Funimation Films KINGDOM movie review: Only the Sword Can Save Us

Review by Izola

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China- 255 BC in the Qin state of China we follow Piao (Ryo Yoshizawa) and Xin (Kento Yamazaki), two servant boys who decide that the only way to escape a life of servitude is to become great warriors.  By sparring 10,000 times, they hope to become generals when they are old enough. Years pass and they have both become master swordsmen, but only one has been chosen to serve the king. Xin decides to train even harder so that when the two meet again, he will finally be able to surpass Piao in their next duel.  

Piao thought he would be serving the king as a warrior, but he finds he was chosen for reasons other than his talents with a sword.  Piao is the spitting image of the king and is used as a decoy to distract his enemies. There is a coup, which is led by none other than the king’s half-brother and unfortunately Piao doesn’t come out unscathed.  He barely makes it back to Xin and asks him to save the king. Xin, keeping his word to his fallen brother sets on a journey to save the king.

To find out what happens next, you’ll have to wait until August 16th

This movie, based off of a manga series by Yasuhisa Hara, was beautifully directed and easy to watch.  It was definitely silly at times and really made me feel like I was watching an anime, which is a good thing.  Think of the squabbling and sparring between characters in animes like Bleach, Naruto, or Inuyasha, which are just a few of my faves!  Do not be concerned by this though. Kingdom is action-packed and quite expressive.  With a grippingly stunning score, it leaves you with emotional whiplash.  Now, I haven’t read the manga, so I cannot say if the adaptation is spot on, but even if it isn’t, the movie is entertaining.  

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The costumes were beautiful, especially Diao’s owl costume, which includes an amazing feathered mask.  And thank God for Yang Duan He (Masami Nagasawa), the chieftain of the of the mountain clan. Her armor was GORGEOUS and now I have the urge to build it (struggles of a cosplayer…)!  Shinsuke Sato’s adaptation definitely pays homage in very small ways to fantasy wars from some of our favorite movies, television shows, and anime. Pay close attention to the way certain characters gracefully walk and speak and you will see what I mean (Something felt familiar…).  And can I just say WOW about the choreography?!? The movements were so fluid that it looked like a dance.

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The only negative point I have to make is that the character development was slightly lacking.  I wanted to know more about the characters, but I also understand that you only have so much time and money to get what you need versus what you want in the movie.  Since I am sure their hands were tied regarding this, I will give it a pass.  

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I HIGHLY recommend watching this on the big screen if you can.  I watched it at home and I feel that I missed out of the beauty and intensity you would get with seeing it in a theatre.  Check out Funimation Film’s site to see if it is playing in the theatre near you!

Cast & Staff

Cast 

  • Kento Yamazaki 
  • Ryo Yoshizawa 
  • Masami Nagasawa 
  • Kanna Hashimoto 
  • Kanata Hongo 
  • Shinnosuke Mitsushima 
  • Masahiro Takashima 
  • Jun Kaname 
  • Takao Osawa 

Director 

Shinsuke Sato

Screenplay 

  • Tsutomu Kuroiwa
  • Shinsuke Sato
  • Yasuhisa Hara

Music

Wasted Nights
Produced by Pete Nappi
Written by Taka, Pete Nappi, Janée “Jin Jin” Benett, Jamil Kazmi
ONE OK ROCK
(A-Sketch)

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