I don’t know whether it was the episode, or the fact that Shadow Dreams managed to finish the translation before I got to watch the episode, but the fact remains that I enjoyed this episode. A lot. So many interesting things happen. And so many funny things as well. ^^;
We start out with Shiurei, who recieved the message that she passed her aptitude test. This allows her to take her national exam, which will take place in about a month. A lot of people have been coming to the capital in order to take this test. Or take advantage of the people taking the test.
We then see the introduction of a new main character. In the OP, he looked like some kind of girl, though he actually is a 13-year old boy. Shiuei tells Ryuuki that he’s been notified of a disturbing rumour, though it remains a mystery what this rumour might be. It’ll probably be revealed in the next episode. Interesting note: Shiuei and Kouyuu both have the symbol of Ryuuki, the purple flower, decorated on one of their accesoiries. Which means that they’re yet a step closer in loyalty to Ryuuki.
Shiuei then informs Kouyuu that he needs to take care of some business in the red-lights district. Kouyuu doubts that that’s got anything to do with his job, though. ^^; We then flash to the red-light district, and we see Shiuei and the new main character pass each other. Furthermore, we see three suspicious characters, wearing suspicious blue cloths, smiling very suspiciously. This was a great scene, because it actually reveals quite some things about what’ll happen in the episode. Except for the fact that you, as a viewer, don’t realize it at that time.
We then switch to Shiurei, who managed to find another temporary job after working in the palace. She actually works at one of the best sites at the red-light district. As an administrator, not the other thing. ^^; In any case, she seems to know the people who run it. A boy who works there seems to be a childhood friend, and he starts out nicely by insulting Shiurei, and suggesting that she should find some kind of husband who’ll take care of her.
The owner of the place, Kochuo, scares the guy away. She also seems to know Shiurei ever since she was little. In fact, Shiurei, when she was a little child, had even begged her to let her work in the brothel. That was just so cute. At that time of poverty, Shiurei was so determined to help her father that she was even willing of joining a brothel. Her statement that she had to get home at sunset in order to prepare a meal for Shouka and Seiran only made this better. ^_^; I can understand why Shiurei doesn’t like to remember that. ^^;
Kochou then mentions that she’s got something to show Shiurei on her last day of work (apparently, Shiurei’s been going back to her living of taking lots of different jobs for a small time, just like the beginning of the show). Shiurei hestitates, though when Kochou threatens to tell Shouka and Seiran, she gives in. It’s interesting that she didn’t tell them that she was working at a brothel. Hehe.
We then switch to the new main character, or Eigetsu, as he’s called. A regular brought him to Kochou’s brothel, and paid quite a sum of money in order to let the guy sleep there. Eigetsu, meanwhile has a nightmare about his hometown. For some reason, this is sad, as he cries, while having the dream. Then he wakes up.
Eigetsu has a shy character. He knows what he’s talking about, he’s not an annoying brat who keeps acting impulsive, though he remains a child. Imagine how he reacts, waking up in a brothel. Once he settles down, he tells Shiurei and Kochou that he remembered getting into trouble with some thugs and getting dragged into a restaurand. Apart from that, his memory’s fuzzy. Then he finds out that a large sum of his money has been stolen. Shiurei then offers Eigetsu to stay at her house. After all, her house is quite big, and they already had a bear-like person staying there last year. (Ensei? Bear-like person? XD).
Eigetsu then spends the rest of Shiurei’s shift helping her with some accounting, and he appears to be quite a good calculator. Then Seiran runs into them, with the message that he organized the four of them to eat out for the night. At first, Shiurei’s not happy with this, though when she finds out it’s to celebrate her passing of the aptitude test, she thanks Seiran.
In the restaurant, we get some more background on the world of Saiunkoku Monogatari. In this case, the underworld of the capital. But not before three drunk men joke about the fact that women aren’t fit to take the national exam. This gets built up perfectly, until Shiurei almost explodes with anger. Seiran’s about to do something, but Shouka beats him, destroying the table the men sit on while nobody watches. He acts like nothing happened afterwards. If there ever was a thing such as a brilliant scene, this was it. ^^
In any case, the translation on the info about the underworld is a bit fuzzy, The Seikintou are a new bunch of thugs, who try to place themselves in the underworld. They’re pretty impulsive, and they identify themselves by wearing blue cloths. The crime bosses actually manages the downtown hoodlums, and they protect the peace of the downtown when a lot of people are coming in because of the final exam. Or at least, that’s what the translation says. I think I misunderstood a few things…
In any case, things succeed each other fastly after this is told, as Eigetsu reveals that his money was gathered by all of the village members, and he finds out that all of it has been stolen. Shiurei freaks out, and both of them start stuttering. Eigetsu then runs off and Shiurei follows him.
Eigetsu headed for the Seikintou, and for some reason, they’re accusing him of stealing from them. Eigetsu also seems to be looking for a card or some sort. What follows is Shiurei taking Eigetsu, and an extremely enjoyable chase. I especially loved it when the two of them had been running into a circle, only to end back up at the Seikintou again. Though nothing will probably beat Shiurei’s treatment to one of the thugs, when he approached to her. Shiurei Rocks! ^_^
Then, Seiran arrives and they run into a messenger, who tells them to head for Kochou’s brothel. For some reason, Seiran already knew about this, though he’ll explain his reasons later.
Then, everything which has been happening at the beginning of the episode becomes clear when we see Kouyuu, Ryuuki and Shiuei walking though the red-light district, while Kouyuu gets angry at Shiuei for dropping Eigetsu at the brothel. It seems that Ran was the one who put Eigetsu to sleep and brought him to the brothel for savekeeping. He reveals that it’s actually quite safe in there.
It was just great to see the different way these three reacted. Shiuei has been in the red light district many times before. not only because of his work (after all, everyone seemed to know him, and he was a regular of Kochou’s brothel, after all. Therefore, he acts like it’s nothing at all. Kouyuu, however, gets nervous and angry. Though Ryuuki’s reaction was just priceless. He was just so incredibly fascinated by everything which was happening around him. Like a small child in a candy store. ^_^;;
We then turn to the headquarters of the Seikintou. Their chief was quite pissed that Eigetsu managed to escape, though one of the members saw him, along with Shiurei and Seiran, head for Kougarou (which is apparently the name of Kochou’s brothel). None other than the boy from the beginning of the episode (the childhood friend, Keichou) tells the chief about it. The latter then gets the twisted idea to raid that place, and turn it into their head quarters. Keichou, meanwhile, goes to warn Shiurei about this. You’d wonder about his intentions.
The episode ends with quite an amusing scene, at which Shiurei notices Ryuuki inside Kougarou. She immediately suspects him of having a bit of fun in there, and his reply is the most destructive you can ever imagine. Shiurei wasn’t exactly pleased when she found out about this. ^^;
I’m curious about the crime bosses. Their sillouettes were shown for a couple of seconds, and each of them looks distinct. That means that all of them will be appearing at some time during this anime. I wonder what kind of role they play, as I still have no idea whether they protect the townspeople, or they steal from them.
Next episode, we also get to know the deal with Eigetsu. He’s special in some kind of way, as he appeared to have robbed the Seikintou, he comes from a village which witnessed a disaster, Shiuei finds him important enough to put to sleep and keep safe in a brothel and he’s collecting some kinds of strange cards. He also has great calculating skills, and he’s only 13 years old. So, what’s up with him?
(on a side-note: is it me, or has the backgroung music been getting better and better?)