Light Novel The Twelve Kingdoms - ONO FUYUMI

Asarii

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Title: 十二国記 (Jyuunikokuki)・The Twelve Kingdoms
Author: Fuyumi Ono
Genre: fantasy
Release Date: September 25th 1991 ~ present
Publishers: Kodansha, Shinchousha
Adaptation: anime

Overview (from Wikipedia): The Twelve Kingdoms is a series of novels that focus on a world inspired by Chinese mythology, where twelve kingdoms exist under the rule of an individual chosen by the Heavens. The series does not exclusively focus on one character, though the stories of Youko Nakajima, the protagonist of the first novel, and Taiki, the protagonist of the second book, are most prevalent in the series.

Novels
  • Demon Child・魔性の子 Mashou no Ko
    September 1991
  • Shadow of the Moon, Sea of Shadow・月の影 影の海 Tsuki no Kage, Kage no Umi
    June 1992 (Volume 1); July 1992 (Volume 2)
  • Sea of Wind, Shore of the Labyrinth・風の海 迷宮の岸 Kaze no Umi, Meikyū no Kishi
    March 1993 (Volume 1); April 1993 (Volume 2)
  • Sea God in the East, Vast Sea in the West・東の海神 西の滄海 Higashi no Watatsumi, Nishi no Sōkai
    June 1994
  • A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky at Dawn・風の万里 黎明の空 Kaze no Banri, Reimei no Sora
    July 1994 (Volume 1); September 1994 (Volume 2)
  • The Aspiring Wings・図南の翼 Tonan no Tsubasa
    February 1996
  • The Shore at Twilight, The Sky at Daybreak・黄昏の岸 暁の天 Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora
    May 2001 (both volumes)
  • The Dream of Prosperity・華胥の幽夢 Kasho no Yume
    September 2001
  • The Birds of Hisho・丕緒の鳥 Hisho no Tori
    July 2013

Main Story
 
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yukihime03

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This thread should receive more love.:oh
Well, considering how it's on hiatus, probably it is just as well that it's kinda quiet.

But this series is just too amazing to be left like this! :scry
Is there no one who will share their opinion about this series..?
 

thatguy3331

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This looks interesting, I'll be sure to check it out at some point.
 

Asarii

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Please do, thatguy3331! If you like fantasy, I'm sure you'll like TTK.

It's a good idea to reread this series while it's on hiatus. The world is so rich with political intrigue so I have to admit that I need to refresh my mind on those.

But this series is just too amazing to be left like this! :scry
Is there no one who will share their opinion about this series..?
I love it! I hope the author hasn't completely abandoned the series- although by the looks of The Birds or Hisho published this year, the series is thankfully not forgotten.

My favourite characters are the twelve year old girl who becomes the queen (I forgot her name!), Taiki, Enou and Enki.
 

Asarii

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I was randomly sifting through my bookshelf when I realized that there was a copy of The Birds of Hisho that my mom bought who knows when. I found it interesting how it was published through a different company instead of Kodansha. Perhaps the reason why things took so long was because Ono had some troubles with the publisher?
 

yukihime03

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I was randomly sifting through my bookshelf when I realized that there was a copy of The Birds of Hisho that my mom bought who knows when. I found it interesting how it was published through a different company instead of Kodansha. Perhaps the reason why things took so long was because Ono had some troubles with the publisher?
Probably, and I also notice that Shinchosha reprinted the other novels of Twelve Kingdoms. But, I'm more on the line of thinking that maybe she has problem with her writing. I mean, it has been so long, and lately she only wrote short stories for Twelve Kingdoms, but no continuation of Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora.

---------- Post added at 12:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:22 AM ----------

My favourite characters are the twelve year old girl who becomes the queen (I forgot her name!), Taiki, Enou and Enki.
You mean Shushou? :XD I guess you read Tonan no Tsubasa then?
I love Enki, Shouryuu, Youko, and strangely Keiki. I still can't believe why I am rather fond of him. Probably because of his constant but amusing sighing? :teehee Well, actually there are more characters that I'm fond of, I find that many good characters in this series have their own charms.
 

Asarii

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Probably, and I also notice that Shinchosha reprinted the other novels of Twelve Kingdoms. But, I'm more on the line of thinking that maybe she has problem with her writing. I mean, it has been so long, and lately she only wrote short stories for Twelve Kingdoms, but no continuation of Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora.
Ono has been writing other novels so it might be the issue with getting back in to the "world" of the Twelve Kingdoms. The world building and characters are quite intricate so it's going to take some time to get used to them again. (I'm not sure whether you follow A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I'm sure GRRM will face similar problems if he wrote other things in between the series.)

You mean Shushou? :XD I guess you read Tonan no Tsubasa then?
I love Enki, Shouryuu, Youko, and strangely Keiki. I still can't believe why I am rather fond of him. Probably because of his constant but amusing sighing? :teehee Well, actually there are more characters that I'm fond of, I find that many good characters in this series have their own charms.
Ah, yes. Shushou. :XD I've indeed read Tonan no Tsubasa and was upset that the anime didn't adapt her storyline. Unlike other rulers, she chose destiny for herself by going to the kirin himself so that's one of the reasons why I like her.

A lot of characters are well-developed so one can't help being attached to all of them! :D
 

yukihime03

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Ono has been writing other novels so it might be the issue with getting back in to the "world" of the Twelve Kingdoms. The world building and characters are quite intricate so it's going to take some time to get used to them again. (I'm not sure whether you follow A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I'm sure GRRM will face similar problems if he wrote other things in between the series.)
Ah, yeah. That's probably the reason, but really... it has taken so many years. I'm really dying to know what Youko and Taiki will do next...

Ah, yes. Shushou. :XD I've indeed read Tonan no Tsubasa and was upset that the anime didn't adapt her storyline. Unlike other rulers, she chose destiny for herself by going to the kirin himself so that's one of the reasons why I like her.

A lot of characters are well-developed so one can't help being attached to all of them! :D
Ah well, the anime producers must had their reasons. If anything, it might have to do with the fact that the anime pretty much focuses on Youko, Shouryuu, and Taiki. Shushou does not exactly contribute much to the current storyline.
I'm still in the middle of reading Tonan no Tsubasa. Shushou is a pretty interesting character there, though she doesn't look so endearing in Kaze no Banri. The whole time I read about her in the book, I kept thinking, "Poor Kyouki". :XD But when I read Tonan no Tsubasa, I think I'm starting to understand why she is the way she is.

Indeed! Not to mention that the character development is just so well-written. I used to hate Shoukei and Suzu at the start (who won't, with their attitude..), but after finishing the book, I really love them, especially when they interact with Youko. These three have really underwent great change and they have become better people. Some other characters are pretty adorable from the start, like Koshou and Sekki.
Another amazing thing about the characters is the diversity. It's just nice to see many different characters because that way, we can learn a lot more about the nature of people.
 

Asarii

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Ah well, the anime producers must had their reasons. If anything, it might have to do with the fact that the anime pretty much focuses on Youko, Shouryuu, and Taiki. Shushou does not exactly contribute much to the current storyline.
That could be it. I was still hoping for a little something like an OVA in between the long break between the books. :XD

I'm still in the middle of reading Tonan no Tsubasa. Shushou is a pretty interesting character there, though she doesn't look so endearing in Kaze no Banri. The whole time I read about her in the book, I kept thinking, "Poor Kyouki". :XD But when I read Tonan no Tsubasa, I think I'm starting to understand why she is the way she is.
We also have to remind ourselves that she's only twelve years old. She can be a great ruler considering her age (she was chosen after all), but there will be times when her childish nature comes out. :P I don't recall what happens to one's mental age when they stop aging so it's possible that she will stay the way she is forever.

Indeed! Not to mention that the character development is just so well-written. I used to hate Shoukei and Suzu at the start (who won't, with their attitude..), but after finishing the book, I really love them, especially when they interact with Youko. These three have really underwent great change and they have become better people. Some other characters are pretty adorable from the start, like Koshou and Sekki.
Another amazing thing about the characters is the diversity. It's just nice to see many different characters because that way, we can learn a lot more about the nature of people.
I love your last line. :) The thing I love about Twelve Kingdoms (and what I recently began to appreciate) is the fact that female characters are just as capable as male characters. This is true for the Twelve Kingdoms society as a whole where IIRC there is little to no gender inequality, and it's nice how Ono makes a conscious effort do develop her heroines just as much as the men.
 

yukihime03

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That could be it. I was still hoping for a little something like an OVA in between the long break between the books. :XD
But since the original anime itself doesn't really sell, our hope may stay as a mere hope. :(

We also have to remind ourselves that she's only twelve years old. She can be a great ruler considering her age (she was chosen after all), but there will be times when her childish nature comes out. :P I don't recall what happens to one's mental age when they stop aging so it's possible that she will stay the way she is forever.
Indeed, it's just that it doesn't help her image much if she seems like a brat. :sweat But despite that, Shushou always has good and mature reasons, I suppose, for the things she does. She may also keep acting like that so that people underestimate her, who knows? I just pity Kyouki who has to bear the brunt of her actions. :p

I love your last line. :) The thing I love about Twelve Kingdoms (and what I recently began to appreciate) is the fact that female characters are just as capable as male characters. This is true for the Twelve Kingdoms society as a whole where IIRC there is little to no gender inequality, and it's nice how Ono makes a conscious effort do develop her heroines just as much as the men.
Yeah, I also love how developed the world of Twelve Kingdoms is, and despite the big differences, it tells a lot about our own world. I was pretty surprised too to learn that the fact that no woman has to bear children there contributes to the fact that no woman is considered less. Oh, and that the Twelve Kingdoms' world has always a balanced number of kings and queens. That's really interesting. Aside from gender equality, I love the philosophy and politics of the world and the people. When Youko is learning with Enho, I actually learned things along with her.
 

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I'm re-reading the series and just finished The Shore of Twilight; The Sky at Daybreak so I can contribute without relying solely on memory. I also added Demon's Child to the original post since it technically counts.

But since the original anime itself doesn't really sell, our hope may stay as a mere hope. :(
Aww, it didn't? :( I would have thought the anime was popular.

It seems to me that with Shinchousa republishing the series, Ono is trying to re-market to a wider audience. White Heart (Kodansha) is a publishing division that's primarily aimed at a junior/senior high school age group. Kanji for names had the hiragana beside it for obvious reasons, but kanji such as 膝 (hiza; knee) and 崩れる (kuzureru; to crumble) also had hiragana even though they are common words.

Indeed, it's just that it doesn't help her image much if she seems like a brat. :sweat But despite that, Shushou always has good and mature reasons, I suppose, for the things she does. She may also keep acting like that so that people underestimate her, who knows? I just pity Kyouki who has to bear the brunt of her actions. :p
I'm reading Tonan no Tsubasa right now, and Shushou's primary reason for going to Koukai is because no one was doing anything about the ruler less kingdom. It's still unclear what kind of people get chosen as rulers given that many were unfit to be one in the first place, but it seems as if Shushou's willingness to do something about Kyou's dire situation helped.

I also pity Kyouki since he seems the most compassionate out of all the kirin. Rulers and their kirin tend to be opposites whether in age, sex, appearance and/or personality- Shushou and Kyouki differ in every category. :XD

Yeah, I also love how developed the world of Twelve Kingdoms is, and despite the big differences, it tells a lot about our own world. I was pretty surprised too to learn that the fact that no woman has to bear children there contributes to the fact that no woman is considered less. Oh, and that the Twelve Kingdoms' world has always a balanced number of kings and queens. That's really interesting. Aside from gender equality, I love the philosophy and politics of the world and the people. When Youko is learning with Enho, I actually learned things along with her.
There are a variety of female characters as well: female kirin and Shoukei are traditionally feminine, and they contrast with Youko and Risai who fit the Action Girl trope.

Instead of having a character who was already born and raised in the Twelve Kingdoms, it's a great approach to have a Youko (a kaikyaku) be the main character so we can learn along with her.

How much have you read/watched, Yuki? I'd love to discuss some spoiler-ish things with you. :)
 

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I'm re-reading the series and just finished The Shore of Twilight; The Sky at Daybreak so I can contribute without relying solely on memory. I also added Demon's Child to the original post since it technically counts.
Oh yeah, I've forgotten about Demon's Child. :p

Aww, it didn't? :( I would have thought the anime was popular.

It seems to me that with Shinchousa republishing the series, Ono is trying to re-market to a wider audience. White Heart (Kodansha) is a publishing division that's primarily aimed at a junior/senior high school age group. Kanji for names had the hiragana beside it for obvious reasons, but kanji such as 膝 (hiza; knee) and 崩れる (kuzureru; to crumble) also had hiragana even though they are common words.
No, sadly it's not. Probably has to do with poor art quality.

Is that so? Then I hope that means this series will gain more readers...

I'm reading Tonan no Tsubasa right now, and Shushou's primary reason for going to Koukai is because no one was doing anything about the ruler less kingdom. It's still unclear what kind of people get chosen as rulers given that many were unfit to be one in the first place, but it seems as if Shushou's willingness to do something about Kyou's dire situation helped.

I also pity Kyouki since he seems the most compassionate out of all the kirin. Rulers and their kirin tend to be opposites whether in age, sex, appearance and/or personality- Shushou and Kyouki differ in every category. :XD
I keep forgetting to continue reading Tonan no Tsubasa. :arf
Yeah. Probably it's her conviction that made her chosen as the Queen. Not many adults possess conviction, yet a child like her does.

Well, the best pair is the one that comprises of two people that complete each other, so I think that's why Rulers and their Kirin tend to be opposites. Even though En-ou and Enki can be quite similar, aren't they? :hee

There are a variety of female characters as well: female kirin and Shoukei are traditionally feminine, and they contrast with Youko and Risai who fit the Action Girl trope.

Instead of having a character who was already born and raised in the Twelve Kingdoms, it's a great approach to have a Youko (a kaikyaku) be the main character so we can learn along with her.

How much have you read/watched, Yuki? I'd love to discuss some spoiler-ish things with you. :)
Yes, indeed. Feminists will have a field day with this series. Haha~

I wonder if that's exactly what Ono-sensei intends, so that the readers won't be lost in the expositions.

I've watched and read everything, except for Tonan no Tsubasa (which I haven't finished reading) and the short stories Rakusho no Goku and Seijou no Ran.
 

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Oh yeah, I've forgotten about Demon's Child. :p
It's very sad to see what Takasato has to put up with when he's in Hourai. He was very self-conscious as a child, and as an adolescence, he has to face his classmates and even family members turning against him based on circumstances he can't control. His only sympathizer in the novel, Hirose, is most likely what inspired Sugimoto in the anime.

I wonder what people's first impressions were when they read The Demon's Child when it was initially published. There are a lot of terms that would make sense to those who read The Twelve Kingdoms first but would sound foreign to someone who wasn't familiar with the series.

Is that so? Then I hope that means this series will gain more readers...
Someone who was Youko's age when Tsuki no Kage first came out would be in their late thirties now. I think Shinchosa is trying to bring back old fans and attract a newer audience at the same time. This cover seems a lot more modern compared to the cover in the original post.

There were actually many older people/men who were interested in reading the series at the time but felt uncomfortable purchasing something that came from a "shoujo" publisher. They were given covers like this, which definitely has a masculine feel to it.

I keep forgetting to continue reading Tonan no Tsubasa. :arf
Yeah. Probably it's her conviction that made her chosen as the Queen. Not many adults possess conviction, yet a child like her does.
Continue for Rikou at least! There was a place that was mentioned near the conclusion that would be a shame if Ono-sensei didn't go back to expand on.

Well, the best pair is the one that comprises of two people that complete each other, so I think that's why Rulers and their Kirin tend to be opposites. Even though En-ou and Enki can be quite similar, aren't they? :hee
Shouryuu and Rokuta are both extroverts and carefree even though they wouldn't want to admit they're similar. :XD I think the main quality they share is that they both hate being tied down.

I wonder if that's exactly what Ono-sensei intends, so that the readers won't be lost in the expositions.
Since The Demon's Child came before Tsuki no Kage, Ono-sensei could have gone in chronological order and went straight to Taiki's perspective during Tasogare no Kishi. However, that would be too difficult to write because not only does she have to explain what the foreign names were in TDC (e.g. Houzan, Sanshi, Renrin), she would have to write about what happened to Taiki when he was spirited away and why he returned to Hourai.

In a way, Taiki could be seen as the true protagonist of the series whereas Youko is a device to develop the setting/politics of The Twelve Kingdoms. Personally I do see both of them as protagonists, but I can see why Ono-sensei decided to create an entirely new character for world building.

Someone on 2ch suggested that everything leading up to Tasogare no Kishi was to expand on what had happened in The Demon's Child. Now that Ono-sensei already reached that point -i.e., Taiki's return from Hourai- she ran out of steam, and it's why she hasn't published anything since.

A lot of people complain about George R. R, Martin not being quick enough to publish his sixth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, but at least there's confirmation that he's still writing! The status of Ono-sensei is unknown, and I'm hoping that changing publishers and the release of Hisho no Tori implies that she's working on her series again.

I've watched and read everything, except for Tonan no Tsubasa (which I haven't finished reading) and the short stories Rakusho no Goku and Seijou no Ran.
Rakusho no Goku had quite a mixed opinion for Japanese readers, and I'm curious to see what your opinion of it is when you get around to it.

The reason why I want Ono-sensei to work on The Twelve Kingdoms again is because there are several loose threads that need to be tied up:

  1. Where did Gyousou go?
  2. Where did Houki go? Please don't tell me he's in Hourai/Konron or else it will be Taiki Part II all over again.
  3. Why is Kouka/Kou's new kirin taking so long to hatch?
  4. Where do youma come from? Why are they all male? How do they know when a country is starting to fall apart?
  5. Who exactly is Tentei? Why does he choose rulers who end up being incompetent/oppressive?

If Ono-sensei still feels motivated after Taiki's tale, hopefully she can work on a story where the purpose of the twelve kingdoms and heaven is explored.
 

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I need to point out that I was quite surprised to see this very long reply. :XD

It's very sad to see what Takasato has to put up with when he's in Hourai. He was very self-conscious as a child, and as an adolescence, he has to face his classmates and even family members turning against him based on circumstances he can't control. His only sympathizer in the novel, Hirose, is most likely what inspired Sugimoto in the anime.

I wonder what people's first impressions were when they read The Demon's Child when it was initially published. There are a lot of terms that would make sense to those who read The Twelve Kingdoms first but would sound foreign to someone who wasn't familiar with the series.
I actually read Demon's Child after I read Youko's arc, so at that time, I did not have any idea that it was related to Twelve Kingdoms at all. Only after when I got to the ending that I figured that out (because of Shouryuu). And only after reading Taiki's arc that I realized the whole connection. It really has a different atmosphere than the Twelve Kingdoms series, which is understandable since it was written as a horror story, not a full-scale fantasy.

Because I read Demon's Child before realizing anything, I was really confused with what's happening and I was kinda lost in the middle. I felt really bad for Takasato though. I knew how traumatizing his experiences are, but I did not realize how bad until I found out he's Taiki. I felt really sad that he had to endure that experience. He was such a sweet kid and full of hope. People expect great things from him, especially because he's a black kirin, but the cruelty of the people in Hourai has changed him so much, I am really afraid for him.

Someone who was Youko's age when Tsuki no Kage first came out would be in their late thirties now. I think Shinchosa is trying to bring back old fans and attract a newer audience at the same time. This cover seems a lot more modern compared to the cover in the original post.

There were actually many older people/men who were interested in reading the series at the time but felt uncomfortable purchasing something that came from a "shoujo" publisher. They were given covers like this, which definitely has a masculine feel to it.
You definitely know a lot about the publishing. :zomg
I totally forget when and how I first encountered the Twelve Kingdoms series (I think it was during the last year of high school), but I suppose I was initially interested because of the good review and the premise of the story even though it was not popular. I think it was during the time I read Saiunkoku no Monogatari, so I was really interested in stories about fantasy kingdoms based on Chinese culture.
Not everyone can read this kind of series though. Even though it is a light novel, the plot is really heavy with politics and cultures. Not the kind teenagers these days read.

Continue for Rikou at least! There was a place that was mentioned near the conclusion that would be a shame if Ono-sensei didn't go back to expand on.
I did! I was already in the part when they have entered the Yellow Sea. I was really enchanted by the illustration of Rikou and his suguu in the book. He was definitely handsome. :teehee
Hmm. I'll try to read some more after this. It might take a while until I can finish it though... I was still busy with other things.

Shouryuu and Rokuta are both extroverts and carefree even though they wouldn't want to admit they're similar. :XD I think the main quality they share is that they both hate being tied down.
I was quite surprised how Rokuta was different from other kirin in the series. Other kirins are more adult-like and they often seem so grim, but Rokuta was a mischievous one. Though there are times when he's serious and grim...
I like how Shouryuu and Rokuta interacts with each other. People do say that those who are similar are often at each other's throats. Shouryuu and Rokuta have proved that words. :XD Which is why, I can totally understand why the ministers would not think it possible for them to work together, but it turns out that their desire to go out is greater than their dislike of each other. :lmao

Since The Demon's Child came before Tsuki no Kage, Ono-sensei could have gone in chronological order and went straight to Taiki's perspective during Tasogare no Kishi. However, that would be too difficult to write because not only does she have to explain what the foreign names were in TDC (e.g. Houzan, Sanshi, Renrin), she would have to write about what happened to Taiki when he was spirited away and why he returned to Hourai.

In a way, Taiki could be seen as the true protagonist of the series whereas Youko is a device to develop the setting/politics of The Twelve Kingdoms. Personally I do see both of them as protagonists, but I can see why Ono-sensei decided to create an entirely new character for world building.

Someone on 2ch suggested that everything leading up to Tasogare no Kishi was to expand on what had happened in The Demon's Child. Now that Ono-sensei already reached that point -i.e., Taiki's return from Hourai- she ran out of steam, and it's why she hasn't published anything since.

A lot of people complain about George R. R, Martin not being quick enough to publish his sixth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, but at least there's confirmation that he's still writing! The status of Ono-sensei is unknown, and I'm hoping that changing publishers and the release of Hisho no Tori implies that she's working on her series again.
In some ways, Taiki is indeed the true protagonist because he was the one for whom the whole series is written, but I suppose when Ono-sensei wrote about Youko, Youko grows to be a great protagonist with lots of potentials. I suppose since Taiki has changed from the sweet kid into traumatized teenager, we need a protagonist who's his opposite, a selfish girl into a mature Queen, or the story will be all doom and gloom.

I think it was quite unusual though, how a horror story can span into an entirely fantastical setting of other world. But I suppose that's what makes it so interesting.

Yeah, people often complains about things like that, not realizing how luckier they are than other fandoms that are dying. I really hope that she will write a true continuation though. These days she mostly write short stories. Not that I don't welcome it, it's just that they do not contribute much to the main story.

Rakusho no Goku had quite a mixed opinion for Japanese readers, and I'm curious to see what your opinion of it is when you get around to it.

The reason why I want Ono-sensei to work on The Twelve Kingdoms again is because there are several loose threads that need to be tied up:

  1. Where did Gyousou go?
  2. Where did Houki go? Please don't tell me he's in Hourai/Konron or else it will be Taiki Part II all over again.
  3. Why is Kouka/Kou's new kirin taking so long to hatch?
  4. Where do youma come from? Why are they all male? How do they know when a country is starting to fall apart?
  5. Who exactly is Tentei? Why does he choose rulers who end up being incompetent/oppressive?

If Ono-sensei still feels motivated after Taiki's tale, hopefully she can work on a story where the purpose of the twelve kingdoms and heaven is explored.
I'll read that one after I finish Tonan no Tsubasa.

Actually there are more loose threads than those you list, but I suppose with series this complicated, some things may remain to be mystery. I am also interested about what's happening in Ryuu. There are so many hints that something bad is happening there, but so far no clue as to what. If Ono-sensei deems it important to insert these hints in the main story, then I hope she will resolve this.
 

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I need to point out that I was quite surprised to see this very long reply. :XD
Sorry, I get really excited when discussing 12K. :XD I'm trying to introduce my friends through the anime though.

I actually read Demon's Child after I read Youko's arc, so at that time, I did not have any idea that it was related to Twelve Kingdoms at all. Only after when I got to the ending that I figured that out (because of Shouryuu). And only after reading Taiki's arc that I realized the whole connection. It really has a different atmosphere than the Twelve Kingdoms series, which is understandable since it was written as a horror story, not a full-scale fantasy.

Because I read Demon's Child before realizing anything, I was really confused with what's happening and I was kinda lost in the middle. I felt really bad for Takasato though. I knew how traumatizing his experiences are, but I did not realize how bad until I found out he's Taiki. I felt really sad that he had to endure that experience. He was such a sweet kid and full of hope. People expect great things from him, especially because he's a black kirin, but the cruelty of the people in Hourai has changed him so much, I am really afraid for him.
I actually wish I read The Demon's Child before reading Kaze no Umi so I could have had the same "A-ha!" light bulb moment like you did. The connections Takasato makes with words made sense for me, but it must have been a mystery for someone who had no idea.

It's especially sad when you consider his own family has practically disowned him. His mother was the person he cried out for when he felt homesick at Houzan, and it's heartbreaking to find out that she wishes he were dead in a monologue. Sanshi and Gouran were trying so hard to protect him from physical harm, but it ends up emotionally scarring him instead.

You definitely know a lot about the publishing. :zomg
It was actually my mom who got me into The Twelve Kingdoms so I got some insights from her as she was reading it. :p Right now it's 2ch, and most people on 2ch are adult men.

I totally forget when and how I first encountered the Twelve Kingdoms series (I think it was during the last year of high school), but I suppose I was initially interested because of the good review and the premise of the story even though it was not popular. I think it was during the time I read Saiunkoku no Monogatari, so I was really interested in stories about fantasy kingdoms based on Chinese culture.
Ooh, I heard about the similarities 12K has between Saiunkoku (and to a certain extent, Fushigi Yuugi as well). In one of the afterwards, Ono-sensei mentions how there was a Three Kingdoms boom as she was writing the series so there's definitely an influx of light novels/manga/anime related to Chinese culture and mythology.

Not everyone can read this kind of series though. Even though it is a light novel, the plot is really heavy with politics and cultures. Not the kind teenagers these days read.
I agree. There's also no romance in the novels, which might be a good thing for the periphery demographic but might be disappointing for younger readers if they don't understand the heavy politics.

I did! I was already in the part when they have entered the Yellow Sea. I was really enchanted by the illustration of Rikou and his suguu in the book. He was definitely handsome. :teehee
Hmm. I'll try to read some more after this. It might take a while until I can finish it though... I was still busy with other things.
Rikou is very handsome, and it's too bad that he hasn't made an anime appearance. :scry In the unlikely event that another season will happen, I could see Kamiya Hiroshi being his seiyuu. :wub

Take your time to finish. :)

I was quite surprised how Rokuta was different from other kirin in the series. Other kirins are more adult-like and they often seem so grim, but Rokuta was a mischievous one. Though there are times when he's serious and grim...
I like how Shouryuu and Rokuta interacts with each other. People do say that those who are similar are often at each other's throats. Shouryuu and Rokuta have proved that words. :XD Which is why, I can totally understand why the ministers would not think it possible for them to work together, but it turns out that their desire to go out is greater than their dislike of each other. :lmao
Rokuta is definitely the more boisterous kirin out of the bunch. :^_^ There are times when he does exhibit signs of compassion though such as when he thanked Shouryuu for forgiving Kouya. In response, Shouryuu told Rokuta that he should be feeling compassion for Ribi, Ekishin and the baby instead. It reminded me of Shushou scolding Kyouki for showing compassion towards the wrong person- i.e. Shoukei.

Ha ha, that's true. :hee The ministers treat their king and saiho in the same manner, and it actually helps Shouryuu and Rokuta stay on the same page. It's the opposite in Tai where people treat Gyouso and Taiki differently and understandably so. Both kings are military men and the kirin are children in appearance; however, the way the En and Tai courts treat their respective king & taiho are completely different.

In some ways, Taiki is indeed the true protagonist because he was the one for whom the whole series is written, but I suppose when Ono-sensei wrote about Youko, Youko grows to be a great protagonist with lots of potentials. I suppose since Taiki has changed from the sweet kid into traumatized teenager, we need a protagonist who's his opposite, a selfish girl into a mature Queen, or the story will be all doom and gloom.

I think it was quite unusual though, how a horror story can span into an entirely fantastical setting of other world. But I suppose that's what makes it so interesting.
You're right: having Taiki be the protagonist post-The Demon's Child would be tough to write, and it's probably why the novel followed the narrative of Hirose. If we're getting a new novel about Tai, it will most likely follow the POV of Risai.

The character development that Youko undergoes is phenomenal. The way she carries herself now is so different from the way she started out in the first half of Tsuki no Kage. She became a lot more masculine, which I find pretty funny. :XD

Yeah, people often complains about things like that, not realizing how luckier they are than other fandoms that are dying. I really hope that she will write a true continuation though. These days she mostly write short stories. Not that I don't welcome it, it's just that they do not contribute much to the main story.
Ever since Shinchosa hinted at a 新作 (new work) being published after their version of Tasogare no Kishi, fans have been feeling antsy and are anticipating a new novel soon. The 2ch thread (sorry for bringing up 2ch all the time) is relatively active and are still getting several posts a day.

I don't mind her short stories either, but I do wish she wrote something that contributed to the main story. The recent short stories that were published in Hisho no Tori were mostly events that happened in the past. Even a short story about Shun, which we know nothing about, would be nice.

I actually really want to read a short story about Asen and how he felt being compared to Gyousou. It would be a great lead up to the novel that would resolve the situation in Tai, and it might also give some insights as to why he rebelled against Gyousou in the first place.

Actually there are more loose threads than those you list, but I suppose with series this complicated, some things may remain to be mystery. I am also interested about what's happening in Ryuu. There are so many hints that something bad is happening there, but so far no clue as to what. If Ono-sensei deems it important to insert these hints in the main story, then I hope she will resolve this.
Yeah, there are A LOT more loose ends that haven't been tied up yet. It seems as if Ono-sensei wanted to use those loose ends for other plot points after Taiki's story. As I'm looking at her Wikipedia page, there was a huge gap between 2003 and 2012 where she didn't publish a single novel so there was something that hindered her from writing anything, period... let alone a complex series like the 12K. Hopefully Shinchosa re-publishing the novels would get her motivated again.

Ryuu is an interesting situation, and I'll let you finish Rakusho no Goku first before going further. Once again, there's no rush. :)
 

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Sorry, I get really excited when discussing 12K. :XD I'm trying to introduce my friends through the anime though.
It's okay! It's actually nice to have someone to discuss about 12K. All my friends who I've managed to "seduce" to read the books are not as excited about it. :(

I actually wish I read The Demon's Child before reading Kaze no Umi so I could have had the same "A-ha!" light bulb moment like you did. The connections Takasato makes with words made sense for me, but it must have been a mystery for someone who had no idea.

It's especially sad when you consider his own family has practically disowned him. His mother was the person he cried out for when he felt homesick at Houzan, and it's heartbreaking to find out that she wishes he were dead in a monologue. Sanshi and Gouran were trying so hard to protect him from physical harm, but it ends up emotionally scarring him instead.
Ah, but if you read it in that order I did, some things can be really confusing and kinda not making sense.

Indeed, I'm sad that Taiki's story becomes a great tragedy. His mother's reaction only shows how fear can bring out the worst in people.

Ooh, I heard about the similarities 12K has between Saiunkoku (and to a certain extent, Fushigi Yuugi as well). In one of the afterwards, Ono-sensei mentions how there was a Three Kingdoms boom as she was writing the series so there's definitely an influx of light novels/manga/anime related to Chinese culture and mythology.
Well, Saiunkoku and 12K are really different actually. Saiunkoku's story is not as deep and complicated as 12K, and it has many plotholes though it's really an entertaining read. Certainly, it's a lighter reading than 12K though it does have complicated politics. Oh, and it has romance. Wait... it's more like, the story starts because of romance. :sweat
I wish I can read other chinese-influenced light novels, but sadly I don't know much about Japanese light novels and since I can't read Japanese, I depend heavily on translator's kindness.

I agree. There's also no romance in the novels, which might be a good thing for the periphery demographic but might be disappointing for younger readers if they don't understand the heavy politics.
But I think due to the rise of young adult novels with heavy plots these days, maybe someday young adults will be more interested in this kind of genre.

Rikou is very handsome, and it's too bad that he hasn't made an anime appearance. :scry In the unlikely event that another season will happen, I could see Kamiya Hiroshi being his seiyuu. :wub

Take your time to finish. :)
Yeah, if only he appears in the anime. :scry Why Kamiyan? somehow I feel that NamiDai is more suited to be Rikou.
Rikou is certainly an interesting guy. He looks to be a happy-go-lucky guy, but he really does have a lot up his sleeves and he has the capability to be ruthless, I think.
Now I want to know more about him and his family.

I've finished it! Goodness, it's a really great story. I love how the story addresses many issues about leadership. I'm proud of Shushou. I can totally agree with her reason to go on Shouzan. Expect people to change things for you while you do nothing, and nothing will change. At least, if you've tried, even if you fail, it is within your right to expect people to do something.
Shushou's first treatment of Kyouki... :lmao No wonder for the next decades to come, Kyouki has to put up with a lot of things. :XD Thankfully, Shushou is a wise kid though rather bossy.
Oh, and there's Kouya! (Kouya is one of my fav characters, you see). :blush

Rokuta is definitely the more boisterous kirin out of the bunch. :^_^ There are times when he does exhibit signs of compassion though such as when he thanked Shouryuu for forgiving Kouya. In response, Shouryuu told Rokuta that he should be feeling compassion for Ribi, Ekishin and the baby instead. It reminded me of Shushou scolding Kyouki for showing compassion towards the wrong person- i.e. Shoukei.

Ha ha, that's true. :hee The ministers treat their king and saiho in the same manner, and it actually helps Shouryuu and Rokuta stay on the same page. It's the opposite in Tai where people treat Gyouso and Taiki differently and understandably so. Both kings are military men and the kirin are children in appearance; however, the way the En and Tai courts treat their respective king & taiho are completely different.
It really is interesting to see how kirin differ from each other, isn't it? While I remember Rokuta as the cheerful one, I remember Keiki as the sighing one. :XD
Well, that's kirin for you. They show compassion to everyone, even those who you may think do not deserve it.

Well, different kinds of king and Taiho will get different kinds of treatment. that's why I'm really curious about other palaces we haven't seen. The kingdom of Han, for example. With that kind of king (I was really surprised when I first read about him, really didn't expect him to be like that; his relationship with Hanki is also interesting), I wonder about the atmosphere in his palace. :p

You're right: having Taiki be the protagonist post-The Demon's Child would be tough to write, and it's probably why the novel followed the narrative of Hirose. If we're getting a new novel about Tai, it will most likely follow the POV of Risai.

The character development that Youko undergoes is phenomenal. The way she carries herself now is so different from the way she started out in the first half of Tsuki no Kage. She became a lot more masculine, which I find pretty funny. :XD
Not only tough to write, but also tough to read.
Probably that will be the case, or there will also be another POV from a character who currently is in Tai.

Indeed. That's why I looooove character development. :XD Well, since the start, I kind figure that she will be more masculine than feminine. :p

Ever since Shinchosa hinted at a 新作 (new work) being published after their version of Tasogare no Kishi, fans have been feeling antsy and are anticipating a new novel soon. The 2ch thread (sorry for bringing up 2ch all the time) is relatively active and are still getting several posts a day.

I don't mind her short stories either, but I do wish she wrote something that contributed to the main story. The recent short stories that were published in Hisho no Tori were mostly events that happened in the past. Even a short story about Shun, which we know nothing about, would be nice.

I actually really want to read a short story about Asen and how he felt being compared to Gyousou. It would be a great lead up to the novel that would resolve the situation in Tai, and it might also give some insights as to why he rebelled against Gyousou in the first place.
Well, as long as she is still writing, there's still hope.
Shun, eh? Indeed I am curious about it too.

It will be tough I think. Asen is counted as antagonist, and so far, Ono-sensei does not seem to be the type to write from that kind of POV.

Yeah, there are A LOT more loose ends that haven't been tied up yet. It seems as if Ono-sensei wanted to use those loose ends for other plot points after Taiki's story. As I'm looking at her Wikipedia page, there was a huge gap between 2003 and 2012 where she didn't publish a single novel so there was something that hindered her from writing anything, period... let alone a complex series like the 12K. Hopefully Shinchosa re-publishing the novels would get her motivated again.

Ryuu is an interesting situation, and I'll let you finish Rakusho no Goku first before going further. Once again, there's no rush. :)
I hope so too.

I'll start reading that soon.


Anyway, I just realized something after reading Tonan no Tsubasa. Don't you think it is interesting that the kingdoms that last the longest are actually those that are ran by cooperation of many people? Like in Sou, the whole family rules, while in En, the ministers (with Shouryuu and Rokuta "forced" to participate) rule.
 

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It's okay! It's actually nice to have someone to discuss about 12K. All my friends who I've managed to "seduce" to read the books are not as excited about it. :(
Aww, that's too bad! I'm sure the fandom was a lot more active ten years ago while the anime was airing, but it's hard to find an active community nowadays. :( We only have this thread on Mangahelpers, and even then it's just the two of us discussing it. :p

Indeed, I'm sad that Taiki's story becomes a great tragedy. His mother's reaction only shows how fear can bring out the worst in people.
It's sad considering the fact that Mrs. Takasato's resentment towards Taiki was a gradual process. She initially treated him kindly by offering to leave meat out from his plate (until her husband told her not to), and it was only until the rumours of the curse surfaced that she began to fear and detest him.

If only there was someone who Taiki could trust and confide in, but it was too late by the time Hirose came along.

Well, Saiunkoku and 12K are really different actually. Saiunkoku's story is not as deep and complicated as 12K, and it has many plotholes though it's really an entertaining read. Certainly, it's a lighter reading than 12K though it does have complicated politics. Oh, and it has romance. Wait... it's more like, the story starts because of romance. :sweat
I don't mind romance at all! :zomg I'll put Saiunkoku on my to-read/to-watch list then.

I wish I can read other chinese-influenced light novels, but sadly I don't know much about Japanese light novels and since I can't read Japanese, I depend heavily on translator's kindness.
How/where did you read the 12K translations? I'm interested to see whether there were any changes made due to difficulties and certain limitations translating from Japanese to English. I'm sure the translator did a good job though. ;)

I've been browsing the Twelve Kingdoms wiki, and the information on it are accurate from what I've seen... at least compared to most fan Wikis out there.

But I think due to the rise of young adult novels with heavy plots these days, maybe someday young adults will be more interested in this kind of genre.
I certainly hope so! :^_^ I'd love to see more politics in fantasy- not only in young adult light novels but also in manga/anime/Western media as well.

Yeah, if only he appears in the anime. :scry Why Kamiyan? somehow I feel that NamiDai is more suited to be Rikou.
Rikou is certainly an interesting guy. He looks to be a happy-go-lucky guy, but he really does have a lot up his sleeves and he has the capability to be ruthless, I think.
Now I want to know more about him and his family.
*fingers crossed* I can even handle a drama CD if a re-boot of the anime is a tall order. :darn Kamiyan is an easy-going guy IRL so that's why I can picture him voicing Rikou. I'm more familiar with Namikawa Daisuke's deep/villainous voice, but he can work too! Now I'm trying to think of seiyuus for other non-animated characters such as Ranjou, Hanrin and Asen. :XD

You brought up an interesting point about Rikou being ruthless. Since he's 600+ years old, I think he'd seen a lot of wonderful and terrible things that people are capable of doing. Both of us are only 22 years old, but in our lifetime we've already witnessed quite a number of human achievements and atrocities that are making headlines in the news. Rikou has been alive for much longer so I'm sure he witnessed countless events that influenced himself and how he perceives the world.

Even though we've seen snippets of the royal family of Sou, I'm interested in learning more about them too! I was surprised to learn that Rikou's father wasn't the oldest reigning monarch so it will be interesting to see whether he'll manage to break the record.

BTW, do you think Rikou knows about Fuukan's true identity in the Kizan short story? :confused: It was ambiguous when I read the original, but it may have been clearer in the translation.

I've finished it! Goodness, it's a really great story. I love how the story addresses many issues about leadership. I'm proud of Shushou. I can totally agree with her reason to go on Shouzan. Expect people to change things for you while you do nothing, and nothing will change. At least, if you've tried, even if you fail, it is within your right to expect people to do something.
Shushou's first treatment of Kyouki... :lmao No wonder for the next decades to come, Kyouki has to put up with a lot of things. :XD Thankfully, Shushou is a wise kid though rather bossy.
Oh, and there's Kouya! (Kouya is one of my fav characters, you see). :blush
I'm glad you enjoyed it! :wtf Out of all the novels, I think this is the one that's best classified as an adventure story.

Reading Tonan no Tsubasa provides a deeper understanding as to why Shushou treated Shoukei the way she did: Shushou went through a lot in Koukai where she faced youma and countless other dangers out of duty for her kingdom. Even though she's well beyond her years, I liked how Ono-sensei still showed us that she's still a twelve year old girl. It would be unrealistic for Shushou to wield a weapon and fend for herself considering her age and family background so that's why she needed Gankyuu and Rikou to protect her.

I think Kyou would be in danger if Shushou was paired up with someone like Rokuta or if Kyouki was paired up with a laid back ruler like Ren-ou. Shushou with Keiki would be a disaster for sure. :xp Shushou and Kyouki balance each other out, and it's probably why Kyou is doing well even though their ruler will forever be a child.

It's amazing how Kouya went from an abandoned child who couldn't speak properly to an individual revered as a god. (I wonder if he'll ever return to En. ) I want to see more of him as Kenrou Shinkun in future novels/short stories, and I also wish to learn more about the Koukai village. Even if the village remains a mystery, I hope there would be a character who was born and raised in Koukai.

It really is interesting to see how kirin differ from each other, isn't it? While I remember Rokuta as the cheerful one, I remember Keiki as the sighing one. :XD
Well, that's kirin for you. They show compassion to everyone, even those who you may think do not deserve it.
I like how a personality of the kirin is shown in the shade of gold mane they have: Rokuta's mane is a lot more brighter and warmer compared to Keiki's. :XD

Well, different kinds of king and Taiho will get different kinds of treatment. that's why I'm really curious about other palaces we haven't seen. The kingdom of Han, for example. With that kind of king (I was really surprised when I first read about him, really didn't expect him to be like that; his relationship with Hanki is also interesting), I wonder about the atmosphere in his palace. :p
Han is interesting because we know what the king and taiho are like but not the kingdom itself. I wonder if the citizens of Han all dress as extravagantly as their ruler. :fan All the palaces that were featured in the anime had beautiful architecture and scenery, and I expect the palace of Han to be even more gorgeous.

Indeed. That's why I looooove character development. :XD Well, since the start, I kind figure that she will be more masculine than feminine. :p
I love character development too! :D It's great seeing the characters grow and learn how to become better people. It's possible that Youko was always meant to be a tomboy but had to repress her true self because of her strict father.

Well, as long as she is still writing, there's still hope.
Shun, eh? Indeed I am curious about it too.

It will be tough I think. Asen is counted as antagonist, and so far, Ono-sensei does not seem to be the type to write from that kind of POV.
We know nothing about Shun or what the ruler/kirin is like so I'm dying to know what's going on in that kingdom! It seems to have closed itself off from the rest of the world sort of like Japan before the Meiji era.

That's true. I don't think we have the POV of antagonists so far. Asen is a fascinating character because of just how effective he is in controlling Tai.

Anyway, I just realized something after reading Tonan no Tsubasa. Don't you think it is interesting that the kingdoms that last the longest are actually those that are ran by cooperation of many people? Like in Sou, the whole family rules, while in En, the ministers (with Shouryuu and Rokuta "forced" to participate) rule.
Interesting observation! Although there's no such thing as democracy in the the government, I think it's helpful to have a system where different people are able to voice their opinions with the king having the final say. However, it seems as if this backfired with You-ou. It's possible that in her case, she didn't bother to weed out the bad ministers from the good before letting them run the country.
 

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Aww, that's too bad! I'm sure the fandom was a lot more active ten years ago while the anime was airing, but it's hard to find an active community nowadays. :( We only have this thread on Mangahelpers, and even then it's just the two of us discussing it. :p
Phio-chan is one of those friends. Hahaha~ I managed to make her like it, but she's not as excited about it. :XD
Well, even if it's only the two of us, at least we have a place to discuss! :p

It's sad considering the fact that Mrs. Takasato's resentment towards Taiki was a gradual process. She initially treated him kindly by offering to leave meat out from his plate (until her husband told her not to), and it was only until the rumours of the curse surfaced that she began to fear and detest him.

If only there was someone who Taiki could trust and confide in, but it was too late by the time Hirose came along.
Taiki is really the definition of a tragic hero, isn't he...

I don't mind romance at all! :zomg I'll put Saiunkoku on my to-read/to-watch list then.
You should! It might not be the best LN, and the story might get frustrating with the plotholes, it's really entertaining! Probably has something to do with all the comedic characters around.. :XD The first volumes are pretty much light reading, but the story gets darker and edgier...
Saiunkoku's anime fare better than TK, as it has two long seasons. Check them out too!
I actually watched the anime first before I read the LN... :p

How/where did you read the 12K translations? I'm interested to see whether there were any changes made due to difficulties and certain limitations translating from Japanese to English. I'm sure the translator did a good job though. ;)

I've been browsing the Twelve Kingdoms wiki, and the information on it are accurate from what I've seen... at least compared to most fan Wikis out there.
Eh.. here and there. I get the main novels from here: http://www.eugenewoodbury.com/, while the short stories from here: http://o6asan.com/. I think there are other links, but I don't remember them anymore...

I certainly hope so! :^_^ I'd love to see more politics in fantasy- not only in young adult light novels but also in manga/anime/Western media as well.
Actually there are quite a lot of them, if you know where to look, they're just not that popular.

*fingers crossed* I can even handle a drama CD if a re-boot of the anime is a tall order. :darn Kamiyan is an easy-going guy IRL so that's why I can picture him voicing Rikou. I'm more familiar with Namikawa Daisuke's deep/villainous voice, but he can work too! Now I'm trying to think of seiyuus for other non-animated characters such as Ranjou, Hanrin and Asen. :XD

You brought up an interesting point about Rikou being ruthless. Since he's 600+ years old, I think he'd seen a lot of wonderful and terrible things that people are capable of doing. Both of us are only 22 years old, but in our lifetime we've already witnessed quite a number of human achievements and atrocities that are making headlines in the news. Rikou has been alive for much longer so I'm sure he witnessed countless events that influenced himself and how he perceives the world.

Even though we've seen snippets of the royal family of Sou, I'm interested in learning more about them too! I was surprised to learn that Rikou's father wasn't the oldest reigning monarch so it will be interesting to see whether he'll manage to break the record.
Hahaha, for me Kamiyan is more suited to voice silly characters or sadists. :XD I hear NamiDai more often in his happy-go-lucky guy's roles. One of his roles, Fai in Tsubasa Chronicle, is a happy-go-lucky guy who hides a lot of things, just like Rikou (though Fai is a much darker person), so that's why I think he's perfect for Rikou.

I think the fact that he often travels the world and meets a lot of people only adds to his experience. Somehow I feel that even though Rikou is the most outgoing person in his family, he is also the most ruthless.

I really hope that his family will continue to prosper... I don't want to see their family to fall into ruin.

BTW, do you think Rikou knows about Fuukan's true identity in the Kizan short story? :confused: It was ambiguous when I read the original, but it may have been clearer in the translation.
I have to re-read the story, because I've forgotten it. :p
The translation was written like this:
The traveler gained a sense about who he was, though without inquiring too deeply. He could figure it out without getting into a cross-examination—a man who like Rikou had spent a very long time on the road.
And when I read further, I think they do know each other's identities. What's with the jabs at En-ou making wager against heaven and at Royal Prince of Sou killing the Sou-ou. :XD When they part ways, Fuukan actually says that he has made a wager. So, yeah, not only they know each other's identities, but they also know that they know.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :wtf Out of all the novels, I think this is the one that's best classified as an adventure story.

Reading Tonan no Tsubasa provides a deeper understanding as to why Shushou treated Shoukei the way she did: Shushou went through a lot in Koukai where she faced youma and countless other dangers out of duty for her kingdom. Even though she's well beyond her years, I liked how Ono-sensei still showed us that she's still a twelve year old girl. It would be unrealistic for Shushou to wield a weapon and fend for herself considering her age and family background so that's why she needed Gankyuu and Rikou to protect her.

I think Kyou would be in danger if Shushou was paired up with someone like Rokuta or if Kyouki was paired up with a laid back ruler like Ren-ou. Shushou with Keiki would be a disaster for sure. :xp Shushou and Kyouki balance each other out, and it's probably why Kyou is doing well even though their ruler will forever be a child.

It's amazing how Kouya went from an abandoned child who couldn't speak properly to an individual revered as a god. (I wonder if he'll ever return to En. ) I want to see more of him as Kenrou Shinkun in future novels/short stories, and I also wish to learn more about the Koukai village. Even if the village remains a mystery, I hope there would be a character who was born and raised in Koukai.
Well, Shushou must be really pissed off to see Shoukei like that. They're both born to wealth, but they have very different outlooks on life.

Well, just imagine Shushou and Enki. That will go beyond disaster. :XD

Yeah, I'm amazed at how in such short time (only a few centuries), he becomes something like god. I'm curious at how it happens, but I have a feeling it better remains as a mystery because that's who Kenrou Shinkun is. A mystery.
Kouya might return. Remember the promise En-ou make to him? When that is fulfilled, then maybe they'll meet each other again. Though I wonder if it can ever be fulfilled...

I like how a personality of the kirin is shown in the shade of gold mane they have: Rokuta's mane is a lot more brighter and warmer compared to Keiki's. :XD
Yeah. It makes it easier to guess their personality when we just meet one. I think Rokuta has the brightest mane of all the kirin. :XD

Han is interesting because we know what the king and taiho are like but not the kingdom itself. I wonder if the citizens of Han all dress as extravagantly as their ruler. :fan All the palaces that were featured in the anime had beautiful architecture and scenery, and I expect the palace of Han to be even more gorgeous.
It will be ironic if the palace is not gorgeously artsy. :XD
I'm even more surprised that he rules for almost three hundred years... Makes me wonder. Here is another eccentric ruler with long reign. :p

I love character development too! :D It's great seeing the characters grow and learn how to become better people. It's possible that Youko was always meant to be a tomboy but had to repress her true self because of her strict father.
Even though the journey through the character development is rather frustrating (I remember I was enraged at Youko for believing the water monkey), but it's really worth it to see how the characters change.

We know nothing about Shun or what the ruler/kirin is like so I'm dying to know what's going on in that kingdom! It seems to have closed itself off from the rest of the world sort of like Japan before the Meiji era.

That's true. I don't think we have the POV of antagonists so far. Asen is a fascinating character because of just how effective he is in controlling Tai.
Yeah. I also wonder why they close themselves off like that.

I'm interested to see an antagonist's POV mostly because in this world, an antagonist may not be as bad as we think.

Interesting observation! Although there's no such thing as democracy in the the government, I think it's helpful to have a system where different people are able to voice their opinions with the king having the final say. However, it seems as if this backfired with You-ou. It's possible that in her case, she didn't bother to weed out the bad ministers from the good before letting them run the country.
I think I remember something written about En having good ministers but bad rulers and Sou having good rulers but bad ministers. :XD
I think in You-ou's case, it's also because she knows little about leadership. Before becoming En-ou, Shouryuu was already a leader so he knows how to recognize the capable people who can help him.
 
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Asarii

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Phio-chan is one of those friends. Hahaha~ I managed to make her like it, but she's not as excited about it. :XD
Well, even if it's only the two of us, at least we have a place to discuss! :p
Aww, that's too bad! I thought 12K would be something Phio would like.

That's true. :) What makes the series great is that there are still a lot of topics to talk about regardless of how long it's been since the last novel was released.

Taiki is really the definition of a tragic hero, isn't he...
Definitely. After everything he went through, I'm glad he was able to return to his true home. His mental and emotional strength is phenomenal.

You should! It might not be the best LN, and the story might get frustrating with the plotholes, it's really entertaining! Probably has something to do with all the comedic characters around.. :XD The first volumes are pretty much light reading, but the story gets darker and edgier...
Saiunkoku's anime fare better than TK, as it has two long seasons. Check them out too!
I actually watched the anime first before I read the LN... :p
Upon further inspection, Keiki (Koyasu Takehito) is starring in Saiunkoku too! :zomg It's funny to see similarities with the two series other than the ancient Chinese setting.

Do you recommend me to start with the LN or the anime?

Eh.. here and there. I get the main novels from here: http://www.eugenewoodbury.com/, while the short stories from here: http://o6asan.com/. I think there are other links, but I don't remember them anymore...
No problem, and thank you for the links! There are a lot of names, places and terms that use uncommon kanji so I applaud the translators who took the time to work on the novels and short stories.

Hahaha, for me Kamiyan is more suited to voice silly characters or sadists. :XD I hear NamiDai more often in his happy-go-lucky guy's roles. One of his roles, Fai in Tsubasa Chronicle, is a happy-go-lucky guy who hides a lot of things, just like Rikou (though Fai is a much darker person), so that's why I think he's perfect for Rikou.

I think the fact that he often travels the world and meets a lot of people only adds to his experience. Somehow I feel that even though Rikou is the most outgoing person in his family, he is also the most ruthless.

I really hope that his family will continue to prosper... I don't want to see their family to fall into ruin.
I searched Fai on Youtube, and I can picture that NamiDai as Rikou. :^_^ I personally imagined Rikou as having Izaya's voice (Durarara) but sounding A LOT nicer. It's funny how we both imagined Rikou to sound like dark characters.

Outgoing but ruthless… this fits Rikou surprisingly well. :super IIRC Gankyuu mentioned how Rikou's smile seemed fake. On the surface Rikou seems like a cheerful, sociable guy but there's something beneath the smile.

Me too. Since Sou is governed by the entire royal family, the most likely situation I can see where Sou goes into ruins is if their family dynamic falls apart whether it's brought upon by themselves or other people. It can happen in a seemingly non-harmless way: one family member (but not Sou-ou) steps down by deciding to live as a normal citizen; the absence of that particular family member will create a gap that will be difficult to fill in.

And when I read further, I think they do know each other's identities. What's with the jabs at En-ou making wager against heaven and at Royal Prince of Sou killing the Sou-ou. :XD When they part ways, Fuukan actually says that he has made a wager. So, yeah, not only they know each other's identities, but they also know that they know.
Fuukan and Rikou knowing each other's identity without mentioning anything about it makes me appreciate their friendship even more. It's like a secret that's not so secret. :hip

It helps that their respective kingdoms are situated in the north and south so they can share details that the other may not know.

Well, Shushou must be really pissed off to see Shoukei like that. They're both born to wealth, but they have very different outlooks on life.

Well, just imagine Shushou and Enki. That will go beyond disaster. :XD
Shushou's father also tried to protect his daughter from reality -in this case, it was youma attacking civilians- but Shushou was aware of the horrors and acknowledged it. I think Shoukei would have been in a better position after Hou-ou's death if she was a little more cynical and demanded the truth during her father's reign. It was too late of course, but she still managed to learn from her mistakes.

Yup. Shushou + Enki = terrible idea. :XD

Yeah, I'm amazed at how in such short time (only a few centuries), he becomes something like god. I'm curious at how it happens, but I have a feeling it better remains as a mystery because that's who Kenrou Shinkun is. A mystery.
Kouya might return. Remember the promise En-ou make to him? When that is fulfilled, then maybe they'll meet each other again. Though I wonder if it can ever be fulfilled...
In Hyouhaku, Kouya is mentioned to still be under the sennin registry of En. The story takes place eighty or so years after Atsuyu's rebellion so how he became a god by Tonan no Tsubasa is a mystery. It's implied that Kenroun Shinkun has some sort of a connection with the heavens. My theory is that tensen such as Gyokuyou are handpicked by Tentei much like how a ruler chooses the members of their court.

I'm surprised that Kouya hasn't come back after 500 years; perhaps there's still something lacking in En even after all these years.

Yeah. It makes it easier to guess their personality when we just meet one. I think Rokuta has the brightest mane of all the kirin. :XD
Speaking of which, I wonder if white and red kirin have the same symbolic meaning as a black kirin. Black is considered lucky, and I wonder what the other colours would mean for a kirin.

It will be ironic if the palace is not gorgeously artsy. :XD
I'm even more surprised that he rules for almost three hundred years... Makes me wonder. Here is another eccentric ruler with long reign. :p
Ranjou seems to be a calculating type: he was the first to come up with the idea that Taiki was missing his horns, and it's possible that he was able to determine what the strengths of Han were and how he can play that strength to his advantage. Han's artistic skills are found in various kingdoms so I'm sure it made the kingdom's economy propser.

Even though the journey through the character development is rather frustrating (I remember I was enraged at Youko for believing the water monkey), but it's really worth it to see how the characters change.
It's definitely worth it to observe the character development. ;) People seem to have a lot of issues with Suzu, but she also grows into a better person over the course of Kaze no Banri.

Yeah. I also wonder why they close themselves off like that.

I'm interested to see an antagonist's POV mostly because in this world, an antagonist may not be as bad as we think.
It's understandable that Ryuuki wouldn't participate in the Taiki search considering Ryuu's state, but it's a mystery why Shun wouldn't. Shun was merely glossed over in the Sou family discussion in Kizan.

Antagonists such as Atsuyu and Shoukou (in the anime) did what they did because they had doubts about the existence of heaven. I have a feeling that Asen would have similar doubts.

I think I remember something written about En having good ministers but bad rulers and Sou having good rulers but bad ministers. :XD
I think in You-ou's case, it's also because she knows little about leadership. Before becoming En-ou, Shouryuu was already a leader so he knows how to recognize the capable people who can help him.
That makes sense. :XD Different ways of governing can work, and it's all up to the ruler to decide what works for them and their kingdom since there is no right method. (In a similar vein, there are a lot of ways to bring a kingdom down.)

I think every ruler has the potential to become a good ruler. If You-ou was able to gain confidence in herself and learned how to rule a country, there's a possibility that she could have ruled longer than she did.
 

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Aww, that's too bad! I thought 12K would be something Phio would like.

That's true. :) What makes the series great is that there are still a lot of topics to talk about regardless of how long it's been since the last novel was released.
Well, she does like it but not to the extent like ours. :XD

Yep, indeed the series has a rich plot and characters.

Definitely. After everything he went through, I'm glad he was able to return to his true home. His mental and emotional strength is phenomenal.
However, I still have this feeling that he may not be as strong as we may think.. He may have recovered a bit, but we still haven't known how far the traumatic experiences affect him after he remembers his identity...

Upon further inspection, Keiki (Koyasu Takehito) is starring in Saiunkoku too! :zomg It's funny to see similarities with the two series other than the ancient Chinese setting.

Do you recommend me to start with the LN or the anime?
Eh, yeah, but his character in Saiunkoku is very different from Keiki. I suppose that just shows how versatile he is in voice-acting. Until now, I still can't believe Koyasu is also the voice for Excalibur in Soul Eater. :derp

Maybe you should watch the anime first, you might not understand some things because they're left out, but you'll appreciate that excluded bits when you read the LN.

No problem, and thank you for the links! There are a lot of names, places and terms that use uncommon kanji so I applaud the translators who took the time to work on the novels and short stories.
Yeah, I really appreciate their effort to share this series with people who can't read Japanese, even though there aren't many people reading this series.

I searched Fai on Youtube, and I can picture that NamiDai as Rikou. :^_^ I personally imagined Rikou as having Izaya's voice (Durarara) but sounding A LOT nicer. It's funny how we both imagined Rikou to sound like dark characters.

Outgoing but ruthless… this fits Rikou surprisingly well. :super IIRC Gankyuu mentioned how Rikou's smile seemed fake. On the surface Rikou seems like a cheerful, sociable guy but there's something beneath the smile.

Me too. Since Sou is governed by the entire royal family, the most likely situation I can see where Sou goes into ruins is if their family dynamic falls apart whether it's brought upon by themselves or other people. It can happen in a seemingly non-harmless way: one family member (but not Sou-ou) steps down by deciding to live as a normal citizen; the absence of that particular family member will create a gap that will be difficult to fill in.
Well, that's how it usually is, isn't it? The guy who smiles the most is usually the person who hides the most darkness.

Or maybe like Shouryuu's theory, Rikou just have enough and starts murdering his family... though that will be a very tragic outcome and not one I hope to happen.

Fuukan and Rikou knowing each other's identity without mentioning anything about it makes me appreciate their friendship even more. It's like a secret that's not so secret. :hip

It helps that their respective kingdoms are situated in the north and south so they can share details that the other may not know.
It's also very funny though. They pretend to each other, even though they know the other can see through it. :XD

They are an unlikely pair, though rather similar in some aspects, but they sure can use each other. :p

Shushou's father also tried to protect his daughter from reality -in this case, it was youma attacking civilians- but Shushou was aware of the horrors and acknowledged it. I think Shoukei would have been in a better position after Hou-ou's death if she was a little more cynical and demanded the truth during her father's reign. It was too late of course, but she still managed to learn from her mistakes.

Yup. Shushou + Enki = terrible idea. :XD
Probably the fact that Shushou is still going out of her house often helps. And it's actually impossible to hide the youma fact when they also live in a place that is still susceptible to youma. However, in the palace, you are practically safe and sheltered.
But yeah, Shoukei finally sees the world as it is, arguably in a more adventurous way than Shushou.

I can't even imagine them meeting each other. :XD

In Hyouhaku, Kouya is mentioned to still be under the sennin registry of En. The story takes place eighty or so years after Atsuyu's rebellion so how he became a god by Tonan no Tsubasa is a mystery. It's implied that Kenroun Shinkun has some sort of a connection with the heavens. My theory is that tensen such as Gyokuyou are handpicked by Tentei much like how a ruler chooses the members of their court.

I'm surprised that Kouya hasn't come back after 500 years; perhaps there's still something lacking in En even after all these years.
You mean how En-ou and Enki are still slackers even after so many centuries...? :cheez

Speaking of which, I wonder if white and red kirin have the same symbolic meaning as a black kirin. Black is considered lucky, and I wonder what the other colours would mean for a kirin.
I'd like to find out too, but until they actually appear, I don't think we'll find out. But if they do appear, that will worry me because one unusual occurrence (like a black kirin) might mean a great period is to come, but too many of them usually mean a great calamity is to appear. :s

Ranjou seems to be a calculating type: he was the first to come up with the idea that Taiki was missing his horns, and it's possible that he was able to determine what the strengths of Han were and how he can play that strength to his advantage. Han's artistic skills are found in various kingdoms so I'm sure it made the kingdom's economy propser.
Despite his pretty looks (I assume he's pretty), he sure has a lot up his sleeves as well. :p
He seems to be a very capable ruler as well, with his kingdom being the third longest reign.

It's definitely worth it to observe the character development. ;) People seem to have a lot of issues with Suzu, but she also grows into a better person over the course of Kaze no Banri.

It's understandable that Ryuuki wouldn't participate in the Taiki search considering Ryuu's state, but it's a mystery why Shun wouldn't. Shun was merely glossed over in the Sou family discussion in Kizan.

Antagonists such as Atsuyu and Shoukou (in the anime) did what they did because they had doubts about the existence of heaven. I have a feeling that Asen would have similar doubts.
Hmm. The mystery.

Probably. It could have been something personal too.

That makes sense. :XD Different ways of governing can work, and it's all up to the ruler to decide what works for them and their kingdom since there is no right method. (In a similar vein, there are a lot of ways to bring a kingdom down.)

I think every ruler has the potential to become a good ruler. If You-ou was able to gain confidence in herself and learned how to rule a country, there's a possibility that she could have ruled longer than she did.
I think it is exactly why the kirin choose them as rulers: because they have the potential to be great. But the thing is that they need to overcome their own demons, and not many are brave enough to do so, thus the fall of the rulers.
 
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