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Juuni Kokuki

Nakajima Youko is your average somewhat timid high school student. One day, a strange man named Keiki appears before her, swearing allegiance. Before she could properly register what was happening, demon-like creatures attack Youko and her friends, after which they are pulled into a different world. A world unlike what she has ever known. Separated from Keiki, Youko and her friends must do whatever they can if they wish to survive in this new world.
User Count9836
Favorites Count171
Start Date9th Apr 2002
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank1191
Rating Rank855
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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Story - 9Alright, here's how I can explain it...Youko Nakajima and 2 friends, Asano and Sugimoto, come to the Twelve Kingdoms place. Stuff happens. All this confusing mumbo jumbo vocabulary is said from Keiki, who is Youko's guy-thing. Youko learns about the 12 Kingdoms and her destiny, yadda yadda. Okay, I'll be honest. It was hard to keep up with the story and vocabulary - it had a good story though, don't get me wrong. Art/Animation - 6I really, really didn't like the animation. It felt weak, bland and it irritated me to no end. It just didn't work for me. I was glad when it was over and done with, I don't think I could handle another 20+ episodes of this animation.Sound - 5The music was just weak as well. However, the opening score is probably what made me forgive the rest of the soundtrack. I was hoping for something a little better. Character - 9Twelve Kingdoms is practically a character-driven show. If you want character dramatics, this is the series to go to. Backstabbing and various other activities occur between all the characters in this series. Youko Nakajima is easily one of the best and strongest young women in anime history, she's no weakling.Enjoyment - 1I'll admit - I didn't enjoy it. It felt like a chore to watch it. To be fair, I only got excited like 4-5 times throughtout the series. It felt like an even bigger task to remember all the words and vocabulary. It was just very annoying and frustrating.Overall, I have to give Twelve Kingdoms an 7/10 because it was good story/character-wise despite the fact it wasn't memorable - at all.

Ambitious and epic, this is one anime that doesn't shy away from grandeur. Set in a richly designed land that resembles ancient China (but with significant differences), it brings together elements of fantasy and politics on a mind blowing scale. I hear that this kind of settings is quite an over used one, but it's the first of this kind that I've come across. And even if the premises is over used, an anime of such caliber as "12 Kingdoms" is surely one of the standard bearers of the genre. First of all, let me just say that the design of the world that the story take place in is simply amazing. The society, the emperors and their kirin etc give birth to many imaginative concepts. Not all of it is good though, for example I'm not too keen on the emperor selection process. I thought the whole point of letting the gods do the choosing is so that the emperor would be suitable... so why are some of them so screwed up? Oh well, if things didn't go so wrong, it wouldn't make much of a story, right? The "12 Kingdoms" series has a structure comprising four clearly defined story arcs, each with their own title. The first one sets the scene but didn't really get me excited all that much. Maybe it was because being thrown straight into this world with so many exotic concepts is a little overwhelming, and I found it a bit too much to absorb all at once. The second arc is entertaining and open to further development, but alas, "12 Kingdoms" finished prematurely, so they never got around to revisiting the second arc and resolving it. However, despite the improvements upon the first arc it was still lacking that certain spark that would really engage my attention. It didn't help that at the time, I was experiencing a waning interest in anime, with matters not being helped by watching that cack known as Nadesico that, despite only 26 episodes long, felt like a marathon of boredom. Because of this, something really special was needed to revitalise my motivation in watching anime... ...And that special something came in the form of the third story arc. My GOD what a magnificent piece of work it is. The third arc climbs heights unscaled by the others. It skillfully, almost flawlessly weaves together several strands of storyline into one big, complex, emotional rollercoaster ride full of excitement, political intrigue and profound character development. The last arc is short and sweet, but rather complicated. I'm not sure I fully comprehend all that happened in there. Even though the story is fantastic and full of twists, it is still eclipsed by the characters. They are memorable, colourful, and are extremely well developed. Unlike a lot of anime that may contain a couple of outstanding characters, there are a lot in this one. Featuring a cast of delusional, kind hearted, self centered, spoilt characters to name a few, the range of personalities is immense. And what's more, they are VERY dynamic - a few of the personalities i mentioned actually belong to the same people as they evolve throughout the series. I'm also impressed to see a kind of parallel character development taking place where several of them begun in similar situations, but dealt with their predicaments in very different ways. And what's more, perhaps what I like most about is that I see the characters, through the influence of the other characters that touched upon their lives, gradually change from ones that I loathe to ones that I really like and can sympathise with. It really is remarkable and something that I rarely experience in anime. Because it's easy to care about the characters - even the side characters - it's so easy to get emotionally involved while watching this. When misfortune befalls on someone, it can really tear at the heart strings. Now we finally come to some negative points, and there isn't really all that many. Animation was great most of the time, but sometimes goes a bit weird. The initial character designs seem a bit dodgy. The drawing of the faces are occasionally inconsistent, and the movements of characters are almost comical at times. Overall, the animation is one of the weakest parts of the "12 Kingdoms", and it is by no means bad - that gives you some idea of just how impressive this series is. The characters, though nothing short of amazing, are not quite perfect either. For example, I found it hard to believe a spoilt princess who played in the palace without a care in the world is able to perceive the underhand politics that goes on in the place. Also, the recap episodes were annoyingly frequent and sometimes seem misplaced. Even so, there are good points about the recaps as well - they are usually very cleverly done, and are utilised VERY well to move the story along just a bit further and are also used as an opportunity to explain things more clearly. So they are by no means just recycled material, making them a lot more tolerable to watch. In fact, other than the frequency and timing issues, they are probably as good as recaps can get. The above mentioned points are all minor complaints, the one real point that serious dents the credentials of "12 Kingdoms" is the ending. It's a shame, simply a crying shame, that it was left unfinished. Though the last featured arc itself is finished, the series feels far from complete as a whole. The slightly tedious 15 episode set up to the whole saga probably would have seemed more worth it had this followed through with the full 75 episodes that it was intended for. This is probably the only obstacle preventing "12 Kingdoms" from being a masterpiece.

The Twelve Kingdoms is a series of light novels by Fuyumi Ono (Ghost Hunt, Shiki). It began publishing in 1992 with the final volume releasing in 2001, totalling to 11 volumes. Later in 2002, it received an anime adaptation that spanned 45 episodes. The anime begins with a timid high school girl named Yoko Nakajima who along with her friends is dragged into an alternate world that is poles apart from the one she is familiar with. Although the idea of a naïve, clueless protagonist being transported into another world is nothing innovative and rather typical, The Twelve Kingdoms takes this very idea and turns it into a captivating story that quickly drew me in. Slightly reminiscent of prehistoric China, the world of the Twelve Kingdoms is a fascinating one. Here monarchy prevails; each kingdom being under the rule of an emperor who is chosen through the ‘will of the Heavens’ that is regarded as the ultimate authority and the ultimate cause of the very existence of the world. Despite the fantasy setting, the facts that punishment is inevitable for the wrong doer and that we reap what we sow are, needless to say, prevalent in both the worlds. Similar to our world, the society is riddled with politics, discrimination, the thirst for power and subsequent corruption. The universe of the Twelve Kingdoms is intricately detailed that is both intriguing and convincing. Though Yoko’s struggle to survive in the uncanny world she has been dragged into is central to the series, she is not always under the spotlight. Several other characters also have their own stories to tell, a few of whom are more memorable and relatable than the protagonist. There are four arcs in total of which the first arc basically sets the stage. My personal favourite is the second one, the Black Kirin arc which is unrelated to the actual story. Unfortunately, this arc suffers a loose end which is never tied up and this is one downside to the anime. The third arc introduces a few other characters and is centred on three females, Suzu, Shoukei and Yoko herself. The fourth arc is again hugely unrelated and although its story by no means is bad, it was sort of disappointing for me. Why? Because, considering that it’s the final arc, I was expecting the anime to be wrapped up in a decent manner but the ending, I felt, is rather abrupt and that immediately calls for a second season for the rest of the novels to be adapted. However, it appears that a sequel any time soon is highly unlikely. The anime is sometimes criticised for its tendency to be slow paced at many parts. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and seldom felt bored. One thing is initially daunting though and that’s the bunch of assorted terms thrown right off the bat that you require to have at your fingertips or you’re most likely to feel lost through the narrations and conversations between the characters. However, the terms shouldn’t be a problem after a couple of episodes. One of the assets of the series is the characterisation. Each individual has an appealing personality and something to offer, no matter how trivial their role is in the story. They’re easily relatable, and you can’t help but sympathise with them as they go through their difficult times and feel contented when they make out of their tribulations. You can actually learn a thing or two from them. Rakushun, Taiki, Shoryu, Rokuta and Shoukei are my favourites among the supporting characters. On the other hand, Asano and Yuka failed to leave any deep impression on me. They could have been used in a better way to stimulate Yoko’s story in my opinion. Speaking of the protagonist Yoko, her character has been well handled for the most part except certain instances where I couldn’t help but be put off. For one it is a bit unnatural to see a crybaby turning into an outright bold young lady at the drop of a hat, as is the case with Yoko. Secondly, her constant whining about how ‘incompetent’ she is is downright annoying though that’s pretty much justified on a second thought. Apart from that, her inner conflicts and the lessons she draws from her experiences through the course of the series are delivered in the most conceivable manner. With regards to the visuals, ‘old school’ is probably what describes The Twelve Kingdoms the best. Character designs are pretty good as well though the characters’ faces seem a bit off at some scenes. Speaking of the OST, the anime has some of the best background soundtracks I have heard in a while and aptly fit the situations in which they are played. The opening theme is an instrumental music that starts off slow and captures the audience with its transition into an epic, battle-like piece halfway. To wrap up the review, it seems that The Twelve Kingdoms is a somewhat underrated show. If you’re looking for a decent fantasy anime with a historical feel and political intrigue, I see no reason why this show shouldn’t be given a try. It has its flaws but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what it has to offer.

Well this Anime is great in every area it tackles, The Story is wonderful eventhough it is unfinished and Fuyumi Ono (the writer) postponed the writing of the continuation until further notice but the good news is that she revealed that she is planning to continue the story in the future (don't expect it to watch the continuation before many years have passed "if produced"). The art is fascinating the anime includes 3d scenes, wonderful colors, spectacular Music (WoW Actually), the character development is well thought of (Sometime may reflect situations you have faced during your life). Enjoyment, well don't ask, it is a 45 episodes series that you will rally through during a couple of days. Note: Complicated philosophical,Political and social story that contains a lot of terminologies and lots of character names

A great anime with a slow start, but with 45 episodes its pacing is worth the wait. Character development really shines as our heroine struggles to survive in a new world. In a world heavily influenced by Chinese mythology, what bizarre encounters will our heroine face? If you're into an adventure, action, and a little bit of slice-of-life, this anime is worthwhile.

First arc - 85/100 - very enjoyable fantasy with some exceptional world-building and character development. Second arc - 63/100 - far from bad, but I wanted to see more development of Youko's storyline instead of a completely different side story. Dropped because I read that the third arc only decides to really focus on Youko again in the last few episodes. A great shame, and a missed opportunity. It may have been something special if the entire anime had just focused on Youko. Ah well.

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