Anime Review: Saiunkoku Monogatari

November 9, 2009

post-317591-1144691274Almost everyone who has seen Saiunkoku Monogatari has compared it to Fushigi Yuugi. Sure, there are similar elements, such as the ancient China setting, the characters’ appearance and of course the reverse harem. However, I think that the thing that links both series the most is that they’re both really good.The story focuses on Shuurei Kou, a resident of Saiunkoku. She dreams of becoming a government official and throughout the series, we see her chasing that dream, as well as juggling love, friendship and work at the same time. I greatly admire Shuurei, as well as the other women characters in this series. She’s definitely not like Miaka, personality-wise (she does look a bit like Miaka). She’s smart, capable, and courageous; She carries with her all the virtues that women should have, and the story focused more on her qualities rather than her appearance (honestly, the boys are prettier than Shuurei).

I believe that Saiunkoku Monogatari is one rare anime that portrays how women can make a huge difference in their societies. First you have Shuurei, who defied all odds and emerged superior in the end. There’s also Sai Rin, who surpassed her male sibling and became one of the heads of the merchant alliance. There’s Eiki, who refuses to have anyone tell her what to do. Even with the slightly feminist theme, I do believe that Saiunkoku Monogatari can gain a male audience. The male characters are also very chivalrous and noble. My favorite would be Ensei and Seiran. Both of them are ready to give up their lives for the future of their loved ones. There’s also Eigetsu, who is able to accomplish so much at such a young age. If you’re not satisfied with that, there’s always the chinese proverbs that are given in every episode (they double as episode titles). Madhouse never fails to amuse me. I always say that anything Madhouse makes is automatically a must see for me. However, I am a bit disappointed this time. The animation for Saiunkoku Monogatari wasn’t so impressive (but the last few episodes improved). I noticed that the movements weren’t so smooth (Fight scenes need work), and I wasn’t a fan of the color scheme either. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t that good either.

Voice acting was very interesting. I actually had a chance to see clips of the voice actors working, and it was very entertaining to watch Houko Kuwashima (Shuurei) and Tomokazu Seki (Ryuuki). I think they did a very good job of portraying their respective characters’ personalities. The music wasn’t that impressive at first either, but in time I started to like it. I even had the lyrics to the opening and ending themes memorized. I guess I didn’t like it too much because I usually prefer contemporary anime music, but it did fit the theme of the series very well. I think they even used Chinese instruments to produce the music.

Truth be told, I usually prefer anime series that are set in modern time and in the real world. The fact that it’s set in ancient China threw me off at first, but by watching it I was able to see what a gem it really is. It was very entertaining, educational and even funny at times. Saiunkoku Monogatari was able to sway my preference because it is truly an inspiring tale and it should be seen by everyone (And I can’t wait for the second season!).


  1. Yep, this is definitely a grade A story!

    Just that I’m feeling a little disturbed over the fact that Shuurei likes that Sakujun. And sometimes I wish she wouldn’t be so materialistic and keep rejecting Ryukki.. fell bad for the guy. But that’s what’s so great about the show, oh well.

  2. This show is sooo full of win. I just finished the first season today (and ran to watch the first episode of the second season). I started watching this when it first came out last year and followed it until the 10th episode. After that I putted it on hold.. for like over a year or so. I can’t believe I did that! This got better and better as episodes went in. And when they began the main / bigger plot (the situation with Sa Province) I watched it non-stop. It was like Juuni Kokuki again (although that’s still better), but with bishies! Which gains it some shameless points. But yeah, SaiMono was seriously something that fell through the main stream cracks (the shounen-ai-ish vibes in the beginning I guess ruined it quite a bit to get more main stream attraction).

  3. I honestly haven’t seen the entire series yet but so far I really like it! The storyline is a lot like Fushigi Yuugi in way though yes.

  4. Just Loved *-* like Fushigi Yuugi… I founded when was looking for some shoujo at ANN for themes like: bishounen, male harem ^^ then I looked for its rate here at MAL… sugoi!

    But I was wandering if someone knows about one music… I just downloaded OST 1 and OST 2 … and just couldn’t find this one… it plays when Shuurei is with Senya/Sakujun (ahhh *-*) at the bridge (epi 24 at 20:43 ~21:35) and many other times when they’re together.

  5. I’m currently on episode 16 of second season. There’s a fansubber out there who only uploads her videos to youtube and crunchyroll so it’s good for me. CR is wide and it doesn’t have too bad of a quality. Plus I could never put it on hold for so long!

  6. I think this is one of the more underrated anime series out there. There’s so much going on with the story and the characters are all so wonderful >.< And Shuurei is definite a very rare female lead, smart, independent and goal-driven without the whining and bawling like other female leads. A plus 🙂

  7. Yes, Saiunkoku Monogatari is definitely one of my favorites! I think it’s impossible not to like the characters in it. I’m not done with the series yet, but I’m a little heisitant to watch, because I don’t want it to end!

  8. Hey, does anyone know where to watch Saiunkoku Monogatari Soushuuhen or Saiunkoku Monogatari Specials? Cuz i just can’t get enough of this series ^^
    I hope the will also be a third season, there’s still so much that can happen!

  9. Problem. Stuck at episode 30. Cannot find anywhere with ep 31 to ep 39 with subs. People, do you have any suggestion as to where should i find those ones with subs? sooooo annoyed!!

  10. @olleya

    Well this site has all the episodes subbed and if you want search the 2nd season on this site as well.. since its on there too 😀 Hope this helps you.


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