Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 29

Episode Title: 1000 Years’ Worth of Thoughts in a Single Day
Refers to: The number of thoughts Shuurei makes Ryuuki think in the span of a day when they are apart.

 

Shuurei and the others leave for the blockaded city of Koren, leaving behind… Kourin, lol. They don’t want to put her in harm’s way unnecessarily. Sho Sai’s father stops Shuurei and Eigetsu’s group as they’re leaving and tries to tell Shuurei that it’s useless to take his son along, but to no avail. I don’t really understand the point of this scene. Maybe it was to highlight more of Sho’s stingy merchant personality?

At the same time, Ryuuki, Shuuei and Kouyuu have made their way to Kinka! They’ll arrive in the morning, missing Shuurei’s team by a full day. Poor Ryuuki, he was so looking forward to seeing Shuurei again. ;~;   But was it really so wise to leave Kiyo city without its emperor and two of its most efficient officials?? Come on Ryuuki… you sent Shuurei and Eigetsu to Sa Province because you trust them, so trust them! Surveying the province could have come later once they were better established. Especially because Ryuuki has resolved to not step in and help Shuurei and Eigetsu should they need it. So what’s the point in Ryuuki being there then?

Meanwhile Eigetsu and the others are attacked by some of the Sa clan’s private army, though Shuurei, Eigetsu and Sho have nothing to worry about with Seiran and Ensei around. Shuurei is worried about Kokujun being left to face Chuushou alone, but Ensei and Seiran reassure her that he’s doing what must be done because only someone from within the Sa family can deal with their problems. So Shuurei should focus on what she needs to do in the meantime, and eventually her path will cross with Kokujun’s again. It’s a nice way of looking at the situation, no?

There’s a little scene where Shuurei recounts for Seiran by the fire about how her mother used to tell her stories when she couldn’t sleep. One of those tales was titled, “The Rose Princess.” On the other side of Kinka, Ryuuki is explaining to Shuuei how Shuurei was the person who made him not be scared of nighttime anymore. She would use stories to distract him, and one of those stories was, you guessed it, “The Rose Princess.”

In a flashback sequence from Ryuuki’s mind, we see Shuurei telling Ryuuki this story. As it goes, the Rose Princess was a beautiful, gorgeous woman who had special abilities, such as being able to heal any injury or illness. She was captured and kept hidden by a greedy master, who wanted to protect her from the men who were trying to marry her and make her their own. The greedy master stole her away to a secret location, protecting her but also simultaneously taking away her freedom. The flashback shows the Rose Princess being kept in a garden full of lush roses, but surrounded by immensely high walls.

Here the flashback shifts to Shuurei’s perspective as she recounts the story for Seiran as her mother told it to her. The Rose Princess was one day visited by a man who scaled the walls and leapt around all the protective measures in place that were meant to keep her away from others. Shokun tells little Shuurei that the man had come to kill the Rose Princess because she was somehow disturbing the country’s peace, but instead he fell in love with her upon first sight and stole her away for himself.

Over time the Rose Princess’ special abilities began to fade, although she retained the ability to grant one wish in exchange for her own life. The Rose Princess had given birth to a daughter by this point, and the little girl was often sick.

“I will turn back into an ordinary rose, but my heart will belong to you through eternity.” – Rose Princess

The story ends with the rose growing thorns to protect itself, so that it could never be recaptured again. Shuuei explains that the thorns are meant as a sign of the rose’s love, presumably for her daughter is my guess.

This lengthy scene ends with Shuurei and Ryuuki each explaining “their side” of the story. For Ryuuki, he doesn’t want to be the greedy master who stole the Rose Princess away and kept her all to himself. He doesn’t want to ensnare the Rose Princess with thorns to keep her with him. He only wants to love her and be loved by her. As for Shuurei, she muses that maybe she’s the rose that kept others at bay by growing thorns around herself (which Seiran takes note of, rather glumly I think).

It should be noted that while we never get to see the Rose Princess’ face during this flashback, there are a couple of hints given as to who the identity of the Rose Princess really is. The anime does a decent job of trying to camouflage who she is. I won’t spoil it here though, so save your guesses for the end of the first season.

Sure enough, in the morning Ryuuki, Shuuei and Kouyuu arrive at Kinka and learned that they just missed Shuurei and the others. Ryuuki is despondent, sulking about their near miss even when Shuuei and Kouyuu try to cheer him up by listing what Eigetsu and Shuurei have accomplished so far. The three men resolve to follow Shuurei to Koren upon hearing that “that monster” (Sakujun) is also at Koren. Shuuei teases Ryuuki about being a pathetic king for following Shuurei like a puppy, but says that as a man it’s sometimes ok to do foolish things.

Here I’d like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on Tomokazu Seki, Ryuuki’s seiyuu. Goddamn the man has range in spades. Some of my favourite Ryuuki moments are when Tomokazu plays him as a happy child, someone who’s sulking over being teased, or who’s pining over Shuurei. He’s one of my favourite seiyuu and while I’m not very familiar with his filmography, I think he was the perfect choice for Ryuuki’s character.

Advisor Sho finally arrives at Kinka and comes to see Lady Eiki, Advisor Sho’s widow. She’s pissed off at Advisor Sho and seems to hate him even more than Ryuuki does! o_o   But he’s a young man now?? (Remember that I gave a hint at the end of my Episode 7 review as to what this appearance is, so take a guess as to what this “young version” of Advisor Sho means and I can add it to the list of things to discuss at the end of the first season.)

Shuurei, Eigetsu and the others are finally nearing the closed off city of Koren. Seiran and Ensei are going to scout ahead first to clear the soldiers lying in wait for them, but if the duo are unable to defeat them all, Ensei will give Sho a signal indicating that he’s to push the carriage full speed ahead to Koren – even though it will mean leaving Ensei and Seiran behind!

Thankfully it looks like they won’t have to use that plan because Ryuuki, Kouyuu and Shuuei have somehow caught up to Seiran and Ensei! Yay Ryuuki will be able to see Shuurei after all!  Except… what, they’re going to use the plan anyways, even though they’ve defeated all the enemies?!  And after getting only a glimpse of Shuurei’s face, Ryuuki’s going to head back to the capital??! Be strong for just a little longer Ryuuki ~

With all of this excitement going on, it’s easy to forget that one major obstacle lies ahead for Shuurei: confronting Sakujun in all of his twisted glory, on his home turf. How will that encounter play out?

 

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