Guin Saga

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Guin Saga
Guin Saga Book 1 Cover.jpg
Cover art of the first Guin Saga novel
(Guin Sāga)
Novel series
Written byKaoru Kurimoto
Illustrated byNaoyuki Kato (1–19)
Yoshitaka Amano (20–57)
Jun Suemi (58–87)
Shinobu Tanno (88–130)
Published byHayakawa Publishing
English publisher
Original run1979 – present
The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi
Written byKazuaki Yanagisawa
Published byMedia Factory
English publisher
MagazineComic Flapper
Original run20002003
Written byHajime Sawada
Published byJive
MagazineComic Rush
Original runJanuary 2007June 2010
Anime television series
Directed byAtsushi Wakabayashi
Written byShōji Yonemura
Music byNobuo Uematsu
Licensed by
Original networkNHK BS2
Original run April 5, 2009 September 27, 2009
Episodes26 (List of episodes)

Guin Saga (グイン・サーガ, Guin Sāga) is a best-selling heroic fantasy novel series by the Japanese author Kaoru Kurimoto, in continuous publication since 1979. A record 100 volumes were originally planned,[4] but the final total stands at 130 volumes and 22 side-story novels, with the last four volumes and the twenty-second side novel published posthumously.[5] She was working on the 130th volume of Guin Saga up until May 23, 2009, after which point she became too ill to write.[6] After the 100th book in the series was published in 2005, an event to celebrate this was held in Tokyo, with 600 attending.[7] Guin Saga is the longest single-writer's work in the world,[8] with total sales of 30 million copies.[9]

The main story of Guin Saga resumed on November 8, 2013, four years after the passing of the original author. Yū Godai published Volume 131 Parro no Ankoku on that date, followed by Yume Yohino's Volume 132 Cylon no Banka in December 2013.[10]

Plot overview[edit]

The story centers around a mysterious warrior named Guin, an amnesiac with a leopard mask magically affixed to his head. Remembering nothing but his fighting instincts and the word "Aurra", he confronts a world laden with danger, intrigue, and magic.[4]


  • Guin
Voiced by: Kenyuu Horiuchi (Japanese); David Wald (English)
The title character is a mysterious warrior with the head of a leopard. He stumbles upon Rinda and Remus being attacked by soldiers and defeats the entire unit single-handedly. He remembers nothing of his past, knowing only his fighting instincts, what he believes is his name, and a word: Aurra. Guin is often put in position where he will suddenly have a skill he doesn't know he has. He understands the language of the Sem. As of Prisoner of the Lagon, he starts to realize that he really is part of the Destiny reshaping the land. Guin is inhumanly strong and knowledgeable about battle strategies, causing the Mongauli army to fear and respect him as a warrior, as he often will set up battle scenarios and jump into battle himself with inhuman skill.
  • Rinda Farseer
Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (Japanese); Emily Neves (English)
The Crown Princess of Parros and Remus's twin. She is more independent than Remus. While putting up a strong front for her brother, she is just as devastated over the loss of her homeland. She has prophetic abilities, hence her name "Farseer". According to the novels, she's sure to be one of the top beauties of the land. She has a hatred for Lady Amnelis that is suggested in Warrior in the Wilderness to be partly because they are rivals and opposites in beauty, but mostly because the White Knights that Lady Amnelis commands were responsible for the deaths of her parents. She is a platinum blonde with violet eyes. At the beginning of the story, she is 14.
  • Remus Farseer
Voiced by: Tsubasa Yonaga (Japanese); Blake Shepard (English)
The Crown Prince of Parros and Rinda's twin. Although Remus comes off as less courageous than Rinda, it is also suggested in the novels that he is more realistic and more able to understand others. His caution is derived from observation of others. He also reveals secrets accidentally by just talking too much. He apparently can "sense" his sister, and occasionally hear her thoughts (The Leopard Mask). Remus is bitter about not having the gift of farsight, although it's evident he will have other talents. He is a platinum blonde with violet eyes. At the beginning of the story, he is 14.
  • Aldross III
Voiced by: Mitsuru Ogata (Japanese); Andrew Love (English)
The father of Rinda and Remus.
  • Istavan Spellsword
Voiced by: Shintaro Asanuma (Japanese); David Matranga (English)
A young mercenary without scruples, but who is portrayed sympathetically. When he was born, he held a jewel in his hand, and a seer predicted that he would one day rule a kingdom and marry the Princess of Light, whom he believes is Rinda. He is nicknamed "The Crimson Mercenary". Istavan is a cunning fellow, and a battle-hardened mercenary by his (approximate) age of 20. He is very mischievous and has a wild sense of humor, finding things outrageously funny. He particularly likes to tease Rinda, and currently has her promise to become Captain of the Holy Guards of Parros, once it is regained. It is implied that he hopes to gain her favor in order to attain her hand in marriage and become a king, even though such a thing is impossible since Rinda must marry someone of noble lineage. He has a sixth-sense about danger, and will often disappear right before a disaster strikes. Although he complains quite a bit, he follows Guin's orders. He is quite proud and overconfident due to the prophecy made after his birth and often attributes random positive events to the fact that he is a future king.
  • Black Count Vanon
Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma (Japanese); Jovan Jackson (English)
The Count of Stafolos Keep who is suffering from a plague that causes flesh to fall off. He is discovered to have been possessed by a ghoul, who requires blood of living things to keep him alive. He passes on with Guin's help when Stafolos falls.
  • Suni
Voiced by: Sayuri Yahagi (Japanese); Hilary Haag (English)
A member of the monkey-like Sem barbarian tribe. She was being held captive by the Black Count and was liberated by Guin, Rinda, and Remus.
  • Lady Amnelis
Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe (Japanese); Elizabeth Bunch (English)
The General of the Mongauli army, the enemies of Parros. She is obsessed with capturing Guin. She even went so far as to find a way to bridge the Kes river and travel into Nospherus, the no-man's land of the Sem to find him. She is considered one of the most beautiful women in the land with her golden hair and green eyes, but has been described as a "Lady of Ice". She also has a small whip on hand that she uses when talking to or lecturing her subordinates. She often involves herself in events seen as too dangerous for a woman of her position with a seemingly overconfident attitude. One that is shattered when Guin easily defeats her in battle and belittles her afterward.[11]
  • Astrias
Voiced by: Makoto Ishii (Japanese); Chris Patton (English)
A soldier in the Mongauli army, and known as Gora's Red Lion. He is deeply and obsessively in love with Lady Amnelis, to the point where he kept a lock of her hair that he managed to obtain on his person for quite some time. He is very proud and believes himself to be invincible, and was able to defeat Istavan in single combat. However, in battle he was almost instantaneously knocked aside by Guin twice and told to come back in 20 years.

Series artists[edit]

Painted covers and interior illustrations for volumes 1-19 (1979–1984) were done by Naoyuki Kato. Noted artist Yoshitaka Amano then took the reins until vol. 57 (1997),[12] upon which time he was replaced by Jun Suemi. Shinobu Tanno, whose style closely resembles Suemi's, has been the series artist since vol. 88 (2003) until the final 130th book in 2009.


Novels released in English[edit]

American publisher Vertical has released the first five volumes, translated into English by known game translator Alexander O. Smith. The English editions have drawn praise comparing the series to The Lord of the Rings and Conan the Barbarian.[13] The novels have also been translated into German, French, Russian, Italian, Korean and Chinese.[14] Vertical has released the first five novels in English, but only the first three in hardback and paperback editions.[15][16]

Title Date ISBN
The Guin Saga Book One: The Leopard Mask
Hyōtō no Kamen (豹頭の仮面)
June 1, 2003 (hardcover)[17]
December 11, 2007 (paperback)[18]
ISBN 978-1-932234-51-0
The kingdom of Parros is attacked by the army of Mongaul, and so Rinda and Remus, the princess and prince of Parros are teleported away by a magic mechanism. They wake up far away from Parros in the Roodwood, which is filled with dangerous spirits and the Mongauli army. They are almost captured by the Mongauli army when a mysterious warrior with the head of a leopard saves them. They give him water, and learn his name - Guin. Night falls and they fight off evil spirits, but are captured in the morning by the Mongauli army, who take them to the Black Count's castle. The Black Count threatens Rinda to get her to reveal the secrets of Parros, though she knows nothing of them, and throws Guin and Remus into the dungeons. There, Guin and Remus meet Istavan, who is trying to escape. He tricks Remus into giving him his bedsheets for rope. Rinda meets and befriends Suni, another captive of the Black Count. The Black Count makes Guin fight a vicious ape, and a soldier throws a sword to him, enabling Guin to kill the ape. The soldier is lowered into the arena, but Guin leaps up to the Black Count and takes him hostage. The Black Count threatens to take off his mask and spread his plague, and Guin is recaptured. Meanwhile, Istavan escapes. Rinda and Suni are menaced by the Black Count, and the Sem attack the castle. The knights are caught by surprise, and open Remus and Guin's cell to keep Remus safe, but they are killed by the Sem. The Sem then attack Guin and Remus, but they outrun the Sem and find Rinda and Suni. The Sem warriors are from an enemy tribe to Suni's and so she cannot tell them to stop. They find a secret door and land in an empty dungeon, which should have been full. Suni is separated from the group, they find her tied up, with the Black Count Vanon ready to kill her to use her blood to treat his rotting disease. Guin reveals the Black Count to be a wraith, and banishes it, and the ghost of the true Count Vanon. Guin carries the twins and Suni out of the dungeon, and to escape the burning castle, jump into the river Kes.
The Guin Saga Book Two: Warrior in the Wilderness
Kōya no Senshi (荒野の戦士)
October 1, 2003 (hardcover)[19]
January 22, 2008 (paperback)[20]
ISBN 978-1-932234-52-7
The Guin Saga Book Three: The Battle of Nospherus
Nosuferasu no Tatakai (ノスフェラスの戦い)
December 1, 2003 (hardcover)[21]
March 4, 2008 (paperback)[22]
ISBN 978-1-932234-53-4
The Guin Saga Book Four: Prisoner of the Lagon
Ragon no Ryoshū (ラゴンの虜囚)
May 13, 2008[23]ISBN 978-1-934287-19-4
The Guin Saga Book Five: The Marches King
Henkyō no Ōja (辺境の王者)
May 13, 2008[24]ISBN 978-1-934287-20-0


There are two manga based on the Guin Saga.[14] The Guin Saga Manga:The Seven Magi グイン・サーガ七人の魔道師 is based on a gaiden (side-story) from the Guin Saga novels, where Guin is now King of Cheironia and must protect his kingdom from a magical plague. The story was originally published as a novel in 1981 and was adapted to manga, which first volume was released in February 2001.[25][14] It is illustrated by Kazuaki Yanagisawa, was published in Japan by Media Factory,[25] and has been released in English in three volumes by Vertical.[26]

No. Original release date Original ISBN English release date English ISBN
1 February 23, 2001[25]4-88991-775-6December 11, 2007[27]978-1-932234-80-0
2 January 23, 2002[28]4-8401-0404-2January 2, 2008[29]978-1-934287-07-1
3 January 23, 2003[30]4-8401-0478-6March 4, 2008[31]978-1-934287-08-8

The other manga is based on the early part of the story and is adapted to manga format by Hajime Sawada,[32] as part of the Jive series Kurimoto Kaoru The Comic (栗本薫 The Comic), adapting Kurimoto's works to manga form.[33]

No. Release date ISBN
1 January 26, 2007[32]978-4-86176-365-6
2 December 26, 2007978-4-86176-422-6
3 October 7, 2008978-4-86176-573-5
4 April 7, 2009978-4-86176-649-7
5 October 7, 2009978-4-86176-724-1
6 June 7, 2010978-4-86176-769-2


On April 12, 2005, Micott & Basara (Japanese investors) announced plans to create an anime based on Guin Saga.[34] In October 2008 more details surfaced which revealed Atsushi Wakabayashi is directing the anime, while famous video game composer Nobuo Uematsu is creating the score. This is Uematsu's first full soundtrack for an anime, and Wakabayashi's first directing role.[35] Animation production was handled by Satelight and the background art by Studio Easter.[36] The anime debuted on April 5, 2009. On April 3, 2009 an English-dubbed trailer was posted on the anime's official website.[37] On May 7, 2010, North American anime licensor Sentai Filmworks announced that they have acquired the series.[38] Sentai, along with distributor Section23 Films, released part one of the series on DVD on March 29, 2011.[39] Section23 had previously announced a Blu-ray release, but it has been postponed indefinitely.[40] On May 8, 2012, Sentai Filmworks released a complete Guin Saga BD Set encompassing the entire series.[41]

The anime uses two pieces of theme music. "Theme of Guin" (グインのテーマ, Guin no Tēma) by Nobuo Uematsu is the series' opening theme, while "Saga~This is my road" by Kanon is the series' ending theme.[42] The soundtrack, comprising two CDs, was released on June 24, 2009.[43]

The anime adapted the first sixteen volumes of the novels.[44]

Audio CDs[edit]

On September 21, 2005, six image albums were released for Guin Saga. There were only 5,000 copies made of each CD. The six CDs were:

  • "Guin Saga - Henkyō Hen" (グイン・サーガ辺境篇)
  • "Guin Saga - Inbō Hen" (グイン・サーガ陰謀篇)
  • "Guin Saga - Senran Hen" (グイン・サーガ戦乱篇)
  • "Guin Saga - Graffiti" (グイン・サーガグラフィティ)
  • "Guin Saga - Shichinin no Madōshi" (グイン・サーガ七人の魔道師)
  • "Guin Saga - Hyōsetsu no Joō / Toki no Fūdo" (グイン・サーガ氷雪の女王/時の封土).[45]


Berserk creator Kentaro Miura has stated that Guin Saga was a large influence on his work.[13] The books won the 2010 Seiun Award for long fiction.[46] Science fiction critic Mari Kotani regards Guin as "a hero who lives on the border between man and beast".[47] Erin Finnegan from Pop Shock Culture comments that the book "is absolute torture for the first 100 pages, but suddenly at page 105 it turns good". She also comments that the fight scenes, "although cheesy at times", "are all entertainingly well written".[48] The Seattle Times's Nisi Shawl comments that "the book's intense images and dreamlike simplicity give it an anime air".[49]

Jason Thompson of Otaku USA criticises The Seven Magi for trying to summarise "116 volumes and still going" novel series into a few volumes, which "means a lot of backstory that isn't explained for the casual American reader".[50] Later, writing for the appendix to Manga: The Complete Guide, he found the English dialogue in the series "captures the retro pulp fantasy style almost to the point of self-parody", describing the art as "macho and grotesque", although finding the background art "flat". Thompson also found the story was too open at the end.[51] Ian Randal Strock of commends the manga for its "black-and-white pen-and-ink work".[52]

Theron Martin enjoyed the broadening of scope of the series in the second half of the anime.[53]


  1. ^ Loo, Egan (February 27, 2009). "Guin Saga Epic Fantasy Anime Trailer Video Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Guin Saga Manga:The Seven Magi". Vertical, Inc. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Legulalp, Serdar (May 28, 2014). "Sword & Sorcery Fantasy Anime (Top Best List)". Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Dodds, Georges. "The Leopard Mask: The Guin Saga, Book 1". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  5. ^ "Guin Saga Author Kaoru Kurimoto Passes Away at 56 (Updated)". Anime News Network. May 26, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  6. ^ 栗本薫さん「グイン・サーガ」129巻出版へ…絶筆130巻も (in Japanese). Archived from the original on May 31, 2009.
  7. ^ " 栗本薫の大河小説「グイン・サーガ」が100巻達成 - BOOK". Archived from the original on March 2, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Introduction". Archived from the original on January 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "Guin Saga Author Kaoru Kurimoto Passes Away at 56 (Updated)". Anime News Network. May 26, 2009.
  10. ^ "Guin Saga to Resume 4 Years After Original Novelist's Passing". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "VERTICAL". Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Guin Saga". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Praise For The Guin Saga". Vertical. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c Chavez, Ed (March 11, 2008). "The Saga of the Guin Saga". PW Comics Week. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "Roundtable". Vertical. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "Index". Vertical. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  17. ^ The Leopard Mask (The Guin Saga, Book 1) (Hardcover). 2003. ISBN 1932234519.
  18. ^ The Guin Saga: Book One: The Leopard Mask (Bk. 1) (Paperback). 2007. ISBN 978-1932234817.
  19. ^ The Guin Saga, Book 2: Warrior in the Wilderness (Bk. 2) (Hardcover). 2003. ISBN 1932234527.
  20. ^ The Guin Saga: Book Two: Warrior in the Wilderness (Bk. 2) (Paperback). 2008. ISBN 978-1934287057.
  21. ^ Kurimoto, Kaoru; Smith, Alexander O. (2003). The Guin Saga, Book 3: The Battle of Nospherus (Bk. 3) (Hardcover). ISBN 1932234535.
  22. ^ Kurimoto, Kaoru; Smith, Alexander O. (March 2008). The Guin Saga: Book Three: The Battle of Nospherus (Bk. 3) (Paperback). ISBN 978-1934287064.
  23. ^ Kurimoto, Kaoru; Smith, Alexander O. (2008). The Guin Saga: Book Four: Prisoner of the Lagon (Bk. 4) (Paperback). ISBN 978-1934287194.
  24. ^ Kurimoto, Kaoru; Smith, Alexander O. (2008). The Guin Saga: Book Five: The Marches King (Bk. 5) (Paperback). ISBN 978-1934287200.
  25. ^ a b c グイン・サーガ七人の魔道師 1 (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  26. ^ "The Seven Magi". Vertical. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  27. ^ The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 1 (v. 1). 2007. ISBN 978-1932234800.
  28. ^ グイン・サーガ七人の魔道師 2 (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  29. ^ The Guin Saga Manga: Book Two: The Seven Magi (Bk. 2). 2008. ISBN 978-1934287071.
  30. ^ グイン・サーガ七人の魔道師 3 (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  31. ^ The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 3 (Bk. 3). 2008. ISBN 978-1934287088.
  32. ^ a b "Guin Saga" (in Japanese). Jive. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  33. ^ "Guin Saga : une longue épopée bientôt animée" (in French). Anime Days. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  34. ^ "Guin Saga Anime". Anime News Network. April 12, 2005. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  35. ^ "Final Fantasy Games' Uematsu to Score Guin Saga Anime". Anime News Network. October 7, 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  36. ^ アニメ版グイン・サーガ 監督に若林厚史氏 音楽に植松伸夫氏 (in Japanese). October 7, 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  37. ^ "Guin Saga Fantasy Anime's English-Dubbed Trailer Posted". Anime News Network. April 3, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  38. ^ "Sentai Filmworks Adds Guin Saga TV Anime". Anime News Network. May 7, 2010.
  39. ^ "Sentai Adds Shin Kohime Muso Sequel, Akasaka". Anime News Network. December 8, 2010.
  40. ^ "Section23 Postpones Indefinitely 1st Guin Saga BD Set". January 17, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  41. ^ "Guin Saga Blu-ray Complete Collection (Hyb)". Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  42. ^ グイン・サーガ』キャスト、主題歌情報公開。モバイルサイトオープン。 (in Japanese). February 18, 2009. Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  43. ^ グイン・サーガ オリジナル サウンドトラック (in Japanese). Guin Saga. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  44. ^ "Anime adaption of "Guin Saga" to be aired from April, 2009 on NHK BS-2". February 18, 2009. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  45. ^ "Guin Saga - Henkyo Hen (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
    "Guin Saga - Inbou Hen (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
    "Guin Saga - Senran Hen (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
    "Guin Saga Graffiti (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
    "Guin Saga - 7-Nin No Madoushi (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
    "Guin Saga - Hyousetsu no Jouou / Toki no Fuudo (Limited Release)(limited to 5,000 copies)". Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  46. ^ "Guin Saga, Summer Wars, Pluto Win at Japan Sci-Fi Con". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  47. ^ Kotani, Mari (2007). "Alien Spaces and Alien Bodies in Japanese Women's Science Fiction". In Christopher Bolton; Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr.; Takayuki Tatsumi (eds.). Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-8166-4974-7.
  48. ^ Finnegan, Erin (February 7, 2008). "The Otaku Bookshelf: Guin Saga, Now You're One of Us, Shinjuku Shark, Welcome to the NHK". Pop Shock Culture. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  49. ^ Shawl, Nisi (July 20, 2003). "Science fiction: Complex 'Ilium' features strange locale, familiar plot". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  50. ^ Thompson, Jason (February 27, 2009). "The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi". Otaku USA. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  51. ^ Jason Thompson. "365 Days of Manga, Day 115: The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi". Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  52. ^ Strock, Ian Randal (December 21, 2007). "Review of The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 1". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  53. ^ "Guin Saga". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 4, 2015.

External links[edit]