Kingdom (キングダム, Kingudamu) is a Japanese seinen 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.
Cover of the first volume, released in Japan by Shueisha on May 19, 2006.
|Genre||Adventure, historical, military|
|Written by||Yasuhisa Hara|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Jump|
|Original run||January 26, 2006 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Jun Kamiya (Season 1)|
Akira Iwanaga (Season 2)
Kenichi Imaizumi (Season 3)
|Written by||Naruhisa Arakawa (Seasons 1–2)|
Noboru Takagi (Season 3)
|Music by||Minako Seki (Seasons 1–2)|
Hiroyuki Sawano (Season 3)
Kohta Yamamoto (Season 3)
|Studio||Pierrot (Seasons 1–2)|
St. Signpost (Season 3)
|Original network||NHK BS Premium, NHK General TV|
|Original run||June 4, 2012 – present|
The series was adapted into a two-season, seventy-seven episode anime television series by studio Pierrot. The first season of thirty-eight episodes aired from June 4, 2012 to February 25, 2013. A second season was announced, and aired thirty-nine episodes from June 8, 2013 to March 1, 2014. A third season will premiere in April 2020. A live-action film was released in April 2019.
The anime has been licensed for an 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 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.
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.
- 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, and despite that, he gives courage to the comrades around him. After Piao's death in episode 1, Xin decides to help the King of Qin, Ying Zheng (Ei Sei), escape from his enemies with He Liao Diao. Xin enlists in the State of Qin army soon after, and under Wang Qi (Ou Ki), he is appointed as the leader of the Feixin Unit (Hi Shin Unit), the newly formed 100-Man special unit. Appointing Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) and Yuan (En) as his lieutenants, Xin joins Wang Qi in his conquest of the State of Zhao Army. During the conflict with the State of Wei, he proclaims to the supreme commander of the Wei Army that he will unify all of China, signifying that his and Ying Zheng's "paths" have become interlocked.
- 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. Piao is identical to him, and thus becomes Ying Zheng's double in his escape. He has stated that he will unify all of China, but has only a few years to do so due to the enemies that lay outside of the Qin state (the Zhao, Wie, Chu, and other remaining nations) and internal problems within the country, such as political rivalries with the Queen Dowager and the Royal Harem. Although king, Ying Zheng's power is limited due to the political turmoil with his minister who plans to take the throne. His and Xin's goals became unified when Xin declared 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.
- Piao (漂, 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 (Japanese); Shannon Chan-Kent (English)
- He Liao Diao (Ka Ryo Ten) is the last descendant of a mountain tribe who joins Xin in helping Ying Zheng escape from the soldiers chasing him. After witnessing Wang Qi and Xin's war against the Zhao, she (keeping her identity a secret and calling herself a male due to her boyish and childish appearance) is forced to stay at Xin's newly constructed, but poor looking, house. Soon after his return, she states that she will join the State of Qin Army but is laughed at. Later in the story, He Liao Diao is taken in as an apprentice of strategic warfare, soon after becoming the strategist for the Feixin Unit. Her first kiss was with Xin, albeit accidentally, and he has groped her several times, also on accident. It is hinted that she has feelings for Xin, however, his relationship with her is seen as a brother-sister one.
- Chang Wen Jun (昌文君, Shōbun-kun)
- Voiced by: Nakano Yutaka
- 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 (壁, Heki)
- Voiced by: Koji 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). Xin is shown to rely on him and he has had a crush on Yōtanwa since chapter 22.
- Qiang Lei (羌瘣, Kyō Kai)
- Voiced by: Hikasa Yoko
- Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) is a former heir to the Shi Yū (Chi You), an assassin group with barbaric traditions used to cultivate strong assassins at the expense of killing undesirable candidates. After the death of her sister, Qiang Xiang (Kyou Shou), in one of these traitions, Qiang Lei vowed revenge against the woman who had killed her. She joined the Feixin Unit (as a young boy, keeping her sex a secret like He Liao Diao) after its formation and became a vice commander, despite the fact that she is stronger and smarter than Xin (as shown by her power and the fact that she created the strategies for them). She reveals her identity to Xin and becomes more friendly and open towards he alone before finally accepting her place in the unit and calling it her home. She may have feelings for Xin which have been hinted at on many occasions, one being her confession of wanting to have a child with him (she did not know about intercourse at the time).
Kingdom is written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara and originated from two one-shots he drew on Li Mu and Meng Wu. The manga debuted in the 9th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump seinen manga magazine on January 26, 2006. The first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha on May 19, 2006. As of November 2019, fifty-six 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. A second season aired thirty-nine episodes from June 8, 2013 to March 1, 2014. The anime has been licensed for an English language release by Funimation.
A third season has been announced along with brand new staff members. It is set to premiere in April 2020 on NHK General TV. The creator has confirmed that the third season will cover the Coalition Invasion arc. The series third season will have Kenichi Imaizumi directing at Pierrot's subsidiary company St. Signpost, with scripts by Noboru Takagi and character designs by Hisashi Abe. Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto are composing the music.
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 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.
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 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. Kingdom was the 3rd best selling manga in 2019. In 2019, Kingdom ranked 1st on the 19th "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.
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