Feature Article

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow

First Volume of the Hit Japanese Fantasy Fiction Series To Make U.S. Debut

by Jon Minners

Leading youth-oriented publisher TOKYOPOP is about to unveil, for the first-time ever in English, the best-selling hit Japanese novel series The Twelve Kingdoms, the latest addition to the company's rapidly growing line of serialized youth novels, releasing under the company's Pop Fiction banner.

The Twelve Kingdoms, which would go on to inspire a 45-episode anime, is an epic saga in the vein of Lord of the Rings, full of drama, complex mythology, exciting battle sequences, and a masterfully executed, character-driven plot about Yoko, a shy high school girl thrust into the role of reluctant hero when she's swept away into another realm and told she's destined to rule.

Created by Fuyumi Ono, the legendary Japanese Twelve Kingdoms novels have sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, but have never been available to U.S. audiences in the English language ... until now.

Rife with civil and political upheaval, The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow, the first volume of this epic seven-volume novel series, is set in a world reminiscent of ancient Chinese mythology, taking fans on a wild ride that will leave readers questioning the boundaries of reality and fantasy.

Sea of Shadow marks TOKYOPOP's first-ever hardcover novel and includes all-new, exclusive cover art created especially for this English edition by Akihiro Yamada, the series' original Japanese illustrator.

Except for her red hair, Yoko Nakajima is a typical, obedient Japanese high-school student. Her life is fairly ordinary-that is, until Keiki, a unicorn in the guise of a young blond-haired boy, tells her that she is his master and must return to their kingdom.

When the boy mysteriously vanishes, Yoko is left alone, confused, and wandering through a foreign land with nothing to help protect her save a magic sword and a magic stone.

Lost in a strange land and with demons on her trail, Yoko begins her quest for both survival and self-discovery.

According to Nicole Monastirsky, Pop Fiction Senior Editor, "Fuyumi Ono is a master storyteller who has combined equal parts teenage realism with mythological fantasy to create a tale so complex and beautiful that it leaves the reader speechless. TOKYOPOP is honored to bring this extraordinary epic to English-speaking readers everywhere.”

Speechless?  We will soon see about that.  G-Pop will have a review of this epic tale in the coming weeks, letting readers know if it is worth the purchase.  Considering TOKYOPOP’s track record in the past, we expect not to be disappointed. 

The hard cover edition of The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow, with English translation by Alexander O. Smith (Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy X), is priced at $16.99 and will make its U.S. debut in bookstores everywhere in March, 2007.



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