Top 20 Reasons to Watch/Read Historical Action Anime Kingdom
Several times by looking up the on the internet the series kingdom you might have come across the query, Is Kingdom anime worth watching? or Why should I read Kingdom manga? Kingdom is one of those older masterpieces that spans decades of popularity. Kingdom series made its anime debut almost 2 decades earlier in the year 2012 and is still left with its story untold. This is one of those anime series that is a mixed bag of things and similar were its reviews.
So, Here we are with a list of the Top 20 Reasons to Watch/Read Kingdom. Because the story is collected over 66 volumes, we might spill some beans from the clean-knit plot. Let’s begin then!!
An Award-winning Historical masterpiece (Plot overview)
The story has an award-winning legend set in the warring states period of ancient China. In the era of a 500-year war looming around the corner, a young boy named Shin (Li Xin) finds set heroic enough to become a warrior and change the course of history. The war-orphaned boy is a slave in the Kingdom of Qin this coming-of-age story captures the journey of this boy amidst the chaos.
A coming-of-age tale
Li Xin or Shin and his relentless goal to become the greatest general of the Kingdom give rise to a coming of the age tale. The story records the journey of this young slave boy turning into a valorous general in the Qin kingdom army. The story is diversely spread across 66 tankobon volumes in manga (until 2022).
Aside from borrowing a premise taken from the dark, forgotten pages of the history books, the concept of Kingdom also picks up events and names hailing from history (in a partial way). A lot of the characters r based on historical figures including the main character Li Xin. This adds a periodic feel to the manga/anime.
Conflict of Throne
Kingdom has a conflict over the throne that deepens with the 500-year war. Xin when indirectly gets involved in the battle tries to calm down the combat and serves Zheng the new king of Qin. Xin’s’ childhood friend Piao also gets caught up in the power struggle for Qin’s throne and is deeply wounded.
The story’s strength is world-building
Kingdom’s massive success can be credited to its strong world-building. Mangaka Yasuhisa Hara takes a bigger chunk of history and translates it into history through fictional characters. The choice of names from among the historical figures only adds to the great world-building of the story.
Exposes the grim reality of War
With the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the war depiction in the anime Kingdom identifies that the nature of war has been the same throughout. Kingdom manga being partially based on true stories captures and exposes the grim reality of war. The mainstream audience can witness graphic violence similar to what was depicted in the series Berserk.
Shounen with a periodic twist
Rather than most of the contemporary supernatural shonen Kingdom manga figures fight with their developed skills. Also, the earlier discussed historical involvement makes this one more about the battle of lands instead of the personal fantasy ones that are usually found in shonen action anime or manga.
Complex story arc
Because it is a periodical story it has some complex state systems within it. The strong world-building has led to an approximate creation of the same environment up close to the Chinese Warring States Period. The ranking systems within the military and conspiracies that went behind the conflict of the throne make the concept of a Kingdom highly inspired by the ancient realistic issues of royalty.
Rags to Rage trope
The plot overview makes it clear that Xin/ Shin is the protagonist of the story who dreams to become great. But the hurdles placed in his path are rather difficult than facing the strongest of opponents on a battlefield. Initially, the protagonist begins his journey in the manga as an indentured slave. The mangaka’s choice of taking up a protagonist who lacks authority over himself and building him into someone higher up in the authority of a warring Kingdom escalates the character development. This long journey from no self-authority to the authority of stopping a fairly epic war is a smart move for the story building of the Kingdom.
Realism sets alive the historical turmoil
Instead of overburdening the story and protagonist with historic brilliance, the author keeps it rather realistic and simple. Yasuhisa Hara has only used the background of history to add context and premise. Xin is made up of realistic charm and human flaws. Heroism is a concept that is not overbuilt with supernatural power. Instead, there are a lot of factors like war strategies that go behind the status of the overpowered main character Xin.
Carnival of Bloodshed
Just like realistic battle this military shonen anime/ manga carries with it a plethora of brave retails. Yasuhisa Hara has effectively used the battle to present the perception of war and the carnival of bloodshed hampering the psychological development of the characters. The Kingdom can be considered as a shonen genre manga but the immense realistic depictions have no match to contemporary trends of fantasy or supernatural intervened shounen.
Strength of togetherness
The mangaka has smartly chosen the intense battleground to propagate the strength of togetherness. Both in the anime and manga the elevated concept of one man army has been replaced with the power of camaraderie. The mainstream audience that is used to singular focus heroes is missing out on this masterpiece with myriad character creations.
Magnificence surrounded by mortality
The magnificence of this saga is surrounded by a lot of emotional and heart-wrenching moments for the fans. The deep meaningful exposition of war and its nature has twists of fate. Some of the saddest and most unexpected deaths in the long war throw light on the everyday encounter of the characters with mortality and sacrifice.
What goes behind the strength of the Kingdom?
In actuality what goes behind the strength of any real Kingdom and this series in particular is the spirit of war. The author has put forth insights from the perspective of a soldier who gives everything to safeguard the land. Even if the calendar has flipped through centuries the basic thought process of every soldier somewhere meets with the ambitious characters of the popular anime release Kingdom.
The war goes off the field too
Kingdom does not restrict itself in the story to show what happens on the battlefield. The events outside the battlefield are also resembling war. Many of the actions and reactions exchanged by characters are haunted by the turbulent effect of war. The mixture of war with the socio-economic premise is very close to reality. Even the smallest of decisions are driven by strategies in the later part of the story.
Takes into account the Politics of waging war
Kingdom also has a deeply rooted involvement in politics and diplomacy behind the war. The epic proportions and large-scale warfare that take into account strategizing political interests instead of thousands life unveils that in true senses that war is far ahead of just bloodshed and morality.
The highly detailed art amplifies the intensity of war within the story. Specifically, the armies on the battlefield and the backdrop of the Kingdom battlefield itself look stunning as if picked out directly from ancient China. The art is running in the manga as well as the anime. Not to forget the 3D art frames in the Kingdom anime adaptation add a unique style and semblance of Japanese game-like backgrounds in the series.
Overall the character building in Kingdom is fairly amazing. Both the mean and supporting characters develop in the course of the story. Xin’s character graph from an ordinary slave to the strongest general under the sky has interesting and noteworthy ups and downs. One of the shortcomings of a period anime like this is that several characters are named differently in the translation versions due to a lack of equivalent names.
Studio Pierrot might have disappointed the fans with unimpressive animation and average production value yet the story has decent soundtracks. The voice acting is executed well. The OP and ED of Kingdom are enjoyable if not memorable like other masterpieces.
Let off at Cliffhanger
The people who loved and watched through the 38 episodes of the anime series bear the pain of being left at a cliffhanger. Kingdom season 4 did not give the conclusion to its ongoing Koku You Campaign arc. And Kingdom season 5 has still a long way to go under production and upgrades until it comes out with the release in 2024.
For all the fans of historical and shonen drama should try out this lesser-loved piece of anime or manga.