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Kemono no Souja
Kemono no Souja volume 1.jpg
Cover art of the first Kemono no Souja light novel
獣の奏者
(Kemono no Sōja)
Genre Fantasy
Novel
Author Nahoko Uehashi
Publisher Japan Kodansha
Imprint Kodansha Novels
Original run November 21, 2006August 10, 2009
Volumes 4
Manga
Author Nahoko Uehashi
Illustrator Itoe Takemoto
Publisher Japan Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Monthly Shōnen Sirius
Original run October 25, 2008 – ongoing
Volumes 2
TV anime
Kemono no Sōja Erin
Director Takayuki Hamana
Studio Production I.G
Transarts
Network Japan NHK
Original run January 10, 2009December 26, 2009
Episodes 50 (List of episodes)
Anime and Manga Portal

Kemono no Souja (獣の奏者 ?, lit. "The Beast Player") is a Japanese novel series written by Nahoko Uehashi and published by Kodansha between 2006 and 2009. It focuses on a girl who can control the greatest of beasts as she gets involved in a war between two kingdoms.

The series has been adapted as a manga serialized in Kodansha's Monthly Shōnen Sirius since October 25, 2008, and as an anime television series, called Kemono no Souja Erin, produced by Production I.G and Transarts that premiered in Japan on NHK on January 10, 2009.[1]

Contents

Plot

10-year-old Erin is a young girl who lives with her mother in the Tai Koh Region in the small Village of Ake. She has a big love for animals, especially the Touda, dragon-like creatures used in the war.

Her mother Soyon was originally of the Mist People, an ancient clan who have members with green hair and eyes, and is rumored to follow in the ancient ways, practice magic, and hide in the mist. But despite her genealogy, they stay in the village because Erin's late father was the son of the village chief and Soyon is the head Touda doctor.

But one night, the Kiba, the Duke's strongest Touda, mysteriously die. According to law, since Soyon was the person who was charged with caring for them, she is responsible for their condition and was sentenced to death. Erin learns of this and tries to save her mother, but is swayed along the river and leaves her mother to be eaten by the wild Touda.

Erin is taken in the Shin Oh region and is found and adopted by a beekeeper. There, she learns of the "king of beasts" the Ohju. Erin's spark for learning takes her to the Kazalm Ohju Breeding School, and leads her to the baby Ohju Lilan. As Erin stays at Kazalm and spends more time with Lilan, she creates a miraculous bond with her that is said to be impossible and ends up getting involved in a secret war between the Tai Koh and the Shin Oh regions.

Characters

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Main Characters

  • Erin (エリン Erin ?)
The female protagonist of the series. She is described as a calm, collected, and very observant. She is 10 at the beginning, then she becomes 14 in the first time-skip, and 18 in the second. Due to the influences of her mother Soyon and foster father, John, Erin carries a unique perspective in caring for beasts. Many people think that she is too curious, which simply gets her in trouble. Erin is truly caring towards people and animals, even to the point of worrying more about others than herself.
Because Erin's mother was of the Mist People, she inherited her green hair and eyes. Some people first believed that she was able to be close to Lilan and Eku because she learned magic tricks of the Mist People from her mother, but they later see her as someone who just want to truly understand animals.
As the series progresses, she becomes a Master at the Ohju Breeding School Kazalm to stay by an Ohju she cared for in her school years named Lilan.
At the end of the anime series, it hints that Erin ends up with Iaru and have a son named Jesh.

Voiced by: Nanase Hoshii

  • Lilan (リラン Riran ?)
A female Ohju that Erin takes care of in Kazalm. She is "raised" by Erin, who later sees her as her mother and is the only human Lilan is accustomed to. Later in the story, she regains the ability to fly and mates with a wild Beast King named Eku. They both have a baby named Aru.
  • Eku (エック Ekku ?)
Another Ohju that is in Erin's care in Kazalm, but a male. Eku was originally a wild Ohju, but was injured from a Silent Whistle. Eku, being from the wild, had no trust towards humans. However, after spending a night at his shed, Erin becomes the only human he trusts. He lives in Kazalm to stay by Lilan's side.

Shin Oh Region

  • Shin Oh Harumiyah (真王ハルミヤ Shinou Harumiya ?)
The Queen of Ryoza. She is a gentle woman who cares for her country and her people very much. Her child like demeanor suggests that she is not familiar with society outside the walls of her home. She detests war and her nephew Dahmiyah,

Voiced by: Ikuko Tani

  • Princess Seimiyah (セイミヤ Seimiya ?)
The Granddaughter of Shin-Oh, a beautiful young woman who will become queen. She is a kind and gentle person who, like her grandmother, detests war but likes her uncle Dahmiyah. Seimiyah has deep feelings for Shunan, the Tai-Koh's eldest son.

Voiced by: Takahashi Mikako

  • Duke Daimiyah (ダミヤ Damiya ?)
The nephew of the Shin-Oh. He is very secretive and cunning. Daimiya tend to make passes on women who he is interested in, but manages to be swayed by Erin. There are traces showing that he wants to break the bond between the Taikoh and the Shin-Oh.

Voiced by: Akira Ishida

  • Iaru (イアル Iaru ?)
One of the Real King's personal bodyguards, the Seh-Zan. He is known throughout the nation as "Godspeed Iaru" for his ability to run at an inhuman pace. He is one of the few Seh-Zan the Royal Family trusts personally. Iaru acts cold and unsociable around others, even to his comrades and his mentor. He takes his job, protecting the Queen and the Princess, very seriously. However he has a soft spot for Erin, who is the only person he mostly smiles at and knows of his past. For her safety, he tries to keep his distance from her. He later becomes one of the few people who knows Erin's dark past, and promises that he'll keep quiet about it until the time is ready. There are hints showing that Iaru seems to be in love with Erin.

Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura

Tai-Koh Region

  • Shunan (シュナン Shunan ?)
The Grand Duke's eldest son and one of the head captains of the Duke's Touda Army. He reports to the royal palace about his father's condition. Shunan wants to change the country into a reformed society where in which the future Grand Duke and Shin Oh are united and make decisions together for the two regions without force before the country ends. He expresses this to Seimiyah, the next in line to be queen. There are moments showing that he is in love with Seimiyah.

Voiced by: Eiji Hanawa

  • Nugan (ヌガン Nugan ?)
The brother of Shunan. He wants to prove his worthiness to his father. Nugan respects Shunan but, later, feels betrayed by him. He believes that the country is as it should be: the Shin Oh ruling it and the Tai Koh protecting it. Nugan is extremely loyal to the Queen and decides to go against Shunan without holding back.

Voiced by: Kawamoto Naru

  • Soyon (ソヨン Soyon ?)
The mother of Erin, a Touda doctor of the Village of Ake. She is originally a woman of the Mist People, but left her original heritage when she married Asson, the son of the chief of Ake Village. However, Asson passed away early, and left his wife and unborn child to live in the village. Despite her being of the Mist people, Soyon was a gifted beastenarian and was given special permission to care for the village's Touda. She decides to train her daughter Erin to be a Touda vet without teaching her the Mist People's forbidden techniques. Soyon is executed when the Kiba Touda died in the ponds. She appears many times in Erin's memories, especially in memories of teaching Erin of animal breeding.

Voiced by: Eriko Hirata

Supporting Characters

  • John (ジョウン Joun ?)
Erin's foster father and a beekeeper living in the Shin Oh Region. John used to be a teacher at a very prestige school, but quit. When he meets Erin, he decided to teach her about breeding when she became infatuated with Ohju and wanted to attend Kazalum.

Voiced by: Naoya Uchida

  • Nuk and Mok (ヌック, モック Nukku, Mokku ?)
2 former thieves from the Tai Koh region. They were asked by an unknown man to steal Touda eggs for a large amount of money, but failed in doing so when they met Erin. Because of her kindness towards them, they vowed to stay by her side to "repay her." They become John's helpers on his ranch and the head Handymen of Kazalm later. They are often seen as the comic relief of the series and call Erin "Little Miss" and "Erin-Chan."

Voiced by: Fujiwara Keiji, Tetsuya Yanagihara

  • Esal (エサル Esaru ?)
The Reverend of Teachers at Kazalm. She is an old friend of John, Erin's foster father, and helped Erin with her times at Kazalm. She decided to let Erin take care of Lilan because Erin had the experience of witnessing a wild Ohju family breed, and was the one who concluded that Lilan saw Erin as her mother. Esal looks out for Erin as a foster mother.
  • Tomura (トムラ Tomura ?)
Erin's 'sempai'. He is respected by his peers and underclassmen. Tomura was originally the person in charge of Lilan. But Erin, a middle schooler, was put in charge of taking care of Lilan and Tomura, a high schooler, was dismissed. After seeing Erin's determination, he becomes intrigued by her and develops a crush on her. This showing when he said he would to protect her from those who see Erin's bond with Lilan as a potential weapon for war.
  • Kirik (キリク Kiriku ?)
A new Master who transfers from Tamuyuan, a prestige beastenarian school. He is secretly a member of the Psi-Gaml whose sister was killed by poison from a Wajyaku. Kirik is under orders from Damiyah and is assigned undercover as a teacher in Kazalum. He is very knowledgeable about poison and always has a eerie smile. He first sees Erin as a potential weapon, but later wants to protect her because she resembles his sister.

Groups

Wajyaku

The citizens from the Grand Duke's country and servants in the Duke's quarters. They fight under the banner of the Grand Duke, and it is their role to protect the Shin Oh and go to war. Because of this, the Wajyaku were seen as bloodthirsty people who lived going to war. Some important people who work under the Duke are his two sons and Touda doctors.

Psi-Gamul

They are the Sezan's enemy; a secret underground organization that has only one goal in mind: those with power should become the King or Queen, and of all things. They even killed the entire royal family, leaving only the Queen, Princess Seimiyah, and Duke Dahmiyah as the sole survivors. Their members are known to wear dark capes and strange masks that aren't forged by the Wajyaku or Holon people.

Sezan

The Queen's royal bodyguards. The Sezan are recruited when they are at a young age to be trained to have only one thing in mind: protect the Queen at all costs. They are trained to cut all ties with their family and friends so that they only have the thought of protecting the Shin Oh in their minds. They are even trained to ban their emotions.

Holon

The citizens from the Queen's country and the servants in the Queen's quarters. Unlike Wajyaku, Holon are people who hate violence and are against the idea of war. They live in the Shin Oh Region seeking a peaceful life from the battlefield. Some important people who work under the Queen are the Sezan and the Ohju doctors.

Mist People

An ancient clan, once known as "Aouhrl" for having people with green hair and green eyes. Legends say that this clan held the secrets to controlling animals, especially Touda and Ohju. But because of an incident many centuries ago involving First King Je and these secrets getting out, they promised to never let these secrets out to outsiders again. They become nomadic and hide in the mist. Because of this, they later became known as the "Mist People."

Media

Novel

The first two novels were published by Kodansha on November 21, 2006. They have since been reprinted in bunkoban format. The final two volumes were published on August 10, 2009.[2]

Title Release date Length ISBN
"The Beast Player I: Tohda"
"Kemono no Sōja Ichi Tōda hen" (獣の奏者 I 闘蛇編 ?)
November 21, 2006[3] 319 pp ISBN 978-4-06-213700-3
"The Beast Player II: Ohju"
"Kemono no Sōja Ni Ōjū hen" (獣の奏者 II 王獣編 ?)
November 21, 2006[4] 415 pp ISBN 978-4-06-213701-0
"The Beast Player III: The Quest"
"Kemono no Sōja Tankyū hen" (獣の奏者 III 探求編 ?)
August 10, 2009[5] 486 pp ISBN 978-4-06-215632-5
"The Beast Player IV: Conclusion"
"Kemono no Sōja Kanketsu hen" (獣の奏者 IV 完結編 ?)
August 10, 2009[6] 428 pp ISBN 978-4-06-215633-2

Manga

The manga was released by Kodansha in two bound volumes. The first volume, Player of the Beast 1 (獣の奏者 1 Kemono no Souja Ichi ?) (ISBN 978-4-062-85056-8) was published in November, 2008.[7] The second volume, Player of the Beast 2 (獣の奏者 2 Kemono no Souja Ni ?) (ISBN 978-4-062-85069-8) was published on January 16, 2009.[8]

Anime

Directed by Takayuki Hamana, the first episode premiered on NHK on January 10, 2009.[1] The opening theme is "Shizuku" ( ?) by Sukima Switch, and the ending theme is "After the Rain" by cossami. The series became available on Tokyo Toshokan with English subtitles on September 4, 2009.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b "I.G to Animate Moribito Author's The Beast Player Novels". Anime News Network. October 22, 2008. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-10-22/i.g-to-animate-ju-no-soja-novels-from-moribito-author. Retrieved January 25, 2009.  
  2. ^ "Kemono no Sou-ja Story to End in 2 Novels in August". Anime News Network. July 23, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-07-23/kemono-no-sou-ja-story-to-end-in-2-novels-in-august. Retrieved July 23, 2009.  
  3. ^ "獣の奏者 (1) [The Beast Player 1]" (in Japanese). Kodansha. http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc2_bc/search_view.jsp?b=2137003. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  
  4. ^ "獣の奏者 (2) [The Beast Player 2]" (in Japanese). Kodansha. http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc2_bc/search_view.jsp?b=2137011. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  
  5. ^ "獣の奏者 (3) [The Beast Player 3]" (in Japanese). Kodansha. http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc2_bc/search_view.jsp?b=2156326. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  
  6. ^ "獣の奏者 (4) [The Beast Player 4]" (in Japanese). Kodansha. http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc2_bc/search_view.jsp?b=2156334. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  
  7. ^ "獣の奏者〈1〉 (講談社青い鳥文庫) (単行本)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4062850567/. Retrieved 2009-01-25.  
  8. ^ "獣の奏者〈2〉 (講談社青い鳥文庫) (単行本)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4062850699/. Retrieved 2009-01-25.  
  9. ^ "Crunchyroll Adds Beast Player Erin Fantasy Anime Today". Anime News Network. September 4, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-09-04/crunchyroll-adds-beast-player-erin-fantasy-anime-today. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  

External links


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