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Manga / Futago no Teikoku

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Futago no Teikoku ("The Twin Empires") is a manga written by Mohiro Kitoh, the author of Shadow Star and Bokurano. It began serialization in Comic@bunch in 2015.

It is set in a fantasy world that resembles Japanese-occupied China in the 1930s. The dominant power in the setting is the Kou Empire, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial Japan, who are launching military raids into a number of neighboring countries collectively called "the Continents." Another key feature of this setting is the Sky Container, a mysterious device that allows anything equipped with it to fly, even objects as large as battleships.

The story follows a teenage boy named Gaw who is the last living member of his people. He is under a curse, which caused him to lose his arm. Now seeking out a magician to break the curse, he meets a girl named Fa. She, too, is under a curse—anyone who touches her will die. After Gaw saves Fa from being kidnapped and forced to be a prostitute, the two of them search for the ancestral home of Gaw's people, in hopes that the key to lifting their curses might be there. There, they meet up with a group of former prisoners of the Kou Empire, and their fight for survival truly begins.

Futago no Teikoku contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Many of the flying warships are equipped with catapults to launch fighter planes, and cranes to retrieve them out of the air. In real life, regular sea-going warships were also equipped with such devices before helicopters made them obsolete.
  • Alternate History: Albeit one that still resembles ours pretty closely. The biggest difference is the flying ships and Sky Containers.
  • Always Identical Twins: A pair of identical twins named Yoyu and Zoyu show up in chapter 5.
  • Amazon Brigade: The crew of the flying ship Unebi
  • An Aesop: Racism is bad, folks!
  • Applied Phlebotinum : The Sky Containers, which Gaw's people invented.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Implied, but thankfully never shown. It's said that the crew of the Unebi consists of fifty former sex slaves. But when we see them, they turn out to be forty-nine women. . . and one dog.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gaw and Fa try to escape a Kou Navy bombardment on Gaw's glider, but are cornered by a Kou fighter plane. Fortunately, an airplane piloted by a woman named Paula intervenes, smashing directly into the fighter.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The protagonists are pretty unlikable, especially Gaw, who repeatedly makes sexist remarks toward Fa. But the Kou Empire is a whole lot worse.
  • Cool Boat: The flying warships.
  • Cool Plane: A variety of aircraft appear in the story, some real and some fictional. The most notable one is Gaw's glider, which is stored inside a Sky Container.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted by Fa. When we first see her, she's been kidnapped. Then her curse kicks in, and her kidnappers die from touching her.
  • Diesel Punk: As a series with flying battleships, it definitely qualifies as either this or a very advanced form of Steampunk.
  • Doomed Hometown: Gaw's hometown was wiped out by the Kou Empire.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the other girls abducted by Fa's kidnappers hangs herself.
  • Emotionless Girl: Fa, at least at first.
  • The Empire: The Kou Empire, obviously. Gaw's people used to be one before they were exterminated.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Kou Empire is this to Imperial Japan. The Continents are one to China.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Combines World War II-era technology with people who have magical powers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Kou Emperor.
  • Hammerspace: The ability of the Sky Containers to transport and store large objects is represented this way.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Aside from the Applied Phlebotinum, the setting's history seems remarkably similar to our own. There's even mention of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, and the blurb on the cover says it takes place in Japanese Imperial Year 2595, or 1935. In volume 2 it's revealed that the Koumintang (the Chinese government led by Chiang Kai-Shek, which would later go on to form Taiwan) still exists.
  • Katanas of the Rising Sun: To be expected, given the subject matter.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The crew of the Unebi, all of whom are former Kou Empire prisoners.
  • Last of His Kind: Gaw is introduced as this. It turns out not to be the case.
  • Left Hanging: The series was cut off on a cliffhanger, leaving the fate of Yoyu and Zozyu unknown after they were captured.
  • Lighter and Softer: By Mohiro Kitoh standards, anyway. It lacks the constant nihilism and visible underage sex of Shadow Star and Bokurano, and while it's still extremely violent, there is little visible blood to be seen.
  • Mukokuseki: The characters from the Kou Empire (the story's equivalent of Japan) are drawn this way, but the ones from the Continents are given more recognizable east Asian features.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted. The story goes out of its way to show Imperial Japan at its worst. Subjects like "comfort women", institutionalized racism, and the extermination of conquered people are put on full display. This approach is both unusual and refreshing for a manga about World War II.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: The Kou Empire definitely aren't nice to their subjects, but if Gaw's occasional sexist statements are any indication, neither were his people.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: Fa has several features of one; she has short, blueish hair, is very reserved and stoic, has a strong attachment to Gaw, and has a magical curse placed on her.
  • Shown Their Work: As is usual for Kitoh's manga, there is great attention to technical detail in the depiction of aircraft, as well as the historical aspects of Japan in the 1930s.
  • Sex Slave: Very common in the Kou Empire. Fa was saved from becoming one, and in the most recent chapter Yoyu and Zoyu are captured to be sold into sex slavery.
  • Stern Chase: The heroes are constantly being pursued by the Kou military.
  • Team Mom: Paula serves this function to Yoyu and Zoyu, and to the Unebi crew as a whole.
  • Team Pet: The Unebi crew has this in the form of Unan, a French Bulldog.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Once the inhabitants of the refugee village Gaw and Fa visit discover that Fa kills anyone who touches her, they tease Gaw about not getting laid.
  • War Was Beginning: The story takes place near the beginning of the equivalent of the Second Sino-Japanese War.