Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Story of Saiunkoku 1|
Actor: Story of Saiunkoku
Director: Jun Shishido
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Saiunkoku is a country with eight powerful houses governed by one emperor. However the new leader Ryuki Shi cares not for his new role and is rumored to spend his days chasing after noblemen in his court. Enter Shurei Hong... more »
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A wonderful story, and not what you might expect...
Karin Welss | Dublin, CA USA | 06/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So, for the first time in a long time, I actually started watching anime series that both hooked me, and which proved to be clever in its execution. I've seen a number of series lately that fell into the "okay" but not "wonderful" range, and had been wondering whether I was burning out on my anime viewing.
In fact, I stayed up until 3am one night, finishing the first eight episodes of "Saiungoku Monogatari" (The Tale of Saiunkoku), which constitute a fairly complete story arc. It's a josei (women's fiction) series set in fantasy ancient China, and the premise, while drawing on classic fairy-tale romance elements such as "Beauty and the Beast," is executed with a fresh touch.
Shuurei is the scholarly daughter of a noble but impoverished family. Smart and civic-minded, she had ambitions to enter the Imperial civil service, but because of a ban on women taking the civil service examinations, was forced to turn her energies to teaching at the temple school.
After the death of the old Emperor, an extended civil war left the kingdom in ruins while the emperor's many sons vied for the throne. Through a process of attrition-by-bloody-warfare and assassinations, the youngest son finally ascended the throne after the death or exile of his older brothers.
The problem is that he's a foolish, idle youth, dedicated to leisure and the pursuit of pretty young men, and unwilling to take up the reins of government. So, his advisors come up with a scheme to offer Shuurei the money her family desperately needs if she'll take the role of Imperial Consort to teach the Emperor how to govern, and to instil in him a sense of responsibility. Thinking her virginity is safe with a homosexual husband, she figures she has nothing to lose and a great service to perform for her country.
But once she arrives at court, nothing--and no one--are what they seem, and she becomes caught up in various intrigues.
Shuurei is a delightful character--unabashedly smart, practical, sternly virtuous with a deep core of compassion, and a great sense of humor. She reminds me somewhat of Jane Eyre or other Victorian heroines of impeccable moral fiber and compassionate wisdom.
The Emperor is also an interesting person, and it's fascinating to see his backstory and character revealed bit-by-bit in the first seven eps.
In any case, this series is one for my "keeper" shelf, and I look forward to the official DVD release.
sanoe.net | 09/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought Saiunkoku Monogatari (The Story of Saiunkoku) on recommendation from a friend who called it a Regency-Chinese-flavored fantasy and after seeing DVD 1, I can see why.
Shurei Hong (Kou in the original Japanese) is the practical-civic-minded daughter of a nobleman who is the court archivist. Shoka, her father, is respected but poor. The civil war that broke out after the death of the Emperor left their family destitute.
Tired of being poor, Shurei agrees to a deal with one of the elder advisors of the court that will give her family 500 gold coins. The catch? She is to become the emperor's consort.
Like any good heroine of certain breeding, she is horrified and dismayed but ultimately sees the bright side to her situation.
Ryuuki, the youngest of late emperor's son, has become emperor by default and seemingly uninterested in governing.
Until, of course, Shurei enters his life and nothing is quite what it seems and yet exactly as it seems which only increases the intrigue and the fun.
Although Shurei and Ryuuki are the "main" characters, the supporting cast is solid. The banter between Shuei, a general, and Kouyo, the emperor's secretary, is particularly enjoyable.
I look forward to the following this series. I hope that the rest of series lives up to the promise of the first 5 episodes.
Not your typical harem story
A. Bowen | Ga USA | 09/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having watched the entire series, I can say with confidence that this is the finest harem story I've watch in a long time. This series is essentially pseudo-historical fantasy drama with light hearted/comedic overtones.
I'm not a fan of the harem genre since it became fadish to have a looser for a lead character. What sold me on this series was the fact the main character is actually very admirable and thus believable as a character who can attract many faithful followers.
The Story of Saiunkoku is plot and character driven, so all of the characters are interesting. In fact, there isn't one I don't like, which is amazing. Since the series is based off a series of novels, it has a solid story that's actually going somewhere.
Enaam Khayat | Saudi Arabia | 10/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Story of Saiunkoku is one of my favourite anime ever. It's a romantic story and yet has a great theme which is a woman standing out to have her role as government official for the first time in that age. This anime is girls' heaven (full of tasty bishonen everywhere) The art work and colors are fascinating. The historical background is well portrayed. The humor leaves you light-hearted. It's a joy and pleasure to watch this anime. The DVD is pretty. however, the audio sound is a bit low but the English subtitles is very clear comparing to other versions.