In the Ancient Chinese Kingdom of Qin, Xin Li, a war orphan, trains with his fellow slave and best friend Piao to achieve his dream of one day being a Great General of the Heavens. However, one day Piao is sent to work at the royal palace until a coup sends him back to Xin Li, half dead, in order to bring him in for a meeting with China’s young king Zheng Ying, thus thrusting him into an adventure and towards his destiny.
Lengthy and with the manga holding the record for most characters, there is a lot to enjoy in Kingdom. Though the anime series didn’t serve fans as well as they would have liked, if you want more anime recommendations in a similar vein, then look no further.
For Fans of Ancient China
Set during the Qin dynasty, an assassin tries to kill the Emperor to save his homeland. Unfortunately, he fails and in retribution, the Emperor sends soldiers to kill the assassin’s young son. After being rescued by a skilled swordsman, the pair escape and embark on a journey to change the empire.
As both series are set in ancient China, heavily fictionalized, you get a fair bit of similarities here in the world they present. You see plenty of warriors and a scramble for power. However, Qin’s Moon doesn’t have as strong of a story. Unfortunately, you also have the same annoying issues with CGI in both as well.
Beyond the Heavens
Based loosely on the events of the Three Kingdoms of China, this is the story of Cao Cao. However, while many tales paint him the villain, he is truly the hero of his own story.
If you enjoy some of the historical hints in Kingdom, then you will enjoy Beyond the Heavens a lot. Although it has more historical touches of a time period people heavily enjoy, it takes some liberties with it. If you are Chinese history nerd that enjoys Kingdom, you will find something to definitely enjoy here.
As a deranged shogun causes terror as he searches for a sword that will make him a god, the Ken Empire lives in fear. However, Taito, an omnipotent star reborn as a young hero stands in his path, yet he does not yet possess the ability to fully control his powers. In this effort, he must seek the training of others like him.
Unlike Kingdom that has strong emphasis on ancient Chinese politics and warfare, Hero Tales melds Chinese influences and Japanese influences into a more fantasy sort of tale. However, if the battles in Kingdom enticed you, then the martial arts in Hero Tales will be something to enjoy.
For Fans of Power Through Conquest
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
The young prince Arslan is ready to prove himself on the battlefield, but on his first battle, his father is betrayed and his kingdom is conquered. With his army in shambles, Arslan is forced to go on the run in search of allies to bring him back home.
While the settings are different, Kingdom being China and Arslan being Middle East, they tell a similar story of young people removed from power and their scramble to take it back. It requires not only the power of strong warriors, but wisdom as well. Put side by side, these are two of the best tales of conquest out there.
During the Sengoku Period of Japan, powerful warlords fight in politics and on the battlefield in hopes of uniting their country. These are their stories.
Kingdom has a little bit more realism and less flash, though less history behind it. Alternatively, Samurai Kings has a lot of flash and less realism, but the characters have historical counterparts. Yet, despite these differences, if you like Kingdom’s wide array of characters and great battles, there is something to definitely enjoy in Samurai Kings.
While forming the rear guard for his uncle’s escape, Toyohisa Shimazu manages to mortally wound I Naomasa, but is critically wounded himself in the process. While trying to limp back home, he finds himself transported from the field to a hallway lined with doors. There a mysterious man sends him spiraling into another world. Dragged into the forest by two young elves, Toyohisa is patched up from two others from the Land of the Rising sun that turn out to be Yoichi Suketaka Nasu and Oda Nobunaga. From there, Toyohisa and his fellow historical figures, named “drifters” must save (or conquer) their new world.
Kingdom has some historical influences, but it is a more original story. Similarly, Drifters has some historical influences via its characters, but is set in a fantasy world. However, characters from ancient times feel the need to conquer and rise to power. This leads them to fantastic strategic battles in both series.
For Fans of Ancient Political Matters
Knowing nothing but death and battle since the day he was born, Gutts wanders from battlefield to battlefield as a solitary mercenary. Caring for nothing and no one, his only goal is to become stronger. However, after a fateful encounter with Griffith and his Band of the Hawk mercenary group, Gutts finds himself rising through the ranks of their prestigious organization and learns to care for his fellows.
While these series are different settings, they share the same similarity of grasping for power. You follow the characters through countless battles in both shows. However, while Kingdom gets more political, Berserk gets more fantasy in its elements. Both become or start out as more political stories accented by battles and the constant need for more power.
Legend of Basara
In a small village in the post apocalyptic world, twins were born – a boy named Tatara and a girl called Sarasa. It was declared by a prophet that Tatara would free Japan from the tyrannical rule of the Red King and his four sons. However, when Tatara is slain by the Red King, his sister takes up his name and vengeance.
Although Basara has that post-apocalypse setting, it, like Kingdom, features a story that can span a lifetime. In both shows you follow the characters from their youngest days to their most grand. Although, Basara is a somewhat a shoujo title, it does do combat and politics very well, not unlike the more shounen Kingdom.
It is said that a widespread drought is coming to the Shin Yogo Empire and in order to avoid famine, that the reincarnation of the water spirit must be sacrificed to prevent it. However, the water spirit is the emperor’s own son. However, his mother spirits the boy away with a mysterious female mercenary in order to save his life.
Both are stories of a king’s loss of power. However, they differ in their length. Moribito features less combat and things are resolved a little more tidily than in Kingdom where war seems to go on forever. However, you do get to watch as the world shapes young rulers.
Do you have any more anime recommendations like Kingdom? Let all those Kingdom fans know about them in the comments section below.