It was written by Yoshiki Tanaka in collaboration with Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (Kodansha Novels edition) and mangaka 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 will be the first work by Yoshiki Tanaka to be released in English. This was projected to be released in 2009, but has since been seen on online bookstores as having a 2011 release date.
The story features four divine Dragon Kings, each with their own kingdoms: one to the north, one to the east, one to the south, and one to the west. The brothers are reborn in the modern world, complete with supernatural powers and the ability to become the Dragons they descended from. They are content to live ordinary lives until evil creatures come to attack them.
It becomes the mission of the four brothers to defeat the "Four Sisters", four girls from America and the descendants of the "Bulls", 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 4th volume of an original novel serve as 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, and is currently in the process of rereleasing the series at a lower price. 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. Many fans were upset by the changes they made to the opening and ending similar to what they did with the Street Fighter II V series. The series was only released on video and is now long out of print. The odd thing with the English releases are that the Manga Entertainment and US Manga Corps releases use different voice actors, which was rare when US Manga Corps collaborated with Manga in the UK for dubbing and licensing.
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 tankoban 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, mangaka 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 (Blue Dragon King of The Eastern Heights) - 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 but 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 Eastern Heights and controls the force of gravity in his dragon form.
Tsuzuku Ryudo (Red Dragon King of The Southern Seas) - 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 consciously. Well mannered, polite, and insightful, Tsuzuku is a pacifist 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 Southern Seas and, in his dragon form, controls fire.
Owaru Ryudo (White Dragon King of The Western Isles) - 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 whilst he acts as a guardian to Amaru, more so then his brothers. He is the White Dragon King of the Western Isles which governs the wind.
Amaru Ryudo (Black Dragon King of the Northern Oceans) - At 13, Amaru is the youngest of the four brothers and also the most vulnerable. 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 Northern Oceans which controls the watery kingdom.
Matsuri Toba - 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 a extreme soft spot for Hajime, often hinting at a relationship between the two. 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-centred and greedy head of education at Kyowa college and Matsuri is extremely contemptious of him.
Seichiro Toba - Seichiro is the father of Matsuri Toba and headmaster of the Kyowa Institute founded by Sukaza Ryudo, the grandfather of the four Ryudo brothers. Seichiro is driven by financial gain and wants to become head of education in Tokyo and will stoop to any level to achieve it, even deceiving his own family. Matsuri is extremely embarrassed and contemptious of him while, not surprisingly, he is disliked greatly by all of the Ryudo brothers despite being their uncle.
Saeko Toba - Saeko is Matsuri's mother and the long suffering wife of Seichiro. She is the daughter of Sukaza Ryudo, the Ryudo's grandfather, making her the auntie 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 aka Gozen of Kamakura- A elderly man in his 90's with huge influence in the political world, Funazu is 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 Ryoshenkiu (or Dragon Springs) and whilst 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, hence explaining his age. His presence in Japan meant that he was able to keep the Four Sisters corporation from influencing the Japanese government. He was killed by Amaru in his dragon form.
Patricia Lansdale aka Lady L - 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 organisation 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 destests. Her grandmother was raped years ago by a Russian soldier and her mother was born but 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 eventually killed when she falls off the floating ship into the sea.
Furuta Shuhei 54 years old MP of the Conservative Party dies in a car accident
Takabayashi Kengo 53 years old secretary of government
There were 12 episodes for Sohryuden. 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 Tamayoshi Funazu, also known as Gozen of Kamakura. Hajime prophecises 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 Takabyashi, 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 descendents 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 programme 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 specialises in dissecting live specimen. Tamozawa has also created cyborg dogs designed to make the Ryudos day out an unpleasant one. When they learn that Matsuri has been kidnapped, assumedly 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 unsupecting Tsuzuku into Lady L's airship. He learns of the 'Four Sisters' alliance to try and get the dragon kings to join in making them the most powerful organization in the world. Tsuzuku refuses and, after constant physical abuse, finds himself losing control. The airship crashes on top of the Tokyo Metropolitan building and the heat is well and truly on when the Red Dragon of the Southern Seas awakens within Tsuzuku...
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 realisation that the secret that he and his brothers harbor won't be 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, realising that going in there together is a risk, Hajime goes on a solo mission to try and rescue his brother. After encountering Lady L, she deceives him into going on the wrong aircraft and when he realises Owaru is on the other plane, Hajime tries to stop the aircraft to get to him but in doing so, crashes the planes and causes a massive explosion. The trauma of the events of the hot summer night finally takes its toll as the White Dragon of the Western Isles within Owaru finally awakens...
Chapter 10- Narrow Escape (The Brothers' Greatest Escape) : Lady L reports the destruction of the Yokota Army Base 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...