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The Story of Saiunkoku #4

The Story of Saiunkoku, Vol. 4

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Shurei Hong, destitute but of noble birth, has always dreamed of working as a civil servant in the Imperial court of Saiunkoku, but women are barred from holding office. The emperor Ryuki, however, refuses to take command, leaving everything to his advisers. Shurei is asked to become a consort to the emperor to persuade the ne'er-do-well ruler to govern.

Shurei has been disguising herself as a boy to assist Kijin Ko, the esteemed Minister of the Treasury. Despite Ryuki's plan to allow females to take the civil service exam, many remain opposed to the idea, including Kijin. Will Shurei be able to convince the discerning minister to change his mind?

192 pages, Paperback

First published February 26, 2009

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Sai Yukino

36 books21 followers

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5 stars
210 (42%)
4 stars
187 (37%)
3 stars
80 (16%)
2 stars
16 (3%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Jane.
1,349 reviews65 followers
May 24, 2017
Ah, Ryuuki, you're stealing my heart all over again! <3
Profile Image for Luna.
1,384 reviews189 followers
May 3, 2016
2-3 Stars
Given up after 4 books.

I love the artwork, I really do - because it’s stunning. Somehow though I’m just not connecting with this series – it’s not bad but after the third book I getting bored and I decided by the end of the fourth that it wasn’t worth continuing. Might return later to try again.
Profile Image for Christina.
535 reviews3 followers
July 5, 2019
This series is ugh I love it so much!!!!!! The conversations this particular volume has with women's rights and loving someone while still allowing them to follow their dreams 😊. I also appreciate that there was so much that occurs in this volume (unfortunately its so much spoilery content I cannot write it in this review). The art style especially when it comes to the setting is really beautiful and atmospheric and the political intrigue is very tricky and the secrets that unfold throughout the entire series are really cool. Because of these points I have to give this volume a 4.5-5 out of 5 stars. I love this series so much and cannot wait to continue some more.
Profile Image for Kati.
1,756 reviews65 followers
March 13, 2020
I'm dropping this manga. I loved the anime but the manga's snail pace just isn't doing it for me and pages after pages of them discussing law making are not my cuppa. Also, Shurei is the only thing the emperor can think of but she barely even thinks of him and when they meet and talk, she treats him rather like his mother than a potential lover. Besides, the only thing Shurei wants is a job as a state official, she's definitely not interested in love, let alone marriage, let alone marriage to the emperor. Good for her, why not, but it makes the emperor's love for her painful to watch and rather pathetic and hopeless.
Profile Image for Lula.
1,018 reviews46 followers
January 29, 2022
This series continues to solidify its place as one of my favorite mangas of all time.

Shurei is such an admirable character, and I LOVE reading about how her determination and tenacity impacts the people around her. She is surrounded by multitudes of people who genuinely care for her, and for good reason! If she were a real person, I would befriend her in heartbeat.

Each volume brings fun new adventures, and interesting new characters, and while I wish we got more story between Shurei and the emperor, I'm willing to remain patient and enjoy their moment when it comes.
Profile Image for Khari.
2,379 reviews56 followers
November 18, 2021


Profile Image for Stephanie Molnar.
280 reviews8 followers
January 17, 2019
Wow, the slowest manga I've ever read. Giving this series a break for now because this one was so slow.
Profile Image for L.L. Tibbetts.
Author 6 books13 followers
May 20, 2019
She's growing!

Much like the cherry blossoms she loves so dearly, the main female character is growing. I'm not disappointed in the slightest with this series.
Profile Image for Estara.
799 reviews128 followers
August 5, 2011
This volume does not bother with reintroducing anything (apart from the first page added by the publisher explaining about some of the characters and the basic set-up, similar to the upper part of the copy at the back of the volume) and I can honestly say that if you haven't read the earlier volumes you will have no idea what is going on.


The author and mangaka expect us to be invested enough by now to get right to the nitty gritty and the machinations and manoeuvrings at court and in the ministries going on - with the overall aim of Emperor Ryuki being the legalisation of female civil servant candidates.

I adore the fact that when necessary the background of the problem is explained in much more detail than in the anime, so you understand why hurrying the process is so bad. It makes the work that her various allies do for Shurei and the trust they set in her even more vivid and believable.

The actual work in the ministry part of the story was finished in the last volume though, in this one we finally get a real intro to Seiran's old friend Ensei, and what he is doing in the capital at this time and what his importance is to the overall plot. Nice ^^. My favourite bit with him was the scene at the grave though - the fact that Shurei had someone she trusted but had not been part of the family to finally articulate her grief and fears to - a sympathetic ear, so to say.

I really have to question the decision of the translators/publishers to translate Ko Shurei as Shurei Hong, because all the subtle connotations of the Ko name - from Minister Ko to the Ko quarter in the capital can't be picked up by people who only read the manga.

There's a bit of light relief when Minister Kyo finally takes off his mask - we never got to see that in the anime, if I remember correctly (and I can understand the problem of the idea, although the mangaka does try to do her best to overcome it).

Another nice feature is that two characters the anime showed only in the Sa Province Arc coming up get introduce earlier - and their father's relationship to Shoka shown in more detail (now I'm a bit sorry we never got a flashback episode to the time of the Wolves of the Wind for good). The relationship between Ran Shuei, Shusui and Shoka gets a side glance - interesting because the anime kept this to the second series entirely.

Ryuki again was fairly distant (due to the plot and understandably in his position) - he got some cute time in his earnest love and misunderstanding though, and an intelligent comparison of the way he loves and the way Ran Shueei loves.

I especially enjoyed the final chapter of the volume, although it is only a coda to what went before, because it shows the internal and external growth of Shurei's self-confidence and trust - better than the anime I think.

This is a girl who wants to become a civil servant. The man who loves her is trying to enable that and even as he helps in the attempt he knows it may mean that he himself will never get the love he wishes for in the way he wishes for. To my mind - this looks like shoujo - and I love my bishies - but this is josei, or at least a manga for girls in their early 20s trying to define their way in life. And a manga for people who like to think of what good governance and politics would entail.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Judyth.
1,629 reviews39 followers
September 18, 2014

[Read more at my blog, Geeky Reading!]

I really want to like this series, but I think I’m giving it an indefinite pause for now.

It’s interesting. The characters are fun: I like Shurei, she’s smart and feisty. Ryuki is my favorite; he’s adorable and sweet and I love how he talks. There’s a bunch of other characters that intrigue me as well. The plot is interesting: I like the attraction between Shurei and Ryuki, and Seiran and Shurei, and their pasts. I really find where Shurei is going interesting, workwise, and how the characters are trying to help her step up the ladder. The art’s pretty. The story is funny, as well as serious.

I think I’m just not a big fan of the slow progress, or the long explanations, or the general historical aspect. As I said, I really want to like this series, and maybe I’ll give it another try later, but for now I think I’m done. It’s not keeping my interest, I’m finding reading it a bit boring. It’s just not for me, I don’t think.
Profile Image for Debby.
121 reviews3 followers
June 8, 2015
suka suka sukaaa banget dengan vol yang ini membuat daku menyadari,

1. meraih cita2 tuh memang enggak bisa yah tanpa bantuan dan dukungan orang lain, minimal ada yang membukakan jalan seperti ryuki yang membuka jalan untuk shuurei. walau tetap kembali ke kemampuan shuurei sendiri kan akhirnya.
2. yah ampunnn ryuki kamu tuh puppy banget yah lol. kepolosan yang mengerikan.
3. aihhhh ada the ultumate cowo cantik bertopeng. lollll that why i love this comic a lot lol.....

kelemahan nih komik tetep dengan istilah nama namanya, kadang pas nyebut nama musti mikir ini dia mengacu ke siapa yah. lol, tapi yah minor banget lah, yg lain nya kerennn.
Profile Image for Mely.
805 reviews19 followers
Shelved as 'read-seq-art'
August 3, 2011
"Your Majesty, you didn't dig up something strange and eat it, did you?" "What do you think I am?"

"Midnight tryst" is probably the best period-appropriate translation, but from everyone's reactions I think the most accurate translation for "yobiai" might be "booty call." Oh, Ryuuki.

I wish there were more women in this series, but I do like that Shurei is sincerely more interested in a career than romance. Poor Ryuuki, though.

I am completely at a loss as to why Kouyou is convinced Ryuuki will make a great emperor.
Profile Image for Pinky.
6,548 reviews14 followers
August 20, 2020
Ensei continues to work hard after Minister Ko gave him a job. Shurei tells Ensei why she fears thunderstorms, her mother died during one. Shusui is set to take Korin to Lord Sa's wife after his death. Minister Ko helps save a young boy even after his brother called him a masked demon. Shurei gets a chance to become a civil servant when the exams open to women.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Leah Webber.
198 reviews
August 16, 2011
Shurei finishes her stint as a civil servant, just in time to be the first woman to take the civil servants exam.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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