Kingdom is a film adaptation of the manga series of the same name, created by Yasuhisa Hara and published by Shueisha.
In the manga, millions of years have passed since the time of legend, when the worlds of men and gods were still the same. In these times it was man’s desires that changed the world. It is the period of the 500-year war: the Age of Combatant Realms. Kingdom is the story of a poor orphan boy who dreams of becoming a great general and thus beginning his path of trials and bloodshed that will take him to the top of the legends!
The movie follows the same idea, only much faster in 2h15 adventure, where a war orphan, Xin, lived by Kento Yamazaki (Another, Jo Jo Bizarre Adventure, Death Note, among others), who dreams of leaving his low status in life as a slave to becoming one of the greatest generals. Xin soon after a tragedy meets the person destined to become Qin’s emperor Ying Zheng, lived by Ryo Yoshizawa (Kamen Rider Meteour and Fourze), who has just suffered the loss of his kingdom to his brother. Zheng proves to be a key ally in Xin’s journey to the realization of his dream. Together, the youth seek to regain Zheng’s throne and unite the warrior states under one banner.
Like all Japanese feature films – I’m not going to comment on the manga – Kingdom follows the hero rule that for years trains to become something more than the others.
He has a best friend, Piao, who not only serves as a balance but will make Xin realize that just dreaming is not fulfilling. And that to make your dreams come true, he will get hurt and lose. During this journey, with each battle that follows, he may fall, but will always rise.
The motto of Japanese stories has always followed the spirit of the warrior, those who will excel and fight for just causes. Kingdom follows this model with a beautiful storyline and captivating characters, even though the film doesn’t have time to present them properly and bring a little more of them into the adventure.
Basically, the movie follows the line of the two central characters who want to accomplish something and are hindered by others. The hero’s journey that so many already know, but in the stories of manga, anime and feature films from the Rising Sun country have been told for decades.
There’s those who can even compare with Game of Thrones, and will be both wrong and right, as this type of adventure is narrated long before GOT even thought of existing. Struggles for the throne, brothers who betray their blood, the power that passes from one place to another, etc., are recurring themes and even clichés in the Japanese narrative.
Kingdom, in addition to history and good characters, has a great photo and soundtrack. This is undoubtedly a great movie, which lived up to its debut in Japan, which was in April this year and arrives later this month in the USA. It is a great bet by Sony and Toho to bring more of this kind of story to the American public, which in recent years has been consuming, even indirectly and adapted, Japanese products.
The manga has also had an anime adaptation that lasted 2 seasons, from 2013 to 2014 and now the movie.