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Twelve Kingdoms: V.1 Shoku (ep.1-5)

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mari Devon, Kate Higgins, Houko Kuwashima, Aya Hisakawa, Dorothy Elias-Fahn
  • Format: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Media Blasters
  • Release Date: March 22 2011
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00009EIRU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #193,408 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

The story begins with the everyday life of Youko Nakajima. Upon being confronted by a mysterious blond stranger, Youko is told of her destiny and pulled away into another world. Along with two of her classmates, Sugimoto and Asano, she is abandoned on foreign shores. This begins Youko's perilous journey to the Kingdom of Kei on an epic road of espionage, terror, and betrayal. The mystic world of The Twelve Kingdoms assails her with one savage challenge after another. Will Youko embrace her destiny?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

First of all, to start this off, I would have to disagree with the reviewer who wrote that there would be no characters in disk 1 to like to begin with. For me, it's not the matter of liking a character, so much as it is being able to relate to one. It's so much more meaningful that way. Nakajima Yoko is in the beginning selfish and despicable, yet despite that she's put in the role of heroine for a specific purpose. Juuni Kokki is one of my favorite anime because it has realistic characters, rather than your average damsel in distress or invincible superman. they face dilemmas that are far-fetched but nonetheless manages to grab your attention or belief that it is also realistic. acting on the voice actors parts are done EXCELLENTLY. well, the japanese audio, that is. i haven't heard the english one, and i don't think i'll ever want to, having had my taste of english dubs already.
Now onto my actual rating of the first DVD:
a bit lacking on the extras department, but what english version of any anime isn't, right? now now, i won't be too greedy. visual quality is excellent, as everything else is all-around nice. i won't comment on the subtitles, since i personally think the fansubbed vers. i downloaded and watched was better in terms of translation. i wish that this first volume did come out with a box for the whole series though, like the other anime generally tend to. or i would have to hope for a boxset, because i am a crazed collector of those things. comparing this to escaflowne is not a far-fetched comparison--they're both leaning towards the side of a female heroine, who eventually learn this and learn that, get transported to different worlds, the etc. bishounen. and juuni kokki plus side, beautiful music and beautiful art. lot of drama, political conflict.
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You're reading this review, and you're thinking: "Is this going to be worth it?"
The sort answer is: "Yes, especially if you like medieval fantasy"
The long answer is, well, read on...
I own disks 1 through 4. Of all the disks, #1 is the hardest to sit through. This is because you are going to have a hard time finding anyone to like in the first disk. Stick With It: you'll find plenty to like in the rest of the series. There is character development. The plots are interesting. The artwork is great. A good value for the money.
The only downside to the disks is the vocabulary: not only are there a plethora of magical creatures (that have their own names), but a whole vocabulary about how those magical creatures relate to the "human" occupants of the lands of the Twelve Kingdoms. (You'll have to watch the episodes to figure out why I put the word 'human' in quotes...)
If this kind of detail drives you nuts, then this might not be your cup of tea. For my own part, I figure I'll put that part of my brain on "cruise control" and wait until the language lesson seeps in.
I plan to get the rest of the disks in the series, in case you were wondering.
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Think: "The Wizard of Oz meets The Princess Bride". This first CD should have been subtitled "Betrayal", because our heroine gets sold out by pretty much everybody.
I'm typically NOT a fan of stories where the person we're supposed to be rooting for starts out behnd the 8-ball. And in the case of the first disk of "The 12 Kingdoms" our heroine should have succumbed to "Sidekick Syndrome" i.e. dead in the first 12 minutes of the story.
But she doesn't. In fact, you're left with a clifhanger worthy of Robert Louis Stevenson by the end of the DVD. You are either going to be hooked, or not. If not, no harm done, it's an interesting story. If you are, you are going to have to buy at least two more DVD's to get to the end of this story. This is anime, get over it. If you wanted a cheaper addiction, you should have tried drugs.
What really struck me was the "instructional" quality of the story: "O.K., here the heroine is really beeing too trusting for her own good, you can see how this will not turn out well from a mile away. Now here she's over-reacting to her previous bad experiences. She's just cutting off her nose to spite her face".
In short, what I didn't like about this DVD was more a matter of personal style than the content. Overall, it's very good. I'll give the series a chance...at least 2 more DVD's worth.
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I was very fascinated by this anime. It's great, all through this first installment...the only problem is the other world that she ends up in. She is brought there by a mysterious man, 'Keiki', and his summoned beasts. The weird thing is that everything from this other world looks extremely cartoonish, and doesn't seem to fit. Once she enters that world, the animation is inconsistent. It resembles ancient China, and that all looks well. However, the way the beasts are done can leave you pretty skeptical at times. But--the story is really intriguing. Youko is well developed, and since she refuses to accept the world she has been dumped into, she grows slowly. The plot advances in every episode, and it's delightful to see Youko grudgingly drawing her blade (since you know she has to accept it sooner or later, apparently later). It's an unpredictable, exciting story.
My main problem is that randomly shoddy animation. I know the series is long and all, but they surely could've done a little better.
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