Kingdom 2 – 29

Kingdom 2 - 29-5 Kingdom 2 - 29-15 Kingdom 2 - 29-22

Magnificent bastards don’t just grow on trees.

You probably saw my pictures from Jump Festa, where Kingdom had a large booth complete with cosplayers.  This manga is a pretty big deal – it’s obvious that Shueisha cares about it at least somewhat, and it continues to be a strong seller.  Yet the anime certainly seems to have one of the smallest budgets around, its magnificent story slightly (but perceptibly) undercut by the clumsy CGI in the battle scenes.  It’s an interesting object lesson on then difference between the manga and anime business, which is probably greater now than it ever has been.

This was another Kingdom episode that speaks admirably for itself.  This is one of the most gripping series of the year, pretty much bringing an A-game in every department except visuals.  As was set up last week we have a two-pronged battle, with the old men fighting on the mountain and the young men fighting on the plain.  And right now it would be pretty hard to say which one is more riveting.

Lian Po himself summed up his battle with Meng Ao best – “You may have spent 40 years thinking of this plan, but you’re still a hundred years too early to outsmart me.”  Lian Po grudgingly admitted to being surprised that the White Elder could come up with something so clever, proving that Li Mu’s notion that Lian Po’s supremacy in his duels with Meng Ao was a vulnerability.  But in the end, even taken off-guard, Lian Po was still better than Meng Ao by a step – the cream rose to the top.  While Meng Ao sent all his troops to the trap spots hoping to finish Lian Po in one fell swoop, the Wei general split his troops and turned the tables, having anticipated that the maze might be movable.

This is a bad situation for Meng Ao now, to say the least.  He’s calm as always on the exterior, but admits he’s been beaten strategically – all he can do is muster his men for a final defense of his headquarters and bolster morale by talking of a miraculous intervention by Huan Ji, because “that’s the Meng Ao Army fighting style”.  Who knows where Huan Ji really is, but we know that Our Man Bi is out there close by – and no matter how brilliant Lian Po is, I don’t think even he could possibly suspect Bi’s presence. 

Meanwhile, my view of the titanic main character battle hasn’t changed – I really don’t want Lun Hu to die.  He’s just too damn awesome, and this series already killed off one magnificent bastard.  After having wounded Xin in the leg Lun Hu has a huge advantage on horseback (Xin can no longer brace himself against the powerful sword attacks) so in a Gon-like triumph of instinct over experience, Xin improvises a take-down and gets both of them off their horses and onto the ground.  Still a big edge to the guy with two legs, but less so than on horseback (though that’s a bit counter-intuitive).  I love the callback to the endless sparring with Piao (who hasn’t had a mention in months) which Xin says has prepared him to fight on one good leg.

The dynamics here are fascinating – Chu Sui doesn’t’t want to interfere because he knows Xin would be humiliated, but the Wei second-in-command (who’s not one of Lun Hu’s own men, remember) does enter the fray.  For him and all the men of Wei this is more than a grudge match, but a struggle to protect their homes – they “cannot lose”.  The upshot of all this is that he draws Chu Sui into the battle, and Chu eventually attacks Lun Hu, who cuts him down – but in doing so, creates an opportunity for Xin to do the same to him.

It’s kind of an ignominious way for a titan like that to go down, if you ask me – but it really never seemed Xin could win a one-on-one battle.  Incredibly, even with a gaping wound from shoulder to chest, Lun Hu gets back up to fight another round, determined to meet his Lord (Lun Hu, not God) at Meng Ao’s HQ.  This is an incredible battle of wills between these two, and in sports terms “it’s a shame either side has to lose”.  But so it is, and it seems likely that it’s only a matter of time before Kingdom loses another stellar character.  They still have plenty left – this has turned out to be the better season even without the even more magnificent bastard Wang Qi – but I’ll still be gutted to see Lun Hu gutted.

Kingdom 2 - 29-8 Kingdom 2 - 29-9 Kingdom 2 - 29-10
Kingdom 2 - 29-11 Kingdom 2 - 29-12 Kingdom 2 - 29-13
Kingdom 2 - 29-14 Kingdom 2 - 29-16 Kingdom 2 - 29-17
Kingdom 2 - 29-18 Kingdom 2 - 29-19 Kingdom 2 - 29-20
Kingdom 2 - 29-21 Kingdom 2 - 29-23 Kingdom 2 - 29-24
Kingdom 2 - 29-25 Kingdom 2 - 29-26 Kingdom 2 - 29-27
Kingdom 2 - 29-28 Kingdom 2 - 29-29 Kingdom 2 - 29-30
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5 comments

  1. e

    Hey Lun still gets to live for yet another episode. Let's enjoy it while it lasts :D.
    Three of my fav characters from Kingdom are among the dead already after all ( and Piao's death scene was the very first moment hooking me to the series for good. He was a good kid :,). Needless to say to have his influence mentioned in the open this week was quite a highlight ). Right now honestly I'm just a tad worried about Lei – in spite of her eye candy quota+ MC love interest potential plot armor – going by the preview.

  2. t

    I am a bit mixed about this episode.
    on one hand, it was very good. two fights parallel (Xin VS Lun Hu and Meng Ao VS Lian Po). both are crucial..I mean…when one of them will lose..it'll have almost a crucial effect on the battle result which is now balanced.
    both fights are on individual side and demonstrating lots of battle emotions. and it's interesting how the one is connected to the other not only in the field. I mean, Renpa and Meng Ao are also fight for pride. otherwise Renpa wouldn't bother to show up there, and Meng Ao wouldn't bother to develop complicate strategy. and although both are generals, this isn't about strategy, it's about their pride.
    and we can see that in the fight between Xin and Rinko. Xin can't afford himself to lose, or this will be over, and Rinko is doing everything for the sake of his lord who raised him.
    but both are eager to win this very fight. so much that they don't want anyone to help. it's their own personal fight. and both are fired up to win against this very special opponent (Xin/Rinko).

    I am kinda mixed whether the way Xin slashed Rinko is eligible..in the end, the iron rule of battlefield is on his side. plus it was some kind of instinct of both Rinko (for defending against Sui) and Xin (for slashing him, it was also for the sake of saving Sui I guess). so it's OK. but, before, it was implied that no one should interfere or it'll affect on Xin's promotion or something (not to mention his pride).
    I think it was a very intriguing point they made during the battle.

    on the other hand, what I didn't like is that in the end of the day (or the ep), nothing has changed. Meng Ao is still in defense from the upcoming Renpa, climbing little by little on the mountain-fortress. same goes for Rinko and Xin – still fighting but with tougher injuries. what I am saying is that..in the big picture, nothing has changed, not even in the other areas (Wang Jian, Huan Ji and Renpa's other 2 generals). we are in the same point when we finished the previous episode.
    but this is a battle. sure, it's the last day so we're seeing the events in some sort of "slow motion" in the matter of time. but I expected things to..move on in pace in terms of the big picture. this seems a bit static

    anyway, I agree with your last statement. this season is better. even without one of the best characters in Kingdom (wang Qi), this season is great (if it wasn't for so much bad CGI, it could've been even greater!)

  3. I really believe if this had been I.G. or Madhouse, with really good traditional animation, they'd be talking about this show like Twelve Kingdoms or Monster ten years from now.

  4. t

    totally agree.

  5. R

    This is one hell of an episode — super intense. I do miss Wang Qi — or an epic character like him — but I think this season has offered us more. I love how it portrayed the politics in the palaces — episode 2 was awesome — and it introduced the guerrilla fights on top of all the grand strategies. Almost all characters in this fictional replica of an important time in Chinese history have their own personalities, motives and purpose, and collectively they contribute to the overall story. Ten more episodes to go, and I don't know if the current war will stretch through the remaining episodes, but I do know that I want to continue watching Kingdom till at least Zheng was renamed as Qin Shi Huang.

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