Archive for category Favorite Television

Supernatural- Seasons 4-6

I know I already reviewed the first part of the show, but now I’m going to finish it out ^^

Plot: 5/5
About halfway through series 4 it begins to become less of a show where you do not have to watch in order and more of a story based theme. Each season had it’s own overarching plot, with the Winchester brothers fighting some evil thing or another. Here is the breakdown season to season, if you don’t worry about spoilers.

Season 1: The Winchester brothers hunt for their missing father and on the way fight ghosts, demons and monsters. They are also seeking out the demon who killed their mother.

Season 2: Sam and Dean’s father gives his life to bring Dean back from the brink of death. Now Sam and Dean must hunt down the yellow eyed demon to avenge their mother and father. Sam fears his growing powers as some kind of connection to the demon who fed him blood as a baby and wishes only to prove he is not going to become evil.

Season 3: Dean trades his soul for Sam’s life and is given one year to live before he is dragged down into hell. Dean is glad to finally be at the end of his line, but he is pulled along by Sam to try to break the deal and find out who the demon is that holds his contract.

Season 4: Dean is back from Hell suddenly and without explanation. While he was gone for only 4 months the time span in hell equals 40 years of violent and horrific tortures. He tries to forget, but Sam wants to know. Meanwhile Sam has a secret relationship with Ruby, the demon who appears to be their new ally. Dean also meets Castiel, the angel who pulled him out of hell. The brothers try to stop Lilith, the first demon, who is trying to break the seals and set Lucifer free.

Season 5: Sam, intoxicated on the demon blood, accidentally breaks Lucifer from his cage, walking into a trap Ruby set for him. He tries to make amends while the brothers avoid demons and angels who wish them to allow the archangel Michael to possess Dean and Lucifer to possess Sam in order to bring the apocalypse into full swing.

Season 6: Dean’s been living a normal life for a year- a beautiful girlfriend and her son who he loves. But suddenly Sam reappears, not trapped in Lucifer’s cage after all. One trick though- his soul is still trapped and is being tortured. Dean gets it back into his body, but a barrier has been put up between the memories of hell that will kill him. On top of all this is Castiel, leading the angels in civil war, and Crowley, the new King of Hell who seems to be looking for a gateway to Purgatory and the souls locked inside.

Acting: 6/5
The latter half of the series shows a huge improvement in the acting. The Winchesters look less pretty-boy and a bit more rugged. Sam is less puppy dog and a bit tougher. More and more we see the comedic side of the Winchesters, especially in Series 6. We also see more of Bobby, the Brother’s father-figure and the guy they go to for help.

Directing: NA
Episodes are directed by a range of people, and one episode in Season 6 is directed by series star Jensen Ackles himself. There is no instance where it stands out that the directing is bad, so I’d say overall it’s pretty consistently great.

Other Things

Watch. This. Show.

Especially the Season 6 episode “The French Mistake”, in which Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate reality where their names are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and they are actors on the TV show “Supernatural”. The whole show makes fun of the two, and Jared Padalecki even told the writers if they were making a parody of their real life they should poke as much fun at him as possible. And they do.

 

Leave a comment

Supernatural (Seasons 1-4)

I started watching this show because my followers on tumblr are huge fans of it and I was always seeing these funny GIFs (moving pictures), so I gave it a shot.

Plot: 7/5
The show is about two brothers who hunt demons/ghosts/monsters. Basically it all started when the youngest brother, Sam, was a baby. His mother was killed by a demon and his father became obsessed with hunting down anything evil and supernatural he could and killing it. He brought his sons along and trained them to hunt demons as well. Sam left the family and became estranged when he went to Stanford to become a tax lawyer (thrills~). One day, out of the blue, Dean (his older brother) shows up at the apartment Sam shares with his girlfriend (who knows nothing of hunting) and tells him he needs his help, their father is missing while going hunting (what they call going to track down ghosts and such). He reluctantly agrees to help, and the duo defeats a ghost, but their father has already left the down. He claims to be on the track of the demon who killed their mother, but he wants Sam and Dean to hunt down anything evil and supernatural on their own. Sam returns home angrily, refusing to take part, but finds his girlfriend killed the exact same way as his mother.

The series has a different overarching theme for each season, Season 1 is based around the hunt for their father and the yellow-eyed demon who killed their mother. Season 2 also deals with the yellow eyed demon, but it is more of a setup for Season 3 & 4.

It gets high marks in the plot department because each episode is like watching a short horror movie. They are not outright terrifying, in my opinion they start off scary and by the end aren’t as creepy. The ghosts pop up out of nowhere, but they aren’t made to look too over the top horrible. Some of the ghosts are creative killers, but it isn’t overly graphic. It’s creepy or scary without being so over the top as to lose casual thriller movie viewers.

Acting: 4/5
Season 1 is a little rough on the part of Sam, in my opinion. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) is a good actor, it’s just his character is kind of overly moody and is definitely supposed to be the brooding moody one. Around season 2 he starts to turn it around and by season 3 & 4 he’s a lot tougher and more fun overall. Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) is absolutely hilarious. He is supposed to be the “good” brother, the one who stuck by their dad and actually came to love hunting demons. He’s the toughie, guns, beer, and porn, though none of them are overdone (Don’t worry, it’s a clean show).  I watch the show mostly to see him, though the relationship between the two “brothers” is brilliant. As the show progresses they get a bit more snippy, which I really enjoy. The two leads are also supposed to be pranksters and best friends on set, which I think shows in their characters, there is a genuine bromance ^^

Directing: 5/5
I don’t like judging the directing of a TV show because most of the time there are multiple directors. I will address the overall filming style though. It’s pretty consistent, but in Seasons 1 and 2 the colors are washed out a lot more. It is almost like a thin layer of black and white was placed on top of things. The guys are vampire-pale and the blacks pop a lot more. Seasons 3 & 4 have more color, and Season 2 makes the swing from the overly light format to more “normal” filming colors.

Other Things

I’m not a huge fan of scary stuff, but I really like this show. Most of the time I look at the ghosts through my fingers, not gonna lie, I’m 20 and I still do that, but I really like the show. It’s heading into it’s 7th season, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of season 4 through season 6 develop!

Here is a clip from the show (a behind the scenes) and a trailer for season 1! I highly recommend watching the first three episodes to get a feel for it and see what you think!

Season 1 Trailer

Funny clip (Dean Winchester/ Jensen Ackles)

Leave a comment

The Tudors (Series Review)

I watched this whole show over the course of like 3 weeks @_@ and I watched the first 7 episodes over again on my flight back from Korea ^^

Plot: 5/5
The show tends to be broken by season, so there isn’t really an over-arching series plot. I’ll give a rough description of each season for you:

Season 1:
This historically loose but visually lush series toasts the world of the Tudors in the days when King Henry VIII was a handsome and charming 25-year-old with athletic abilities and sexual prowess. The young king indulges his voracious taste for ladies-in-waiting, hangs out with his entourage of nobles and makes momentous political decisions.

That’s the NetFlix breakdown, so it’s kind of vague… Basically season 1 of the show begins near the end of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife who could only produce Princess Mary successfully amongst dozens of still births. He is seduced by the Boleyn family, first Catherine and then her little sister Anne. Anne manages to keep Henry VIII’s attentions exclusively on her while withholding sex. Henry decides to divorce Catherine in favor of Anne and, to accomplish this, makes a break from the Catholic church in Rome. Season 1 ends with the death of Henry’s wicked Cardinal Wolsey.

Season 2
In the second season of the hit series, King Henry VIII secretly has his marriage to Katherine declared invalid and weds Anne Boleyn, prompting the pope to excommunicate the king. Meanwhile, some of Henry’s old friends and allies fall out of favor.

Season 2 is almost entirely about his relationship with Anne Boleyn. Henry first weds, then slowly begins to fall out with his new wife. As Anne becomes more and more overbearing and steers the king to have her political enemies executed Henry meets Lady Jane Seymour. She is the refreshing aspect of his life, eager to help the king back from his bloody path. Anne is arrested and charged with adultery, a capital offense. The season concludes with the execution of his second wife and marriage to Lady Jane.

Season 3
The sexually insatiable King Henry VIII romances third wife Jane Seymour and ruthlessly quashes an uprising of rebels protesting England’s break with Rome in the third season of the drama. But distension within his own ranks leads Henry to question the loyalty of his closest allies.

Another bad description I think. Henry’s relationship with Lady Jane Seymour is (as anyone who is familiar with Henry VIII knows) very short. After successfully giving birth to a son Lady Jane dies, leaving Henry heartbroken. Season 3 follows through his mourning of Jane into the marriage (and subsequent divorce) of his short-term wife and long-time friend and “sister” Anne of Cleves. He also is introduced and falls in love with fifth wife Catherine Howard. In this season King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary enters as one of the lead characters. She is devoted to the memory of her mother and secretly Catholic, prompting a close alliance with the Ambassador from the Holy Roman Emperor (her cousin). Later in the season Princess Elizabeth (Anne’s daughter) also begins to make appearances.

Season 4 (the final season)
King Henry VIII looses his grip on reality while trying to juggle his troubled relationships with his wives Catherine Howard (wife #5) and Catherine Parr (#6).

Season 4 is pretty much Catherine Howard and the end of King Henry VIII’s life. In some episodes Princess Mary is more of a lead character, and Princess Elizabeth appears a little more. The show ends with the death of King Henry VIII. In the last episode he begins to see flashes of his dead wives.

Acting: 9/5
The acting in this series is absolutely incredible. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays King Henry VIII excellently (though Henry never looses his perfect fitness, unlike in real life). It is kind of ironic that Henry VIII is being played by a Scottish actor (England and Scotland were enemies traditionally), but his accent is excellent.

 

Henry Cavill (Charles Brandon)

My personal favorite actors of the series are Henry Cavill (who plays King Henry’s closest friend Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk). He is a major player in each season of the show. Not only is he fun to look at, but his character shows the most growth in the series. My other favorite is Sarah Bolger, who plays the Princess Mary. She does an INCREDIBLE job, and she holds the role from when Mary was around age 12 to when she is supposed to be in her early 20s, and fits the role perfectly at all times.

 

Directing: 5/5
Every now and then you get metaphorical scenes that don’t really make sense, and one of the last scenes of the series (the one with the horse, anyone who has seen the show will know what I’m talking about) is downright corny, but overall it is an excellent job. The style is not anything impressive or new, but he does a flawless and natural job, so you never notice a scene cut and it all feels as though you really are watching this live.

Other Things

The costume director needs an award… now. The costumes here are absolutely gorgeous. Each Queen has her own style that lends itself to how her personality is supposed to be. Catherine of Aragon was very dark and serious, Anne Boleyn was sleek and sharp, Lady Jane was soft and bright, Anne of Cleves was darker and a mix of styles, Catherine Howard’s clothes were too big and too bright, like a child playing dress-up, and Catherine Parr is very simple. I absolutely loved the dresses on the female characters. The guys were a little repetitive, but still interesting to watch. My only issue is that a few of the dresses Anne Boleyn wears look nothing like a dress that would be worn in the 1500s in England…

 

L-R: Princess Mary and Queen Catherine Parr

This show is no where near historically accurate, just a warning to history fans. You get the basics of major events, but a lot of stuff is glossed over or simply left out. If you can accept the mistakes then you should have no trouble enjoying the show.

 

Each season description goes out of its way to point out how King Henry was focused on sex. In reality there isn’t as much sex in the show as you would expect. Yeah, in some episodes you see a lot of skin, but I’d say that maybe every season there are 2-3 episodes that have a strong sex scene or multiple sex scenes within the episode. Other than that it is dialed down a lot. As the series progresses (with the exception of the episodes dealing with Catherine Howard) there is less and less. A warning though: in Season 4 the sex scenes with Howard start to look like something from a porno. In that season I’d say you have maybe 4 sex-heavy episodes.

All in all I REALLY enjoyed this show. The costumes were beautiful, the sets incredible, and the acting phenomenal. I know that the show was mainly about Henry VIII’s reign, but I really wish they had decided to continue through Prince Edward’s short period on the throne and at least through the reign of Princess Mary. They don’t necessarily have to show the reign of Elizabeth, since there are already many shows and movies about that, but I would have liked to see more of the other two kids. Other than that though this was a brilliantly done show, absolutely incredible.

9 Comments

Mystery 6

This is a TV show, for those of you who don’t know.

From what I’ve come to understand about “Mystery 6” the show is actually just called “Mystery”, the “6” is the season number. I guess each season has it’s own story, I don’t think it’s on anymore though…

Plot: 6/5
The story follows (drum roll) Super Junior ^^

It’s filmed like a reality investigation, but it was all scripted (how closely the members stuck to the script is unknown). The show was filmed after “Miracle” promotions began, but before “U” promotions, so there is no Kyuhyun (I don’t think the members even knew at this point that there would *be* a Kyuhyun).

So here’s the story: Donghae has been having nightmares (I love how when they do a movie or show it’s Donghae who is the lead, not one of the actual actors). Only these aren’t normal nightmares, he can’t get up after waking from them and his health is failing fast from lack of sleep and illness. The “Mystery” staff decide to set up a series of video cameras in Super Junior’s dorm to investigate the issue, and on their first night the shadow of a girl appears huddled in the corner of the room.

Over the course of 6 episodes Super Junior must figure out why there is a ghost in Donghae’s room, the story behind the horrible event which occurred in their dorm, and figure out what the spirit wants with Donghae. The members’ investigation reveals a previous owner of the house who also began to see ghosts and have nightmares, and their experience ended when a crazed father beat his daughter to death to stop the visions. While Donghae’s condition deteriorates and the members start to see ghosts around them the whole story slowly comes to light.

I didn’t mean to be so DVD cover about it, but it was kind of hard to describe the plot without giving anything big away.

It’s a scary show, but it’s also a show with Super Junior, so it all balances out. Whenever there is something terrifying they bring in the members to try and make things better. Little corners include Reporter Kim’s feature story on the event in Episode 1 (Heechul steals a camera and a spoon microphone and goes on a rampage) and Kangin’s Cooking Show where they attempt to make some food for Donghae to help him get his strength back (and which involves a very foolish Eunhyuk being made to taste Vinegar and Sesame Oil among other things to check their freshness). There is a great story running through the show, and the funny detours are just that, funny tiny little detours, so they get back to the story quickly.

Acting: 5/5

It seriously entertains me how the “Actors” of Super Junior don’t do much acting in their feature shows (this and “Attack on the Pin-Up Boys”). It tends to be Donghae (who is making his big debut as an actor TONIGHT with his solo role in “It’s Alright Daddy’s Daughter”, in fact it should already be about over). The acting is great, and a lot of the show is informal, so other than Donghae the other members don’t really appear much. Don’t get me wrong, there are always 2-3 members in almost every scene, but no member other than Hae is really heavily featured. Ryeowook, Sungmin, and Yesung even catch a few lines here and there (they tend to be the quiet ones)! Ryeowook plays a bigger role later on in the show.

Directing:
I’m not giving a numerical score here. The show is filmed guerrilla-style and is VERY informal. It really does just look like a camera crew sent to film Super Junior while SJ is distracted trying to help Donghae with the ghost that is trying to slowly kill him.

I HIGHLY  recommend checking this show out. It’s funny and it has a good plot. I’m currently watching it for the 4th time. Just a warning though: in the first episode you get some of the typical scary ghost-jumps-at-camera (beware of the scene with the girls in school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! scared the crap out of me…), but that happens maybe 2-3 times in the entire show, and usually they don’t dwell and try to be funny as quickly as good writing allows.

1 Comment

Zeni Geba (Japanese)

I *just* finished watching this (10 minutes ago). It’s a very short drama (9 Episodes) and it makes some really interesting points. Realistically speaking it’s kind of preachy, but you can ignore all that and just see how the story developes.

Plot: 4/5
Gamagori Futaro has been poor since the day he was born. As a child his recklessly wasteful and abusive father sunk the family into debt and disappeared, leaving Futaro and his sick mother to fend for themselves. With no money to pay for medical treatment for his ailing mother she eventually died. After her death Futaro became obsessed with money and willing to do anything for it. Several years pass and Futaro finds himself working at “Mikuni Shipbuilding” where he meets the company president’s daughters Midori, who was his former classmate, and her younger sister Akane, who is wheel-chair bound, and like Futaro, has a scarred face. In a plot to acquire their fathers company, Futaro begins to get close to the sisters.

That’s really only a good description of the first episode. The series is about just how far Futaro goes in order to attain money, what he has grown up believing will bring him every happiness in the world. He learns though that it isn’t all it was cracked up to be, and seeks to prove his old beliefs by playing with the lives of those around him until he eventually goes insane.

Acting: ∞/5

One name: Kenichi Matsuyama. Hands down he is, in my opinion, the single best actor in the world. He plays the lead role of Futaro, but you might also recognize him from the “Death Note” series (he starred as “L”). In places the writing is awkward, completely awkward, but Kenichi Matsuyama pulls it all through masterfully. It’s impossible not to be awed while watching this. After this ended I literally bounced to my friend down the hall and could only say “Kenichi Matsuyama is amazing~~~”.

The other actors are great too, don’t get me wrong. I could write a whole rant about how amazing Kenichi Matsuyama was in this show though. His character is hard, there is no scene that would have been easy to film, and he covers everything perfectly. He’s going on my list of flawless actors. Hum… To put it so those of you who have followed my “Rant” section can understand: Kenichi Matsuyama is an actor I respect just as much as I hate Hayden Christensen (so pretty damn wholeheartedly!).

Directing: wha?/5

Oh, yeah, that. The directing is fine, JUST GO BACK TO KENICHI MATSUYAMA! But no, really, the directing was pretty brilliant. The shots were well angled and I think this director should definitely get some award for his work here (or should have gotten it, it came out a year or so ago).

Like I said it’s a little preachy. You can kind of predict their angle- money doesn’t buy happiness damnit! But it’s still a good watch. And it’s only 9 episodes long, so honestly what do you have to loose? 9 hours? What were you going to do with it anyways? Don’t watch it all at once, as amazing as it is I didn’t let myself watch more than 2 eps a day. If you watch more than that, I’ve noticed, you start to get kind of tired of the drama.

Show Link (with subtitles): http://www.mysoju.com/zeni-geba/

Leave a comment

Harpers Island

Wow- first TV review in a while that’s for an English show!

Plot: 9/5
This is a really rare English show where it didn’t keep going beyond season 1. Ok, so that’s not that rare, but what’s rare here is that the producers actually intended for it to end so soon. The show has a defined beginning and end, much like the style of Asian dramas. There’s no space filler episodes, everything works towards one determined end.

The plot of Harpers Island can’t be explained before you know a couple of things: the first is that this is not a show for kids, on any level. It’s gory. If it were a movie it would be PG-13 no doubt, maybe even R. So before you run off and rent it or watch it on netflix remember to get the kids out of the room until you preview it and decide if it is too gory for them or not. The second thing is that there is a secret hidden in the episode titles themselves: each title (for those of you who haven’t seen the series) is onomatopoeic.. That’s my big word of the review. Basically each title is a sound effect (I’ll list the eps for you). That sound effect describes and hints at how someone in that episode will die. For example the episode Thwack. In Thwack the victim won’t die of drowning, since the sound doesn’t correspond to someone drowning.

Ok- now the plot! I don’t want to give anything away so I’m just going to type for you the plot description online with a few adjustments as needed.

The story is about the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, which takes place on Harper’s Island. One of the guests, Abby Mills, is still haunted by the murders that happened there seven years before, caused by John Wakefield. These murders claimed the life of her mother and eventually Wakefield was killed by her father. Since them the island has been calm and quiet, until suddenly the wedding guests begin to die one by one, and everyone is a suspect. The guests must unlock the secrets of Harper’s Island and of Wakefield himself to determine if he is back from the dead or if a copycat is among the group.

In each episode one more from the wedding party dies, and the survivors get closer to finding the truth, and becoming a victim themselves.

Directing: 6/5
The show had a pretty big budget, and you can totally tell that, but the director did an amazing job of keeping the effects where they belong. There are no useless shots in this show and the deaths are simple and quick, not over-emphasized or with too-strong effects.

Acting: 5/5
The cast was good, but for the post part they were either unknowns or backup characters from other TV shows, no major players other than Richard Burgi, at least not that I recognized. They all did a fantastic job with their characters, and you really get no hints as to who the killer is from the actors. But there is a reason for that: none of the actors knew who it was either. The director the single greatest thing a director can do when filming a show like this: he told the actors nothing. Each week of the shoot they were given their script and they found out that week who was leaving the cast and who was still employed. Only Richard Burgi knew when he would die, and that was because his death was seen as a turning point in the storyline. Christopher Gorham and Katie Cassidy (Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington respectively) revealed in an interview that each week the cast would place bets on who would be the one to die in next week’s shoot, and who the killer would be at the end.

If the actors don’t even know if they are the killers then they can’t drop little hints which give away the ending. You really don’t get any hints whatsoever, and that is why I like this show. After watching the first few episodes you can’t say exactly how it will end, you might be able to predict an episode ahead if you’re clever, but you can’t point and say “Ok, she (or he) is the killer)”.

Other Things
I don’t know if you can tell from my review, but I’m giving this probably the highest recommendation of any English show I have reviewed. I absolutely LOVE this show, even though frankly if it were a movie I’d never watch it. People die, but it isn’t a shock fest. It is a very thought out and planned story, and I think it is the best to ever appear. Making it a one season wonder was probably the best idea ever, and I don’t know how the producers talked CBS into funding it, but they should go for more things like this.

I read somewhere that there was a plan to make a kind of sequel to Harper’s Island. Not necessarily with the same characters (those that survive) or in the same location, but the same type of murder mystery storyline. There was something similar in the works, and if it pans out I hope they stuck with the same writer. I’ll post a couple of fan-made trailers below, they’re really the best work I’ve ever seen as far as summing up this show without giving it away and they give you a great feeling for how things progress. You can get it on iTunes, and I think it’s the only show I have in my iTunes where I bought every single episode, not just one or two.
I’m going to ruin the end for you: the dog in the trailer doesn’t die in the show (I know, I totally blew the ending, sorry!). That’s for those of you who, like me, get really nervous about cute fluffy pets dying in movies or shows.

This is the best fan-made trailer I’ve ever seen

1 Comment

The Twelve Kingdoms- Series Review

Ok, so technically this is a Japanese anime, but I’m watching with English dubs, so I AM FILING IT AS AN ENGLISH SHOW. Please don’t yell at me… For some reason anime fans can be really touchy about all that….

Plot: 10/5
there are 2 seasons for this show, or at least the DVD was released in two parts. I’m reviewing them together.

I’ve seen this show from start to finish 5 times, and I just got the DVDs from the library again. Those of you who know me know just how rare that is for a show. I don’t re-watch TV shows often, and never from start to finish over and over again (I usually just watch episodes I liked).

The plot is complicated, so I’ll try to go slow.

The show can be broken up into two parts.

Part 1
You will meet here the girl the show follows from the first episode on (except for some episodes dotted here and there that really just give you back story on characters, they can be skipped entirely to be perfectly honest). Yoko is a teen who lives to please others. Her parents, teachers, even random kids at school. She has a crush on Asano, but he likes Sugimoto, a strange girl the other students avoid because of her love for stories of knights in shining armor and princesses. Yoko faces a lot of pressures due to her meek personality, and is misunderstood a lot. She gets in trouble for dying her hair bright red (it is naturally so, even though she is Japanese and both parents have black hair), and cannot stand up for herself. One day a man who calls himself Keiki comes into her classroom and bows at her feet, promising to serve her for his life. The students in her class begin to mutter that he is some kind of pimp.

A strange wind appears and the windows of the school blast inwards, severely injuring all of her friends and instructor. Keiki protects her and takes Yoko to the roof of the school, where Asano and Sugimoto are sitting together. While Keiki tries to convince Yoko to come with him (without saying where to) two creatures attack. Keiki gives Yoko a sword and tells her to let it protect her. He also puts a misty creatures in her body that can take over and fight for her. Keiki eventually has no choice but to flee with Yoko. She refuses to come without Asano and Sugimoto (don’t know why she dragged them into this) and the three are kidnapped on large flying creatures.

They end up flying though a whirlpool in the harbor and end up in the land of the 12 kingdoms.

Now let me explain the mythology here: There are 12 core kingdoms that form a diamond around a 13th central area. Each kingdom is ruled by an individual who is chosen by a Kirin. The Kirin look like men and women, except they can transform into beautiful creatures. The Kirin are born on the central kingdom, and one is born per country. The Kirin can only bow to one person in their whole lives: the king of the country they are born to protect. Royalty does not pass among family lines, and so with each king or queens death the people have an equal chance of being chosen (it is divine will that chooses). A king or queen will always be born to a family in the kingdom they will rule.

A Kirin and the king or queen are granted the Senine Power- the ability to live forever unless their lives are taken by poison or a special blade. They can also bestow this ability on others. If a king or queen does a good job, then the kingdom will prosper and have no natural disasters. If the king or queen becomes corrupt the Kirin will fall gravely ill. If the Kirin dies, then the king or queen will die within a year. If the king or queen change their ways or kill themselves, the Kirin will recover and can pick a new king or queen.

Keiki is the Kirin of the kingdom of Kay, whose ruler went mad for her love for him (Kirin do not love anyone. They can make friends, but they never wish to marry or have children, it isn’t a rule, just something none of them do) and killed all women in the palace. When Keiki fell ill she killed herself. Her little sister was just as mad, however, and imprisoned Keiki with the help of the king of Ko, a neighboring kingdom. King Ko wanted to make his suffering land seem prosperous in comparison, and as long as there is no king or queen on the throne the land will suffer more and more.

Yoko was supposed to be born to a family in the kingdom of Kay, but her spirit was thrown into Japan on accident in a horrible storm (there is a good explanation for how this happened in the show, but it is kind of complicated so I won’t explain it). Yoko is the new queen of Kay, and Keiki must bring her back and formally bow to her in the 13th kingdom so that all will know she is the true queen, not the sister of the last Queen Kay (who does not have Keiki as prisoner at this point).

On the way to Kay, however, the king of Ko makes his Kirin attack the group and help to imprison Keiki. Yoko, Asano, and Sugimoto have no idea that Yoko is supposed to be queen, they believe Keiki brought them to a strange world where no one but Yoko can understand the language (Senine Power also makes it possible to speak any language). Yoko eventually gets separated from Asano and Sugimoto. Asano falls off a cliff and is thought dead, and Sugimoto ditches Yoko, eventually becoming puppet to King Ko, who convinces her she is the real queen of Kay. Yoko begins to see strange visions of a man in blue and hears his voice in her head, constantly pestering her and making her paranoid. She eventually is saved by and befriended by a well meaning man-thing (he naturally has the form of a very large furry rat who speaks politely, but can turn into a human if forced) named Rakushun. He wants only to help her find the Kingdom of En, a prosperous land where the king has been on the throne for 500 years and was born in Japan himself, though during the period of warlords.

The first part of the story is about Yoko learning to live in this new land and trying to find a place in it. When she learns she is to be the Queen of Kay it is about her coming to terms with the fact that she can never go home and trying to free her country.

The second series is about Yoko (then Queen Kay) trying to gain control of her country and wrestle it back from corrupt officials. She does not know who to trust and which advisers are right, which leads to the suffering of her people. Queen Kay therefore decides to pose as a commoner and spy on her own people to see just what is happening to them.

Interlaced with her story is the story of three other girls. One is a servant from Japan who was thrown into the ocean during a storm and washed up in the 12 kingdoms (as happens from time to time). She is horribly abused as a servant for hundreds of years under an evil official in the kingdom of So. She decides to go to the Queen of Kay, who she heard was also from Japan and believes can help her and sympathize with her. During her journey though she learns she must take care of herself and help others, rather than wallow in self pity and wish for a hero. She meets up with Asano, who was driven mad by loneliness and plans to kill Keiki (he does not know Yoko is the queen).

At the same time you also meet the former Princess of Ho, who was a jewel in the royal palace for many decades, ignorant of her father’s wicked deeds that eventually led to his murder at the hands of rebels (who also killed the sick Kirin for her inability to give them a just ruler, though it isn’t like she had any choice in the matter). The Princess seeks to kill Queen Kay, who has everything she lost.

Finally, and to a lesser degree, the show follows Sugimoto, who is back in Japan. Sugimoto meets a boy who is silent and thought to be evil, as strange things happen around him. She comes to suspect he is from the Twelve Kingdoms, and knows he is someone important. This boy, you learn later in the story, is the kirin of the kingdom of Tai. It is unknown to anyone what happened in Tai, but after a king was chosen that king was violently murdered, and his kirin went missing. Since no new Kirin was born on the 13th kingdom, they know he is alive, but not where he is. Her story remains unresolved at the end of the series (The animators took a break while the author wrote more books, as they had caught up. They have not yet resumed production). The other two come together unknowingly with Queen Kay, and they become good friends as they plan and fight a rebellion against several evil and corrupt officials.

So the story is kind of complicated, but all this happens over two seasons and 45 episodes. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WATCHING THIS. I”m going to start watching it for the 6th time as soon as I finish typing those reviews I promised you (so in like an hour). It is completely brilliant, and the scenery is breathtaking.

If anime isn’t your style, then I recommend going to the book story and getting the Twelve Kingdoms series by Fuyumi Ono (I might not have spelled that right, just look for Twelve Kingdoms). The show was not based on a manga (the comic books), but on actual novels.

Leave a comment