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Kingdom (manga)

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Written by  Yasuhisa Hara
Demographic  Seinen
Volumes  46
Magazine  Weekly Young Jump
Studio  Pierrot
Published by  Shueisha
Original run  2006 – present
Publisher  Shueisha
Genre  Historical period drama
Kingdom (manga) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenaa8Kin
Directed by  Jun Kamiya (Season 1) Akira Iwanaga (Season 2)
Similar  Terra Formars, My Hero Academia, Silver Spoon, Kaiji, Assassination Classroom

Kingdom (キングダム, Kingudamu) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara (泰久原). The manga provides a fictionalized account of the Warring States period primarily through the experiences of the war orphan Xin and his comrades as he fights to become the greatest general under the heavens, and in doing so, unifying China for the first time in history. The series was adapted into a thirty-eight episode anime series by studio Pierrot that aired from June 4, 2012 to February 25, 2013. A second season was announced and aired from June 8, 2013 to March 1, 2014. An English language release of the anime was licensed by Funimation.

Contents

Plot

Born in the Warring States period of ancient China, Xin and Piao are war-orphans in the kingdom of Qin who dream of becoming "Great Generals of the Heavens" to rise from their lowly stations in life. One day, however, Piao is taken to the palace by a minister to be used for an unknown purpose, leaving Xin alone as a household slave in a peasant village. A few months later, Piao returns to the village on the verge of death, urging Xin to travel to another village. There he meets a boy who looks nearly identical to Piao, Ying Zheng, the current King of Qin. Xin learns that Piao served as a body double for Ying Zheng, and was mortally wounded in a power struggle for the throne. Though initially furious at Ying Zheng for causing Piao's death, Xin decides to seize the opportunity and aid Ying Zheng in defeating his brother and reclaiming the Qin throne. Successful in this endeavor, Xin officially starts his life as a Qin commander on the battlefields of Warring States China with the goal of becoming the "Greatest General in the World", and to help King Zheng of Qin achieve his dream of total unification, ending the incessant warfare once and for all.

Main Characters

Li Xin (李信, Ri Shin)
Voiced by: Masakazu Morita •The protagonist of the story, Xin aims to become the "World's Greatest General", even higher than the “Six Great Generals” and “Three Great Heavens”. He begins the story as a war orphan with dreams of becoming a Qin general in order to escape his lowly station in life. After helping Ying Zheng restore his position to the throne, Xin fights on a battlefield against a Wei army, and rises to the rank of a foot soldier to a 100-man commander (chapter 82). Subsequently, his unit is named the "Flying Xin Unit" (Hi Shin Tai/Fei Xin Dui/飛信隊) by Wang Qi (chapter 121). His unit would remain an independent unit that did not belong to any specific unit and would help as reinforcements in battles. The original 100 Flying Xin Unit reduced down to 83 by chapter 130 and 36 by chapter 149. •Despite many cuts and scrapes and near death experiences, he slowly improves both mentally and physically as the series progresses. By chapter 174, he is promoted to a 300-man commander. As of chapter 179, he has just five years to become a general before Zheng’s coming-of-age ceremony. Despite being a commander of a 300-man unit, he killed a 1000-man commander because of unjust acts (chapter 193). He was temporarily promoted to a 1000-man commander after declaring he will take either three 1000-man commanders or one general (chapter 200). After getting one general’s head in chapter 231, he raised three ranks in the nobility and was awarded 500 units of gold and 5 units of treasure. Also he was officially promoted to the rank of 1000-man commander, as well as having soldiers from the Kakubi’s troops (chapter 243). But with the string of defeats in chapter 244, Shin was close to getting his rank stripped, since their strategist Kyoukai left for revenge, until Ten replaced her as the lead strategist. From there, his name and unit begins to strike fear in others. After slaying Mangoku in chapter 288 and many other deeds against the Coalition Army, Shin rises by one nobility rank. His current territory of residence “Fuuri” shall also be enlarged, as well as receiving 500 units of gold and 5 units of treasures. Furthermore, he is promoted to the rank of 3000-man commander, as well as having soldiers from the Duke Hyou’s troops (chapter 355). Along with Shin getting promoted to a 4000-man commander and Kyoukai to a 1000-man commander, the unit grew to 5000 in chapter 373. When Kyoukai returned to the Hi Shin Unit, they were able to create tactics that utilizes the 5000 soldiers (chapter 373). He defeats Reiou of Wei’s Fire Dragons in chapter 401. Shin is promoted to a 5000-man commander in chapter 407. Sei and Shin made a promise that with 15 years, he will become one of the new Six Great Generals (chapter 438). Shin slays Zhao commander Keisha in chapter 473. •After success in multiple major military campaigns (chapter 129, 195, 206, 231, 250.1, 258, 288, 350, 401, 429, 472), Xin earns many accolades and rises to the rank of 5000-man commander, only a single rank away from his goal of becoming a general. •After receiving countless hits from Rinko, Shin evolved to a level almost rivaling Rinko. He saved Duke Hyou, which awakened his instinct as an instinctual general (chapter 275). •Ironically, throughout the beginning half of the series, the Hi Shin Unit is the only unit composed of militia not in full body armor. They do not care if they are composed of commoners. By chapter 244, they now wear full body armor. •Shin received weapons from famous generals: Ouki’s glaive (chapter 172) and Duke Hyou’s shield (chapter 325). He was even there to receive their final words for him. He left them with Sei at the palace (chapter 356). •Since the beginning, Shin always wears the sword behind his back, unlike many soldiers who wears them on their hips. •Up to chapter 373, Shin used the sword left by Hyou. Then from chapter 373, he starts using a glaive in preparation to using Ouki's glaive. He even grew up to reach Heki’s height. He finally decides to use Ouki's glaive in the unification war in chapter 499. •At the beginning of the series, he is around 13 or 14 years old. By chapter 498, he is 23 years old.
Ying Zheng (嬴政, Ei Sei)
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama •The young 31st king of Qin who bears a striking resemblance to Piao. He has just 5 years to repel Ryo’s attacks before his coming-of-age ceremony (chapter 179). Once he reaches 22, he will strip Ryo of his authority (chapter 47). While the Zhao army is quickly approaching Kanyou, Sei quickly sneaks to Sai to command an army of commoners (from chapter 327 to 352). He was heavily wounded by a Zhao soldier in chapter 341, the first in a long time since his escape from Zhao (chapter 76). •Ying Zheng eventually becomes the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, the progenitor of imperial China as a unified political entity, and made infamous primarily through Sima Qian's magnum opus, the Records of the Grand Historian. • He is 18 years old in chapter 342. • He was crowned king at the age of 13 (chapter 47). Chapter 48 is his second year of reign. Chapter 108 is his third year of reign. Chapter 174 is his fourth year of reign and at the age of 17. Chapter 189 is his fifth year of reign. In his sixth year of reign, it was the start of a storm in all of China (chapter 261). Chapter 364 is his seventh year of reign. Chapter 369 is his eighth year of reign. Chapter 408 is his ninth year of reign and the decision for his coming-of-age ceremony. On his eleventh year of reign, the decision to attack Gyou has been revealed (chapter 496). •He was crowned king in You and nine years later in You, will be his coming-of-age ceremony (chapter 411). When the Queen Dowager realized Ryofui’s plans in chapter 413, the Ai’s soldiers are already on their way to Kanyou. While the rebels are coming to Kanyou, Sei finished his ceremony in chapter 419. •Once the fight in Kanyou is over, Sei will strip Ryofui of his rank and punish him the worst crime. Now that Kanyou is safe and Sei is permanently crowned king of Qin, it is time to take on the whole of China (chapter 433). But they have only 15 years to conquer China (chapter 438), from changing policies to people, only 15 years.
Piao (, Hyō)
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama •Xin's childhood best friend and fellow war orphan who also aims to become a general renowned throughout all of China. He is offered a position in the Qin palace as Zheng's body double, which he accepts, only to die 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.
Heliao Diao (河了貂, Karyō Ten)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya •The last descendant of her Mountain Tribe, the Kyuumei. In order to survive, she disguised herself as a male until her real gender is revealed in chapter 47 of the manga. Some knew of her real gender, like Bi and Qiang Hui, but many, like Xin, don’t (until chapter 246). •After playing a crucial part in the campaign to restore Ying Zheng to his throne, she seeks to improve her military worth by training as a strategist. Lacking the means or connections to do so, she seeks the aid of Qiang Hui (chapter 93). This results in her training as a strategist under Lord Changping, who is loyal to the opposing Lü Buwei faction (from chapter 101 to 245). After succeeding at the school, she joins the Hi Shin Unit as its chief strategist (chapter 249) since Kyoukai left for her journey of revenge. She is the first to receive early special strategist recognition from Shouheikun since Mouten. •She nearly got taken hostage in chapter 338 but actually did in chapter 384. Kyoukai was able to use her priestess dance to capture an enemy commander. Ten was returned in chapter 387 after a prison exchange. •She got groped by Shin in chapters 246 and 257. Funny enough, she got her first kiss from Shin in chapter 288. Heliao Diao is a fictional character created by the author and does not exist in history.
Changwen-jun (昌文君, Shōbunkun)
Voiced by: Yutaka Nakano •A formerly skilled warrior who worked his way up to “Chancellor of the Left” (chapter 256), a senior adviser of the king. He is shown to be extremely loyal to the Ying Zheng faction, aiding him in both reclaiming the throne and the current in political struggle against Lü Buwei.
Bi (, Heki)
Voiced by: Kōji Yusa •Chang Wen Jun's loyal subordinate. At the series start, Heki was a 1000-man commander (chapter 51). By chapter 218, he commands a 1000-man army. Heki is the 3000-man commander in chapter 294. After fighting alongside Xin in many military campaigns, he rises to the rank of General (chapter 372) and is currently seeking greater heights to earn more influence for Ying Zheng (since chapter 51). He has a crush on Yōtanwa since chapter 22.
Qiang Hui (羌瘣, Kyō Kai)
Voiced by: Yōko Hikasa •The heir of the legendary assassin clan "Chi You", Qiang Hui initially meets Xin during the Battle of Dakan Plain (chapter 52), where she proves her value as both a soldier and a strategist and subsequently joins the Hi Shin Unit. She became a lieutenant of the “Hi Shin Unit”. •She hid herself as a female until it was revealed in chapter 92. Even later, in chapter 233, the soldiers of the “Hi Shin Unit” found out as well. They accepted her gender, despite knowing her past. She rarely smiles and when she does, she is cute. Sometimes she will talk to her sword. •Early in the series, Qiang Hui is obsessed with getting revenge on sister, "Xiang"'s, murderer. Despite bonding with Xin and the unit, Qiang Hui temporarily leaves in order to seek out her sister's killer (from chapter 242 to 364). Without her there in chapter 244, the “Hi Shin Unit” is just a group of brawn and no brain. After succeeding in her revenge (chapter 363), Qiang Hui returns to the Hi Shin Unit and rises to 1000-man commander (chapter 373) with the intention of one day becoming a General (chapter 364). She is promoted to a 3000-man commander (chapter 408). She kills a Zhao commander in chapter 473.

Zhao 趙国

Li Mu (李牧, Riboku)
•Prime Minister of Zhao (chapter 174) and hailed as the slayer of general Wang Qi (chapter 169), he serves as one of the series' main antagonists (chapter 135). A brilliant strategist, he relies solely upon strategy and maneuver warfare, vowing never to lift his sword (chapter 155). He is one of Zhao’s Three Great Heavens (chapter 156). He seeks to destroy the state of Qin as revenge for their mass killing of Zhao civilians and their previous losses such as Battle of Chouhei so he create a Coalition Army against Qin (since chapter 262). He became the Coalition Army’s strategical advisor after learning that if Qin took over Sanyou, the whole of China would be checkmate (chapter 270). After failing at Qin, they went to attack Qi (chapter 354). They were only able to capture Qi cities as far as Jouan before disbanding the Coalition Army. He is banished as prime minister after the failure of the Coalition Army (chapter 366).
Pang Nuan (龐煖, Hōken)
•A warrior-monk known as a "Bushin". While a technically a general for Zhao, he doesn't take command of any troops. Instead he relies on his pure strength, which can be used to inspire troops. Under the command of Ri Boku, he defeats General Ouki (chapter 169). He seeks to prove that he is the strongest being alive. He defeats Duke Hyou in chapter 325. After many years, Shin was able to withstand Houken’s attacks and give him another scar right where Ouki’s is at (chapter 350).
Mangoku
•A Zhao general and a survivor of Battle of Changping, leads his army in a bloodthirsty and maddened campaign against Qin as revenge. Killed countless civilians until killed by Li Xin upon the gates of Kankoku Pass.

Wei 魏国

Lian Po (廉頗, Renpa)
•He is the former member of the “Three Great Heavens” of Zhao of the previous generation. He was exiled to Wei following an unreasonable discharge. After Ouki’s death, he is the last of the era of Zhao’s “Three Great Heavens” and Qin’s “Six Great Generals”. Because of his lost against Qin in chapter 240, he was exiled from Wei and seeks asylum in the state of Chu. He would not return to his motherland of Zhao and would spend the remainder of his years in the lands of Chu.
Jie Zifang (介子坊, Kaishibō)
•He is one of the leaders of the “Four Heavenly Kings” under Lian Po. He is a ferocious warrior who has earned over a hundred victories even when operating by himself.
Jiang Yan (姜燕, Kyōen)
•He is one of the leaders of the “Four Heavenly Kings” under Lian Po. He is considered to be one of the top ten archers in China; a warrior who was evenly matched with Lian Po back when he belonged to some small state.
Xuan Feng (玄峰, Genpō)
•He is one of the leaders of the “Four Heavenly Kings” under Lian Po. He spent his long years acting as Lian Po’s advisor, was said to be a strategist of a level capable of serving as the head of Military Affairs for Zhao’s entire military. He was defeated and killed by Kanki in chapter 212.
Lun Hu (輪虎, Rinko)
•He is one of the leaders of the “Four Heavenly Kings” under Lian Po. Out of the four of them, Rinko is the most dangerous one. In all of Lian Po’s grand battles, he has always handed to Lun Hu the most important or decisive tasks. In essence, countless headquarters have fallen to Rinko’s terrifying power to break through enemy lines. He was defeated by Li Xin after he assassinated all Qin officers under Meng Ao's command, and Shin just killed him with great effort.
Wu Fengming (呉鳳明, Gohōmei)
•Wei’s commander-in-chief who attended the Coalition Army meeting in chapter 269. Wu Fengming took over of Ling Feng's assets after Li Xin killed Ling Feng (chapter 401). He is Qu Qing’s son.
Wu Qing (呉慶, Gokei)
•He is one of the remaining “Seven Fire Dragons of Wei” alongside Qin’s Six Great Generals and Zhao’s Three Great Heavens. Killed by Duke Hyou in a charge led by himself.
Ling Feng (霊凰, Reiō)
•He is one of the three remaining “Seven Fire Dragons of Wei”, who rampaged China alongside Qin’s Six Great Generals and Zhao’s Three Great Heavens. Other than Wu Qing, Reiou, along with two of them, killed the other three Fire Dragons. Wu Qing convinced Wei’s previous king to not behead them. He was thrown into prison for fourteen years. •He is a cold and ruthless strategist who was feared even by Wu Qing. He is killed by Shin when the real Gohoumei called Reiou by “Gohoumei” (chpter 400 to 401).
Kai Meng (凱孟, Gaimō)
•He is one of the three remaining “Seven Fire Dragons of Wei”, who rampaged China alongside Qin’s Six Great Generals and Zhao’s Three Great Heavens. Other than Wu Qing, Gaimou, along with two of them, killed the other three Fire Dragons. Wu Qing convinced Wei’s previous king to not behead them. He was thrown into prison for fourteen years. •He is the mighty warrior who is said to have claimed the heads of over a hundred generals. •He was infamous for having countless female sex partners upon his campaign against Qin.
Zi Bo (紫伯, Shihaku)
•He is one of the three remaining “Seven Fire Dragons of Wei”, who rampaged China alongside Qin’s Six Great Generals and Zhao’s Three Great Heavens. Other than Wu Qing, Zi Bo, along with two of them, killed the other three Fire Dragons. Wu Qing convinced Wei’s previous king to not behead them. He was thrown into prison for fourteen years. •He is the strongest spear wielder in Wei’s history. In the past, when he lived in an emotionless world, the only person who was his source of strength was his younger sister, Kika. She was killed by Tairoji of the Fire Dragons. Tairoji sought Fire Dragons Shousen and Batou as allies, while Gaimou and Reiou joined Earl Shi. That was when the whole internal Fire Dragons conflict begins. Earl Shi was the only one who killed Tairoji, Shousen, and Batou. Earl Shi is killed by Wang Ben in chapter 397.

Chu 楚国

Han Ming (汗明, Kanmei)
•Chu’s commander-in-chief who attended the Coalition Army meeting in chapter 269. He is defeated by Moubu in chapter 314 and killed.
Shunshen-jun (春申君, Shunshinkun)
•Chu’s prime minister and head of Military Affairs. He is the commander-in-chief of the Coalition Army (chapter 269). He is one of the “Four Lords of the Warring States” who were said to keep over 3000 house guest vassals. He has personally built up the great state of Chu as its prime minister in the last twenty years. Whether it be court officials or military officers, with his clout, he would still be counted as one of the men standing at the absolute peak. He is banished by the king for the Coalition Army failure (chapter 366). He is assassinated in chapter 439 to 440, by his former girlfriend's brother.
Wa Lin (媧燐, Karin)
•A Chu general. A tall woman, her height issue was taboo around her.
Linwu-jun (臨武君, Rinbukun)
Xiang Yi (項翼, Kōyoku)
Bai Li (白麗, Hakurei)

Yan 燕国

Ordo (オルド, Orudo)
•Yan’s commander-in-chief who attended the Coalition Army meeting in chapter 269. •He led a coalition of more than several dozen tribes inhabiting Yan, calling him Tribal Lord.

Han 韓国

Cheng Hui (成恢, Seikai)
•Han’s commander-in-chief who attended the Coalition Army meeting in chapter 269. He used to be a beautiful man until he delved too deep in making poison. Now black veins are bulging out of his skin. He is killed by Choutou in chapter 303.

Mountain Tribe

Yang Duanhe (楊端和, Yōtanwa)
•She is the leader of the mountain tribes. Ever since her people helped Ying Zheng reclaim his throne, she has been going around the mountains conquering various mountain tribes to the west of Qin (chapter 47). She and her people returns in chapter 345 to help Sai from the Coalition Army. Since she and her people helped out Sai, they are bestowed the rank of “Dai Zouzou” (“Da Shangzao”, fifth highest rank in the twenty-ranks system), at par with a great general, along with thirty units of treasures. They are once again a part of the official diplomatic relations with Kanyou (chapter 355). After leaving, the mountain tribe came back after three years to help Sei’s plan for China. They become an army that will help Kanyou in the future (chapter 439).

Manga

The manga series Kingdom is written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara. In January 2006, the manga debuted in an issue of Weekly Young Jump seinen manga magazine. The succeeding chapters are still being serialized weekly in the magazine. The first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha in May 19, 2006; as of January 19, 2017, forty-five volumes have been released.

Live Action Movie

On 17 April 2016 The Kingdom Live Action Special Movie, officially キングダム連載10周年実写特別動画(主演:山﨑賢人)KINGDOM SPECIAL MOVIE, was released by the manga's publishing magazine, Young Jump, is a live action promotional short film for the series. It was made for the 10th Anniversary of Kingdom's release and filmed by Hengdian World Studios in China.

Video Games

A PlayStation Portable beat 'em up styled video game was released on November 2, 2010 entitled Kingdom Ikki Tousen No Tsurugi. The game was released only in Japan.

A free-to-play mobile game called Kingdom: Seven Flags is now in Japan.

Historical context

The story of Kingdom is a fictional adaptation of the Chinese history period known as the Warring States period, which ended in 221 BC when Ying Zheng, king of Qin, succeeded in conquering the other states and unifying China.

Several of the characters are based on historical figures. Many times characters will take the names of people in history, and other times they will have completely different names. Oftentimes this is a result of Japanese Kanji borrowing from Chinese characters, meaning that there are some Chinese names that have no equivalent characters in Kanji. For example, Ou Ki's (王騎), name is a slightly altered version of Wang Yi, 王齮, because the last character of his name, 齮, does not exist in Kanji.

Reception

Kingdom was the grand prize winner for the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2013 with one judge commenting, "I can't remember the last time I read nearly 30 volumes (of a manga title) in a row feeling this excited."

The manga also earned a Guinness World Record on December 12, 2012 for Manga written by the most people. The record was due to its "Social Kingdom" campaign in which fans and other artists were given the task of redrawing the entire 26th volume. Participants included manga creators Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Hirohiko Araki (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), as well as voice actors and fans.

The series had sold 28 million copies as of January 2017.

References

Kingdom (manga) Wikipedia


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