A Warrior Arises
- Run Time : 134 Minutes
- Genre : Action, Drama, Historical, Military, Seinen
- Airing Date : April 19, 2019
- Studios : Sony Pictures Entertainment
Kingdom Introduction and Story
Based off the well-beloved manga series by mangaka Yasuhisa Hara, Kingdom has enjoyed being considered one of the best manga series since its creation back in 2006. That’s why even the lesser loved—but still respected—anime series was considered pretty darn good by fans of the original manga. Even now, Kingdom still continues publication with no end in sight, but that doesn’t mean this series was destined to stay fixed to only being a manga or anime. Kingdom always seemed geared to becoming a film in some form and Sony Pictures Entertainment made that possible with a live action adaptation of Kingdom. Let us examine what to expect from this two hour plus movie and why you should watch/skip Kingdom!
Kingdom takes place in the year 55 BC during China’s Warring States Period. The story primarily follows two slave children—Xin and Piao—who always dream of becoming more than just slaves. With the hopes of becoming powerful generals, the two boys work hard by day and train with fake swords to enhance their skills and hope the generals will see their swordsmanship and take them away from their lowly lives. As the years pass, Xin and Piao grow up and become stronger until one day, Piao is noticed by a nobleman who takes the boy into Qin’s Palace. What seems like a blessing turns sour when Xin awakens one night to see Piao return home bleeding and dying from multiple wounds. After Piao’s death, Xin learns that Piao was taken into the king’s domain not because of sword skills but because he looked like Ying Zheng and would become his double. Piao’s life was taken when Zheng’s brother was plotting to commit mutiny and Zheng was to be assassinated.
With anger in his heart, Xin takes up Piao’s sword and begins his journey to guide Ying Zheng back to his kingdom and kill those who caused his friend’s death. Following the manga, Xin ends up traveling through various locations with Ying Zheng and a mountain child known as Diao. The trio will end up encountering various threats from those who wish Zheng dead and the armies that continue the seemingly never-ending war. We won’t spoil how much of the manga Kingdom covers, but we will say that it goes through at least several volumes. Is that a good thing though? Does Kingdom survive being a live action version of such a hit manga series? Below are three reasons why Kingdom is an absolute must-see movie and three reasons why you might want to skip it.
1. Outstanding Action
Fans of the Kingdom manga should know that one of the strongest elements of the series were the action moments, even in the original anime series that aired back in 2012. Kingdom excelled at delivering visceral action moments that made sword battles feel almost surreal. The Kingdom movie does the same with choreography that truly is mind blowing, making each fight/battle engaging and exciting. Even knowing how some battles would play out didn’t make any of the battles less intense and they often were even better than the original work. Kingdom is going to be a movie you watch for outstanding action scenes that will leave you gripping onto your seat and staring at the screen while swords clash and blood is spilled.
2. Sticks Close to the Source Material
Movie adaptations tend to falter the strongest when it comes to delivering the same level of narrative we expect from the source material. This is an unfortunate side effect of having a director that may only allow the original author so much input in what is ultimately his/her creation. Kingdom somehow avoided this usual theme and it amazed us with a powerful adherence to the original tale’s dramatic story. Every line of dialogue and major plot piece is done with a level of care to not stray too far from the manga’s execution. While there are some scenes omitted for time constraint purposes—we won’t spoil which but die-hard Kingdom fans will notice—the overall film feels as if it’s the same story we’ve read before but in a quicker and more streamlined form. That might sound bad, but at the end of the day, Kingdom does a great job of hitting the right notes that made the original series so dramatically moving.
3. Perfect Acting
Another big fear that usually comes with live adaptations of manga/anime creations is that the acting won’t match the original characters. It makes sense when a real-life human can’t summon giant weapons or unleash magical spells like in an anime setting, but with Kingdom, that fear was more aimed at the acting just coming off as atypical. Luckily, the actors within Kingdom’s film version really put some life into their fictional counterparts. Rarely did we sigh that a character wasn’t done the way we hoped and there was never a moment we felt Kingdom failed to live up to our expectations with the main heroes like Xin and Piao. In the end, Kingdom has some truly mind-blowing acting that will make you smile and want to clap the minute the credits roll.
1. Fast Story
Kingdom is still an on-going manga series and thus, it wasn’t surprising that the movie adaptation tends to go pretty fast through the source material. There are a lot of smaller story elements here and there that are overlooked or completely omitted which might anger some of the fans of the manga. The speed at which characters reach some parts of the Kingdom lore seems to happen extremely quickly and the ending itself leaves the possibility for a sequel. Thus, if you have issues with adaptations not being perfectly aligned to the original in detail, you might dislike Kingdom a bit.
2. History and More History
Kingdom as many know is based loosely on the Warring States Period of China. The keyword loosely means a lot of Kingdom can be considered fictional as character names are altered and some generals are completely fabricated for entertainment purposes. Yet, Kingdom is still a story that tries to be historically engaging and not every anime fan loves history, real or not. If you dislike history and equally don’t care to remember names of generals, plots for over throwing nations and things of that sort, Kingdom might not be the movie for you.
3. Don’t Expect Realistic Warfare
In our time explaining Kingdom—the manga—to those curious we often had to tell them that the fights aren’t meant to be realistic. While Kingdom at first glance comes across as military-like and based on realistic battles, this is an action series with some truly outrageous warriors and battles. That ultimately means don’t expect fights to not be over the top. Most fights in Kingdom could be compared to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with characters soaring through the air performing some truly unrealistic spins and dodges. We love that element about Kingdom, but we can easily see why some might not. Can’t say the fights aren’t entertaining though…
Kingdom’s live action film adaptation was truly incredible and took us by surprise. We didn’t know if real actors in a realistic world setting could match up to the greatness that is Kingdom—manga wise—but we were left speechless. Kingdom, as a film, didn’t disappoint and we truly hope many of you readers out there will either buy it when it releases on Blu-Ray/DVD or see it in theaters if it comes to one near you. Trust us, folks; you won’t feel like it was a wasted experience as Kingdom is filled with awesome action and some truly eye exploding action-packed moments!
Are you looking forward to watching Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below! For even more anime/movie reviews, be sure to keep coming back to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!