Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 11

Episode Title: There’s No Medicine For Lovesickness
Refers To: Ryuuki’s love for Shuurei, Shouka’s love for his deceased wife, and Reishin’s love for Shuurei.

Winter’s here and Shuurei’s a little stressed. She’s taken her aptitude exam but the results haven’t been released yet. Plus now she’s sick.

Shuurei being sick draws a pall over her family. When she was little she used to often get sick, until around the time her mother passed away. Feeling unwell is one of the few times when Shuurei is not her usual strong self and she relies a little more heavily on Seiran. Shouka also becomes very worried about Shuurei’s health, falling into a panic state as he tries not to think of what might happen to Shuurei.

Both Seiran and Shouka have flashbacks to Shuurei’s mother and Shouka’s wife, Shokun, when she was very ill. (Or perhaps in that one frame she’s deceased? Shokun doesn’t appear to be breathing or moving.)

Shuurei herself can remember being sick and her mother giving her some “medicine” that she’d accidentally oversweetened, while Shouka blew up the kitchen trying to make Shuurei something healthy to drink. It appears that even a decade later, Shouka’s behavior patterns haven’t changed.

Shuuei and Kouyuu stop by to visit. They brought some medicine and vegetables to help Shuurei fight off her cold. Seiran takes the opportunity to kick Shouka out of the kitchen before he can use these gifts to “help” Shuurei.

However, Shuurei has a couple of surprise visitors: Reishin and Kijin. Shouka discovers them and invites them inside. It’s cute how Reishin devolves into being childlike when confronted by his big brother. Kijin has also brought flowers for Shuurei, and Reishin has brought…. A weird assortment of medicines. Shouka knows that Reishin is trying to help Shuurei in his own way, and Reishin is just happy that his older brother accepts him as he is.

By the halfway point of the episode, Shuurei has a harem of men hovering around her, trying to think of ways they can help her recover from her cold.

The father of Shuurei’s student Ryuushin, who was indirectly the reason for Shuurei getting sick in the first place, stops by the Kou household to apologize for his son’s behavior. The father also reveals that Ryuushin has gone missing. Shuurei’s family and friends immediately decide to go try to find the missing child. Kouyuu leaves for his household to get some protective gear and torches ready, while Seiran and Shuuei leave for the palace to gather some horses. Reishin can’t help being rude and Shouka is quick to chide Reishin with a small slap to his forehead. Shouka alters the group’s plans by asking Seiran to help Kouyuu, and asks Shuuei to get horses from Reishin’s household instead.

This leaves Reishin and Shouka alone at the Kou household. Shouka thanks Reishin for assigning him to the Imperial Archives because it has allowed him to live quietly with Shuurei and Seiran for the past 10 years. There are some references to Shouka’s past as an assasin, and it should be noted that Reishin is one of only a handful of people who know Shouka’s big secret.

Seiran, Shuuei and Kouyuu have reached the nearby mountain with their horses and realize that Ryuushin has likely gone looking for medicine for Shuurei. So they start searching where they know medicinal herbs can be found.

Meanwhile, on top of this giant mess of a situation, Ryuuki has secretly arrived to check on Shuurei. She’s very warm so Ryuuki creates an icepack using snow from outside to keep her forehead cool. Shuurei murmurs about being thirsty so Ryuuki props her up to give her some water from some kind of small teapot. Ryuuki wants to give Shuurei some medicine so he puts it in his mouth, then passes it to her by kissing her.

Shuurei awakens from her fever, realizes that something unforgiveable has happened and starts to scream. Reishin and Shouka rush in only to see Shuurei clutching her chest and Ryuuki looking panicked. The funniest part of any scene with Reishin in it, like this one, is that whenever Reishin feels something is threatening the niece he’s placed on a pedestal, he looks like he’s ready to kill. xD  Even if the perceived threat is the king himself. It turns out that the “medicine” was Shouka’s special “ginger tea with no ginger” and its horrible taste was enough to wake Shuurei up.

Seiran, Shuuei and Kouyuu finally find Ryuushin unconscious in a cave, clutching an herb in his small hand. They bring him to Minister Kou’s house, as was previously agreed upon. He is slightly frostbitten but will recover. Minister Kou soon brings Ryuushin over to see Shuurei because he was so upset over Shuurei being sick. Ryuushin is also worried that Shuurei will soon get married and he asks her to wait for him so he can marry her. ^^;;   Ryuuki tries to butt into the conversation but stops when a handfan is “mysteriously” thrown at his head from out of nowhere. (Reishin strikes again! Haha, the recurring mysteriously appearing fan is one of my favourite running jokes in Saiunkoku.)  Minister Kou leaves to take Ryuushin back to his home, and he drags Reishin with him.

Seiran blackmails Shuuei and Kouyuu into helping clean the kitchen, and Ryuuki enthusiastically volunteers his services as well. They all know that if Shuurei feels they aren’t up to the task she will literally haul her butt out of bed and into the kitchen to make sure it gets done, so therefore everyone must pitch in to help.

Left alone with her thoughts, Shuurei seems troubled that Ryuuki continues to try to become closer to her. She thinks that he needs a kind and beautiful woman as his consort, never realizing that she herself has those traits and they are some of the reasons why Ryuuki loves her. Elsewhere in the home Shouka remembers his wife and how Shokun went from resisting Shouka’s advancing to loving him and bearing his child. Even though Shokun has been gone for many years, Shouka still loves and misses her. I have no shame in admitting that I cry every time I watch this scene. 

This episode does a great job at looking at many different types of love, as well as at grief. One of my biggest regrets in Saiunkoku Monogatari is that the series never formally introduces Shuurei’s mother Shokun, only shows her in flashbacks. She’s not a huge character; I’d call her instrumental for Shuurei more than anything else. But by not including her we miss out on her relevance for Shuurei, plus Shokun’s relationship with Shouka and how they came to fall in love (it’s only shown briefly in one episode as far as I can recall). 

This episode is more filler than anything else. Kinda an excuse to get Ryuuki and Shuurei kissing again. I know in last week’s post that I said the new arc would start this week, but I forgot about this episode. ^^;;  It’ll start next week. 

 

(New song time! The first song was the series’ opening theme, and here’s the first ending theme.)

itsumo sugoku jiyuu na anata wa ima
kono ame no naka donna yume wo oikakete iru no

Normally you were so free in spirit –
What dream might you be chasing after now in this rain?

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