By Leroy Douresseaux
April 12, 2013 - 09:08
|The Story of Saiunkoku Volume 9 cover image.|
Rated “T” for Teen
Born into a noble, but destitute family, Shurei Hong dreamed of becoming a civil servant at the imperial court, but women were barred from holding office. Later, she went to the imperial court of Saiunkoku (a fictional empire) where she was dubbed “Lady Shurei.” Shurei became the tutor of Ryuki Shi, the young emperor who refused to take command. After teaching a young emperor to rule, Shurei passed the Imperial Civil Exam and became Saiunkoku’s first female civil servant.
The Story of Saiunkoku, Vol. 9 is the final volume of the series. Shurei and her friend, Eigetsu Toh, placed in the top three of the Imperial Exam, Saiunkoku’s civil service exam. Because of that, Emperor Ryuki appointed Shurei and Eigetsu the new governors of Sa Province.
This final volume contains three side stories. In “So Began the Fairy Tale,” Shurei’s father, Shoka Hong, receives a visit from his youngest brother, Kuro. Kuro believes that Shoka abandoned the family and shirked his duty as leader of the Hong Clan. Now, learn the truth of the dark and tragic past of Shoka, his younger brothers, and the Hong family.
“Hurricane Ryuren Strikes the Capital!” takes place just after Shurei and Eigetsu took the Imperial Exam. Meet fellow examinee, “Hurricane” Ryuren Ran. Meet this eccentric friend of Shurei and Eigetsu and learn about Ryuren and his family, the Ran Clan’s past. Learn about friendship and watch the Emperor make a special request of Ryuren. In the final side story, “Someday I Will Come to You (Though I Love You, How Far You Are from Me),” return to the past to see doting uncle Reishin Hong.
THE LOWDOWN: In my reviews of previous volumes of The Story of Saiunkoku manga, my summaries often barely touched upon all the action and drama. Subplots and threads thrived in this series. In this final volume, the side stories are not the average side story. The readers get detailed views of the central characters in the first two side stories, and the comedy in the final and shortest side story gives readers a good glimpse into one, humorous part of the lead character’s personality.
Overall, this adaptation of the Young Adult novel series, The Story of Saiunkoku, from author Sai Yukino, is quite good. In her adaptation, artist Kairi Yura captures the details of the characters; these are the personality traits and quirks that drive the story and capture the reader’s attention. Yura’s beautiful art may suggest that this series is a bit soft and cutesy. However, The Story of Saiunkoku is spry, romantic, and surprisingly humorous, and the series is sweet and melodramatic rather than cloying and contrived. It is classic teen soap opera, but set in the genre of Chinese historical fiction. That genre offers endless possibilities, which is why it seems as though The Story of Saiunkoku the manga is ending too early.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers who enjoy shojo historical fiction and romance will like the Shojo Beat title, The Story of Saiunkoku.
Rating: B+ /10