Saiunkoku is a country with eight powerful houses governed by one emperor. However the new leader Ryuki Shi cares not for his new role and is rumored to spend his days chasing after noblemen in his court. Enter Shurei Hong, a princess whose family has fallen upon hard times. Her dreams of becoming a government official are unattainable since she is a woman, but a twist of fate gives her the chance of a lifetime. If she agrees to become the emperor's consort and turn him into a respectable ruler, she will be greatly rewarded...
The elaborate shojo
(girl's) romance Story of Saiunkoko
(2006) is set in a fictional kingdom modeled on Tang dynasty China. The daughter of an impoverished noble family, Shurei Hong becomes the consort of the young king, Ryuki Shi. The council of elders has been looking for someone to reform Ryuki, who's notoriously idle, stupid, and gay. They picked the right girl. Shurei is a veritable bundle of energy: she reads voraciously, knows the organization of the royal government, embroiders beautifully, advises Ryuki on economic policy, plays the erhu (a Chinese stringed instrument) exquisitely--and still finds the time to bake sweet bean jam buns. She enchants Ryuki, who turns out to be industrious, smart, and heterosexual. The elaborately overdressed court and large contingent of bishonen
(beautiful boys) in Story of Saiunkoko
may appeal to fans of Fushigi Yugi
. But the story is so over-the-top, it's unintentionally funny. (Rated 13 and older: risqué humor, suggested homosexuality, minor violence) --Charles Solomon