piao is a fictional character created by the author and does not exist in history.
Zheng Ying is the 31st king of Qin.
He bears a striking resemblance to Xin’s friend Piao and his father was the late king.
Zheng’s character seems level-headed yet distant. Due to Piao’s similarities in appearance to Ying, he is appointed as his body double at the palace.
- Location: The series takes place during the Warring States period of ancient China. The main characters Xin and Piao live in a poor village in the kingdom of Qin.
- Animation: The first season uses mediocre 2-D animation that hinders the character’s movements and expressions, thus leaving much to be desired. Fortunately, the second season picks up in terms of quality with the use of CGI. The change brings forth much-needed fluidity to the characters and story, especially the action scenes.
- Artwork: The unique 3-D art of Kingdom captures the perception of Chinese warfare. The artwork in the series initially comes off as odd with its weird style but once you get a feel for the story, you begin to understand that it works quite well for the show.
IV. Theme Songs
- Opening theme songs :
|“Pride”||Nothing’s Carved In Stone||1-38|
The OPs of Kingdom are of Rock and J-Pop genres. “Pride” by Nothing’s Carved in Stone is a great start to the seinen anime with fast-paced rock music that matches the tone in the series and the intense emotions of the main characters.
- Ending theme songs :
|“Voice of Soul”||Takumi Ishida||1-19|
|“Destiny Sky”||Yuki Wakai||20-30|
|“Soko ni Kimi ga Iru”||65-77|
The EDs consist of songs from the J-pop genre that are mostly motivational and represents the main character’s will to fight.
“Deep Inside” by Waterweed is a beautiful ending theme with the inclusion of strong instrumentals at the beginning of the song. The visuals show sketches of the characters which adds a nostalgic sentiment to the whole song.
- OST: Kingdom has some beautiful OSTs that amplify the emotions in a particular scene by ten-fold. The orchestra music in each OST is simply breathtaking and worth listening to on repeat long after you’ve finished watching the series.
Unjouryuuhen by Minako Seki perfectly sets the tone for the emotions felt amidst war and its unfortunate consequences.
- Background score: The soundtrack of Kingdom mostly consists of orchestral pieces that are always timed right. There’s uplifting music in scenes were motivational speeches are being given by leaders,intense and accelerating soundtracks when a battle is being initiated, etc.
The use of proper soundtracks held the various components of the anime together and made the show all the more enjoyable.
V. Action Sequences
Based on Chinese battle strategies and fighting techniques, Kingdom is a seinen anime that is mostly comprised of sword fights.
The characters exhibit excellent swordsmanship and the action sequences themselves are well-choreographed.
The character’s growth is also showcased through their gradual improvement in their fighting abilities.
The action scenes show that there is more than just a battle with swords but also a battle of will to come out on top.
5. Final Thoughts
Kingdom portrays a well-developed and intense storyline. Through detailed artwork, the creators have succeeded in recreating an atmosphere that captures the essence of ancient warfare.
The series is home to some epic action scenes and soundtracks that have been timed perfectly making the series a pure delight to indulge to watch.Originally Written By Epic Dope