Kingdom 2 – 37

Kingdom 2 - 31 -10 Kingdom 2 - 31 -17 Kingdom 2 - 31 -27

I just about ran out of space on my notepad following that episode.

The news that Kingdom’s second season is ending after 39 episodes became official this week.  That was wholly expected, but there’d been some hope that we might see an S3 announcement at the same time.  The fact that we didn’t by no means precludes the possibility that we will in the future, but for now Kingdom fans will just have to wait, follow manga sales (and read the manga if so inclined) and hope.

If the adaptation is making any overtures towards a definitive conclusion in the next two weeks they sure didn’t tip their hand with this episode.  I have no idea how many chapters it covered, but it was a dizzying avalanche of plot, character introductions and re-introductions, politics and military strategy.  It was all a bit too much, truth be told, though remarkably compelling in spite of that.  No less than six different kingdoms were directly confronting each other at times during the ep, and back in Xiangyang the power struggles from both seasons made an appearance.  And Qin has officially annexed Shangyang and made it a protectorate, pronouncing their future intentions to the rest of China.

On the chessboard, the most important development is probably Zhao finally being forced into action by Qin’s successes on the battlefield.  Li Mu’s presence makes that the most dangerous rival for Qin and Zheng’s ambitions, and he’s paired with an effectively superhuman great general in Pang Nuan.  These two are a kind of dream (or nightmare, depending on your point of view) team, with each complementing the other perfectly.  As I expected Li Mu isn’t going to throw over a good-faith agreement he signed with Xin, which means he has to up the ante in other ways.

So how does he do that?  He gathers a 1000,000 man army and attacks Yan, a Kingdom with a 100,000 man army of its own and its own great general, Fu Xin – a hero of a 40-years earlier war and a Zhao native himself.  We barely get the know his legend before Pang Nuan offs him in single combat, effectively ending the war in a day (just a bit faster than the White Elder subjugated Wei).  This has strategists and ministers in Qin understandably on-edge, for it’s a dead-certainty that Li Mu isn’t going to stop in his tracks now that he’s scored a major victory.

For Xin’s part, he’s been stuck at a border post with Chu for the last three months.  Chu is a crucial factor that’s hardly been addressed in Kingdom, by far the largest of the warring states and only kept in-check by the fact that they share borders with five other kingdoms, and might be attacked themselves whenever they attack elsewhere. As soon as the Feixin force finally receives orders to go and attack a castle far to the East, the border patrol from Chu leaves at the same time – strongly suggesting that some kind of pre-arrangements have been made between Qin and Chu (though Diao has revealed to Xin that Qin intends to attack Chu in the not-too distant future).

On the way, we get yet another wildcard when two more kingdoms are entered into the mix.  The Feixin unit runs across a wounded boy named Xiu, from the Kingdom of Xu – which no one including Diao has heard of.  But she concludes that it’s likely real (it was), and one of the many small kingdoms struggling to survive in a mountain fastness, a holdover from the days when China was split into a hundred kingdoms.  The boy tells Xin that Xu is being attacked by… Han!  Remember them?  A small but strategically crucial kingdom smack in the center of all the big boys.  Here Xin pulls a highly questionable but Xin-like move – he disregards his orders to go and help Xu fight off the invasion.  I thought Diao might protest this, but she seems fully on-board.  Sounds like a dodgy career move to me, but Xin is definitely not the type to do things by the books.

Meanwhile, back in Xiangyang, Lu Buwei has righted the ship and is steadily regaining the power he lost after Zheng outed his relationship with the Queen Dowager.  Lu’s strategy chief Li Shi seems highly uneasy about being so dependent on that treacherous woman, but the short-term results are undeniable – Lu (who frankly seems to be getting pretty cocky) has gathered so much influence that he’s able to have himself declared Prime Minister.  This has Zheng once again backed into a corner, and it’s a measure of his desperation that he turns for help to a seemingly unlikely source – Chengjiao, the traitorous half-brother whose rebellion was the first major arc of the first season (who seems to have been under house arrest).  What a complicated and messy family situation this is – and when you consider the real possibility that Lu Buwei might actually be Zheng’s father, it’s even more of a tangle.  What an exhausting episode that was – but there are certainly no shortage of interesting places for Kingdom to go in these final two episodes of the season.

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  1. G

    I hope Xin isnt being lured into a trap.

  2. It's possible. The business with the Chu border patrols taking off at the same time is obviously critical, though the exact meaning could be one of several things.

  3. t

    the wheels just keep on turning.
    and that's exactly what this episode was all about.

    Qin claim their new territory. they are actually settling the new land in front of everyone. it's a bold move. but Zhao at least make their own use of this alliance and fight the Yan (BTW you have a typo.. it was 100,000 of Zhao, you added an extra one..).
    it was really short brief. in the manga it was much more detailed having the Yan commander point-of-view during the battle and all. it wasn't really fast as here (but it wasn't slow as Qin's battles of course).
    I understand that the anime shouldn't waste time on this…but still, it feels like they are in hurry this episode since it wasn't the only thing missing, there was also interaction between Xin and a 1000 Chu commander that kept an eye on the border. recommend you reading chapter 254.

    I feel like they hurried a bit. but still a good episode. I like it how it focused not only on war issues (Zhao, Chu) but also on domestic issues with the power of Lu Buwei.
    in both levels it shows that the wheels just keep on turning.

    the ending of this season is around the corner. I really wonder what's gonna be the ending tone of this season. I hope for S3 but I know it might take longer interval than between S1 and S2. maybe at least an OVA for the side story? 😛

  4. e

    The 2nd screenshot you picked is painful to look at. As a draught(wo)man it makes me weep inside too – poor Diao what have they done to your body proportion there :,D – . Also… is Xin hitting that side of puberty as well at last? One more reason for interest in an already packed episode! Stay tuned folks!
    Been a while since we saw Tian Benny and Xin sharing the scene in somewhat calmer circumstances too. I was hoping for some bro-time but eh.
    Also dem juicy palace intrigues! Zheng's nerves of steel! Good old Chanwengjun looking more and more like an Asian spin on good old Sean Connery *da-yum*! Palace maiden glimpse *yay* ! The Queen Dowager and Buwei's despicability goind up notches – if that were even possible – . Dat little bro *grew up a lot in body, afraid his petty spirit haven't evolved to match*!
    So much goodness – and all the above didn't even include a Lei cameo – , so little screen time left :,) .

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