So paleaswater tells me that the manga set in ancient China that I can't make head nor tail of is just a retelling of The Emperor and the Assassin, so I go rent The Emperor and the Assassin to see if /that/ makes sense. Which it doesn't. Who's this odd Marquis hanging out with the Queen Mother and why doesn't he pin his hair up properly and how can the middle-aged King of Qin be the (younger, one feels) contemporary of the 20s-ish Lady Zhao and please guys what's *with* this visionary and compassionate first emperor anyway? Rampant propaganda for Why We Must Annex Taiwan NOW? So I google. And learn that The Emperor and the Assassin is not only very long, the first emperor goes back to being the first emperor in short order- or rather, long order- and the horrors I kept expecting will indeed materialize in gut-wrenching glory. The first emperor is bad news wherever he shows up. So I stopped watching The Emperor and the Assassin and went back to reading 12 Kingdoms. Kei is a functional Chinese kingdom complete with casually murderous bureaucrats but at least it's not Qin.