The Story of Saiunkoku

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The Story of Saiunkoku
The Story of Saiunkoku Volume 1.jpg
Cover of the first volume of The Story of Saiunkoku, released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten on October 31, 2003
彩雲国物語
(Saiunkoku Monogatari)
Genre Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
Light novel
Written by Sai Yukino
Illustrated by Kairi Yura
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Seoul Media Group
Demographic Female
Imprint Beans Bunko
Original run 20032011
Volumes 22
Manga
Written by Kairi Yura
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Monthly Asuka
Original run 20052012
Volumes 9
Anime television series
Directed by Jun Shishido
Studio Madhouse Studios
Licensed by
Network NHK, Animax
English network
Original run April 8, 2006February 24, 2007
Episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Saiunkoku Monogatari Second Series
Directed by Jun Shishido
Studio Madhouse Studios
Network NHK
English network
Original run April 7, 2007March 8, 2008
Episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

The Story of Saiunkoku (彩雲国物語 Saiunkoku Monogatari?, lit. Tale of the Kingdom of Colored Clouds) is a series of Japanese light novels written by Sai Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura. As of July 2011, the eighteenth and final volume was released, concluding the series. Four side story anthologies have also been released, collecting stories originally published in The Beans magazine.

A manga version, also illustrated by Kairi Yura, is serialized in Beans Ace, which is published by Kadokawa Shoten. However when Beans Ace ended, the manga was moved to Monthly Asuka. Currently, nine tankōbon volumes have been released.[1] The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English release in North America as part of their Shojo Beat imprint.[2]

The anime adaptation series, produced by Madhouse Studios, is directed by Jun Shishido, and broadcast on the Japanese television network NHK on Saturday mornings.[3] The first season began airing on April 8, 2006, and completed its run on February 24, 2007, airing a total of 39 episodes. The second season, titled Saiunkoku Monogatari Second Series (彩雲国物語 第2シリーズ?) began airing on April 7, 2007 and consists of another 39 episodes, ending its run on March 8, 2008.[4]

Plot[edit]

Story[edit]

Saiunkoku is a world of eight provinces or houses, each named after a different color.

Set in the fictional empire of Saiunkoku, the story centers on Shurei Hong (Kou), a descendant of a noble family that has fallen on hard times. Her father works as a librarian in the Imperial palace, a post which offers prestige and respect, but little compensation. Shurei teaches in the temple school and works odd jobs to make ends meet, but her dream is to pass the imperial examinations and take a post in government, a path forbidden to women.

The new Emperor, Ryuuki Shi, has gained for a reputation for being uninterested in courtly matters and for flaunting his love for men. So the Emperor's Grand Adviser makes a startling offer for her to join the imperial household for six months as the young Emperor's consort and teach the Emperor to be a responsible ruler. She easily accepts the invitation. The mysterious Seiran, a young man who was adopted by her father, goes with her as Ryuuki's bodyguard. Entering the imperial palace revives Shuurei's dream of being a court official and if she succeeds, she will receive a reward of 500 gold coins.

The story details the hardships of creating change, especially as a woman, Shurei's growing relationship with the Emperor and other members of the court, the intrigues of imperial politics, and her commitment to better herself and her country.

Setting[edit]

According to legend, Saiunkoku was once infested by demons who threw the country into turmoil. A brave young warrior named Gen Sō (蒼玄 Sō Gen?) gathered together the Eight Enlightened Sages of Color and drove away the demons.

Sō Gen then forged the nation of Saiunkoku and became its first emperor. After Sō Gen's death, the eight sages disappeared, but according to legend they still exist among the people. A beautiful shrine was built for the Eight Colored Sages and still stands within the Imperial City.

Saiunkoku had always been divided into eight provinces named after colors of the rainbow. Six hundred years ago, the Emperor commanded each ruling clan to change its name to match its province. Commoners were forbidden to use the same family names as nobles.

List of Saiunkoku's provinces
  • Ran ( Ran?, Blue) — The most powerful clan in Saiunkoku, it plays a dominant role in national politics.
  • Hong ( ?, Crimson) — Equal power to Ran clan, with which it is known as the 'highest of nobility'.[n 1]
  • Heki ( Heki?, Jade Green) — The family known to master both arts and literature.
  • Ko ( Kō/Ki?, Yellow) - This clan is known for being the merchants capitol. During times of war they are known as War Merchants, for selling weapons and so on.[n 2]
  • Haku ( Haku?, White) - Military family
  • Koku ( Koku?, Black) - Military family
  • Sa ( Sa?, Brown) — The clan which held the least power in the land, trying to take their family honor higher up to a powerful degree.
  • Shi ( Shi?, Purple) — The Imperial family.
  • Hyou ( Hyou?, Light Indigo) — A mysterious clan with a talent for sorcery, although rarely playing any political role it also had one of great influence over the people. It was founded by the first emperor's sister. Women from the Imperial Family are sent there to practice on how to become well-mannered.

Media[edit]

Light novels[edit]

Written by Sai Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura, the light novel series The Story of Saiunkoku has been serialized in The Beans since 2003. The individual chapters are collected and published in full novel volumes by Kadokawa Shoten with the first volume released in Japan on October 31, 2003. As of April 2010, 16 volumes have been released for the series.[5][6]

No. Title Release date ISBN
01 Hajimari no Kaze wa Akaku (はじまりの風は紅く) October 31, 2003[5] ISBN 4-04-449901-2
02 Ougon no Yakusoku (黄金の約束) February 28, 2004[7] ISBN 4-04-449902-0
03 Hana wa Murasaki Miya ni Saku (花は紫宮に咲く) July 31, 2004[8] ISBN 4-04-449903-9
04 Omoi wa Haruka naru Chato e (想いは遙かなる茶都へ) September 30, 2004[9] ISBN 4-04-449904-7
05 Shikkoku no Tsuki no Utage (漆黒の月の宴) March 1, 2005[10] ISBN 4-04-449905-5
06 Kake yuku Hakugin no Sunadokei (欠けゆく白銀の砂時計) July 30, 2005[11] ISBN 4-04-449907-1
07 Kokoro wa Ai Yori mo Fukaku (心は藍よりも深く) September 30, 2005[12] ISBN 4-04-449908-X
08 Hikari Furu Heki no Daichi (光降る碧の大地) February 1, 2006[13] ISBN 4-04-449909-8
09 Koubai wa Yoru ni Kaoru (紅梅は夜に香る) September 1, 2006[14] ISBN 4-04-449911-X
10 Ryokufuu wa Ha no Gotoku (緑風は刃のごとく) October 1, 2006[15] ISBN 4-04-449912-8
11 Aoarashi ni Yureru Tsukikusa (青嵐にゆれる月草) April 1, 2007[16] ISBN 978-4-04-449913-6
12 Hakukou wa Ten o Mezasu (白虹は天をめざす) September 1, 2007[17] ISBN 978-4-04-449914-3
13 Reimei ni Kohaku wa Kirameku (黎明に琥珀はきらめく) May 1, 2008[18] ISBN 978-4-04-449916-7
14 Kokuchou wa Ori ni Torawareru (黒蝶は檻にとらわれる) December 1, 2008[19] ISBN 978-4-04-449917-4
15 Kuraki Tasogare no Miya (暗き黄昏の宮) December 1, 2009[20] ISBN 978-4-04-449919-8
16 Aoki Meikyuu no Miko (蒼き迷宮の巫女) April 1, 2010[6] ISBN 978-4-04-449920-4
17 Shian no Gyokuza (Jou) (紫闇の玉座(上)) June 1, 2011[21] ISBN 978-4-04-449921-1
18 Shian no Gyokuza (Ge) (紫闇の玉座(下)) July 1, 2011[22] ISBN 978-4-04-449922-8

Side stories[edit]

Sai Yukino has written a series of short side stories for The Story of Saiunkoku which are published in collected volumes by Kadokawa Shoten. The first volume was released in April 2005; as of May 2009, four volumes have been released.[23][24]

No. Title Release date ISBN
1 Shu ni Majiwareba Beni (朱にまじわれば紅) April 28, 2005[23] ISBN 4-04-449906-3
2 Ai Yori Dedete Ao (藍より出でて青) April 1, 2006[25] ISBN 4-04-449910-1
3 Tonari no Hyakugou wa Shiro (隣の百合は白) November 1, 2007[26] ISBN 978-4-04-449915-0
4 Kouryou no Yume (黄粱の夢) May 1, 2009[24] ISBN 978-4-04-449918-1
Gaikotsu wo Kou (骸骨を乞う) March 26, 2012[24] ISBN 978-4-04-110139-1

Manga[edit]

Written and illustrated by Kairi Yura, a manga adaptation of The Story of Saiunkoku began serialization in Beans Ace in 2005 where it continues to run. However on October 9, 2009, the magazine has ended its publication and the series continued in Monthly Asuka[27] till 2012. The individual chapters are published in tankōbon volumes by Kadokawa Shoten, with the first released in June 2006.[28] As of April 2012, nine volumes have been released.[1] The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English release beginning in November 2010.[2]

No. Japan release date Japan ISBN North America release date North America ISBN
01 June 26, 2006[28] ISBN 4-04-853969-8 November 2, 2010[29] ISBN 978-1-4215-3834-1
02 June 26, 2007[30] ISBN 978-4-04-854104-6 February 1, 2011[31] ISBN 978-1-4215-3835-8
03 May 26, 2008[32] ISBN 978-4-04-854178-7 May 3, 2011[33] ISBN 978-1-4215-3836-5
04 February 23, 2009[34] ISBN 978-4-04-854299-9 August 2, 2011[35] ISBN 978-1-4215-3837-2
05 January 26, 2010[36] ISBN 978-4-04-854418-4 November 1, 2011[37] ISBN 978-1-4215-3842-6
06 October 26, 2010[38] ISBN 978-4-04-854544-0 February 7, 2012[39] ISBN 978-1-4215-4179-2
07 March 26, 2011[40] ISBN 978-4-04-854612-6 May 1, 2012[41] ISBN 978-1-4215-4180-8
08 October 26, 2011[42] ISBN 978-4-04-854690-4 Oct 2, 2012[43] ISBN 978-1-4215-4946-0
09 April 4, 2012[1] ISBN 978-4-04-120193-0 April 2, 2013[44] ISBN 978-1-4215-5083-1

Anime[edit]

Produced by Madhouse Studios and directed by Jun Shishido, the anime adaptation of The Story of Saiunkoku premiered in Japan on NHK on April 8, 2006. The first season ran for 39 episodes until its conclusion on February 24, 2007. The second season, referred to as Saiunkoku Monogatari 2nd Series, premiered on April 7, 2007 and ran for another 39 episodes until its conclusion on March 8, 2008.

In May 2007, Geneon Entertainment announced it had acquired the license to releases the anime in North America with English language options.[45] In September 2007, after only two volumes had been released, Geneon closed its North America operations.[46] In July 2008, Funimation announced that it will distribute several Geneon titles, including The Story of Saiunkoku.[47]

The series uses three pieces of theme music. "Hajimari no Kaze" (はじまりの風?, lit. "Wind of Beginnings") by Ayaka Hirahara is used for the opening theme for both the first and second seasons. For the ending theme, "Saikō no Kataomoi" (最高の片想い?, lit. "The Greatest Unrequited Love") by Sachi Tainaka is used for the first season, while "Asu e" (明日へ?, lit. "To Tomorrow") by Teruya Miho is used for the second season.

Soundtracks[edit]

Three CD soundtracks have been released by Geneon Entertainment for The Story of Saiunkoku, using music from the anime adaptation. The Story of Saiunkoku Original Soundtrack (彩雲国物語 オリジナルサウンドトラック 1?) was released on August 4, 2008 containing 38 individual tracks, including the television length opening and ending themes.[48] The second followed on January 12, 2007 with an additional 30 tracks.[49] On December 7, 2007, a third soundtrack, The Story of Saiunkoku Second Series Original Soundtrack (彩雲国物語セカンドシリーズ」オリジナルサウンドトラック?), was released containing 23 tracks from the second season of the series.[50] The two series ending themes were released to CD singles on August 30, 2006 and June 6, 2007, respectively.[51][52] On March 7, 2008, an additional CD soundtrack, Song of Memory was released containing 10 tracks with various character image songs.[51][53]

Drama CDs[edit]

Three drama CD series have been created around The Story of Saiunkoku. The first series, The Story of Saiunkoku Drama Bangai (彩雲国物語 ドラマ?), spanned three volumes and covered the first season of the anime. The first volume was released on September 8, 2006; the second and third volumes followed on November 10, 2006 and March 9, 2007, respectively.[54][55][56]

The second series, The Story of Saiunkoku Anime Drama Dai ni Kan (アニメ「彩雲国物語」ドラマCD 第二巻?), also spanned three CDs which were released between August 25, 2006 and December 21, 2007.[57][58][59]

The final three volume series, The Story of Saiunkoku Second Series Drama Bangai Hen (彩雲国物語セカンドシリーズ ドラマ 番外編?), covers events from the second series of the anime. The first volume was released on September 7, 2007, with the remaining volumes following on November 9, 2007 and February 2, 2008.[60][61][62]

Other[edit]

A web-based radio program for the series aired in Japan. Hosted by Tomokazu Seki and Hikaru Midorikawa, the program included mini-stories and special guests discussion the series. The program was released across two CDs in Japan by Geneon Entertainment. The first was released on May 25, 2007 with the first seven broadcasts and a bonus track.[63] The second CD, containing the remaining six broadcasts and a bonus character song, was released on October 24, 2007.[64]

On August 28, 2007, an art book for The Story of Saiunkoku was released in Japan. The Story of Saiunkoku Picture Scroll (彩雲国物語 絵巻 Saiunkoku Monogatari Emaki?) included art work from series illustrator Kairi Yura, episode summaries for the first season of the anime adaptation and a bonus short story by author Sai Yukino.[65] A second art book, The Story of Saiunkoku Picture Scroll 2 (彩雲国物語 絵巻 Saiunkoku Monogatari Emaki 2?), was released on June 10, 2008 containing more art work for the series, as well as episode summaries from the second anime season and another bonus short story.[66]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the original Japanese media, the name of this clan and family is pronounced as . By the request of Saiunkoku's original creator, Geneon changed this name in the official North American version to "Hong", the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of the same logogram, in order to minimize confusion with the other "Ko" name belonging to the Yellow clan/province. Funimation has retained this name change in its distribution of the Geneon DVDs.
  2. ^ Although pronounced the same as the Crimson clan in the original Japanese, the kanji for this clan means yellow.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "The Story of Saiunkoku Manga Listed by Viz's Distributor (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ NHKアニメワールド 彩雲国物語 Accessed August 2, 2006
  4. ^ アニメイトTV Web - ニュース速報 - 彩雲国物語、新シリーズ放送決定 Accessed 11/20/06.
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External links[edit]