I think my Aria the NATURAL backlog is now fully attributed to the fact that Saiunkoku Monogatari has taken over its role as an inoffensive no-brainer. I watch it to appreciate the reverse-harem almost, but more because Shuurei is just so cute and I WUB KUWASHIMA HOUKO…?
Nonetheless I think this show is getting the right amount of attention. I really don’t think it’s so good that you should drop a show just so you can watch it, but unlike Aria, stuff happens. It keeps my wandering mind focused when I put an episode in the media player once a week, on a tiring weeknight, for the fear that if I was watching Aria instead, I’ll fall asleep.
But I went into SaiMono thinking it’ll actually have an interesting setting and story, which so far neither has been the case. We see Shuurei, the only child of the court librarian (Chief IT officer?) learning her ropes as a girl who grew up during hard times, “taming” the delinquent King. Then she goes on this women’s suffrage bit, which is empowering and interesting but kind of, well, boring. Thankfully they’ve layered up enough mystery behind every single thing in the show that nothing is what it seems and there’s probably enough unexplained back story to make an entire anime series on its own. To be fair, yes, most of the potentially “interesting” stuff has not been explained.
Now, I’ve only seen about 12 episodes, but at this point they’re just doing the usual parade of tropes–the court queer, the double agent, the double-double agent, the secret successor, various lineage tricks, the “I understand you but I must fight you” crap, gender bending, typical puppetry and manipulation in politics, etc.
Does it matter? Not anymore. It feels almost slice-of-life, yet stuff goes on! I guess the production value is overshadowing the flaws of the adaptation at this point. A good thing, probably, because out of its planned 39 episodes, it will have a lot of room to hit some climaxes. I’m just wishing those would come soon, if not already! I gave Simoun at least 14 episodes, and 16 was sweet enough to sell me out to it. I hope that is the case with SaiMono.