Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 15

Episode Title: A Child Knows Not of His Parent’s Feelings
Refers to: Kouyuu not knowing how important he really is to his adopted father Reishin

It’s been a few weeks and Shuurei and Eigetsu are still toiling away in their original positions. Kouyuu is not the only one who has noticed this unusual result; his father Reishin, Shuurei’s uncle, has gone to speak to the king about it. Reishin is worried that Shuurei will fail if she’s not given a proper placement soon (as logically there’s only so much abuse and harassment one person can take before they lose heart), but Ryuuki promises Reishin that he will protect Shuurei.

This episode takes a bit of a break from Shuurei and Eigetsu’s troubles to focus on Kouyuu and the role he plays in the Kou family. As Reishin’s adopted son he is technically Shuurei’s cousin, just without the blood relation. As Secretary Sai points out, Kouyuu was given the last name of “Li” and not “Kou” when he was adopted. The cruel secretary muses right to Kouyuu’s face that perhaps Reishin will never bring Kouyuu formally into his family, making him an outsider.

And that’s the issue Kouyuu struggles with this episode: he originally wanted to become an official to support his adopted father, Reishin, because he felt indebted to the man who took him off the streets and raised him. (Reishin does have a wife but we never see her, so I’m focusing on him here.) However, Kouyuu feels that Reishin doesn’t feel very strongly for him, especially when his feelings for Shuurei are very visible and very… animated. ^^;;

In a short flashback sequence we see how Reishin came to adopt Kouyuu. To Kouyuu, Reishin adopted him on a whim, as if he were adopting a stray puppy. Of course, Kouyuu’s perspective is only one side of the story…

In the present, Reishin approaches Kouyuu and asks what is bothering him. Kouyuu tries to deflect the question, then caves and asks a theoretical question of Reishin. If Kouyuu wanted to leave and stop being an official, would that be ok with Reishin? Reshin calmly answers that Kouyuu’s life is his own and he can do what he wants with it. This of course further reinforces to Kouyuu that Reishin doesn’t care, given that his response to Kouyuu’s question was so calm and without curiousity. Maybe Reishin really doesn’t care about Kouyuu after all?

Later in the evening, Kouyuu follows Eigetsu back to the Archives as he had promised Shuurei he would bring refreshments. Turns out he actually brought dumplings too!

Unfortunately Kouyuu is spotted leaving the Archives by both Secretary Sai and Advisor Ro. They speculate on Kouyuu’s ties to Shuurei and the Kou family, and theorize that Reishin is Shuurei’s sponsor. They are correct, of course, but it’s something Reishin wants kept quiet (seeing as how Shuurei doesn’t even know Reishin is her uncle yet).  Hmmm… seems like trouble is brewing.

Kouyuu is out and getting drunk all alone. He’s found by Shuuei first, then Seiran, and lastly Ryuuki. They ask him what’s bothering him and Kouyuu, being drunk and having no restaints anymore, tells them about his concerns with Reishin. It turns out Kouyuu, who was adopted 13 years ago at this point, feels that he was adopted by Reishin because Shouka had just adopted Seiran around that time. “If my big brother can adopt a child off the street and raise him, I can do it too!” That being said, Kouyuu must also acknowledge that it’s because of Reishin’s decision to adopt Kouyuu that Kouyuu has become the great official he is today. Reishin’s adoption unlocked all sorts of new opportunities Kouyuu would’ve never, ever had as an orphan.

After Shuuei carts Kouyuu’s drunk ass home, Seiran and Ryuuki have some private time together to talk. Ryuuki is now drunk too, having snuck some alcohol while everyone was focusing on Kouyuu. Ryuuki is very upset at the way that Shuurei has been getting treated and feels that he is useless. Seiran reassures Ryuuki that even if all he can do is watch from the shadows, it is enough. All he can do is support Shuurei along her path as best he can; Seiran admits that he can’t even do that.

I appreciate that the episode makes room for Seiran’s concerns as well. Up until Shuurei became an official-in-training, he could be by Shuurei’s side almost all the time. However now that she’s got a ranking of her own, even if it’s at the very bottom of the ladder, Seiran can’t just be by her side whenever he wants to be. He has responsibilities of his own and so does she. If they were standing around socializing or loitering with each other, even though they’re also family, both Seiran and Shuurei would get in trouble. Thankfully Ryuuki, picking up on an offhand comment Seiran made the evening before, has moved to put a back-up plan in place by recruiting Eigetsu to help Shuurei (via the use of a Royal Seal) if she ever needs it.

Seiran gets the idea to invite Kouyuu over but make it look like Shouka’s the one who sent the invitation. When Kouyuu arrives after nightfall, Shouka sits quietly with him and talks with him about Reishin and the Kou family. Shouka reveals that Reishin hates the Kou family but couldn’t help but become the head of the family. When Reishin adopted Kouyuu he gave the young boy a new name, with a different last name, so that he wouldn’t be drawn into the ugliness within the family network. Why? Because Kouyuu is very important to Reishin, and Reishin wants his adopted son to be able to choose his own path in life.

Shouka goes on to explain why Reishin chose Kouyuu’s name. The family name (last name) of “Li” means plum. “Kou” means crimson, and “yuu” is the way in which water flows. Shouka believes that Reishin picked this name in the hopes that Kouyuu would have an independent life of his own. Of course, Kouyuu had no idea about any of these things because Reishin doesn’t freaking talk to Kouyuu about deeper, emotional topics like this. >_<

As Kouyuu is about to leave, Shouka reveals that both Seiran and Shuuei came to him and asked him to speak to Kouyuu about his issues with Reishin. Don’t worry, Kouyuu definitely gives Shuuei hell for this the next morning. ;D

 

Thoughts

I don’t recall much being said about how the Kou family operates until later in the series, so this is one of those rare episodes where we get a little insight into how it functions. Kouyuu also usually plays more of a supportive role in Saiunkoku ‘s plot so to be able to learn a bit about his backstory is appreciated.

This episode is definitely one of my favourites. As much as I adore Shuurei and like the slow-burning romance between her and Ryuuki (if you can call it that, since technically at the moment their relationship is relatively one-sided), it is refreshing to have the series focus on other characters and their issues instead. Kouyuu’s situation is particularly interesting because he’s technically part of Shuurei’s family through adoption, but he has the sort of freedoms others within the Kou family don’t because of how Reishin thoughtfully chose to name him. 

Also, we haven’t much of Reishin up to this point in Saiunkoku where he’s not fawning over Shuurei. It’s nice to see him as an official but also as a parent, especially since Reishin’s wife doesn’t make it into the anime so Reishin is the only parent of Kouyuu’s whom we get to meet and know.

 

iroazayaka na kisetsu wa kitto
kono omoi todokete kureru

And I am sure that this season, with its vivid colours,
Will convey these feelings of mine to you

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