Twelve Kingdoms [Anime Series] (2002)

Genres - Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Anime, Coming-of-Age, Fantasy Adventure  |   Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Inspired by Chinese mythology, 12 Kingdoms tells many stories over the course of the series. The main thread that weaves through it is the story of Yoko Nakajima, a high-school girl who tortures herself with her perfectionist behavior, constantly trying hard to please everyone but herself. Yoko's life is interrupted by the appearance of a beautiful man and a strange beast who materialize before Yoko at school. The man, Keiki, bows before her and addresses her as his lord. What follows is a complex tale of war, politics, government, and human drama in the parallel universe to which Yoko is transported. In this world, the emperors and empresses of the 12 kingdoms that exist there are found by Kirin, beautiful creatures like Keiki that can transform from human to beast form. Kirin are born with the ability to sense whom the next leader of their country should be, seek them out, and then help to guide them during their reign. Stories from many kingdoms are told throughout 12 Kingdoms, revealing new creatures, different government structures with different forms of power, and strange attributes such as immortality and the ability to understand all languages. 12 Kingdoms has been praised for its more human depiction of life. Its characters do not all handle power or change well, and the consequences and rewards of greed, paranoia, gratitude, patience, haste, and good intentions are all unique and specific to the world created in the anime.

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Keywords

beast, destiny, empire, girl-next-door, leader, power