When I think about the themes characters plot and all that kind of stuff with Kingdom I find it hard to explain why I enjoy it so much. It seems so simple and yet it somehow all works out to make a really fun reading experience. Kingdom is the story of one young rulers desire to unify all of China and one young mans desire to become the strongest general in the land. It all starts out with our main character Shin who has been training with his best friend in order to become the two strongest generals in China when his friend is killed after being mistaken for the crown prince. From here Shin meets said crown prince and they team up to achieve both of their goals. From here on Shin finds himself in the forefront of the battlefield making his name by taking out enemy generals and eventually getting more and more people placed under him. On the flipside Shin is back in the capitol fighting a battle on the political front with shifty and power hungry nobles. The plot generally follows one of the main characters for an arc before changing pace to focus on another. All throughout the story the readers are treated to insights on how people fight on the battlefield different tactics and maneuvers how to control political power through influence how to rule a nation. There are two major dynamics in Kingdom with half of it being full of action and the other half full of drama. This split may be a little annoying for people who are only fans of one side though since both are developed heavily. When I think about the characters in Kingdom they come off as very one dimensional: they are always singly focused on one goal whether it be being the strongest unifying China getting revenge or anything else. While you could say that this means that the character writing in Kingdom is bad Id argue that its highly effective for a story like this. We are very plainly given an end goal at the beginning of the story and everything every character does is pushing us towards that goal. Like a war drum that keeps the army marching forward you get to see how every little action works towards the bigger picture giving you a grander view of the story as a whole which is the entire theme and point of this manga. And still we are also given more nuanced character development where even though the end goal doesnt change the reasoning behind it might. For example Shin goes from wanting to be the strongest since it was a promise to his friend to wanting it because he sees the vision that the crown price has. The art style of Kingdom is something that I wanted to talk about briefly since I think it is unfortunately a deal breaker for a lot of people. Yes it is kinda funky for those who are not used to it but I actually think it adds a lot of power to the characters. There is just something about it that feels weighty and unlike a lot of other manga Ive read. I get that for a lot of people art really matters but I would highly suggest putting that aside to experience all that this manga has to offer. Overall Kingdom is a single minded and focused story about war and politics. You get easily drawn into the story and the desires of each of the strong willed characters youll find which leads to a read that you cant help but to binge. Also dont let the chapter count scare you off about 1/5th of the total story is pretty much just random people dying so it goes by much faster than youd expect.
95 /100
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