Haha! This has to be the most comprehensible Saiunkoku Monogatari-episode I’ve seen in months. Finally I can understand things again without the help of Impz’s summaries. ^^; Sure, there were a few things that I didn’t pick up, but I’m glad enough that at least this episode didn’t feel like a giant Rubik’s Cube.
The episode starts after what happened at the end of the last episode, and Ensei cheers Shuurei up a bit. He then also agrees to go along with her to the Ran-clan. Ensei also notices that Shuurei hasn’t been sleeping well, so he forces her to go to sleep, while Seiran notices this and threatens to kill the guy. After this, Seiran asks Ensei to make sure that Shuurei returns safely from the Ran-clan.
We then switch to Shouka, Juusanhime and Ryuuki, leaving the capital, with Seiran and Yuushun seeing them off. The next scene is between Shuurei and Ki Kouki, who asks Shuurei that now that she’s going to the Ran-province anyway, that she should investigate a guy named “Shiba Jin”, and I think that Shuurei knows fully well what this means if she goes in too deep, and Juusanhime’s lover might get arrested if she does her job of investigating too well. He also orders her to bring back a few souvenirs, and to not go after Ryuuki if he decides to agree with his engagement with Juusanhime. When Shuurei runs off, she passes Seiga, and the guy has a really suspicious grin on his face while she passes him.
Next up, we see Ensei, Shuurei and Suou in a carriage, heading to the port. They then get surprised by an overly worried father of Suou, who underwent a total change of characters since we saw him first. It seems that he’s really proud of his son now, and he’s still thankful to Shuurei on how sh got him out of prison, it seems. At least, I think that Shuurei was the one who did that, I could be wrong. In any case, he entrusts Suou to Shuurei for the trip. ^^;
The next scene shows Shun and Shusui, as they too seem to be heading for the Ran-province. Shusui isn’t doing well, though, and she struggles to go up the mountains. For some reason, Shun also puts up an eye-patch, to cover for the eye he’s missing. Shusui then mentions a number of strange characters, though that story is one I couldn’t pick up. What’s important, though, is that at one point, she gets possessed again by that strange thing that got hold of her a few episodes back. She calls this thing “Ruka-sama”.
Shuuei has meanwhile finally arrived at the Ran-palace. His triplet-brothers aren’t there, but his brother Ryuuren and his sister Gyoku (I think that’s how she was called) are present. Ryuuren takes off into the woods again, and Shuuei gets to reuinite with his sister. The thing is that he wasn’t really keen on that, and for some reason he was reluctant to meet her. I didn’t pick up exactly why, as she seemed like a really nice person (they even played together when they were kids), though if I had to guess then he did some thing to hurt her in the past. I didn’t pick up what exactly that was, though. Also, Setsuna, is that the name of one of Shuuei’s triplet-brothers, or is that yet another of his brothers?
The episode ends with the ship on which Shuurei, Suou and Ensei are sailing in order to get to the Ran-province. Suou gets seasick, and Ensei’s remedy is basically to knock the guy out so that he’s unconscious during the trip. ^^; The ship then gets struck by a whirlpool that the area is famous for. According to a local legend, one person once threw a manju in the whirlpools and they disappeared. For some reason, Shuurei thinks that this legend is important somehow.
On a side-note, those whirlpools were really badly animated, but then again, this is Madhouse. Their animation is either incredibly good or incredibly bad, and you can really see in this episode that it was meant to save a bit of animation-budget.