PharaohsVizier

The Twelve Kingdoms novels - the future is bleak at best

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I'm not entirely sure of how I first got my hands on a copy of The Twelve Kingdoms, but from that moment on, I was hooked, and I had been eagerly awaiting each following release. The Twelve Kingdoms is a light novel series written by Fuyumi Ono originally in Japanese, and Tokyopop has been translating the books and releasing one volume every year in March. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it is a fantasy novel set in a mythical land of twelve nations. Each nation is governed by a king or queen and their kirin (a mythical creature), who are in turn kept in check by a set of divine laws. The punishment for breaching these holy rules is political unrest, an influx of evil, and death.



I don't intend to spoil the series for anyone else, but the series is divided up into several very loosely related stories exploring the concept of kingship, of running a nation, of the morality of troops, etc. It makes very powerful statements while weaving in an unusually light and entertaining story and the same time. But the real charm of the series is how detailed their world is. The mythical land has clear Asian influences, but many of the workings have been changed to fit the magical aspects of the story. The surprising thing is that The Twelve Kingdoms is not an exhaustive novel, it is actually pretty short, and it was written for young teens, yet we get such a clear picture of this drastically different world that we know their social hierarchy, their religions and customs, the politics in play, etc. I mean we even get a description of how being born in that world is different from ours or the units of measurements they use. It is shocking to see that a short series managed to craft a world of that scale.



Enough about why I love the story, the bad news is that this magnificent series probably isn't going to get the rest of its translation. Originally Tokyopop had been releasing one new novel every year in March. They've released four novels so far, and the fifth one should have been slated for release in a few weeks. After wondering why there was no pre-order in Amazon or the Tokyopop in the last few months, I started to snoop around. I got nothing. It was only recently that Tokyopop had posted an article detailing the answers of some frequently asked questions. It's a short answer, but after doing some more looking around, I found a more complete picture.

"in the case of Twelve Kingdoms, the rights are held by Kodansha, who recently pulled back almost all of their sub-licensed series in the States in order to launch Kodansha USA. So if you’d like to see the rest of Twelve Kingdoms (which is still ongoing in Japan, btw), they’d be the ones you’d want to talk to at this point."
Basically the original Japanese publisher Kodansha had the rights to the novel, including the overseas translations. About a year ago, Kodansha had announced a US division of their company, needless to say, they needed to start off with some titles to be able to publish stuff themselves and of course to hold in reserves for future projects. The real issue is looking at Kodansha's website, it looks like there is no intention whatsoever to publish The Twelve Kingdoms. It's being overshadowed by a short list of popular manga series. It's disappointing to see that Kodansha is taking away the rights to Twelve Kingdoms even though they aren't publishing it. Not only am I not going to get my March release of the 5th novel, it's unlikely I'll see a sequel in the near future. I wish I could follow Tokyopop's advice and contact Kodansha somehow, but there's literally no way to contact their American division. If anyone finds and email or something, give me a message please!

Comments

  1. Unregistered's Avatar
    sales at kodansha-intl.co.jp

    editorial at kodansha-intl.co.jp

    They also have a facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/kodanshaamerica

    You never know... It couldn't hurt to drop them a line.
  2. MidoriTenshi11's Avatar
    After falling in love with the Akuryou Seires I of course wanted to read the Twelve Kingdoms! I loveee it, absolutely hooked! Knowing that we're might not get any new releases... it's infuriating that Kodansha would take back the license and not work on it! I guess our best chance to contact them is through facebook... has anyone read anything about them responding to any questions relating to the Twleve Kingdoms??
  3. PharaohsVizier's Avatar
    It's rather sad, still haven't seen any signs of a new series, not even the slightest sort of mention. That said, my own solution is to start reading the books in French. I don't have a strong grasp of the language, but I'm plowing through it, I'm near the end of the 6th book. It's well worth it.
  4. Unregistered's Avatar
    I wrote to Kodansha and I got a 1 sentence answer when I asked about The future of Twelve Kingdom at Kodansha USA. "At present we only publish manga, so we have no plans to publish 12 Kingdoms. KC" I admit it is seriously disappointing but still not enough reason to lose hope. Sailor Moon was out of print for quite some time and no one thought we would ever see the manga again in the States. Now we have Sailor Moon and Codename Sailor V. I really believe it's just a matter of time. Kodansha USA has a pretty short list of manga but it will continue to grow and if people keep sending messages about Twelve Kingdoms it might motivate them to republish. That, or some other company will pick it up. Personally I think Viz would be a good match since they have alot of action/adventure manga.
  5. PharaohsVizier's Avatar
    Disappointing, and it's been so long that I think it's completely forgotten. You know, I've juggled the idea of doing a fan translation of the book because I love it so so much.
  6. Unregistered's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PharaohsVizier
    Disappointing, and it's been so long that I think it's completely forgotten. You know, I've juggled the idea of doing a fan translation of the book because I love it so so much.
    Even though I don't like it I will have to rely on fan translations to finish the last novels. I've been lucky enough to find the 4 (hardcover) novels that Tokyo Pop publish in brand new condition for cheap. Well, except for Volume 1, got that in "like new" since it is nearly impossible to find (unless you want to pay $100 or more). I'm still on the hunt. Anyways, once I am done reading them I just have to know how it ends. Too bad none of the companies in Spain or Mexico decided to make Spanish versions, I would have been able to read them.
  7. Unregistered's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    Even though I don't like it I will have to rely on fan translations to finish the last novels. I've been lucky enough to find the 4 (hardcover) novels that Tokyo Pop publish in brand new condition for cheap. Well, except for Volume 1, got that in "like new" since it is nearly impossible to find (unless you want to pay $100 or more). I'm still on the hunt. Anyways, once I am done reading them I just have to know how it ends. Too bad none of the companies in Spain or Mexico decided to make Spanish versions, I would have been able to read them.
    *published
  8. PharaohsVizier's Avatar
    Yea the Volume 1 hardcover is going for insane prices. It's a shame that's the one book I don't have a hardcover copy of. Are you aware of any fan translations out there?
  9. Unregistered's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PharaohsVizier
    Yea the Volume 1 hardcover is going for insane prices. It's a shame that's the one book I don't have a hardcover copy of. Are you aware of any fan translations out there?
    there's a great site that has pdf's of the whole series he did them all and very well i might add even better then tokyopop imo. just google it and it should be the first selection
  10. PharaohsVizier's Avatar
    Heh nice, found it. Might be nice to plow through them in English since admittedly I only got the rough story from reading them in French. :P Thanks
  11. Unregistered's Avatar
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