Joe and Jenny Recommend: The Story of Saiunkoku
We apologise to our regular readers that we didn’t post a review last month, things have been really busy here at the Library over the Summer!
This month we are reviewing the Story of Saiunkoku.
The Story of Saiunkoku focuses on Shurei Hong, a noblewoman whose family have fallen on hard times. She aspires to be part of the Imperial Court but is restricted as women cannot hold office, but her chance arises when she is asked to tutor the Emperor in his duties under the guise of being his consort. Her task is made difficult by the fact that the Emperor Ryuki is reluctant to take on his responsibilities. This leads to their combined attempts to change the court system from the inside and causes controversy and opposition in the process.
Joe’s opinion; It’s interesting reading the story to get an insight into what life in a Chinese imperial court may have been like but the highlight for me in this series is the humor that you find peppered in the storyline. Shurei is a brilliant character to be used in comical situations. She tries to be stern and strict around Ryuki but that doesn’t always work, especially with some of the controversial things he says around her. The main criticism I have about this manga is that I found the storyline was hard to get into as I personally found it a bit slow. Needless to say my favourite character is Shurei, with my favourite quote being “I can’t believe you, you inconstant lout”.
Jenny’s opinion; This series is an absolute favourite of mine, which initially drew me in with the stunningly detailed artwork and then completely captured my attention with a complex plot evenly blended with some great humour. Both the Imperial feudal era setting and the focus on political intrigue rather than battle were aspects I hadn’t encountered with any other manga before and hadn’t expected from what looked a pretty albeit stereotypically pastel Shojo style cover. My favourite character would have to be Koyu, an aide to the Emperor who despite being a genius gets constantly lost even though he lives in the court.
We give this story 4 out of 5 abacuses!
If you like this series, we recommend Ouran High School Host Club and Lone Wolf and Cub which you can reserve for free through the Swindon Libraries catalogue.
Next month we will be reviewing: Toriko!
Know-how from the Owls;
Did you know…that China was ruled by an Emperor from as early as c.2100 BC all the way up to 1911, with the Qing dynasty being the last Imperial rulers before the creation of a Republic.
[Jenny and Joe work at the Central Library and they LOVE manga and anime! They are going to share their favourite books and films on the Swindon Libraries blog, so watch this space for more great reviews in coming months! ]