The Japanese anime culture has reached a worldwide audience with more and more people being accustomed to it. From movies to web series, people consume entertainment in different forms. Among all other fashions of storytelling, manga has made a prominent place of its own.
In the thick of numerous manga series, if there is one that I would strongly recommend, it would have to be Kingdom, written by Yasuhisa Hara, which presents the events of the Warring States of China. The series, despite being lengthy, is very intricate with how it handles warfare and worth a read. In this article, I present to you five reasons why you should consider reading Kingdom.
Based On Historical Events
History, when taught in school, can be both interesting and boring, which ultimately comes down to how it is presented. Addressing the historic textbooks being irreplaceable and the most legitimate representation of history, not everybody is riveted by it. Although people are drawn to history books for the technological and political events during the warring times, manga readers mostly do it for entertainment.
It’s a different matter when art has value beyond entertainment regardless of what people look for. Speaking of Kingdom, the manga has much more to offer than just entertainment because the author has spent a great deal of time in research to present it appealingly by surrounding the plot that resembles Warring States Period, an era in China that was characterized by warfare.
In fact, some characters are even based on the figures from this era in history.Although the manga might not be a true representation of how the events unfolded during those times, it’s still worth reading.
“Kingdom” is perceived highly for its quality of art and drawing style. Right off the bat, you realize that it is not censored in any way. For that reason, viewers’ discretion is advised for the manga, as it is only targeted at people over the age of 18. The manga shows the merciless violence of war in every battle that the protagonist participates in.
There are moments in the manga where extreme and horrifying outcomes of battle are presented as it is: gore-filled and a lot of casualties. And the makes don’t shy away from using the art of manga to present it realistically without sugarcoating it.
Aside from that, the character designs look slick, their facial expressions look promising, and overall, the clarity of the drawing keeps you on the hook. You might even get thrown off guard when you go back to other manga whose art is not as good.
Attention To Details
If there is one thing that long written series excel at, whether it be manga, anime, comics, or web series, it’s the number of details that the authors manage to fill in them. Kingdom is no exception when it comes to that, as the manga has almost made it to 700 chapters. Thanks to it being lengthy, the author has managed to portray each element of the manga in detail. It’s not only sophisticated warfare that the mangaka has researched upon but also intriguing and unique battle tactics.
To top it off, the generals who are in charge of a certain portion of an army each have unique strategies that they specifically come up with. This is especially evident in the most prominent characters of the manga who think in a certain way and come up with plans based on their knowledge, expertise, or in some cases, solely instinct.
Other than warfare and character developments, politics and bureaucracy are also given a substantial amount of screentime contributing to the elaborateness of the content. All these elements heavily contributed to the grand world-building of Kingdom.
Getting the pacing right in long-running series can be tricky, even more so in the beginning part, as you do not want the build-up section to take excessive time. This always risks running out of time and forcibly ending the show. Fortunately, the pacing of Kingdom feels just right and engaging throughout all arcs.
Some war scenes may feel longer than others, but that’s simply how the story arcs are supposed to be. It all comes down to who’s fighting who, and sometimes, just to show the competence of a certain character by quickly ending the war. Two strong opposing leaders will take up more chapters than the readers are accustomed to.
The author’s choice to do so is completely fine as long as the arcs make sense and the developments feel necessary. All in all, the pacing of Kingdom won’t make you feel like being rushed or dragged in any manner.
Open Minded Storytelling
The manga not only manages to show the conflicts on the battlefield but also the political animosities within the palace. In all these struggles, there is enough background and reasoning shown for each character involved. Even the characters opposing the protagonist Shin have their motives built up from their ambition or even turmoil and exploitation.
Wars are unfortunate, and the enemy soldiers have a tragic past that resorted them to ruthless killings on the battlefield. However, Kingdom doesn’t glorify that, nor does it show those to be mindless massacres. Whether it be on the protagonist’s side or his opposition, the key characters shown in the war all have human sides to them.
Manga, like any form of art, also incorporates, be it in their distinct way, the fundamental structures of storytelling. The skill of conveying a theme and painting a picture in the readers’ imagination has been the primary motive of cinema, novels or comic books and manga. Not all stories are solely made for commercial purposes.
Some carry in them significant driving emotions. Well-made shorter web series and manga made in such light are articulate about limited concepts. Take for example the critically acclaimed anime, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which immaculately presents the spiritual side of the story. Contrariwise, there are longer forms of mangas that incorporate multiple themes within a generic plotline and pay attention to each element by taking their time with it. “Kingdom”, for that matter, is definitely worth your time.