The place Chinese Hun-Po meets Japanese grace

Liu Shouxue, the titular Raven Consort. Pic credit score: Bandai Namco

Raven of the Inner Palace (後宮の烏, Koukyuu no Karasu) is likely one of the uncommon titles I used to be wanting ahead to seeing tailored into an anime collection.

The Koukyuu no Karasu TV anime relies on the eponymous gentle novel collection by Kouko Shirakawa, which I hoped would get licensed for an English-language launch for years. Admittedly, a few fan translations have been round because the novel’s debut (2018) however they’re gradual in coming and reasonably common, quality-wise.

Still, thanks fandom! There are too many titles we’d by no means get to listen to about (not to mention learn!) if it weren’t for the diligence of the followers.

It was solely in July 2022 — when the anime adaptation had already been introduced — that Seven Seas Entertainment obtained a license for the sunshine novel. Raven of the Inner Palace Volume 1 in English will probably be out on February 14, 2023, and I doubt that Valentine’s Day has been chosen at random.

Enter Ancient China with a Nihonjinron Twist

Koukyuu no Karasu is ready in an alternate-history Ancient China and follows a reasonably modern method that revolves round Liu Shouxue (Japanese studying: Ryuu Jusetsu), the titular Raven Consort of the Inner Palace.

Shouxue will not be your common consort as she isn’t required to carry out nighttime duties. In reality, she’s by no means met the Emperor!

Of course, that’s certain to vary however not in the best way one would anticipate. Albeit the Emperor wouldn’t thoughts the Raven Consort changing into an actual consort, issues will not be as they appear since not even the Emperor is aware of the girl’s historical past.

That, too, is about to vary. The TV anime is presently at Episode 7 and we’ve already realized the basis of the thriller.

Not needing to spoil something, I’ll simply say that Shouxue’s mysterious powers aren’t that mysterious in spite of everything, as she’s undertaken particular coaching by the earlier Raven Consort.  

Basically, the catch is that there should all the time be a Stark in Winterfell… and, apparently, there should all the time be a Raven Consort within the Inner Palace. That is to say, Shouxue could also be a consort in identify however she can’t go away the Inner Palace or turn out to be an actual consort.

The Emperor has, to this point, been friend-zoned, and I marvel on the episode depend because the collection is actually originally of the story with Episode 7. It is to be hoped that there’ll be at the least yet one more season. Since the sunshine novel is reasonably well-liked in Japan and unanimously described as “superbly written,” hope stays that the Raven of the Inner Palace anime collection gained’t get rushed.

As for the thriller, Shouxue can do a factor or two on the darkish facet, notably coping with otherworldly conundrums.

The historical Chinese courtroom infamously being a nest of superstitions, poor relationships, bloody plots, and jealousy galore, the Emperor might but come to understand this present of Shouxue’s.

Raven of the Inner Palace is prone to attraction to followers of Psychic Princess

If you’re accustomed to Haoliners Animation League’s Psychic Princess (通灵妃, Tongling Fei), you’re certain to love this title. There are many similarities between the 2 foremost heroines however Shouxue has an unmistakable breath of Nihonjinron (“Japaneseness”), not like the spirited Chinese princess Qian Yunxi.

Raven of the Inner Palace’s foremost character, Raven Consort Liu Shouxue shows typical Japanese silent grace even when accompanied by a cheerful golden hen (Xingxing). Pic credit score: Bandai Namco

I’d argue that nobody can depict Ancient China higher than the Chinese however there’s no denying that Raven of the Inner Palace is doing an honest job on prime of managing to take care of an air of secrecy… however that common Americans and Europeans wouldn’t discover the distinction anyway given their vital lack of expertise about Chinese historical past and tradition.

Psychic Princess’ foremost character, princess Qian Yunxi reveals a typical Chinese cheerful spirit steadily seen in donghua. Pic credit score: Haoliners Animation

Given that Koukyuu no Karasu blends a number of premises rooted within the area of fantasy, actually something goes, so reasonably than in search of flaws, merely benefit from the collection!

With the Fall 2022 anime season that includes so many well-liked titles, fears that Raven of the Inner Palace might not get the eye it deserves will not be wholly unfounded. If you want tales about Ancient China and revel in distinctive myths of the oldest surviving civilization, you’ll actually take pleasure in this TV anime.

Pay consideration to the opening as refined particulars will maintain you guessing. The ED theme track “Summer Snow” by krage is an ideal end. Raven of the Inner Palace options lovely artwork — actually deserving of the supply novel of that caliber. Characters are peculiar and also you’ll get to take pleasure in their distinctive background tales for some added layers of thriller.  

Overall, I’m fairly content material with the standard of the difference; I’m simply hoping the plot gained’t get rushed.

*Hun-Po (魂魄) — two distinctive sorts of souls in Chinese philosophy stemming from Taoism.

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