Fuyumi Ono’s hugely popular novel series The Twelve Kingdoms is getting a new installment for the first time in years! The series’ publishing company Shinchosha announced the exciting news on the 12 Kingdoms’ website today.
It’s no coincidence that such an auspicious revelation would be unveiled on December 12th. Numerically appearing on calendars as 12/12/ Shinchosa has affectionately referred to the day as Twelve Kingdoms Day.
The next Twelve Kingdoms novel will be released sometime in 2019, and Ono’s first manuscript draft reportedly towers at a staggering, impressive 2500 pages. Originally, the book was set to launch in 2016. At that time, Ono had only written about 1000 pages.
The saga of The Twelve Kingdoms has been unfolding since 1992. Ono has written 8 novels that have been compiled into 12 volumes and two short story collections.
The main narrative primarily focuses on the adventures of Yoko Nakajima, a young Japanese girl who finds herself in the fantasy realm of the 12 Kingdoms. Each kingdom has its own monarch and kirin presiding over it, drawing on inspiration from Chinese mythology. Yoko starts in the kingdom known as Kei before becoming embroiled in the conflicts, intrigues, and battles of the other eleven.
Kirin, the Japanese word for the mythical Chinese beast know as the qilin, combine aspects of deer, giraffes, horses, dragons, and fish into one extremely majestic and graceful creature. In The Twelve Kingdoms, kirin can also assume human form.
Later stories focus on other characters like Taiki, a rare black kirin in the service of the ruler of Tai and Shouryu, the King of En. Unsurprisingly, the range of locations and cast of characters is vast and diverse.
The Twelve Kingdoms was also developed into a popular 45 episode anime in 2002. AsianCrush is currently also the ONLY streaming service in America that lets you watch the epic fantasy adventure series–for free!