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“What is meant to be will always find a way.” A common adage that sparks truth with Saiunkoku Monogatari. After emerging from a time of conflict and poverty, Shuurei, an intelligent and strong-willed woman, is determined to help herself and her family regain its nobility. She is given the opportunity to do this and despite the obstacles, she is able to achieve even more than she can imagine, possibly living out her dream in becoming a government official, an uncommon position of that time.
Challenging gender roles, Shuurei believes in no boundaries. With determination to overcome the seemingly impossible, here are Honey’s 6 Anime Like Saiunkoku Monogatari; demonstrating how one’s willingness and motivation are the driving forces to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Challenge accepted!
Similar Anime to Saiunkoku Monogatari
1. Fruits Basket
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Aired: July 2001 – December 2001
Fruits Basket is a story of 16-year-old Tooru Honda, who is orphaned, by the death of her father at a young age and her mother only a year ago. While under the care of her paternal grandfather, he and her aunt decided to renovate their home to accommodate the family. As construction begins, her grandfather asks if she has a place to stay. She says yes even though she doesn’t because she does not want to be a burden. So, Tooru takes it upon herself to camp out in an area she thought was deserted. To her surprise, it was not, as the secluded home nearby belongs to the most popular boy in school, Yuki Sohma, and his cousins, Shigure, and later on, Kyou.
When Yuki and Shigure stumble upon her tent, they offer her a place to stay in exchange for housekeeping services. She agrees. For the time she lives with the Sohma family, Tooru is made aware of the family curse, transforming them into an animal of the Chinese zodiac when touched by the opposite sex. Normally, knowledge of this is erased, but the head of the family decides to keep her memory intact. Throughout her time there, Tooru grows close relations between each member of the Sohma family, thus changing their views of the curse and life. In return, Tooru gains a sense of belonging, in an atmosphere where she appears so out of place.
In comparing Fruits Basket with Saiunkoku Monogatari, both anime have very strong and optimistic female leads that emotionally build the male character lead(s). Additionally, Tooru and Shuurei come from unfortunate circumstances but nonetheless, make the very best with what life has dealt them.
Fruits Basket – Collector’s Edition – Available Now on DVD – Anime Trailer
2. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2005 – September 2005
Honey and Clover, a romantic comedy, follows the lives of five art college students who are all very passionate about their craft. Yuta, Takumi, and Shinobu are all roomies, struggling as poor college students, but nonetheless, enjoy the simple pleasures of life’s circumstances. A shift in balance occurs when a short, child prodigy, Hagumi (Hagu) enters the scene. In addition to another art student, Ayumi, Honey and Clover captures their efforts and joys, navigating their studies, romance, and their coming-of-age, where they all seek to find and fulfill some kind of purpose. Realistic and relatable, this slice-of-life, Honey and Clover, will have you guessing at every turn and twist.
In comparing Honey and Clover to Saiunkoku Monogatari, both have a romantic-comedy element. In addition to romance, specifically unrequited love, both anime demonstrates the complex of balancing their romantic lives and their dreams. Honey and Clover and Saiunkoku Monogatari also offer dramatic and climatic plots, building the story around each vibrant character very well.
3. Seirei no Moribito (Guardian of the Spirit)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Seirei no Moribito takes place during feudal Japan where the Emperor’s son is under constant threat by the Emperor himself. The Emperor believes that a prophecy will reveal the possession of the Prince, Chagum, by a demon and destroy the empire. As the royal family must be perceived in the greatest light, the Emperor does not want the child to live and will sacrifice him to save the kingdom.
In contrast, the Empress and her closest advisors seek out the greatest warrior, who will take Prince Chagum away for protection until the prophecy has been proven untrue. This warrior, Balsa, being in the right place at the right time, saves Prince Chagum during an assassination attempt. The empress then asks Balsa to protect the young Prince. As Balsa is bound to a personal and sacred vow made in her past, she accepts the Empress’ task.
All through Moribito, the strategy, and responsibility that Balsa has for Prince Chagum, really display her skill as a warrior and loyalty to her values. Notwithstanding the demands of the task, Balsa performs her role to the best of her ability and sees it to the end.
In comparing Moribito to Saiunkoku Monogatari, again, both anime consists of strong female leads, showing that they can be a channel of great courage and power. The two are tasked in roles previously dominated by men. Balsa and Shuurei provide an epic journey from start to finish, working their hardest to prove that they can perform equally (if not better) than the men before them.
Moribito – Official Extended Trailer – Available NOW on DVD and Blu-ray
Any Anime Like Saiunkoku Monogatari ?
4. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2015 – September 2015
Shirayuki aka “snow white” is a unique individual, in that her lovely red hair stands out in the crowd. She is intelligent, with a knack for herbology. Her gift is her personality and her strength is unremittingly ethically bound, always standing to do what is right regardless of how difficult a situation can get. After getting into some trouble, she was forced to flee her home and sought refuge in the neighboring kingdom. Indebted to Prince Zen and his aides during her rescue attempt, Shirayuki devises a way to repay the three back for their help. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime follows Shirayuki’s journey residing in her new home, Clarines, in addition to Prince Zen’s duty as a royal. Shirayuki and Zen develop and support one another, thriving throughout the anime.
In comparing Akagami no Shirayuki-hime to Saiunkoku Monogatari, both have lead characters who are smart, hard-working women. Set in mythical, royal kingdoms, they are both involved with Princes but do not let their male counterparts dictate their choices or depend on them completely. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime and Saiunkoku Monogatari portray elements of romance and comedy held within a palace of royalty. Furthermore, Shirayuki and Shuurei present a pleasant and lovable demeanor.
TV animation "of red hair Snow White" PV first series
5. Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Akatsuki no Yona or Yona of the Dawn begins with Princess Yona about to announce to her father her feelings for the love of her life, Soo-won. Only knowing the simplicity of a privileged life, she is naïve and lost in love regardless of her father’s opposition to Soo-won. Concurrently, Yona witnesses the assassination of her father by none other than Soo-won. As the threat is rising, Yona needs to flee the country. Yona does so with her close and loyal friend/bodyguard, Hak.
Yona and Hak’s endeavor leads the two to find alliances (the four ancient dragons), taking up arms, and combating enemies in the quest to reclaim her kingdom. From beginning to end, Yona of the Dawn is filled with countless battle scenes, in depth character development, particularly Yona, where it shows her growth and maturity level, and tons of excitement.
In comparing Akatsuki no Yona to Saiunkoku Monogatari, both portray the female lead blossoming in order to achieve a specific goal. They also have a close companion with them who will go to great lengths to protect them. The historical story setting for each takes place in ancient kingdoms with the heroines on a quest to make personal and societal changes.
Yona of the Dawn – Official Promo Video
6. Hanasakeru Seishounen
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: April 2009 – February 2010
Hanasakeru Seishounen documents the story of Kajika Burnsworth who is the daughter of a notable businessman with the power to influence all. When Kajika was very young, her life was in jeopardy, so her father sent her off to an island to protect her. When Kajika turned fourteen, she returned home with her father. Shortly after her return, she is told that she must participate in a marriage game to find a potential husband. The potential candidates are chosen by her father and she must make her decision carefully in that her choice must be willing to take her as his bride.
In comparing Hanasakeru Seishounen, they are similar in that the protagonists physically appear delicate, but are mentally powerful. Each of the two contains elements of political drama and romance. Kajika and Shuurei are, in the end, in better control of themselves and spark a lot of influence to those around them. Fate is highly feature and governs the lives of these two women greatly.
Hanasakeru Seishōnen DVD Long version
So there you have it. The challenge was accepted and we made it to the end! These are Honey’s Recommendations for 6 Anime like Saiunkoku Monogatari. The common elements of romance, drama, comedy and action are what drive these anime collectively. Further, we know there are tons more out there. Let us know what we’ve missed! What other driven and strong female lead anime can you suggest to us and other readers? Leave your comments below! It’s destiny!