Saiunkoku MonogatariI am surrounded by a harem of bishies, but no one is here to help me

I started this one just because of the bishounen it promised, but I'll continue it not only because of them, but because I got interested in the story too. Not that it is that complicated or original a story, but I like the way they tend to tell it. That's of course if the series doesn’t go head first down into the swamp of mediocrity that tends to plague some shows. Especially considering that this one will be 39 eps long. That's a lot.

The characters:
We have a young girl – Kou Shuurei (age of 16), daughter of a great family that had unfortunately lost its financial back up; she has to work to help support the family, which so far consists of only her and her father – Kou Shouka – responsible for archives, that is not very adequate and from the little I've seen from him, obviously lives in his own world among books.

I am the completely air-headed father, but I am still prettyI am the cool-looking best friend of the main female character

She has a friend capable in the art of war – Shi Seiran that is bound to her by a promise he made to himself to stay by her side, because she took him in as a child.

One day that same girl hurriedly promises to do what a person desires of her, only because he is a person known to be honorable – Shou Taishi the Imperial Counselor and he promises her the enormous amount of 500 gold-pieces.

So she ends up as the wife of the young Emperor – Shi Ryuuki (no connection to Shi Seiran), who is the fifth child of the late Emperor and has inherited the throne rather unexpectedly. So our main heroine is supposed to reform him into a responsible head of state in the span of 6 months.

In the Palace she also makes acquaintance with two young men – Ran Shuuei and Ri Kouyuu, who are friends but ones who are constantly arguing about something.

The boy-loving EmperorThe homo-homo side characters

So the story begins. In the first episode she enters the Palace and having taken her task of reforming the slaking Emperor quite seriously starts to do research on him, only to realize that from what is written on him, he obviously has liking for boys. Wow, how nice, if only it was true… (insert a dreamy smiley here). So she calms down, thinking that she might not be required to do her duty as a wife but maybe the author of that reference and her are very wrong. We'll see in the future.

She doesn't get to meet the Emperor for the first five days of her life at the Palace but one day as she goes for a walk she meets a man, who stutters his name as Ran Shuuei, when she had already met another person with the same name. Shuurei however doesn't comment on that and just has a tea with that 'Ran Shuuei'. As you have probably guessed correctly already that fake 'Ran' is the Emperor himself.

As I said it is not the most original story ever made, yet the execution is what really drew me into it. The rich and vibrant colours, the music and the absolutely gorgeous character design of the males (ok Shuurei is sweet too, but who cares anyway if a girl can drool at the sight of the absolutely perfect bishounen that are a plenty).

Man and wife, why, oh, why is it not man and husbandWe are only here for the show, pull it off, kids

The OP and ED are not something that immediately grabbed my attention, but I'll give them a chance to grow on me. They are just a tad too slow for my taste, but I guess that is rather individual. Still on a second hearing the OP seemed better and hey, even if I don't fall in love with them, I always have the option of skipping them, right?

The background music, I guess is supposed to be Chinese, since the story takes place during some-dinasty-China, but sinse my knowldge of Chinese music is close to non-existent, I won't be commenting on how close it is to the intended aim. I'd rather mention that I liked how it combined with the ongoing animation and the characters portrayed.

OP sequence shotOP sequence shot

And I just have to say that I am quite happy with the animation quality of the first episode. The character clothing, and especially that of Shuurei is very elaborate and detailed and coloured very pretty and I'd say that one has to be very demanding not to like them.

Of course, anyone who's seen more than one anime series knows that the first ep is done with all the effort possible, in order to draw audience, so I will give my verdict on the animation later as the show progresses. I do hope it will not reduce the quality far too much. As Ouran showed that is quite possible if the studio desires so.

In conclusion my opinion is rather positive as far as the first episode is concerned and I am planning on watching the show as long as it is entertaining and of decent quality (man, and this is coming from someone who watches Gakuen Heaven which is none of those… *shakes head at her love for BL*) .