Underrated is the word that comes to mind when one Juuni Kokuki. Based on Onno Fuyumi’s light novel series of the same name. It starts off with Yoko Nakajima-a normal Japanese girl and eventually goes off to introduce more characters, all of whom are linked to Yoko and the new world she suddenly found herself in. This is the tale of the twelve kingdoms and it’s inhabitant, their people and their misery and the kings who might save or bring their downfall.
The setting is an alternate dimension to Japan, where people live in the medieval times and speak a completely different language. I loved the thought, the details that has been put to build this new world. The rules and people of this world are similar to ours, yet so very different, with new concepts. And guess what’s even more special there? Actual gendee equality. That isn’t to say this world isn’t without prejudice, living on their own version of racism and casteism. Supernatural stuff are pretty strong here, especially with various beasts roaming the streets. I can’t really explain it without giving spoilers away, but the setting alone is enough to make for a interesting journey.
And this setting is supported by a stronger cast of characters.
The main lead, Yoko Nakajima, might be one of the absolutely irritating person you will ever come across at first, and yet, as the series progresses and she grows through various inner and outer conflicts, learning to distrust and trust all over again, and ultimately, we are presented with one of the best character development arc in anime in a while.
I grew to hate Youko at the start, echoing Youko’s own emotion of a failure towards herself and just like her, I had learned to appreciate this character by the end.
There are various other character who grow beautufully onscreen and off screen.
My only regret was one particular arc- the Taiki arc- where they showed only half of the story , and they might have been better off axing that then leaving it half finished. Honestly, thsi series demands for a season 2.
The series may seem disorganised in the first episode, but as the episode progresses it all settles into an exciting pace.
The art style is pretty old, understandable considering it aired in the year 2005.
Overall, I loved Twelve Kingdom and if you are looking for something with action, supernatural and character drivenstory, Twelve Kingdom is the anime for you.