A grand fantasy adventure in which the heroine, Youko Nakajima, is accosted by a strange man at school who tells her that she is his master. While she tries to get rid of him a monster bird appears and part-wrecks the school. Then magical creatures carry her and two other students off to a land that bears some resemblance to medaeval Japan or China, but permeated with magic.
Two or three things to bear in mind: one, as this was concieved as a 68 episode TV series, (terminated at 45 episodes), it can take a while for events to play out, two, that the theme of the anime is Youko's development as a person who can take responsibility for the direction of her life, so if you expect her to behave as the same annoying helpless female throughout (as anime heroines often do), then you're barking up the wrong tree altogether.
Without notes or a "dictionary" to hand you may get confused by the minor characters, or the vast array of special
names and titles used in the series.
Various aspects of the series are quite well covered at other websites, but I hope to cover the
aspects that will be most useful for those coming to the series for the first time. For instance,
if you want to buy some DVDs you'll want to know how they fit with the story arcs, without getting a
"spoiler" of the story. I also wanted to point to the resources available elsewhere
(let's not re-invent the wheel!)
www.12kingdoms.us Short synopses of eps 1-39
Animetique Long synopses of eps 1-10.
Animetique Brief character info & thumbnails.
www.12kingdoms.us Brief character info & pictures.
Shadow of the Moon, The Sea of Shadow
(U.S. DVDs 1-3)
Episodes #1-13, main characters Youko Nakajima, Yuka Sugimoto, Ikuya Asano, Rakshuun.
Episode #14 - Chapter of Recollection (summary, background).
Sea of the Wind, Shore of the Labyrinth
(U.S. DVDs 4,5)
Episodes #15-21, main characters Taiki, Keiki, Yuka Sugimoto.
Episode #21 - Chapter of Reminiscence.
Episode #22 - Chapter of Correspondence - main characters Rakushun, Youko Nakajima.
(U.S. DVD 5)
A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky of Dawn
(U.S. DVDs 6,7,8,9)
Episodes #23-30 = chapters #1-8 , main characters Suzu Ooki, Shoukei, Rakshuun.
Episode #31 - Reminiscence Chapter - main characters Shoukei, Rakshuun.
Episode #32-38 = A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky of Dawn, chapters #9-15.
Episode #39 = A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky of Dawn, Final Chapter.
Episodes #32-39: main characters Youko Nakajima, Suzu Ooki, Shoukei.
Episode 40: Ally of the Moon - main characters En-O, Youko Nakajima, Rakshuun.
(U.S. DVD 9) A preface to:
Sea God of the East, Azure Sea of the West
(U.S. DVD 10)
Episodes #41-44 - chapters #1-4, main characters En-O, Rokuta, Atsuyu, Kouga.
Episodes #45 - Sea God of the East, Azure Sea of the West - Reminiscence Chapter>
Episodes #41-45 - main characters En-O, Rokuta, Atsuyu, Kouga.