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The Twelve Kingdoms

Alt titles: 12 Kingdoms, Juuni Kokki

The Twelve Kingdoms main image more screenshots
4.121 out of 5 from 7,723 votes
Rank #502


Yohko is nothing but ordinary. Throughout her life she has been considered an outcast, especially with a hair color not native to many in Japan, bright red. Things change for Yohko when a mysterious man named Keiki arrives and claims that she is his empress. Yohko and two friends are then taken through a vortex, and then abandoned.. in a world of demons and magic.

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Manga Name Year Relation More Info
The Twelve Kingdoms (Light Novel) 1992 TBD
Name Role
Yuko KUSUMOTO Character Design
Hiroto TANAKA Character Design
Tsuneo KOBAYASHI Director
Kunihiko RYO Music
Ken SUEKAWA Producer

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Official Editorial Reviews

Title Author Score Date
The Twelve Kingdoms Sheex 9.3/10 Jun 1, 2008
12 Kingdoms Sheex 9.3/10 Jun 1, 2008
Juuni Kokki Sheex 9.3/10 Jun 1, 2008
The Twelve Kingdoms Arcanum 5.5/10 Jun 13, 2007
12 Kingdoms Arcanum 5.5/10 Jun 13, 2007
Juuni Kokki Arcanum 5.5/10 Jun 13, 2007

Community Reviews

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Title Author Score Date
The Twelve Kingdoms 10sparkey10 9.7/10 Mar 13, 2014
Juuni Kokki 10sparkey10 9.7/10 Mar 13, 2014
12 Kingdoms 10sparkey10 9.7/10 Mar 13, 2014
List Title Username Entries Date
~50~ dvnrng 22 Apr 22, 2014
Explus yasar 447 Apr 17, 2014
watch again Demonangelblackheart 25 Apr 7, 2014
Ravenous1993 watched The Twelve Kingdoms at 45 of 45 episodes
granavel watched The Twelve Kingdoms at 45 of 45 episodes
mliwidee is watching The Twelve Kingdoms anime at 21 of 45 episodes
deex watched The Twelve Kingdoms at 45 of 45 episodes
MikaShinigami stalled The Twelve Kingdoms at 2 of 45 episodes

Recommendations if you like The Twelve Kingdoms

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Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play

While reading "The Universe of the Four Gods", best friends Miaka and Yui are mysteriously transported into a strange world full of magic and unfamiliar faces. As if their arrival was determined by fate, Miaka is revered as the Priestess of Suzaku, the savior of their warring country, who was destined to arrived in a flash of light, from a land far away. Betrayal, love, and heartache accompany this fantasy-filled tale of friendships torn apart, and hope that never fades.

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This is girlier yet same story plotline, y'know the basic girl transported to magical land trying to get home.
girls drawn into a magic world with fighting and magics. Is that what you're looking for? then you're gonna love this series. Fushigi Yuugi is really close to Juuni Kokki though alot brighter and more love inspired. If you're looking for adventures and a wonderful love story you should check this one out.
Definitely a lot in common in many ways, very similar premises and setups.... if you enjoy the fantasy setting though, you should enjoy this quite a bit.
Fushigi Yuugi and Juuni Kokuki(The Twelve Kingdoms) are very similar. They are both about a girl who gets trapped in another universe. Each girl must try to gain an understanding of the new universe that they are in, and a way out. Juuni Kokuki gets into a more political espect(not a bad thing, there are many battles to be fought trying to rule an medievil country) compared to Fushigi Yuugi, which is mostly drama. There is also more fighting in Juuni Kokuki. If you are one who likes stories of alternate universes, these are both a "must watch".
Both of these series share the theme of a Japanese schoolgirl travelling to a mythic land based on Chinese mythology (a refreshing change from the usual Western fantasy or feudal Japan genres). Juuni Kokki's art is more mature and realistic and the show maintains a consistently serious tone, unlike Fushigi Yuugi, which deals with serious issues such as death and rape, but also has numerous chibi scenes.

If you liked Twelve Kingdoms you would also like Fushigi Yugi because both stories are about one girl and six HOT guys with swords. What more do you need? I really loved how the story was told in Fushigi Yugi, and it was a blast to watch. Fushigi Yugi is set in a different world just like 12 Kingdoms.


Both Fushigi Yugi and Twelve Kingdoms involve a similar situation, where a girl from our world is transported to another realm full of magic and mystery. The story is epic as well, involving a lot of story twists and some surprises.


Both are about young girls that get pulled into another world with their friends, and both girls find themselves trying to save a country. They also go through a lot of emotional turmoil. But Fushigi Yugi has something The 12 Kingdoms was missing: a touch of romance. However, this doesn't dominate the whole story, it is only a part. Fushigi Yugi also is more mature, making you cry at some parts and laugh at others. If you liked The 12 Kingdoms but were left wanting more, this is for you.


Fushigi Yugi is also an anime where the main character is taken against her will to another world. What is fastinating about these two is that in both the world where the heroines are taken is similiar to ancient China. The animation may not be something to cheer about however, both heroines must fight to secure their futures and save their worlds. With Fushigi Yugi, there is a comedey and romance but the action is ever present.


Both series deal with ordinary Japan girls who suddenly found twemselves transported into the alternate world. In the fantasy world, the quest full of danger and adventures awaits. And this great journery/adventure will change their lives, and the lives of the people of the fantasy world.


Both anime are about a girl attending high school who appears in other world and have to fight to save the kingdom even if it means fighting her friend. The story of both is well developed and sometimes dramatic and it will make you watch it till the end. Unlike Twelve Kingdoms, Fushigi Yugi is also romantic and more funny.


Fushigi Yuugi and 12 Kingdoms are both about a girl who falls into another world of which she is an important figure. Fushigi Yuugi is more lighthearted and slapstick, but at the core is the story of a girl who comes to terms with her responsibilities in a strange new world.


Both anime are about a girl that is transported into another world and having to deal with the politics involved with being in this new land along with holding powers of her own in the world eventually. The Twelve Kingdoms is much better with the story telling and action where Fushigi Yugi lies on the romance side a little more. You'll probably enjoy both if you liked the other.


i recommend FY and 12 kingdoms because both main characters are warped into a different world differ from there own

Seirei no Moribito

Seirei no Moribito

In the feudal kingdom of Yogo, a dark secret is threatening its proud imperial family, and the Emperor intends to destroy it before it leaks out. Unfortunately this dark secret resides within his son, the young and innocent Second Prince Chagum. Enter Balsa, a wandering warrior who has sworn to save eight lives in penance for those she has taken during her violent career. Upon accepting her role as protector to Chagum, her eighth and final job, the two begin a perilous journey that tests not only their physical endurance and mental resolve, but also the tentative relationship they build along the way. Will Balsa fulfill her penance and protect Chagum as he seeks to understand the nature of his secret? Or will the Emperor's relentless assassins and other powerful enemies get them first?

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There is a tradition in fantasy storytelling of picking familiar-but-not-quite settings. In Western fantasy, it is often a quasi-medieval setting. In anime, correspondingly, it is often a quasi-Chinese setting, or other familiar Asian country. In 12 Kingdoms, there is a strongly Chinese flavour to the fantasy universe -- whereas in Seirei no Moribito, the flavour is more Central Asian, quasi-Nepali. Both stories, however, deal with intrigue and battle, and have strong female protagonists. A liking for one is sure to produce a liking for the other.


By means of storytelling, Junni Kouki and Seirei no Moribito are two peas in a pod. Though Seirei places a bit more focus on character growth in favor of world development, a relatively serious, dramatic atmosphere pervades both, and provides for a very formal experience. Both flaunt the work of very adept writers who have mastered their art, which, quite thankfully, are additionally backed by two amazing soundtracks that really capture the essence of each tale. Tack on similar medieval, feudal Japan thematics, and you really can't go wrong.


Both are based on highly imaginative and successful fantasy based fiction novels that have been adapted into enchanting anime pieces. If you liked one, you will surely love the other.


Both series posses almost similar Asian-like settings, strong female leads, dramatic battes, and storytelling method. However their are obvious differences which make watching the series worth while. If you like this series, I have no doubt you'll like this as well.


Seirei no Moribito like The Twelve Kingdoms has a rich fantasy setting that comes alive with each episode. In Seire no Moribito's case it is a quest tale set in fantasy Asian lands with an emphasis on responsibility and honour. But this emphasis is anything but simple. Similar themes on the duties of nobility, strong female protagonists and likeable supporting characters make these two extremely complimentary.


Both series are based on legends and take place in medieval times. Both main characters Balsa and Youko are strong women who have to deal with intriques of the imperial court in order to fulfill their duty. If you liked one, you would surely like the other.


I'll echo the previous recommendations already made.  Both have strong female warriors (from the start for Seirei and eventually in TK) as main characters who try to understand their places in their worlds.  There's also a similar naturalistic, medieval vibe in both series.


Twelve Kingdoms and Moribito are both Asian-styled fantasy settings featuring strong female leads (or in Twelve Kingdom's case, one who becomes strong).  Both have very well developed worlds and great atmosphere.  Both are also based on novels--from my experience this usually tends to result in deeper, more interesting stories.Twelve Kingdoms is based in a very political world, and includes a fair amount of magic and demons, as well as having the main character coming from a modern-world setting.  Moribito focuses less on politics, has magic in smaller quantities, and is based entirely in it's own time-setting. 


Both series, are great fantasy works which put alot effort into developing characters. Both are similar in that it involves main characters going outside there comfort zone and needing to make tough decisions.

Of course they both could be classified as "epic stories".


Both Series deal with a vast fanasty world as their setting, and weave a masterful story thru that world. And both of the female leads are similiar to some degree in how they handle themselves. If you liked one of them, I'd highly recommend the other.


They're both brilliant with the flavor of Japanese historical fiction with fantasy elements. Just watch it!


Moribito and The Twelve Kingdoms are both extremely character-driven anime's, where the action scenes live not for themselves, but to serve the advancement of the character.

Perhaps because of their source material, Twelve Kingdoms is a bit more open-ended, with the feal of a living world and many storylines going, while Moribito is a self-contained story.  However they are both extremely well executed to keep you coming back, episode by episode till the end (or in The Twelve Kingdoms case, when the episodes run out before the end :( )



A man awakens in an unfamiliar room, with no recollection of who he is or where he came from. His wounds have been bandaged, and his face is covered with a mask that he cannot remove. With nowhere to go, he decides to stay with his rescuers and help them when needed, waiting for his memory to return. Though his courage, skill, and wisdom quickly gain him the villagers’ respect, the same traits soon land him in hot water with the local feudal lord. Not one to back away from injustice, the path he must follow will lead him to confront his enemies, and his hidden past.

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Juuni Kokki(The Twelve Kingdoms) and Utawarerumono are alike because of their feudal-era japan settings with a magical element mixed in. They are also very battle oriented and deal with main characters who don't know what to do in a world that they don't feel like they belong in. If you like one, you'll like the other.
"Utawarerumono" and "Juuni Kokki" have many similarities that makes it probable that a fan of either series would like the other as well. Both take place in a pseudo-medeival fantasy world where wars are common. Both of them focus more on politics, and the difficulties of being a ruler than most series of the same genre (JK even more so than U). Both of them also offer a great variety of interesting characters, that keep the viewer coming back for more. Their biggest differences are that JK has a slightly more serious tone to it. (In fact U feels a bit like a crossover between JK & "Inuyasha" - more lighthearted than JK, but more serious than I.) Also U is more straightforward than JK storywise (probably due to the 26 ep format).

you would like this anime because in both anime a rather mature protagonist becomes involved in a new and fascinating world.


You would like Utawarerumono because it's set during the same time period as Twelve Kingdoms. It, like Twelve Kingdoms, is also about a person trying to prove that they can become a great ruler. Both main characters have mysteries about them that they themselves don't know about.


12 Kingdoms and Utewarerumono are beautifully crafted fantasy series set in magical worlds in the style of feudal Japan. Both tell the story of a central protagonist who is to become ruler of a land at war, and are desperately needed by the people to maintain peace. What makes both stories that much more interesting is that the focal protagonists are unaware of just how important they are and the mysteries of their origins, which play a large role in the decisions they are to make and the their abilities as leaders. As you have followed one on a magical journey of self discovery, you will in the other.


Fantasy connects us all! If you need more of that imagination-creation the first series of these two set your mind adrift with, you are bound to find more in the other too! The series are quite similar, and yet worlds apart (literally)!


Both have a nice story with very nice, noble and powerful characters. Also you will find in both great elements of super powers and battles between kingdoms respectively realms. So both are nice to watch (and also good ending) animes which have quite a lot in common...


Both of those animes speak of characters that find themselves in a world the know nothing about. After wondering around a bit, they both gain the position as a city leader. Facing many wars, affairs and intrigues they choose to take part of it all, instead of safely sitting on their given throne. Various adventures will occur that way. If you liked one of them for those reasons, you'd surely like the other one.


Even though the setting in both series is different they give the viewer the very similar feeling. A cross between historic setting and epic story-telling both stories are certain to attrack the same audience. Concidering the fact that both series have a similar character development and a plethora of characters, chances are that if you liked the one you will also like the other.


After watching either one of them and hungry for more epic battles? Than you should watch the other one be it Utawarerumono or Juuni Kokki. Both animes have wars where words cannot express it so you will have to watch it for yourself. Both also involves a journey of the main character where they develop themselves to find out the mysteries of their life and the world.


Both series have political character. Both are about governing the country, understanding peoples' needs. If you liked one because of learning how to rule, how to oppose those who follow they own interest, you would surely like the other. Moreover, both series are based on legends and take place in medieval surroundings.


If you loved the person in a strange world concept mixed with the medieval setting and a fantasy touch covered by a main character being forced to be a leader.

Well then go ahead and try the other!



Hitomi was just a normal high school girl, until she was taken by the mysterious Van Fanel and dropped into a world of romance, magic and giant sword-wielding armor suits! Now Van, pilot of the famed armor suit Escaflowne; and Hitomi, whose hobby of predicting the future just became a frightening reality, must work together and fight the advanced technology of Zaibach: a force who want to shape Gaea to their visions of "peace". Follow Hitomi in her struggles against both these forces who seek to conquer this world, and her own confused heart.

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Both of these series involve a Japanese high school girl journeying to a mystic land and taking part in epic struggles there. They are both fairly serious, although Escaflowne features plenty of shoujo romance whereas Junni is more fighting and politics oriented. Escaflowne takes place in a steampunk fantasy world, and Junni in a Chinese-mythology based world. Fans of action and fantasy-adventure, particularly with strong female protagonists, should enjoy both.

There are quite a few anime that involve a girl getting lost in another world, but Escaflowne and Juuni Kokki manage to seamlessly blend different genres into one piece. Escaflowne is a lot more romance/action-based, whereas Juuni Kokki is pretty serious and definitely aimed at a more adult audience.


Both series involve girls being transported to magical worlds in order to fulfill their respective destinies. Both series are fast-paced, have plenty of action and character development. Twelve Kingdoms has more political intrigue whereas Escaflowne has more romance.


Both Escaflowne and Twelve Kingdoms involve a similar situation, where a girl from our world is transported to another realm full of magic and mystery.


Life in another world, a world that someone ordinary could never imagine; it's true that many of us have wished sometimes for such spectacular stories, something that is everything but ordinary. Both Escaflowne and Twelve Kingdoms share the same idea and yet are very different.


Juuni Kokki and Escaflowne are two entirely different stories, but have the same feel. Whiny little babies grow into mature characters, and the antagonists in both anime are virtually the same. They each deal with the fight against one's own humanity. In my opinion, Juuni Kokki pulls it off better, but I love both series.


Both stories revolve around the heroine traveling to another world in order to help others, while also acuratley portraying the struggles both characters have to endure in a world so unlike their own.


Both shows look at a girl getting stranded in a new fantastical world and her struggle to adapt. Strong characterisation, and some deep political issues attract a more mature viewer.

The front for both Twelve Kingdoms and Escaflowne is the battling and action, however I think people will enjoy the shows for the darker story lying beneath.


If you liked Escaflowne or The Twelve Kingdoms, I'd recommend checking the other one out. Both are somewhat epic in tone, have grand, well-conceived worlds, and involve a female central protagonist who has to discover a lot about herself. However, the big differences are that Twelve Kingdoms is far more character-focused and is more complex in terms of the political and cultural background of its fantasy world. Escaflowne takes a faster pace with romantic overtones... oh, and mecha! Finally, Yoko is more proactive and kick-arse, whilst Hitomi is a sad, passive observer. Other than that, though, if you genuinely want more rich, original fantasy worlds built upon the 'person in a strange world' premise, then either of these will be your next step.


It's uncanny how both these series begin. A high school girl, monster attacks, they are drawn into a fantasy world.  


If you like the idea of a girl being transported into another world and having to deal with the politics involved with being in this new land look no further than these 2 titles. 

Saiunkoku Monogatari

Saiunkoku Monogatari

In an ancient and mythological land called Saiunkoku, the people have begun to recover from a period of war and famine; thus, when an official from the imperial court offers the impoverished and beautiful Shuurei more money than she could ever dream of in return for a favor, she jumps at the chance. What she doesn’t count on, however, is being asked to become a concubine to the recluse Emperor and help him transform into a better leader. What’s more, the Emperor shows little intelligence, seems to have no interest in ruling, and is rumored to prefer men. One thing’s for certain: Shuurei has her work cut out for her!

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Juuni Kokki is like the older cousin of Saiunkoku Monogatari. Both shows deal with a central female character who works through adversity to eventually rise up and take a position of authority in a world modeled after ancient China. While Juuni Kokki is considered by many to be the best example of "girl from another world" anime to be made to date, it lacks some of the more playful elements of mainstream anime that some fans enjoy. Saiunkoku, while lacking some of the depth that makes Juuni Kokki so special, is funny, entertaining, and has enough of a romance element to satisfy anyone. If you've just finished Juuni Kokki and are upset at the lack of an official "end", you can revisit ancient China with Saiunkoku Monogatari.


If you're an enthusiast for strong heroines who strive to better the world regardless of all of the hardships they must endure and how strenuous the obstacles are, then Juuni Kokki and Saiunkoku Monogatari will certainly entertain you.


The organization and administration of a state and the problems that come with it; if you like to see these things in an anime then The Twelve Kingdoms and Saiunkoku Monogatari are for you.


Both The Twelve Kingdoms and Saiunkoku Monogatari have the same courtly intrigues and heroism for the good of the nation. They also share the concept of an emperor who rules alone. Both anime have an intelligent plot and sub-plots, motiviated characters with well rounded personalities, and a strong female protagonist. In The Twelve Kingdoms, the nation is founded through magic, but the magic itself is understated and is not overwhelmingly flashy or fight oriented.


Both Saiunkoku Monogatari and Juuni Kokki are based upon a main female character and her hardships that she has to deal with. Each unique and irresistible main character tries to help change her country with the help of her friends, and each anime has a heartwarming story. You will grow to love each of these series.


Even thought twelve kingdoms is more fantasy based, both these anime are alike. It is all about kingdom, politics and protocol.

A woman fighting for recognition, plots are made against them with friends from all places that come to help.


Both anime have political character. Both are about governing the country, understanding peoples' needs. If you liked one because of learning how to rule, how to oppose those who follow they own interest, you would surely like the other.


Both shows are very political orientated The female characters are very influential in running the country. In the Twelve Kingdoms the female is the ruler and in Saiunkoku Monogataria she is the kings lover.


Both series craft detailed fantasy settings and incorporate grand plots with heavy emphasis on politics and goverance. If you enjoyed either heroine's journey there's a good chance you'll enjoy the other's.


These two anime give off a feeling so amazingly similar it feels stupid not to rec them. A strong female character with great political influence, an ancient land rich with history, a cast of supporting characters so varied and colourful that many of them are sure to find their way to your favourites list, and a story constantly full of promise and intrigue. I would say they're just about as great as each other too. 12 Kingdoms has a greater feel of adventure where Saiunkoku is somewhat slower and heavier with political dialogue. Saiunkoku also has an element of romance, but to even think of it as a typical fluffy shoujo would be wrong. Definitely check out one if you liked the other!


Both are great anime, and if you liked the historical/ political part in Saiunkoku Monogatari (and not only the admittedly large amount of bishounen in that anime @_@) you will definitely love the Twelve kingdoms, which, in that sense, is even more complex and satisfying (being based on a book helps). For those who have watched Junni Kokki, if you loved the historical part but wanted a bit of romance too, Saiunkoku is perfect for you. For those who liked the action part, maybe not so much, as there aren't many (any) decent fight scenes in the latter.