Episode Title: There is No Today After Today
Refers To: When Minister Ko questions Reishin about whether Shūrei’s proposal was rushed, Reishin points out that tomorrow is never guaranteed, something which Shūrei knows very well. She knew she must seize her chance to put forth her proposal at the best opportune moment, even if it goes against the usual social rules.

Ahh, for those who don’t know, apparently Rin Sai and Yūshun Tei were engaged to be married but they had kept that detail a secret from everyone. Howver, they finally just got married! (Maybe before all this business with the Sa clan went down?) Ensei and Sho tease Yūshun about spending his honeymoon doing business instead of relaxing with his wife, and it’s cute how flustered Yūshun gets. ;D

When they do finally arrive in Kiyo, Shūrei and Seiran make only a brief stop to see Shouka before continuing on to the palace. Shouka knows that Shūrei still has work to do, and only once she has succeeded in her mission will she come home to relax and be her true self.

As they continue on to the Imperial Palace from the Kou family home, Rin says that she will head to the Kou family’s main branch (office?) to start negotiating for the rights to the Kou family’s 7 color luminous paint. If Rin can negotiate for the paint to be made in Sa province, then that deal would hopefully bring a lot of profits.

Kokujun, poor guy, is having a bit of a breakdown. He’s freaking out about meeting the king and representing Sa province. Having him in the same carriage as Shūrei poses an amusing juxtaposition because she’s so much more adept at handling stress and pressure than he is. But he’ll have to learn sooner or later how to cope if he’s going to be the freaking leader of both the Sa family and the Sa clan, right?

Poor Kokujun’s stress only increases when Shūrei and Yūshun tell him that he will have to represent Sa province alone, as the formal celebrations are only open to the 7 representatives of the different provinces. Shūrei is only a co-governor and therefore ineligible to attend, and Yūshun’s rank is below Shūrei’s. Sorry Kokujun, you’re on your own!

Ahaha, and of course Ryūren decides to show up in some flamboyant getup to… support Kokujun? Thankfully Reishin, who arrives to congratulate Kokujun on his new appointment (as head of the Kou family), and his calming presence seems to help stabilize Kokujun. When a courier reports to Shūrei and Yūshun  a short while later that Kokujun’s arrival was well-received by the council, Shūrei thinks that her Uncle Kuro is the man from the Kou family who greeted Kokujun, not Reishin (because she STILL doesn’t know that Reishin is her uncle! Geez Reishin, see how much easier you would make Shūrei’s life if you just came clean about your real identity?!).

In fact Kuro is indeed present in Kiyo, but he’s meeting with Rin regarding their negotiations over the rights to the Kou family’s special multicolored ink. They both muse over Shūrei’s strengths as an official and what she has already been able to accomplish while in her new government role.

Now that the main celebrations are over, it is Shūrei and Yūshun’s turn to shine. Everything rests on Shūrei’s shoulders, and not only is she stressed about seeing Ryūki again, but she must make the council accept their proposal or else she won’t be allowed to return to Sa province (as Yūshun already warned her). Talk about stress!

Finally, the time arrives for the representatives of Sa province to give their greetings to the king. The room is FULL of onlookers, and it’s really gratifying to see many characters from the first season come to show their support for Shūrei. There’s Minister Ko, Secretary Ro, and even Hakumei manages to sneak his way in! (Ahaha, Reishin blushing behind his fan and Kijin calling him creepy! XD )

How will Ryūki and Shūrei react to seeing each other for the first time in what, almost a year? They’re both nervous (given away only by the twitch of a finger or an eyebrow), but they’re both professionals. Any personal feelings are going to be stuffed deeeep into a box to be dealt with later, either by themselves or together someplace quiet.

Ryūki does, however, shock everyone in the room by giving a small bow to both Shūrei and Yūshun! The king thanks Yūshun for his 10 years of service in Sa province, and apologizes for being so late to help Sa province when they needed it most. Ryūki also thanks Shūrei for her efforts.

I’d like to point out that while the animation of faces in large scenes like this one continues to have some imperfections, you cannot deny the skill and talent it takes to animate a beautifully detailed scene such as this one. The details in the decorations, the king’s throne, and the clothes worn by Shūrei, Ryūki, Shūei and Kōyū – the animators at Madhouse did a spectacular job overall with Saiunkoku Monogatari (in my personal opinion)!!

Anyways, after Shūki’s words of gratitude, Shūrei and Yūshun leap at their chance: now is their time to present their proposal! Go go Shūrei! Will they succeed??

Kōyū, of all people, is the most opposed to Shūrei’s interruption of the formal ceremony, but Advisor Sho and Sō Taifu step forth and ask that to Shūrei be allowed to continue. After a very, very lengthy pause, to Ryūki agrees that Shūrei continue with her proposal.

So Shūrei gives a brief overview of their plan, explaining that it would not only give Sa province an industry upon which to build itself up, but an academic research center would also help improve the entire country’s future. Education and study can not only lead a path to the future, but expand it too; Shūrei points out that she herself has benefited from this way of thinking.

As the king hesitates again, one by one, Shūrei’s allies step forward to show their support by expressing their desire to hear more about her proposal, including Hakumei, Minister Ko, Secretary Ro, and Advisor Sho. As Shūrei holds the proposal out in front of her, her eyes lock with Ryūki’s. When she needs his support the most, will he help her in this crucial moment?

He will! The king agrees to read and consider Shūrei’s proposal. Upon this proclamation, everyone in the room starts to applaud. It’s a beautiful culmination of all of Shūrei’s blood, sweat and tears throughout this series. She went from being “just a woman,” to the first female official, to a government official in charge of running a province who has just put forth her first official proposal. She has come a very long way in the span of almost 40 episodes.

So…. With the Sa arc wrapped up, the celebrations formally celebrated, what could be left in our last episode?? Well, you see, there’s a certain couple which haven’t had any screen time for nearly half the season… ;D

Join me for the final episode of the season next week! ^_^v