Feudal drama but make it Anime
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never been a fan of dramas, especially feudal ones. In my opinion, if we’re going all that way into the past, I want to see men with bass in their voices settle differences in a katana battle to the death. However, Raven of the inner palace introduces an element into the equation that caught my attention. The supernatural.
The anime follows Shouxue, an enigmatic and mysterious young woman who holds the title of the ‘Raven Consort’. Unlike the usual consorts whose jobs are to provide things like pleasure and company for the emperor, the Raven consort’s job is more unique. She acts as a sort of supernatural advisor, solving the problems of the palace’s members. Our story begins with rebellion. The previously ousted crown prince overthrows the previous empress dowager and assumes the role of emperor. This doesn’t go as planned though, as the empress dowager has many allies, and she constantly sends assaults against the emperor, both supernatural and physical. This is what leads the emperor to the Raven consort and her supernatural abilities.
Heavy CLAMP vibes
The series gives off a feeling similar to xxxholic. The Raven consort exudes powers that seem to operate by the same rules as those of the witch Yuko. They aren’t quite wish-granting powers, but they do seem to cater to the desires of those who make requests of the Raven consort. Each episode functions as a type of mystery of the week, with a larger overarching plot, exploring the story of the Raven consort and those close to her.
Pros and Cons
The show is essentially the anime version of a Chinese drama, so if you love those, you’ll love this. There’s a very clear romance that’s developing between the consort and the emperor and even I will admit it’s adorable to see. The series story is also excellently crafted as well, as the mystery of the week never takes away from the consort, the emperor, or any of his court’s larger roles in the plot. I also love that the cast is slowly being built out. Because of the show’s mystery of the week format, you never know who’s just around for an episode and who’s going to become a part of the main cast.
On the downside, because the show is a Chinese feudal drama, most of the names are subbed into their Chinese counterparts, yet, when the characters speak, it’s Japanese. An example is the fact that the Raven consort’s name is Shouxue, but while the subtitles say that name, the voice says Jusetsu. Yes, I understand that may have hampered the theme for them to just subtitle the direct Japanese word, but I also feel like the translation could have been lenient enough to just be direct.