The Twelve Kingdoms: Shadow of the Moon, The Sea of Shadow
Chapter One: Shoku

Distributed by Anime Works
Genre: Fantasy/Action
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Rating: For Children 13 and Up

by Jon Minners

It looks like we have a brand new classic on our hands. 

If you enjoy such movies as Lord of the Rings or the incredible Harry Potter series or even if you enjoyed following the adventure of Guts in Berserk, Twelve Kingdoms is definitely something anime…no…film lovers should definitely sink their teeth into. 

The story opens following the everyday life of Youko Nakajima.  Her character seems conflicted – popular, yet shy – with the only noticeable difference being her red hair; a stark contrast to her parents.  But all being said, Nakajima appears to be just like every other student at her school until things change completely. 

A mysterious stranger finds her and tells her of a destiny so unbelievable and yet, somehow quite real.  Nakajima is needed in another world where she is destined to save her people whether she believes the story or not. 

Dragged into this mysterious world, Nakajima only has the support of two classmates, Sugimoto, a student who does not quite fit in with the rest of her classmates and longs for the adventure that awaits, and Asano, a male student who finds himself torn between the rather distinctive character traits of Nakajima and Sugimoto. 

Abandoned, the three begin an epic journey to the Kingdom of Kei on a perilous road of espionage, terror and betrayal.  In a world of The Twelve Kingdoms that assails them with one savage challenge after another, Nakajima has to accept her destiny to survive. 

Over two hours long, this disc flew by with a blockbuster tale that takes viewers from one place to the next in a beautifully depicted world complete with richly detailed backgrounds and landscapes

Much like most ambitious tales before it, the characters in The Twelve Kingdoms are realistically displayed in a manner not seen in too many anime; each taking on a unique look that compliments the way they all grow throughout the series.  Slowly, each character develops a purpose and becomes real.  Nakajima, for example, is not as perfect as she seems and Sugimoto is not as different as everyone else.  The two play equally compelling and important roles as the story plays out. 

That’s the way epic stories are told and Twelve Kingdoms is no different, with the most important aspect being the mythology that develops in the series.  Places, cultures, languages, people…even the music provides the epic feel that just screams masterpiece. 

Journey into another world…one you will never forget. 


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