Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas

If Fuyumi Ono made an entire series devoted to covering Shoryu and Rokuta over the 500-year period of the Ever-King's reign, I would import them and then rebuy the books should they be published in English.  The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas is addicting that way, centered on delivering overblown fights over the roles of kings with manuvering by very important and intelligent people.

This story also has the benefit of not coming across as an afterthought like it does in the anime adaption, as well as avoiding the awkward attempt at a frame tale to preserve Yoko as the main character.

What is distressing, though, is the current lack of availability here.  Probably just a short print run by Tokyopop, knowing the economy and their situation, but it's still not satisfying.


  1. I picked this up too, but I'm still on book 2 (and hoping that they actually do anything to resolve Taiki's tale in it).

    Enjoying it, but they definitely made some serious mistakes in translating all the pseudo-Chinese names into European faerie "equivalents."

  2. I'm also still working on book 2. I love the anime series to death, but I am quite pleased to find that I am certainly getting much more out of the novels. I love Ono's writing style.

  3. I actually felt a bit the opposite - I think I lost something without the lush character designs and stellar voice acting, and I find the translation a bit stiff.

    But then again, I think a lot of that is the terminology use. Every time they say "lamia" or "boggart" or "brownie" it throws me out of ancient fantasy not-China and into some silly Ren Faire.

  4. I definitely preferred the novels; her writing is on the formal side, but the lack of shitty, indefensible anime only additions was a vast improvement, as was the added sensory information we got from the omniscient narrative.
    That terminology choice sounds pretty appalling, though. Surely this is the kind of work worth educating readers with? Eastern mythology is so fucking much more interesting.

  5. It's definitely jolting to see "duke" drop out of nowhere.