Kingdom (Japanese: キングダム, Hepburn: Kingudamu) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara. 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 500 years. The manga has been serialized in Shueisha's seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump since January 2006 and collected into 63 tankōbon volumes as of November 2021.
|Written by||Yasuhisa Hara|
|Imprint||Young Jump Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Jump|
|Original run||January 26, 2006 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Original network||NHK BS Premium, NHK General TV|
|Original run||June 4, 2012 – present|
The series was adapted into a three-season anime television series by studio Pierrot. The first season of 38 episodes aired from June 2012 to February 2013. A second season aired for 39 episodes from June 2013 to March 2014. A third season by Studio Signpost and Pierrot aired for 26 episodes from April 2020 to October 2021. A fourth season will premiere in April 2022. A live-action film was released in April 2019. The anime has been licensed for English-language release by Funimation.
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 some Chinese names have no equivalent characters in Kanji. For example, Ou Ki's (王騎), the name is a slightly altered version of Wang Yi, 王齮, because the last character of his name, 齮, does not exist in Kanji.[clarification needed]
Born during the Warring States period of ancient China, Xin and Piao are war-orphans working as servants in a poor village in the kingdom of Qin. However, they dream to become the "Great Generals of the Heavens" and train daily. One day, Piao is taken to the palace for an unknown purpose by a minister and Xin is left behind. A few months later, Piao returns to the village on the verge of death, urging Xin to travel to another village. There, Xin meets a boy 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 aids Ying Zheng in ousting his younger half-brother Cheng Jiao and reclaiming the Qin throne. Successful in this endeavor, Xin starts his military life as a Qin soldier and then commander on the battlefields of the warring states of China. He relentlessly pursues his goal of becoming the "Greatest General in the World", also helping King Zheng of Qin achieve his dream of unification to end the incessant warfare once and for all.
- Li Xin (李信, Ri Shin)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita (Japanese); Cole Howard (English)
- Xin (Shin in the Japanese version) is an orphan boy who grew up as a servant with his best friend Piao. Xin's behavior is predominantly impulsive, however, he inspires his comrades and those around him. After Piao died in episode 1, Xin decides to help the King of Qin, Ying Zheng (Ei Sei), escape his enemies with the help of He Liao Diao. Xin enlists in the State of Qin army, and after demonstrating his determination and abilities, General Wang Qi (Ou Ki) appoints him as the leader of a special 100-man Fei Xin Unit (Hi Shin Unit). Appointing Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) and Yuan (En) as his lieutenants, Xin joins Wang Qi in his attack on the State of Zhao. He develops great respect for Ying Zheng and their paths become interlocked. Following the invasion of the Wei State, he is made leader of a 1,000-man unit.
- Ying Zheng (嬴政, Ei Sei)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
- Ying Zheng is the 31st king of the State of Qin. He states that he will unify all of China, but has only a few years to do so. There are enemies that lay beyond the Qin state (Zhao, Wie, Chu, and other nations) and internal problems with his political rivals, minister Lu Buwei, who plans to take over the throne, and the Queen Dowager. Although king, Ying Zheng has not been crowned, so his power is limited. His and Xin's goals became unified when Xin declares that he would be Ying Zheng's "sword" in the unification of China. He has a child with the servant woman Xiang (Kou) named Rei.
- Li Piao (李漂, Ri Hyō)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
- Xin's childhood best friend and fellow war orphan, Piao also aims to become a general renowned throughout all of China. His appearance is identical to King Ying Zheng and he is offered a position in the Qin palace as Zheng's body double. He accepts the position, only to die fighting 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.
- He Liao Diao (河了貂, Ka Ryō Ten)
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Japanese); Shannon Chan-Kent (English)
- He Liao Diao (Ka Ryō Ten) is a young girl and the last descendant of a mountain tribe, but she keeps her identity a secret and dresses as a male. She joins Xin in helping Ying Zheng escape from Liu Bu's soldiers. After witnessing Wang Qi and Xin's war against the Zhao, she tells Shin that she will join the State of Qin Army, but he only laughs. He Liao Diao is taken in as an apprentice of strategic warfare, and later in the story, she becomes the strategist for the Fei Xin Unit. It is hinted that she has romantic feelings for Xin, however, he sees their relationship as more like brother and sister.
- Qiang Lei (羌瘣, Kyō Kai)
- Voiced by: Yōko Hikasa
- Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) is a superb swords-woman and an efficient killer. She is a former member of the Shi Yū (Chi You), a female assassin group in which they advance the expense of killing rival candidates. After the death of her older sister, Qiang Xiang (Kyou Shou), in a rigged series of deathmatches, Qiang Lei vowed revenge against the woman who killed her. She joined the Fei Xin Unit after its formation and became a vice commander, keeping her gender a secret. She is naive in the ways of the world but is much smarter than Xin and he relies on her for battle strategies as well as her sword skills. After Xin discovers her identity, she becomes more friendly and open towards him and she accepts her place in the unit, calling it her home. Her identity is revealed to the rest of the Fei Xin Unit after she is severely wounded in the battle against the Wei State. It is inferred that she may have romantic feelings for Xin.
- Chang Wenjun (昌文君, Shōbun Kun)
- Voiced by: Yutaka Nakano
- Lord Chang was formerly a skilled warrior during the reign of King Zhaoxiang of Qin (King Sho) who worked his way up to be one of Qin's Chancellors along with Lord Changping. He is also a senior adviser of the king. He is extremely loyal to Ying Zheng, aiding him in both reclaiming the throne and in the political struggle against Ying's rival, Lü Buwei.
- Bi (壁, Heki)
- Voiced by: Kōji Yusa
- Lord Chang's loyal subordinate. Initially, Bi was a 1,000-man commander who rose to the 3000-man commander and finally rises to the rank of General after contributing to many of Qin's military campaigns along with Xin. Xin is shown to rely on him and he has had a crush on Yang Duan He (Yō Tan Wa) since their first meeting.
- Wang Qi (王騎, Oo Kii)
- Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama (Japanese); John Novak (English)
- Wang Ben (王賁, Ou Han)
- Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya
- Meng Tian (蒙恬, Mou Ten)
- Voiced by: Hirofumi Nojima (Japanese); Matt Hill (English)
- Lü Buwei (呂不韋, Ryo Fui)
- Voiced by: Tesshō Genda
- Yang Duan He (楊端和, Yoo Tan Wa)
- Voiced by: Sonozaki Mie
- Li Mu (李牧, Ri Bokku)
- Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa
- Lian Po (廉頗, Ren Pa)
- Voiced by: Naomi Kusumi (Japanese); Brian Dobson (English)
Kingdom is written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara and originated from a series of four one-shots he drew on Ying Zheng, Duke Mu, Li Mu, and Meng Wu respectively. The manga debuted in Shueisha's seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump on January 26, 2006. The first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha on May 19, 2006. As of November 19, 2021, sixty three tankōbon volumes have been released.
In 2015, Hara stated that he has planned to extend the series up to 100 volumes.
An anime television series was adapted by studio Pierrot. Two seasons of seventy-seven episodes were produced. The first season which consisted of thirty-eight episodes aired from June 4, 2012, to February 25, 2013, on NHK BS Premium. The first season was directed by Jun Kamiya, written by Naruhisa Arakawa, featured music composed by Minako Seki, and was produced by Izumi Nakazawa. The series' characters were designed by Atsuo Tobe, Noriko Otake, and Masatoshi Hakanda.
A second season aired thirty-nine episodes from June 8, 2013 to March 1, 2014. The season featured returning staff Minako Seki and Naruhisa Arakawa, the first season's composer and writer, respectively. Akira Iwanaga replaced Jun Kamiya as director, Izumi Nakazawa served as series producer, and the character designs were handled by Itsuko Takeda, Kumiko Tokunaga, and Makoto Shimojima. The anime has been licensed for English language release by Funimation outside of Asia. Mighty Media has licensed the series in Southeast Asian territories.
On November 8, 2019, a third season of the series was announced, and that the series would feature an entirely new production team, and that the season would cover the manga's Coalition Invasion arc. The series' third season has Kenichi Imaizumi directing at Pierrot and Pierrot's subsidiary company Studio Signpost, with scripts by Noboru Takagi and character designs by Hisashi Abe. Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto are composing the music It aired on NHK General TV (NHK-G) from April 6, 2020 to October 18, 2021. On April 26, 2020, the anime production committee announced that Episode 5 and onwards of the third series would be indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 5, 2020, it was announced that the broadcast of Episode 5 and onward will resume in spring 2021. The third season restarted broadcasting from its first episode on April 4, 2021. Unlike with the series first two seasons, the third season of Kingdom was made using traditional 2D animation, rather than CGI animation. Composers Sawano and Yamamoto were brought onto the project as a personal request from Yasuhisa Hara himself. Director Imaizumi, in meetings with the composers, opted to not use traditional Chinese instruments despite the series' setting, and they instead decided on using modern instrumentations.
At the end of the third season's final episode, a fourth season was announced. It will premiere in April 2022.
On April 17, 2016, a special short movie was released by the manga's publishing magazine Weekly Young Jump. It 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.
In April 2018, Kingdom's creator Yasuhira Hara previously revealed that a full-length live-action film of his series had been green-lit. The author stated he took part in script meetings, praising the 'satisfying' screenplay, the 'unprecedented' budget, and everyone in the 'ultra-grand' casts, starring Kento Yamazaki and Directed by Shinsuke Sato. The film was released on April 19, 2019.
A second film was announced to be green-lit on May 28, 2020, with Shinsuke Sato returning as director, and the core cast returning to reprise their roles.
A free-to-play mobile game called Kingdom: Seven Flags was released on October 24, 2016 in Japan.
A free-to-play mobile game called Kingdom Ran was released in 2018.
The series had over 30 million copies in print as of April 2017, 38 million copies in print as of December 2018, and over 47 million copies in print as of November 2019. As of December 2020, the manga had over 70 million copies in circulation and its 60th volume was the series' first volume with a first run of 1 million copies. Kingdom was the 3rd best selling manga in 2019, with 7,661,361 copies sold. Kingdom was the 2nd best-selling manga series in 2020, with 8,251,058 copies sold.
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." Kingdom won the first annual Tsutaya Comic Awards' All-Time Best Section in 2017. In 2019, on the 19th "Book of the Year" list by Kadokawa Media Factory's Da Vinci magazine, Kingdom topped the list. On TV Asahi's Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150.000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Kingdom ranked 13th.
The manga 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.
- Series Director (シリーズディレクター)
- Although not co-credited alongside Pierrot, IKIF+ was responsible for the series' extensive usage of CG animation for characters and backgrounds in the first season, which Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network described as being "at times downright ugly." IKIF+'s contributions to the series' first season is at least noteworthy in this regard.
- Green, Scott (June 8, 2012). "VIDEO: A "Kingdom" Manga Reading". Crunchyroll. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
Yasuhisa Hara's 2006 historical Chinese epic manga Kingdom has been getting a lot of press lately.
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- 実写『キングダム』に山﨑賢人、吉沢亮、長澤まさみ、橋本環奈ら豪華キャスト集結！配役明らかに. Eigaland (in Japanese). October 9, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- バックナンバー 2006年. youngjump.jp (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
No.9 （通巻1281号）2006年1月26日 […] 新連載巻頭カラー「キングダム」（原泰久）
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- キングダム 63 (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- Ressler, Karen (October 8, 2015). "Kingdom Manga Creator Considers Ending Series at 100 Volumes". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- "アニメ「キングダム」第2シリーズ制作決定!6月より開始". Natalie (in Japanese). Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Kingdom's 2nd Anime Series to End on March 1". Anime News Network. February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
- "Funimation acquisition". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
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- "曼迪4月代理新番登場". Facebook (in Chinese). March 26, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
- Patrick Frye (November 8, 2019). "Kingdom Season 3 release date confirmed for 2020: Kingdom manga's Coalition Invasion arc compared to the anime". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
- Antonio Pineda, Rafael (December 15, 2019). "'Kingdom' Anime Season 3 Reveals New Staff, Visua". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Staff & Cast". Kingdom (in Japanese). Retrieved January 6, 2020.
- Patrick Frye (February 14, 2020). "Kingdom Season 3 release date confirmed for spring 2020". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
- Rafael Antonio Pineda (November 7, 2019). "Kingdom Gets 3rd TV Anime Series With Brand New Staff in April". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (April 26, 2020). "Kingdom Anime Season 3 Delays New Episodes Due to COVID-19". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
- Sherman, Jennifer (October 5, 2020). "Kingdom Anime Season 3 Slated to Resume in Spring After COVID-19 Delay". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
- Mateo, Alex (February 12, 2021). "Kingdom Anime's 3rd Season Resumes on April 4 After COVID-19 Delay". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
- "Talking Kingdom Season 3 with Director Kenichi Imaizumi". YouTube. Funimation. May 31, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
- Loo, Egan (October 17, 2021). "Kingdom Anime Gets 4th Series Next Spring". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
- Chapman, Paul (April 11, 2016). ""Kingdom" Manga Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Live-Action Project". Crunchyroll. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- "Kingdom Live Action Movie Cast Announced". ComicBook. April 17, 2018.
- "Live Action Kingdom Film Unveils Cast, Director, April 19 Opening". AnimeNewsNetwork. October 8, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- "SPEJ and Square Enix Unveils China-Set Manga Adaptation "Kingdom"!". Variety. October 8, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (May 28, 2020). "Live-Action Kingdom Film Gets Sequel". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- "Kingdom: Ikki Tousen no Tsurugi". GameSpot. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Romano, Sal (August 24, 2016). "Bandai Namco announces Kingdom: Seven Flags for smartphones". Gematsu. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (April 6, 2017). "Yasuhisa Hara's Kingdom Manga Has 30 Million Copies in Print". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Hodgkins, Crystalyn (January 1, 2019). "Roundup of Newly Revealed Print Counts for Manga, Light Novel Series - December 2018". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- 「キングダム」最新56巻発売 基山町出身・原泰久さんの人気漫画. Saga Shimbun (in Japanese). November 19, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
- Sherman, Jennifer (December 17, 2020). "Kingdom Manga Volume 60 Is First in Series With 1-Million First Run". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
- Loo, Egan (November 27, 2019). "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series: 2019". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (November 29, 2020). "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series: 2020". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
- "Tezuka Osamu Prize Winners". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- みんなが選ぶTSUTAYAコミック大賞2017 結果発表！. Tsutaya (in Japanese). Culture Convenience Club. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (December 6, 2019). "Kingdom Manga Tops Da Vinci Ranking". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
- テレビ朝日『国民15万人がガチで投票!漫画総選挙』ランキング結果まとめ！ 栄えある1位に輝く漫画は!?. animate Times (in Japanese). Animate. January 3, 2021. Archived from the original on January 3, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- "Kingdom wins Guinness World Record". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- Kingdom manga official website at Weekly Young Jump (in Japanese)
- Kingdom anime official website at NHK (in Japanese)
- Kingdom (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia