Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 13

Episode Title: An Unexpected Surprise
Refers to: The introduction of Yougetsu, where Eigetsu’s exam token ended up, and perhaps even Shuurei’s exam results.

So, everyone’s at Kougaro trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Then Keicho (Santa) shows up to see Shuurei and, ho boy, things get dialed up even further. Shuurei wastes absolutely not time tearing several strips off Santa for being part of the Seikin Gang, while Seiran quietly informs Shuuei, Ryuuki and Kouyuu about how he’s had to work hard to keep Santa away from Shuurei. Because of course, Keicho’s had a crush on her and Shuurei has been (and continues to be) completely oblivious. Keicho makes mention of a girl he likes, with Shuurei never realizing that he’s talking about her. So she rubs salt right into those wounds she caused when she tells him right to his face that if a guy who liked her joined a gang, she’d cut ties with him forever. O_o  Shuurei can be… pretty harsh when she wants to be.

Keicho confirms that the Seikin Gang have the stolen examination tokens, including Eigetsu’s, but mentions that the gang is planning to ambush Kougaro to take the brothel for their own.

Sure enough the gang shows up, but Kochou, Shuuei and the other members are ready for them. The gang enters from what looks like the back entrance to Kougaro and are quickly overtaken in the courtyard. Kochou has organized all of the other gang leaders at Kougaro for this fight, and she’s not going to let the Seikin Gang make a fool out of her.

Elsewhere Keicho, Shuurei, Kouyuu and Eigetsu are hiding in some kind of storehouse. Eigetsu wants to help in the fight because of the attachment he feels to his examination token. Which I mean, I understand but, the kid can’t do anything. Kouyuu allows Shuurei and Eigetsu to come with him to search any defeated thugs for stolen examination tokens, as long as they stay within his sight.

Naturally, they are found by the Seikin Gang’s leader, with Shuurei being taken hostage. Eigetsu and Keicho rush the leader to try to take Shuurei back but are easily overtaken. Eigetsu is tossed into a barrel of sake, of all things. But this Is where we get our first formal introduction to his “alternate personality” Yougetsu. Eigetsu begs Yougetsu to help Shuurei. Kouyuu beats Eigetsu to this by smashing a giant vase over the gang leader’s head.

The gang leader revives just in time for “Eigetsu” to revive and block the gang leader’s sword attack. He introduces himself as Yougetsu and smashes the gang leader into a nearby wall face first. Ouch! Shuurei makes the connection that Eigetsu turns into Yougetsu whenever he consumes alcohol, which explains why everyone who thought that they were seeing Eigetsu in the red light district was actually seeing Yougetsu.

Shuurei is almost caught by two gang members, but Yougetsu tosses her up in the air, deals with them and catches her before she can hit the ground. He chides her to be more aware of her surroundings. Also, Eigetsu’s exam token is not with the others for some reason. Where could it be?

Once again sober, everyone tries to get a piece of Eigetsu. The Kougaro Gang members want Eigetsu to be a part of their alliance, but Ryuuki steps forward and firmly lays claim to Eigetsu, using the argument that since Eigetsu was a National Exam participant, that made him “Ryuuki’s” so to speak. Ryuuki also reprimands the gang members for not taking action sooner, saying their hesitation allowed this whole situation with the Seikin Gang to happen in the first place. However Ryuuki is not a mean person – he allows the Kougaro Gang to deal with the Seikin Gang themselves and dole out a punishment of their choosing, thus repaying the “debt” they incurred against the King.

That being said, the issue of Eigetsu’s missing exam token still hasn’t been resolved. Eigetsu wants to drink more sake so that Yougetsu will emerge and tell everyone where Eigetsu’s exam token is, but Shuurei prevents him from doing so. At that moment Keicho’s father arrives with a case of premium sake. And with his arrival, the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Keicho’s father approaches Eigetsu, explaining that the night before “Eigetsu” had approached him to buy the sake and also give him Eigetsu’s exam token. “Eigetsu” asked that both be delivered to Kougaro. Yougetsu had used most of Eigetsu’s money to pay for the sake, including the money he’d won off the bandits during their fight, which explained why Eigetsu was broke when he woke up at Kougaro. So, now Eigetsu has his token back!

 Now that things have settled down, Kochou takes some time to give Shuurei a farewell gift, since she’ll no longer be able to work at Kougaro. It’s a beautifully decorated make-up set! Kochou also reveals a big secret: it turns out that Seiran and Shouka have known all along that Shuurei was working at Kougaro! Shuurei had been secretive all these years for nothing. Both Seiran and Shouka came separately to Kougaro and asked Kochou to take care of Shuurei while she was there. So, Kochou feels a little like Shuurei is her younger sister. Kochou applies some blush and lipstick to Shuurei’s face and tells her to always wear make-up into battle. It’s her “war paint.”

The next day is the big day – exam time! Sure enough, Shuurei is wearing her make-up to the exam. Seiran accompanies both her and Eigetsu to the exam hall, and the two nominees resolve to do their best. While they’re there they bump into Ryuuren, who has also arrived to take the exam. Shuurei introduces Eigetsu and Ryuuren quickly declares that Eigetsu is his friend and kindred spirit too! I thought it was really cute how Ryuuren was “talking” with his flute and the show gave him subtitles for that “dialogue.”  xD

Inside the Inner Court, Ryuuki is wondering if he has made the right decision. He muses to Shuuei that even if Shuurei passes and become an official, coming to the Outer Court to work as an official, they will not be as close as when Shuurei was his consort. Shuuei points out that even if Shuurei does become an official, it will not change what Ryuuki will have to do to try to win her heart: treat her kindly, show her love and respect, etc.

The narrator explains at the end of the episode the results of the National Exams: Eigetsu came in first (Jougen), the youngest person to ever win that title at the age of 13. Ryuuren came in second (Bougen) at 18 years old, and resumed his wandering as permitted by his family. And last but not least was Shuurei, who came in third (Tanka)! She has now become Saiunkoku’s first ever court official. An exciting new chapter in Shuurei’s life is about to begin!

 

Thoughts

As I mentioned in an earlier review, the resolution to this arc with Eigetsu’s introduction was really cleverly done, IMHO. I mean who would’ve guessed that Yougetsu would’ve had anything to do with Eigetsu’s exam token? Let alone thinking ahead far enough to stash it with an order of sake and send it to the biggest brothel in the red light district? 

Also, as annoying as Ryuuren can be, sometimes I admire how he knows just the right thing to say in a stressful or awkward situation. He just cuts right through all the social bullshit and says what he really feels, regardless of how others might feel about what he has to say. Although because it’s Ryuuren, sometimes he can make the situation worse if he doesn’t stop and think about the other person’s feelings, as Shuurei has coached him to do before. But he’s got a good heart and I like how quickly he warms up to Eigetsu just because he’s Shuurei’s friend. Later in the series, Eigetsu’s friendship with Ryuuren will develop in its own right, something I enjoyed watching the first time around because I was happy to see Ryuuren make more friends. 

Aside from that, yay Shuurei! Third place, woo! See you guys next week!

 

hitori demo daijoubu to  anata mo watashi to onaji
toomawari bakari dakedo  naze ka kono michi ga suki de

You say “I’ll be all right even when alone.” – just like I do
Despite detours everywhere, for some reason, we have taken to this path

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