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|Sohryuden: Legend of the Dragon Kings|
Cover of the first novel of Sohryuden
|Written by||Yoshiki Tanaka|
|Illustrated by||Yoshitaka Amano (Novels),|
|Original run||August 5, 1987 – present|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Hisayuki Toriumi|
|Produced by||Masatoshi Tahara|
|Written by||Akinori Endo|
|Music by||Hiroyuki Nanba|
|Released||1991 – 1993|
|Suito no Yonkyōdai Sōryūden Gaiden|
|Original run||May 29, 2004 – present|
|Written by||Megumi Koji|
|Original run||June 2004 – January 2006|
It was written by Yoshiki Tanaka in collaboration with Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (Kodansha Novels edition) and manga artist group Clamp (Kodansha bunkobon). It is written with a humorous and satirical tone. It is published to the 13th volume as of 2005.
On July 24, 2008, at San Diego Comic-Con, North American publisher Del Rey announced that they have secured the license to the Sohryuden novel series. This would have been the first work by Yoshiki Tanaka to be released in English. This was projected to be released in 2009, but was seen on online bookstores as having a 2011 release date. Due to the closure of Del Rey, the release has been cancelled.
The story features four divine Dragon Kings, rulers of the four parts of the world according to Chinese myths. The brothers are reborn in the modern world, complete with supernatural powers and the ability to become the Dragons which are their true forms. They are content to live ordinary lives as long as nobody meddles with them.
It becomes the mission of the four brothers to defeat the "Four Sisters", organization headed by four tycoons from America connected with the "Bulls" - enemies of the Dragons who have received ownership of the Western half of the world while the Dragons keep rule over the Eastern half of the world - before they use their control over technology and the economy to take over the world. However, as this battle begins, the four brothers must also find their place in the world as they flee from the destructive will of the "Bulls".
The contents to the 1st through the 6th volumes of an original novel serve as a base for the animation.
Sohryuden has been released as a 12 episode animated series. Each episode is about 45 minutes. In the U.S., Central Park Media has released all of the series on both VHS and DVD. The new releases came out November 22, 2005.
The anime was also released in the UK and Australia under the title of The Legend of the Four Kings by Manga Entertainment across six videos. The series was only released on video and is now long out of print.
The Clamp version was serialized as Mystery DX of Kadokawa Shoten in 1994.
Intended to be a comedy, Owaru, one of the Dragon Kings, goes to Osaka to wakes snakes up. There are only three stories, and the story has not been concluded. As research, Clamp went to Osaka.
The manga version by Clamp is quite rare and had been previously very difficult to obtain. Because of high demand from fans, the chapters have been compiled into tankōbon format under the title Sohryuden Genga-shu in 2004. Additionally, there is a manga short (only 4 pages) drawn for the Sohryuden drama CD, which had been included in Sohryuden Genga-shu.
In 2004, manga artist Megumi Koji (恵 広史) began another manga version of Sohryuden as a comedy starring Owaru. Currently serialized in Magazine Special of Kodansha, it is Koji's debut work and has received positive reception and reviews.
- Hajime Ryudo (竜堂 始 Ryūdō Hajime) (Blue Dragon of the East)
- Voiced by: Hideyuki Hori (Anime), Shō Hayami (Drama CD 1), Mitsuru Miyamoto (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Dan Green (CPM dub), Jeff Harding (Manga UK dub) (English)
- At 23, Hajime is the oldest of the four brothers and since the death of his parents and his grandfather, he is the guardian of the family. Hajime taught History at Kyowa College but lost his directorship because of his uncle, Seichiro Toba. Generally, Hajime is very mild mannered and will only lose his temper when he needs to - mainly when his family is threatened. Hajime is the strongest of the brothers and his fighting skills are exemplary. He has a close bond with all his brothers - enjoying the company of Tsuzuku, acting as a mentor to Owaru and being very protective of Amaru. Hajime is the Blue Dragon King of the East and controls the force of gravity in his dragon form.
- Tsuzuku Ryudo (竜堂 続 Ryūdō Tsuzuku) (Red Dragon of the South)
- Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita (Anime), Ryotaro Okiayu (Drama CD) (Japanese); Walter Barnes (CPM dub), Alan Healy (Manga UK dub) (English)
- The second brother at 19 years old. Tsuzuku is often seen as the pretty boy of the four brothers as he always attracts female attention especially when he is at college. That said, he appears to not acknowledge this too graciously. Well mannered, polite, and insightful, Tsuzuku keeps his attacks to irony and sarcasm and will only fight when absolutely necessary and has an impressive array of attacks at his disposal when unleashed. He also comes up with plans to help his brothers out of tight situations. He is very close to Hajime and often shares advice with him on numerous topics. He often enjoys banter with Owaru and is also protective of Amaru. He is the Red Dragon King of the South and, in his dragon form, controls fire (electro-magnetic and nuclear energy).
- Owaru Ryudo (竜堂 終 Ryūdō Owaru) (White Dragon of the West)
- Voiced by: Daiki Nakamura (Anime), Hideo Ishikawa (Drama CD) (Japanese); James Wolfe (CPM dub), Alex McSweeney (Manga UK dub) (English)
- The third brother at 15 years old. Owaru is the most energetic out of the brothers. He has a huge appetite and, in contrast to Tsuzuku, can never shy away from a good fight. Despite his rather confident and brash exterior as well as showing a disdain for college work, Owaru is a gifted student at Kyowa College. He sometimes displays signs of carelessness that often earns a lecture mainly from Hajime. He is the one most likely to engage in combat out of all the brothers and his athleticism and superb fighting skills always ensure that he comes out on top. Owaru often sees Hajime as a sort of father figure, given that he is the one he called for when he was in danger. He indulges in banter with Tsuzuku while he acts as a guardian to Amaru, more so then his brothers. He is the White Dragon King of the West which governs the air (wind and sound, as vibration of air).
- Amaru Ryudo (竜堂 余 Ryūdō Amaru) (Black Dragon of the North)
- Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi (Anime), Hikaru Midorikawa (Drama CD 1), Akira Ishida (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Curt Gebhart (CPM dub), Paul Bailey (Manga UK dub) (English)
- At 13, Amaru is the youngest of the four brothers and appears to be the most vulnerable - in reality has astonishing powers. These powers aid the four brothers, especially when they are in human form. He is very gentle and caring and sometimes displays maturity beyond his years - more so than Owaru. That said, he looks up to Owaru as he always seems to get involved with everything Owaru does. His relationships with Tsuzuku and Hajime is usually based on him looking to them for guidance. Amaru rarely displays fighting tendencies but as the episodes go on, he shows us more of his skills. Amaru is prone to having dragon dreams from time to time and often has them prophesied by Hajime. Because of his youth he is more in touch with his dragon powers as he can't control it as well as his brothers. He is the Black Dragon King of the North which controls the water (and lightning).
- Matsuri Toba (鳥羽 茉理 Toba Matsuri)
- Voiced by: Sakiko Tamagawa (Anime), Yuko Mizutani (Drama CD 1), Naoko Matsui (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Jessica Calvello (CPM dub), Toni Barry (Manga UK dub) (English)
- Matsuri is 18 years old and the cousin of the Ryudo family. She is greatly adored by all the Ryudos and she often adds a female touch to their household, cooking their meals and cleaning up their mess. She seems to have an extreme soft spot for Hajime, often hinting at a relationship between the two, though the two never step over the boundaries of morality. She enjoys the company of Tsuzuku and acts as a mother figure to both Owaru and Amaru. In return, all the Ryudos are very protective of her. Her father is Seichiro Toba, the self-centered and greedy head of education at Kyowa college and Matsuri is extremely contemptuous of him.
- Seiichiro Toba (鳥羽 靖一郎 Toba Seiichirō)
- Voiced by: Shin Aomori (Anime), Ikuya Sawaki (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Wayne Grayson (CPM dub), Blair Fairman (Manga UK dub) (English)
- Seichiro is the father of Matsuri Toba, the uncle of the four Ryudo brothers, and the headmaster of the Kyowa Institute founded by Tsukasa Ryudo. Seichiro is driven by financial gain and wants to become head of all education in Tokyo and will stoop to any level to achieve it, even deceiving his own family. Matsuri is extremely embarrassed and contemptuous of him while, not surprisingly, he is disliked greatly by all of the Ryudo brothers despite being their uncle.
- Saeko Toba (鳥羽 冴子 Toba Saeko)
- Voiced by: Rihoko Yoshida (Anime), Atsuko Tanaka (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Ami Shkula (CPM dub) (English)
- Saeko is Matsuri's mother and the long-suffering wife of Seichiro. She is the daughter of Tsukasa Ryudo, the Ryudo brothers' grandfather, making her the aunt of the Ryudo brothers. It is implied that Seichiro may have married her so that he could become the headmaster of Kyowa College. The Ryudo brothers are very fond of her and show her far more respect than their uncle.
- Tadayoshi Funazu (船津 忠厳 Funazu Tadayoshi)
- Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka (Anime), Oki Tamio (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); D.M. Moreland (1st, CPM dub), Jon Avner (2nd, CPM dub) (English)
- Known as "Gozen of Kamakura (鎌倉の御前 Kamakura no Gozen)", Funazu is an elderly man in his 90s with huge influence in the political world and the first major foe of the Ryudo brothers. He had known their grandfather for a long time and he became aware of his dragon powers. They both ventured to the Dragon Village known as Ryosenkyu (Dragon Springs) and while there, Funazu killed and drank the blood of a woman who resided there. He noticed a change in his system where he was immune to many weapons such as knives and bullets so he extracted the rest of the blood and had it injected into him over a period of time, expanding his lifespan. His presence in Japan meant that he was able to keep the Four Sisters corporation from influencing the Japanese government. He battles the brothers, where the Japanese army provoke the Dragon Kings.
- Patricia Cecile Lansdale (パトリシア・セシル・ランズデール Patorishia Seshiru Ranzudaaru)/Lady L (レディL Redi L)
- Voiced by: Keiko Toda (Anime), Saeko Shimazu (Drama CD 2) (Japanese); Vibe Jones (CPM dub) (English)
- Lady L is a secret agent of the Four Sisters corporation and a representative of the Mulligan Foundation, which is part of it. The Four Sisters corporation are an organization, which influences how governments in all nations are run. They tried to take over the Japanese government in the past but they were prevented by Gozen of Kamakura. She is American by birth but has Japanese blood in her, which she greatly detests. Her Chinese grandmother was raped by a Japanese soldier and her mother was born but they both were not accepted by Japanese society as they were of mixed heritage and were shipped out to America where her mother met an American man. As a result, Lady L decided to try and use the Ryudo brothers' dragon abilities to destroy Japan as the dragon represented 'good' in Japan. She is responsible for the transformations of Hajime, Tsuzuku and Owaru into their dragon forms. She was shot by the captain of the Dynasty and is eventually killed when she falls off the floating ship into the sea.
- Shuhei Furuta (古田 重平 Furuta Shūhei)
- The 54-year-old MP of the Conservative Party who dies in a car accident.
- Kengo Takabayashi (高林 健吾 Takabayashi Kengo)
- A 53-year-old secretary of the government.
Sohryuden was animated in 12 episodes. The titles displayed are the U.K. version while the Japanese version titles are in brackets
Chapter 1- Dragon Prophecy (The Four Brothers Under Fire) : The four Ryudo brothers, Hajime (23), Tsuzuku (19), Owaru (15) and Amaru (13) seem like your ordinary brothers living ordinary day-to-day lives. That is until criminal masterminds start to take an interest in them, especially Tadayoshi Funazu, also known as Gozen of Kamakura. Hajime prophecies that the time the dragon nature takes effect that their late grandfather warned him about is upon them and this is confirmed when Amaru has a dream about the rise of the dragons.
Chapter 2- Ancient Truths (The Legend of Dragon Springs) : The Ryudo brothers suffer social harassment losing gas, water, electricity, money etc. Tsuzuku, Owaru and Amaru are unfairly expelled from college while Hajime is fired as a director of the college by his own uncle, Seichiro Toba. He later finds himself arrested and brought to the feet of Kengo Takabayashi, Japan's deputy chief cabinet secretary corrupted by Gozen of Kamakura. Gozen himself has Hajime brought to him where Hajime learns that he and his brothers are the 117th descendants of the Dragon Kings.
Chapter 3- The Awakening (The Black Dragon King Revealed) : The Ryudo brothers' cousin, Matsuri Toba, and her family are taken hostage and it is reported in the news that they have been murdered by the Ryudos. Wanted by the police, the four brothers go into hiding and learn that Matsuri and her family are on the East Fuji range. But when they arrive they learn it is a trap set by the sinister Gozen of Kamakura as they find themselves in the middle of an intense army training program and their abilities are truly tested to the limit. After one attack too many, the Black Dragon of the Northern Oceans is awoken...
Chapter 4- The Masked Enemy (Tokyo Bay Rhapsody) : The Ryudo brothers and Matsuri try to forget their troubles by attending Tokyo Fairyland, a theme park. What should be a fun day quickly turns into a nightmare as masked homicidal bunny rabbits, skeletons and monkeys bay for the brothers' blood as part of Military Intelligence's interest in them. The Ryudos are also being spied on by an unknown foe, who has a brief encounter with Tsuzuku at the theme park.
Chapter 5- Programmed To Kill (The Graceful Agent) : When the youngest Ryudo brothers, Owaru and Amaru, attend a baseball match, they learn that they are being watched by Dr Hatushi Tamozawa, Gozen's personal physician and a sadist who specializes in dissecting live specimens. Tamozawa has also created cyborg dogs designed to make the Ryudos day out an unpleasant one. When they learn that Matsuri has been kidnapped, assumed by Military Intelligence, they go to rescue her but find that there is more to this invitation than meets the eye.
Chapter 6- Dragon Alliance (Skyscrapers and the Red Dragon) : Seichiro Toba is bribed by the beautiful and mysterious Lady L - an undercover agent of the Four Sisters corporation - to sponsor Kyowa College. In return, she wants him to arrange a meeting between herself and Tsuzuku. So he arranges an evening meal with the Ryudos and Matsuri and deceives the unsuspecting Tsuzuku into Lady L's airship. He learns of the 'Four Sisters' alliance to try to get the dragon kings to join them in order to make the 'Four Sisters' alliance the most powerful organization in the world. Tsuzuku refuses and, after constant physical abuse, finds his only escape is to do the very thing he fears - becoming the Red Dragon of the Southern Seas...
Chapter 7- Kill The Dragon (Revenge of the Four Brothers) : There is mass uproar in Japan after the sightings of the Red Dragon some days ago and Hajime finds himself coming to the realization that the secret that he and his brothers harbor won't be a secret for much longer. In the meantime, Dr Tamozawa returns and uses the negative dragon press to his advantage by sending his newly improved cyborgs out to pursue Owaru so that he can dissect him alive.
Chapter 8- The Iron Dragon (Rampage of the Iron Dragon) : Hajime, Tsuzuku, Amaru and Matsuri steal a tank and find themselves being pursued by the government as they race to save Owaru from the clutches of Dr Tamozawa, who is trying to dissect him. Lady L also takes an interest in Owaru, meaning that he is in bigger danger than he initially realised.
Chapter 9- The Fierce Wind (Storm of the White Dragon King) : The ruthless Lady L has kidnapped Owaru and he is held captive in an electrified cage surrounded by nuclear warheads and she intends to ship him to America. Hajime, Tsuzuku, Amaru and Matsuri race to the Yokota Army Base and, realizing that going in there together is a risk, Hajime goes on a solo mission to try and rescue his brother but he inadvertently causes a massive explosion. The trauma awakens the White Dragon of the Western Isles within Owaru and it begins to destroy the army base. Hajime comes up with a plan to rescue him but even that might be too risky to conceive...
Chapter 10- Narrow Escape (The Brothers' Greatest Escape) : Lady L reports the destruction of the Yokota Army Base and the stealing of the Japanese Army tank to the Japanese Prime Minister and a warrant for the Ryudo brothers arrest is granted. The four brothers are arrested and when a replica of Hajime destroys the police headquarters, the brothers are public enemy number one and have no option but to go on the run.
Chapter 11- The Blue Dragon Soars to Heaven (The Soaring Blue Dragon King) : Hajime is taken captive aboard the US Dynasty battleship by Lady L and she assigns Dr Tamozawa to carry out a dissection on him. But when Tamozawa starts the dissection, he struggles to make any ground and he inadvertently awakens the Blue Dragon of the Eastern Heights within Hajime and it takes the US Dynasty towards the heavens. Still on the run from the police, Owaru, Amaru, Matsuri and Tsuzuku resort to desperate measures to try and rescue him...
Chapter 12- Four Dragons In the Heaven (The Four Dragon Kings take to the Sky) : After the plane they stole is in danger of crashing, Tsuzuku, Owaru and Amaru revert to their dragon forms to rescue it and they fly to the USA where they are reunited with Hajime. The brothers find themselves locked in a fight to the death with the cow-headed natural enemy of the dragons, the Shiyu...