Cover of the first volume, released in Japan by Shueisha on May 19, 2006.
|Written by||Yasuhisa Hara|
|Imprint||Young Jump Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Jump|
|Original run||January 26, 2006 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Original network||NHK BS Premium, NHK General TV|
|Original run||June 4, 2012 – present|
Kingdom (Japanese: キングダム, Hepburn: 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. The manga has been serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump since January 2006 and collected into 59 tankōbon volumes as of September 2020.
The series was adapted into a three-season anime television series by studio Pierrot. The first season of 38 episodes aired from June 2012 to February 2013. A second season aired for 39 episodes from June 2013 to March 2014. A third season by Studio Signpost and Pierrot premiered 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 some Chinese names have no equivalent characters in Kanji. For example, Ou Ki's (王騎), the name is a slightly altered version of Wang Yi, 王齮, because the last character of his name, 齮, does not exist in Kanji.
Born during the Warring States period of ancient China, Xin and Piao are war-orphans working as servants in a poor village in the kingdom of Qin. However, they dream to become the "Great Generals of the Heavens" and train daily. One day, Piao is taken to the palace for an unknown purpose by a minister and Xin is left behind. A few months later, Piao returns to the village on the verge of death, urging Xin to travel to another village. There, Xin meets a boy nearly identical to Piao, Ying Zheng the current King of Qin. Xin learns that Piao served as a body double for Ying Zheng and was mortally wounded in a power struggle for the throne. Though initially furious at Ying Zheng for causing Piao's death, Xin decides to seize the opportunity and aids Ying Zheng in ousting his younger half-brother Cheng Jiao and reclaiming the Qin throne. Successful in this endeavor, Xin starts his military life as a Qin soldier and then commander on the battlefields of the warring states of China. He relentlessly pursues his goal of becoming the "Greatest General in the World", also helping King Zheng of Qin achieve his dream of unification to end the incessant warfare once and for all.
- Li Xin (李信, Ri Shin)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita (Japanese); Cole Howard (English)
- Xin (Shin in the Japanese version) is an orphan boy who grew up as a servant with his best friend Piao. Xin's behavior is predominantly impulsive, however, he inspires his comrades and those around him. After Piao died in episode 1, Xin decides to help the King of Qin, Ying Zheng (Ei Sei), escape his enemies with the help of He Liao Diao. Xin enlists in the State of Qin army, and after demonstrating his determination and abilities, General Wang Qi (Ou Ki) appoints him as the leader of a special 100-man Fei Xin Unit (Hi Shin Unit). Appointing Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) and Yuan (En) as his lieutenants, Xin joins Wang Qi in his attack on the State of Zhao. He develops great respect for Ying Zheng and their paths become interlocked. Following the invasion of the Wei State, he is made leader of a 1,000-man unit.
- Ying Zheng (嬴政, Ei Sei)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
- Ying Zheng is the 31st king of the State of Qin. He states that he will unify all of China, but has only a few years to do so. There are enemies that lay beyond the Qin state (Zhao, Wie, Chu, and other nations) and internal problems with his political rivals, minister Liu Bu, who plans to take over the throne, and the Queen Dowager. Although king, Ying Zheng has not been crowned, so his power is limited. His and Xin's goals became unified when Xin declares that he would be Ying Zheng's "sword" in the unification of China. He has a child with the servant woman Xiang (Kou) named Rei.
- Li Piao (李漂, Ri Hyō)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
- Xin's childhood best friend and fellow war orphan, Piao also aims to become a general renowned throughout all of China. His appearance is identical to King Ying Zheng and he is offered a position in the Qin palace as Zheng's body double. He accepts the position, only to die fighting at the hands of an assassin hired by the Cheng Jiao Faction. Piao is a fictional character created by the author and does not exist in history.
- He Liao Diao (河了貂, Ka Ryō Ten)
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Japanese); Shannon Chan-Kent (English)
- He Liao Diao (Ka Ryō Ten) is a young girl and the last descendant of a mountain tribe, but she keeps her identity a secret and dresses as a male. She joins Xin in helping Ying Zheng escape from Liu Bu's soldiers. After witnessing Wang Qi and Xin's war against the Zhao, she tells Shin that she will join the State of Qin Army, but he only laughs. He Liao Diao is taken in as an apprentice of strategic warfare, and later in the story, she becomes the strategist for the Fei Xin Unit. It is hinted that she has romantic feelings for Xin, however, he sees their relationship as more like brother and sister.
- Qiang Lei (羌瘣, Kyō Kai)
- Voiced by: Yōko Hikasa
- Qiang Lei (Kyou Kai) is a superb swords-woman and an efficient killer. She is a former member of the Shi Yū (Chi You), a female assassin group in which they advance the expense of killing rival candidates. After the death of her older sister, Qiang Xiang (Kyou Shou), in a rigged series of deathmatches, Qiang Lei vowed revenge against the woman who killed her. She joined the Fei Xin Unit after its formation and became a vice commander, keeping her gender a secret. She is naive in the ways of the world but is much smarter than Xin and he relies on her for battle strategies as well as her sword skills. After Xin discovers her identity, she becomes more friendly and open towards him and she accepts her place in the unit, calling it her home. Her identity is revealed to the rest of the Fei Xin Unit after she is severely wounded in the battle against the Wei State. It is inferred that she may have romantic feelings for Xin.
- Chang Wenjun (昌文君, Shōbun Kun)
- Voiced by: Yutaka Nakano
- Lord Chang was formerly a skilled warrior during the reign of King Zhaoxiang of Qin (King Sho) who worked his way up to be one of Qin's Chancellors along with Lord Changping. He is also a senior adviser of the king. He is extremely loyal to Ying Zheng, aiding him in both reclaiming the throne and in the political struggle against Ying's rival, Lü Buwei.
- Bi (壁, Heki)
- Voiced by: Koji Yusa
- Lord Chang's loyal subordinate. Initially, Bi was a 1,000-man commander who rose to the 3000-man commander and finally rises to the rank of General after contributing to many of Qin's military campaigns along with Xin. Xin is shown to rely on him and he has had a crush on Yang Duan He (Yō Tan Wa) since their first meeting.
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 September 18, 2020, fifty-nine tankōbon volumes have been released.
In 2015, Hara stated that he has planned to extend the series up to 100 volumes.
An anime television series was adapted by studio Pierrot. Two seasons of seventy-seven episodes were produced. The first season which consisted of thirty-eight episodes aired from June 4, 2012, to February 25, 2013, on NHK BS Premium. The first season was directed by Jun Kamiya, written by Naruhisa Arakawa, and featured music composed by Minako Seki. The series' characters were designed by Atsuo Tobe, Noriko Otake, and Masatoshi Hakanda.
A second season aired thirty-nine episodes from June 8, 2013 to March 1, 2014. The season featured returning staff Minako Seki and Naruhisa Arakawa, the first season's composer and writer, respectively. Akira Iwanaga replaced Jun Kamiya as director, Izumi Nakazawa served as series producer, and the character designs were handled by Itsuko Takeda, Kumiko Tokunaga, and Makoto Shimojima. The anime has been licensed for an English language release by Funimation.
A third season has been announced along with new staff members. 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 and Pierrot's subsidiary company Studio Signpost, with scripts by Noboru Takagi and character designs by Hisashi Abe. Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto are composing the music. It premiered on NHK General TV (NHK-G) on April 6, 2020. In April 2020, the anime production committee announced that Episode 5 and onwards of the third series would be indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 5, 2020, it was announced that the broadcast of Episode 5 and onward will resume in spring 2021.
On April 17, 2016, a special short movie was released by the manga's publishing magazine Weekly Young Jump. It is a live-action promotional short film for the series. It was made for the 10th Anniversary of Kingdom's release and filmed by Hengdian World Studios in China.
In April 2018, Kingdom's creator Yasuhira Hara previously revealed that a full-length live-action film of his series had been green-lit. The author stated he took part in script meetings, praising the 'satisfying' screenplay, the 'unprecedented' budget, and everyone in the 'ultra-grand' casts, starring Kento Yamazaki and Directed by Shinsuke Sato. The film was released on April 19, 2019.
A second film was announced to be green-lit on May 28, 2020, with Shinsuke Sato returning as director, and the core cast returning to reprise their roles.
A free-to-play mobile game called Kingdom: Seven Flags was released on October 24, 2016 in Japan.
A free-to-play mobile game called Kingdom Ran was released in 2018.
The series had over 30 million copies in print as of April 2017, 38 million copies in print as of December 2018, and over 47 million copies in print as of November 2019. Kingdom was the 3rd best selling manga in 2019.
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." In 2019, Kingdom ranked 1st on the 19th "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.
The manga earned a Guinness World Record on December 12, 2012 for Manga written by the most people. The record was due to its "Social Kingdom" campaign in which fans and other artists were given the task of redrawing the entire 26th volume. Participants included manga creators Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Hirohiko Araki (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), as well as voice actors and fans.
- Green, Scott (June 8, 2012). "VIDEO: A "Kingdom" Manga Reading". Crunchyroll. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
Yasuhisa Hara's 2006 historical Chinese epic manga Kingdom has been getting a lot of press lately.
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- "Kingdom: Ikki Tousen no Tsurugi". GameSpot. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
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- "Kingdom wins Guinness World Record". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014.