Posted by : xfool
Posted on : 2009-03-29
highs: great character development and story development.
lows: dropped story arc and poor ending which leaves me craving for more
Yoko, the main character, can be a bit annoying in the beginning but it's a delight to see her getting stronger and more confident as the anime progress. Though Yoko is the main character the other support characters are well developed and fully explored by the end of the series.
Viewers might have difficulty in remembering certain words or terms for concepts connected only to the foreign world but they will be more recognizable slowly. Once the viewers are familiar with those terms he/she will enjoy and most likely get hooked on this fantasy anime.
In conclusion, The Twelve Kingdoms creates an epic story that entertains and captures your imagination. It's a shame that they let one of the character story arcs hanging, otherwise it would have been a more satisfying experience.
Posted by : liferob
Posted on : 2008-11-03
Well.. I have to say that I don't know WHY I downloaded this, it was a hell of a BORING ANIME. Seriously, I haven't been so damn bored in a long time... I mean, this anime doesn't even deserve to be on top 10, in fact, it surprises me that it is so high. I'll start my review giving a score of 10 and then removing points depending on what I thought the anime failed awfully.
The story goes basically around Yoko, a girl that is always trying to be .. "good" in everything and being good to everyone. One day, Keiki appears and swears loyalty to her. Well, sounds interesting? At first yes, but as the story goes on, I don't know why, but I was falling asleep!!! The personality of Yoko on the first episodes was ANNOYING and I found the story very vague.
Lets talk about the music. Well most of the people will say that this anime has a "mystery" kinda atmosphere. LIES! For me, a good anime has to have good music, opening and ending, of course the BGM is important. Here in Juuni Kokki, they were boring, it was a slight mystic but nothing impressive. In my personal opinion, an anime without good music/soundtracks lowers a lot their quality.
As I told before, the most disgusting thing was the personality of Yoko on the first episodes. THE ONLY REASON WHY I GIVE THIS ANIME A 4 is because the story of Taiki really moved my soul. It was really deep and very intriguing, but it was forgotten and I didn't know what happened with him.
Well, I think it was OK. It was a very creative, the Hanjyuus idea, I felt this anime kind of a Narnia wanna-be.
Just one word. BORING. I had the feeling that I was seeing an anime of Narnia but awfully boring. In fact the idea was pretty good, but in my opinion, it failed awfully. I kept looking the next caps because I thought that in some point, the anime will become interesting, well.. it never happened. And more disappointing was the fact that Taiki was forgotten so.. Awful.
I know that there are people that think the same way that I do but for some reason they don't post reviews. I don't recommend this anime because for me, it was a waste of time, bad use of storyline, bad use of characters, AWFULLY use of music. If you like Narnia and stuff like that and you don't care about music, I recommend you to watch this anime. If not, don't even care, believe me. This will bore you to death.
Posted by : ErwinRommel
Posted on : 2008-10-25
With the combination of Japanese mythology and imperial history, Fuyumi Ono has crafted a masterpiece that, although still quite idealistic, is a gripping story about discovering one's inner strength.
Our main character Yoko is a shy insecure girl...a doormat, to be blunt. She gets thrown into a world where her doormat personality will get her killed. Since she's never had to decide for herself, she remains indecisive and helpless. To demonstrate this point, Yoko, in many of her first encounters with the citizens of this foreign world, leaves her howling in tears for even the most ridiculous of reasons. Her cries are very painful to watch. She sounds like a screeching chalkboard and makes the scene unbearably maddening. The voice actress probably lived a very happy life since her impression of a terrified and hysterical girl is unconvincing. The way she delivered her lines were awkwardly punctuated and seems to drive home the fact that the anime tries too hard in making the audience feel Yoko's plight.
The supporting cast is the main charm of this series. It could even be argued that Twelve Kingdoms is more of a supporting-cast-driven story. From a deposed princess to an evil council leader (equivalent to a prime minister), the variety in this show is boundless. The importance of the variety is that the supporting cast paves the foundation for a culture that does not feel artificial. Every tale told at a theater has ramifications. Even the local gossips also play a role in deposing a corrupt official. Fuyumi Ono left no stones unturned and each of the supporting characters is given a well-written personality. In return, they give the story a rich culture and history that leaves the audience wanting more.
For all its feminist themes of a girl becoming empress, Twelve Kingdoms is not a story that female anime fans may enjoy. None of the usual shojo themes are present. Instead, what is offered is a sober view on the history of a kingdom. We see what happens after one reaches the pinnacle of power. The politics and intrigue were superbly done and actually reflected the imperial history of many countries. The ministers scheming to stay in power did everything rationally and historically accurate. Browsing through history, one can see their actions are quite the norm and not unusual. Burn down and kill all in a school of morality? An ancient Emperor of China buried scholars alive in the ten of thousands because their studies did not adhere to the imperial beliefs.
Twelve Kingdoms is a once-in-a-lifetime anime. Animes about people obtaining power can easily be created and the same is said about animes set in mythical lands. The merger of the two and the brilliant execution is what is rare. Such a skillful handling of the story will be difficult to reproduce. Unfortunately, the same is not true for the choice in the actress. Were the characters in the supporting cast also poorly done, then it is a small blemish, but it is utterly unacceptable if it is the main character.
Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2008-04-29
12 Kingdoms has a lot to recommend it. I like damsel in distress type stories, particularly ones of this type, where the girl has to grow to be strong in order to survive. In this case, she is selected to become the "King" of one of the 12 Kingdoms. Leaving behind the world she knows, she is dragged into another one where she must grow strong, and assume the mantle of "King" in order to save the land.
I really enjoyed the first arc of the story, where Yoko is brought into the world, survives and eventually takes control of her Kingdom. I didn't enjoy nearly as much what happened after, eventually the show comes to an end, but its so abrupt you are left wondering what happened to the rest of the story. Its like reading the first half of a novel, and then leaving out the climax and the conclusion.
Overall I give this a good recommendation. I really enjoyed this story, enough to watch it from start to finish. Though the second time I watched it, I quit after she assumed the throne. (Which was rather anti-climactic by the way.) I recommend the first 20 to 30 episodes. Don't bother to continue. Unless you're prepared for the incomplete conclusion.
Posted by : stevodevo
Posted on : 2008-01-22
First off, yes, my main complaint is the same as most other reviewers - it's too short! But after reading the reasons from the other reviews I knew what was coming so I prepared myself for it... Needless to say there are at least 2 story lines that were left unfinished that would have been nice had the animators decided to wrap them up. However I felt that the major story line of Youko was completed at episode 41. The rest in my opinion were filler - interesting but filler.
Story: I must say the story was quite intriguing and for me at least had several unique aspects that really captured my attention. Initially it was difficult to keep up with all the new words but after a few episodes I knew what they were talking about.
Character Development: I would have to say this was the strongest aspect of this anime. Watching the main characters (especially Youko) grow from insecure, almost whiny school kids into adulthood was very satisfying. In the end I was left with a sense of completion and a feeling that everything was going to be ok. :)
Animation: The animation was good, not great. The scenery for the most part was done well. Some of the character designs were a bit sparse and occasionally the proportions were a bit off but nothing to worry about. Overall it added to the experience somewhat and did not detract.
Overall: My overall impression was very good - I really enjoyed watching the characters grow and mature as they were forced out of their 'comfort zones' into dealing with real life (albeit in a realm of fantasy!). I can't give this a 10 primarily because of the incomplete story lines but it left a very pleasant taste in my mouth and was highly enjoyable and kept me watching night after night!
Check out the Twelve Kingdoms - you won't regret it!
Posted by : cohj
Posted on : 2008-01-17
My first impression of this anime was its long and has bad animation. I was very wrong.
Plot 15/10: I've never seen such a great plot. They developed it so well. The start is kinda slow but once you hit episode 10, you're hooked. I had to tear myself away so I could eat and get an hour of sleep. My only qualms with the plot is, it ended early. They finished the series, but with the kingdom we know, so much about and with the manga still ahead of it they stopped it. I'm not sure why, it certainly is one that i will never forget. My other qualm was that, there were quite a few fillers which I really hate.
Characters 9/10: The characters were well developed, though they were a bit slow in exploring the characters and I think that killed some of the momentum it was carrying.
Action 8/10: The action wasn't a big part of this anime at all, though when it was it wasn't particularly great or anything so if I had to give it a fault, it would be that the action sequences could look a lot better and be a bit cooler.
Music:10/10: The music suited every situation well and was very good. I don't know how else to describe it other then that.
Overall: The plot was by far it's strongest point but the other points were by no means weak, they just weren't on par with the plot. A worth-while watch.
Posted by : jayou521
Posted on : 2007-12-10
Review of first 24 episodes.
Although it ended early (the manga was never finished), this is definitely worth watching.
If you sit through the first couple of episodes you will be surprised. What seems like a typical story at first turns out to be far from typical.
I thought it was going to be another one of those magical girl animes where the main character, in this case Yoko, is an annoying high school girl that can't do anything on her own. Weak and useless, the kind of character you can't stand, at least I couldn't. I was about to stop watching, but . . .
Boy was I glad I didn't. I don't want to give away too much, but this series has some of the best character development I've ever seen in anime. Simply put, by the end of the first arc, Yoko was a completely different person.
Juuni Kokki has such an amazing story, once you really get into it, it's very hard to stop watching. Each episode seems to end at such a weird place, it forces you to jump right to the next episode. The way they decided to do this, it would seem unnatural. You normally wouldn't end an episode while in the middle of explaining something. However, in The Twelve Kingdoms, this very unique idea actually works in favor of the anime.
I feel that it deserves a five star rating, despite the fact that it was left unfinished. After all, Juuni Kokki has already taken its place as one of the best animes I've ever seen.
Posted by : sssl0202
Posted on : 2007-10-14
Juuni Kokki, or also known as The Twelve Kingdom is very interesting anime.
Unfortunately, it suffers from one terrible first impression starting from rather unimpressive opening. I was very close to thinking it is one of the typical anime cliche, and was ready to give up on it, but it picked up the pace fairly quickly after first 2 episodes or so.
The anime does have quite a bit of flaws. While watching the anime, you can't help but to unable to shake the feeling that the pacing of the anime is very slow, and while the story is interesting, at it's climax (usually an end of an event is a large war) is often just summarized into quick narration, making the entire build up to that point end in quite a bit of let down. Considering how much time they took to get to that point, it is quite annoying to see how events ends, especially considering how slow the pacing is.
Also the animation quality is on the poor side. Characters look rather stiff, the faces sometimes look disfigured, and most of the scenes are void of action.
And then the anime does the worst thing possible to anime fans. It doesn't tie up its story. 2 seasons, 45 episodes worth of anime ends without explaining what happened to many of it's characters and ends right when it looks like it is getting interesting. It feels like the anime ends with introduction. 45 episodes is not short number of episodes, but considering the storyline, the pacing, and original novel being 11 volumes, Juuni Kokki obviously left things unfinished. In other words, there are huge number of cliff hangers. What's worse is about 4 or 5 episodes are flashback types that just reviews what happened in the anime so far.
The flaws are quite huge, so it must be starting to sound like this is one terrible anime, but I obviously thought it was great or I wouldn't have given a 9.
It's just quite painful to see such great anime to have flaws, especially when it is so good and has a flaw of not being complete.
Anyway let's finally move to good parts.
First the anime has very interesting storyline. At first it will look like typical high school girl goes to magic land type of storyline, but the story molds into rather interesting dynamics. Think of fantasy version of The Romance of the Three Kingdom and it would come close. Although I guess the situation of the anime and it's kingdoms are closer to being Zhou dynasty than Han dynasty. Plot usually revolves around number of political schemes, diplomatic tactics, and military tactics. When it isn't about political situation, then it is usually has great plot that shows characters and how they mature. It is interesting dynamic that is found in Suikoden games.
This is especially great because the anime is void of romance. Yes a fantasy anime without cheesy romance and ancient China-like setting isn't wasted to just give main characters that princess and knight type of situation. Very refreshing change indeed.
The world is Juuni Kokki is very interesting indeed. The way the world is built uses it's fantasy setting extremely well, molding it together it the world's political situation, and shows how even what looks like the most perfect system can easily be corrupted and how difficult it is to fix that corruption.
And then there are the characters. Juuni Kokki has excellent characters followed with excellent voice acting (in Japanese, I never watch anime dubbed)
Many of the themes revolves around change. How these characters matures and changes along their way is often the key of the plot. At times the change does seem rather big and you might end up wondering how this individual went from this to that, but anime does it's best to make the process a gradual one so even if the change seems quite a bit of turn around, it manages to develop enough for you to swallow and accept their changes.
I haven't noticed much of the music. I'd say it is mediocre at its best.
This anime is very easy to recommend to everyone. There are some level of violence and blood, so parents might not want to show this anime to very young ones, but anyone in teens and up should try this anime out. There are many good lessons to be learned here, and if you like epic storyline and grand plot, this is definitely for you. Rarely an anime takes such a large scale plot. Juuni Kokki is truly a worthy anime for anyone as long as you can just deal with cliff hanger ending.
Posted by : crazy3jackal08
Posted on : 2007-08-21
For some odd reason The first episode didn't really draw me in, I'm guessing I wasn't used to the animation, don't get me wrong the art is beautifully done. Couple months later I decided to jump back on the happy train and give this a shot since the name alone sounds interesting. What I hated about this anime was that it was way too addicting! I was glued to my chair wanting to stop watching because I didn't want it to end.
The thing that kept me going was the way the main character development progressed steadily into such a powerful idol among others in the new world. The other thing that drew me more to the anime was the world of Twelve Kingdoms. I honestly believe this anime could have gone for quiet some time because there is truely much potential and ideas. The fantasy world made you want to know more about everything.
There were some loop holes left out and questions left unanswered, but honestly that didn't bother me one bit. I just wished the series didn't have to end the way it did. You can say I'm bitter because I'm sad at the fact animes like this don't come your way every so often.
This is one for the books because it truly is one of a kind.
Posted by : Jo-hee
Posted on : 2007-03-26
The anime ended inconclusively because thats not it's real ending. This anime is based off a book series, and the author has for the time not released the continuing volumes. The producers have decided to stop the series, to wait for new volumes, instead of ending Juuni Kokki hurriedly.
That being said, I'm a very big fan of this series. The characters had depth, and, forgive me, "reality." You can really see the development of the main character, Yoko. She goes from being this (weak suck-up) to this --> (strong leader)
I really like Chinese instruments... so I thought the soundtrack was captivating.
In terms of character design-- all I can say is: how cool, how different, how pretty...
What else is there? Ahem, ahem, just watch it. Its so awesome.
Now to use persuasive words:
"Juuni Kokki is right for you-- you'll find this discovery guaranteed to win your heart. It is totally safe, and so easy to find: just search it on youtube.com. Its free. You will find it a golden ticket to moral health, and mental wealth. So take this opportunity to enjoy one totally great show, or your money--" wait, that last part doesn't make sense... ah well.
I like this show, maybe you will too. There's even the newly translated first volume (book series), which I'd like to read.
Posted by : gglypher
Posted on : 2007-01-15
I checked out Junni Kokki because it is currently 3rd on the anime source list. Sadly, I would have to say I was awfully dissapointed with it, no offense to the anime or its many fans. I just expected so much more from it, though I do still have many good things to say.
Music - I thought the music was good and coresponded well to the plot. It did serve to enhance the viewing expirience. No problems here.
Animation - No problems here either. The animation was well done and the battle animation flowed well. I can't say it was anything special but it wasn't bad.
Characters - I thought that the characters were also pretty well done. You can definetly see some obvious development in Youko. My favorite character would have to be the half beast, Rakushun, because he is like the voice of reason. Everything he says and does makes sense logically. He is very clear headed and a really good person. He is probably one of my most favorite characters ever. This area was also pretty well done.
Plot/Storyline - Sadly I am going to have to say that this is where I thought Juuni Kokki went wrong. I found the ideas behind it really interesting; the whole set up of the twelve kindoms, will of the heavens and whatnot was great. I also found the beasts cool and was pretty drawn in after the first episode. However as the anime progressed, I would have to admit that I lost intrest at some parts. I am aware that there are those who say that it is a shame it was cut short but I have to disagree with that. Some of the parts felt really drawn out on stories that were only mildly interesting. I did find some parts really interesting and exciting (like the part where Youko goes and joins the rebellion) but others just didn't really apeal to me. Also i would have to say that the anime climaxed around the rebellion and then had about 5 episodes of not-as-interesting stuff that led to an ending that seemed somewhat missplaced and lacked closure.
I really wanted to like Junni Kokki, I really did, but some parts of it were just so dull that I only stuck it out because it was third on the list. That is why i am giving it a seven.
Posted by : Myrah
Posted on : 2007-01-04
Juuni Kokki is one of a kind anime that is mix of adventure / historical setting / fantasy / romance.
I watched couple of episodes thinking it/s one of those typical magical girl traveling to magical world to be the savior of the world. Boy, I was way off. After the start of not-so-impressive intro to the story, I was taken in by the enchanting story that won't let my eyes leave the screen.
Although mystical beings and demonic beasts are unlikely appear in an ancient china which is basically the setting of the story, they still believed the kings and queens were appointed by the heaven, which is why the sudden disaster / lack of rain would be the fault their leader. For people at the age, I doubt mystical beings that does appear in the anime would be too far fetched either. Point being, the story is very realistic and considerate of the view of the ancient china people.
Speaking of realistic, the characters in the story all goes through hardship in order to achieve their goals. Some are betrayed, and dies in the process, or some even suceed in leading a nation. Unlike many anime that seem to give unfair advantage and supernatural powers to main characters throughout the story, the main characters in the story gains knowledge, wisdom, and understanding by going through trial of errors. I suppose the whole process might be a bit tedious for people who are used to DBZ/Bleach/Naruto, but when the main characters finally understand what to do, and doing his/her best to achieve the goal, you will find yourself also cheering for their success.
The anime makes you want to watch till the end and leaves you wanting more and more, thanks to wonderful story and the animation. However, due to very reason, the anime was such a let down for many viewers, myself included. What happened was the animation ended prematually at 45th episode without finishing the arc they were airing at the time. Director was willing to continue if the story kept going with Yoko, who is the main heroine of the story, but in the actual novel, Yoko's story was just a chapter that ended, and there really was nothing left to tell story with Yoko in it. It is unfortunate that the anime couldn't pull it through to the end.
Posted by : Freak-SHO
Posted on : 2006-09-24
I have to say I was a little concerned at first when watching Juuni Kokki. But I’m glad I started!! It has at first a quite confusing plot, but as time goes by the plot begins to roll out like a master piece. Amazing.
In this anime the characters are very evenly distributed, in terms of personal character and their aims. We have Youko, the main girl whose aim is to please everyone around her, without knowing what her true intentions for herself were. She’s, at first, the shy and very insecure student, little did she know that after a change of environment and the fact of having to face a new lifestyle, she is forced to find her inner strength, where she becomes strong and righteous. I really did hate how she was from the beginning, and I honestly thought she’ll never change. But the more I watched the more I began to love her character, how she learned and how she started to believe in her self. And then there’s just...Keiki...should I say the ‘cool’ character in Juuni Kokki, seriously he’s just the gentle ,almost frail type, but you can't help but love him type too ! XDD ha-ha crazy.
And doesn’t the music just sound so cool? ^____^ I love Shoukeis song…just makes me wanna sleep really and it’s very cultural as well and goes well with the anime.
Animation is of average quality, probably a little better then most but I have to say, it is very beautiful when the kirins appear, truly fitted to be “Immaculate creatures"?. And the youmas…drawn to be disgusting but drawn well!!!
Posted by : epicsbuff
Posted on : 2006-07-02
I was very surprised by the depth of this anime series. The character development of Yoko was superb! Each of the main characters had distinctively unique personalities. The detail to which the authors describe each country, rich with their own histories, cultures and economics, simply add such flavor and texture to this story, you can't help but to be drawn in.
What I really liked about all this detail is that they all tie in together to give you the feeling that this fantasy can actually exists.
Initially, Yoko is a shy, very obedient high school girl whose highest ambition in life is not to displease anybody. She is intensely concerned with how others view her, and is therefore highly insecure. When Keiki, the being who swears his protection and allegience to her, takes her away into a different and very dangerous world, all she does initially whenever encountering dangers, is look to him to protect her. By the middle of the series, however, you see how she is continously trying to better herself, even through her insecurites. She realises her weaknesses, and acknowledges them. This, in fact, becomes her greatest strength. For now, she is free to challenge those weaknesses, learn from them and grow. This she does magnificantly.
In the end, you feel a sense of respect for her, her strength, and her wisdom.
Posted by : Acextreme
Posted on : 2006-05-04
Ok, I would like to know what's actually going on here? I am SO surprised that this series didn't make it to be the 1st on Anime-Source's Popular Rating chart. There must be something really wrong going on, because its placing is only the 10th on the chart! Man, I just can't believe it!
Unfortunately, Anime-Source only allowed me to give the max rating score of 10/10, but if you were to ask me what score I would give, I could easily give a 14 or 15 out of ten (Yes, I know. That's out of the scale...but that's really just how good this is! And I am not paid to write this...)
Ok, firstly, I have to warn you. If you like brainless, no meaning, nonsensical slaughterings and brawls, you are looking at the wrong place. Stay away from this, this is not for ya! In fact, there's very little fighting at all. After the initial couple of episodes where most of the fightings are, and that's just it.
However, what really makes this anime shines is its story. The moment I watched the first episode, my body went into auto feeding mode; I just can't stop myself from feeding the next episode on my screen. Words just cannot describe it, you have to see it for yourself. The story is so well developed and well thought of. And there's so many things going on that if you were to draw a mind map, it's going to look like a messy mesh of lines. But yet, the series portrays everything brilliantly, in a very logical and easy to understand manner. How did the author wrote such a great story of a mythological world with its own system of nature and law is simply beyond me. I read some Chinese mythological classics before but most don't even make some logical sense at all, even in the imaginary world they created. This, however, has logic!
In fact, you can learn many of life's and moral lessons from this series and I am not kidding, it's real educational material. This anime deals with many issues like corruption, greed, self-pittiness, jealousy, etc...I had watched so many good animes but I have never came across anything that has such an amazing story with so much life and moral values in it than this. And there are many touching scenes in there too, it really makes your heart ache.
Now to the more technical stuff. The artwork for this series is excellent! The drawings, character designs, animation sequences and sound effects are brilliantly crafted and masterfully produced. Music for the starting and ending was above average, I would say. Especially the opening, it gives a real mystical feel to it, and the music sounds like a fusion of the best from the East and the West. Very good...but unfortunately, they didn't change it throughout the series so it kind of got bored, but it's not an issue at all when compared to the excellent story this series contains. Honestly, you will most probably fast-forward the opening portion anyway, since you will be so anxious for the anime to start that you can't even wait that one minute. So it doesn't really matter after all, I guess...
Well, honestly, even though this anime's ending can't really be called an ending, I certainly feel that such a trivial issue doesn't affect my score that I gave. Well, after all, I believe the manga then was not completed, so what could the anime producers do? Even taking this issue into consideration, I still will highly recommend this great anime to everyone out there who has yet to watch this.
If you have not seen this before, what are you waiting for?
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