Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kingdom - 12-30

Now that's what I call a digest post.

I've finally caught up with Kingdom, though it took a while.  There's absolutely no way I could hope to write anything intelligible about 19 episodes worth of material, but I did say I'd check back in with this show when noteworthy events occurred.  And it's pretty noteworthy just how good this series has gotten, so I thought I'd give it a plug

Of course the story with Kingdom was always pretty solid, but the animation was a major problem.  Whether it's really improved or I've simply stopped noticing it's hard to say, but it really hasn't bothered me these last several episodes.  There's definitely less horrible CGI than there used to be.  The main thing that's really pushed the series over the top, though, it an absolutely series-stealing performance by Koyama Rikiya as Wang Qi, the "big-lipped general" as Xin calls him.  Koyama is having way, way too much fun here - he's chewing the scenery to bits and I love every minute.  Wang Qi is the character that's really taken Kingdom to another level.

You know the basic premise here.  This is a grand, sweeping and bloody epic of the kind we rarely see in anime these days.  It unapologetically glorifies violence and treats war as an opportunity rather than a tragedy, but hey - we're talking Warring States China here, and it was pretty much eat or be eaten.  Xin has continued his GAR shounen journey, and we've met a new cast of characters as Diao and the King have somewhat faded into the background.  If Kingdom has a big budget and top-line animation, I think it would be considered a potential classic - the story is beautifully paced and incredibly involving.  As is, it's a damn good series, and more than ever well worth your time.

6 comments:

  1. And here I'd thought you had abandoned this. Good to see someone recognize it, despite the hard start.

    I think there are some other points that could be made about the progress. Pretty much everything since the initial arc of reclaiming the throne has been a step above in a number of ways.

    -Post-Throne arc has definitely upped the Great Game sort of intrigue between various factions, not only introducing Lu Buwei faction as a quasi-antagonist/quasi-allies-against-outsiders, but in the gambits of strategy between the generals on the battlefield, between maneuver and counter-maneuver.

    -Xin has definitely taken a character escalator to development, increasingly stepping away from the typical shounen trap of being a low-minded bruiser with grand ambitions and actually giving him progress in both character growth and importance. Gone is the know-nothing brash idiot with a sword arm, and instead I see a crude but growing leader of men. Success as a foot soldier makes him a cavalry, success as a cavalry got him a general's head, the reward of the general made him a leader of his own one hundred men, success in taking down a skilled general has made his name heard across China for a day. Coupled to the fact that they made his skills tie into his men (troops that regain energy as the leader kills someone sounds like a good game mechanic, actually), and he shows a surprising insight into motivating them and keeping close with them, and he's come far from the unlikable brat he was at the start.

    Compared to plenty of shounen, in which the main character spends years as the most powerful low-level grunt in the world, tying the personal growth with actually approaching the dream is welcome.

    -A welcome expansion of the support cast, and their own development. Fat Lips is probably the best, but Qiang Lei, my man Bi, and the various faces of Xin's command have developed and helped expand the scope of the narrative as well. Considering how many of times starting a family has come up with the soldiers, I wonder when, if, Xin's own heart will be targeted.

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    1. I think perhaps Qiang Li is destined to be paired with Xin, and Diao ends up with Meng Yi, the Lu Buwei general's bishounen son.

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  2. The animation is certainly bad comparing to other shows, but it has never bothered me when there is such a grand story to be discovered.

    A side note: Koyama Rikiya is such an awesome seiyuu bringing that many and diverse characters to life...and in Kingdom, he's helped make Wang Qi a much more interesting and mysterious character.

    ~Ronbb

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  3. I love this series and all its rich characters. I am so glad that Wang Qi turned out to be a good guy after all. His interaction with Xin are priceless.

    His assistant is hella creepy tho. Its like he has no eyelids or something. I am not sure if Xin will end up with Qiang Li or Diao. I like both characters and am happy with either one as his mate (but I prefer Qianf Li). I also want to see the Mountain folk and their king come back. She is an interesting character.

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  4. I dropped this series because of the CGI....a bit superficial I know, but I'm quite picky about style. Maybe I should give it another try now that you tested the water for us.

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  5. Kingdom was easily one of the best shows from 2012.

    Poor CGI becomes a minor issue when you have such engaging narrative and clever strategies.

    Kingdom may not have a lot of style, but it certainly compensates with its substance. I hope for a second season, despite the show's lack of popularity.

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