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The Story of Saiunkoku, Vol. 1
The Story of Saiunkoku Vol 1
Actor: Andrew Francis
Director: Karl Willems
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2008     2hr 5min

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single stepSaiunkoku 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...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Andrew Francis
Director: Karl Willems
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Funimation
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/21/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Not your average shojo anime
Andrea Lewis | various places in Missouri | 01/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"They say "don't judge a book by it's cover." Or in this case, a DVD. To anyone who has watched a lot of shojo (girls') anime, the first thought that comes to mind is "Hm, this looks a lot like Fushigi Yuugi, so it must be similar." In fact, that was part of the reason why I picked it up. I thought I would give it a chance since I gave Fushigi Yuugi a chance once. Well, if you think this is just a Fushigi Yuugi clone, you'd be wrong. Beyond the setting of a fictional Ancient China-like world, that's where the similarities end.

Saiunkoku focuses on Shuurei, a young woman from a well-to-do family who has fallen on hard times. She has a passion for learning and hard work (and of course getting money from said work--she hates wasteful spending). As luck (or scheming people) would have it, she is given a position at the imperial palace, and from there she meets a very interesting cast of characters, including the emperor who doesn't really want to rule. She strives to better herself, the emperor, and the rest of Saiunkoku, hoping for a brighter future for everyone.

The series is moderate on family plots and political matters (this is based off of Ancient China after all), but it doesn't lose sight of the real joy of the show--the characters. There are a lot of them to take in from just the first four or five episodes, but 98% of them stay for the entire series, so get used to them, love them, cheer when they make an appearance, throw popcorn and boo at the screen when they make an appearance, etc. Anyone who likes shojo anime will appreciate the rare COMPETENT female main character who doesn't fall for every hot guy that she sees (which would be a problem in this show--just look at the opening animation). The love story vein is natural, cute, and almost pathetic at times, and it doesn't seem forced just for the sake of two people getting together in the end. Also, there is a wonderful lack of the traditional shojo fare of bubbles and sparkles. But I guess the flowers make up for it...

So don't let the copious amount of flowers fool you. The Story of Saiunkoku is a wonderful addition to any shojo anime lover's collection. And once you get done with the 39 episode series, don't feel sad--there's a second season that will hopefully be coming out soon."
Fantastic Shoujo Series
Rebecca Lee | Greensboro, NC, USA | 04/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really cannot top the previous reviewer's review, he/she nailed it. But I just wanted to add my two cents.
This is an extremely underrated show! I received volumes 1-3 for Christmas and was thrilled because I had been told it was like Fushigi Yuugi. But just like the previous reviewer says, all that Fushigi Yuugi and Saiunkoku have in common is the setting of Ancient China, (and perhaps some very pretty boys).
In all the pictures I had seen of Shuurei (our leading female), she always looked happy and almost passive, so when I popped in my DVD I was expecting a sweet, almost shy girl. WRONG! Sweet, yes, but passive or shy? No! This is lead female character that girls can look up to. She is strong, smart and gets things done.
One DVD is certainly not enough for this series, I completely recommend buying the first three for a test drive. You won't regret it.
The ONLY problem I had with this anime was that I was not used to Chinese names and they sounded similar to me, so I had trouble knowing who was who at first, but I eventually got it down. ;)"