Seiran Shi

Infobox animanga character
name = Seiran Shi
series = The Story of Saiunkoku


caption = Shi Seiran (茈 静蘭)
first = Manga volume 1
Anime Episode 1
last =
creator = Sai Yukino
voiced by = Hikaru Midorikawa
nickname = "Flower" of the Royal Princes
Little Whirlwind
alias =
age = 26 "at the start of the series" [Note: Though Seiran's exact age is never stated, he is approximately 26 years old at the start of the series; Seiran was approximately 13 years of age when he was adopted by Shōka thirteen years before the start of the story. Also, Ensei Rō, who reveals himself to be 27 years old nearly a year after the story begins, stated that he is the same age as Seiran.] (approximate)
gender = Male
born =
death =
occupation =
title = Prince (exiled)
Forest Army's Captain (former)
Royal Guard's Captain (former)
Exclusive Officer
relatives = Ryūki Shi (younger half-brother)
Senka (father, deceased)
Four half-brothers (all deceased)
Lady Suzuran (mother, deceased)
Maternal Grandfather (deceased)
Yuri-hime (aunt)

nihongo|Seiran Shi|茈 静蘭|Shi Seiran is a fictional character in the novel, manga and anime series, "The Story of Saiunkoku".

In Geneon Entertainment's release of the series, Seiran's surname, "Shi", is changed to "Si".

Name

Seiran's surname, 'Shi' (茈), is pronounced the same as the Emperor's family name, but has different kanji.

During a conversation with Shōka, Yōsei Shō comments on how the 'Shi' in Seiran's name means the flower of "Zi Cao", which is connected to the royal family (due to its purplish color). He then goes on to say that Shōka gave him a fitting name, hinting that he has knowledge of Seiran's true identity. ["The Story of Saiunkoku" episode 07, "Even The Strongest Swimmer May Drown".]

Personality

Seiran can be construed as an intelligent and gentle person. He often puts others' well-being before his own and can sometimes be considered as being over-protective. He usually keeps to himself and does not let anyone get too close to his mysterious past.

He has known Shūrei Kō ever since the latter was little, and had been her servant, bodyguard, and best friend ever since. Shūrei often goes to him when she feels concerned about something or just to have a relaxing conversation. Rather than being directly involved in their actions, Seiran prefers to support others by watching and helping from the shadows.

Still, he is always ready for action when he feels that those he cares about are in danger. Even though he is often seen with an amiable disposition, he could be quite ruthless to those who put his loved ones in danger; he has no qualms in implementing any means necessary in order to protect the people he cares for.

Background

Seiran Shi is introduced as a low-ranking army officer and the sole remaining retainer in the Kō household. Thirteen years ago, Seiran was taken in by Shōka Kō in Sa province (at that time, Shōka Kō was en route to move to Shi province from Kō province with his wife and small child), and had made a vow to spend his life repaying that kindness. He helps the Kō family by protecting them at their home, performing repairs on the family estate, and taking small guard jobs to earn money. He is very skilled in both fighting and swordsmanship.

True identity

Seiran is later revealed to be Prince Seien, the second oldest of the six royal brothers (all born to different mothers), making him Ryūki's older brother.

He was known as the "flower" of the royal princes due to his handsome looks, kind heart, and also his physical and intellectual superiority over his brothers. At the age of 12, (in the anime) he decided to participate in the Palace's Annual Fighting Tournament. After Seien won the tournament, the Emperor (his father) said that he, having distinguished himself in both the scholarly and the martial arts, was worthy enough to receive their family's esteemed twin swords, Kanshō and Bakuya. He gave one of the twin swords, Bakuya, to his little brother, Ryūki; out of all his other brothers, Seien was the only one who treated Ryūki with kindness."The Story of Saiunkoku" episode 20, "Flowers Blooming from Dead Wood".]

Due to Seien's potential abilities, his brothers grew jealous of him. It did not take long for them to view him as a threat in the race for becoming heir to the Emperor's throne. Not wanting to be just another low-level official, his maternal grandfather, along with his mother, conspired to make Seien an emperor. Due to a trap by the other royal families, who wanted to do away with Seien, their conspiracy was quickly discovered. Seien, who knew nothing of the plot, and his mother were exiled for treason, while his grandfather was executed. The other royal families, who saw this as a chance to completely annihilate him once and for all, sent assassins to kill him. He killed all the assassins and survived all the attempts on his life; however, his mother was killed by an assassin (in the novel, she was beheaded). Like Ryūki, Seien also had a mother who regretted giving birth to one of the Emperor's children. She was a sickly person who would often tell him that she would have had a better life if she had never gave birth to him, even with her very last breath. Though Seien was unsure of his love for his mother, he expressed that he did not hate her because he is grateful for the life she gave him. In the novel, it is revealed that his mother, Lady Suzuran, is actually the real mastermind behind his exile using clever plots to make sure that he won't become Emperor even if it meant risking her own life.

Some time later, a mysterious man found Seien lying on the ground unconscious. Unbeknownst to Seien, this man brought him into the "Satsujinzoku", a murderous band of thieves in Sa Province (Brown Province). During his time in the band (who knew nothing of Seien's past), he was given the nickname nihongo|Little Whirlwind|小旋风|Shōsenpū. He also encountered a young man, Ensei Rō, who also became part of the Satsujinzoku. The two soon discovered that they could no longer allow the existence of the contemptible band of thieves and proceeded to destroy the band themselves. ["The Story of Saiunkoku" episode 26, "Ravens In The Moonless Night".] Seien left Sa Province after the conflict with the Satsujinzoku.

According to Shūei Ran, there were no traces of Seien's whereabouts after his exile. Although, because 'Seiran' was taken in by Shōka nearly a year after Seien's exile, it is believed that Seien spent a year in Sa Province, the place he was officially exiled to, before he wandered off.

Kō Household

After traveling away from Sa Province, he soon found himself wandering alone. As he was about to give up, a married couple, and their daughter, found a debilitated Seien lying on the snow-covered ground. This group turned out to be members of the Kō household, one of the most powerful clans in all of Saiunkoku. Without knowing nor asking who he was, the married couple, Shōka and Shōkun, decided to take in Seien into their home, while their young, good-natured daughter, Shūrei, decided to take it upon herself to befriend Seien.

Since Seien did not speak at all during his initial stay in the Kō household, Shōkun gave him the name 'Seiran' (静蘭), meaning 'Silent Orchid'. The first time he spoke was when Shōkun blew up a medicinal soup she was concocting for Shūrei, in which Shōkun replied, "You...can speak?" He was also given the surname 'Shi' (茈), which is pronounced the same as the Emperor's family name.

During his stay in the Kō household, he undertook the position of retainer, doing many of the house chores himself.

Having gone through many unpleasant events as 'Seien', he decided to wholly devote himself into being 'Seiran'. Due to this and the fact that he wants to repay Shōka and his family, he did not reveal his true identity as Seien, a prince of Saiunkoku, to any member of the Kō household. Nevertheless, it is later revealed that Shōka knew of his true identity beforehand, unbeknownst to Seiran.

Story

Prior to the start of the story, thirteen years have passed since he was taken into the Kō household.

First series

When Taishi-Shō offers Shūrei a job to temporarily pose as the Emperor's consort, he also offers Seiran a temporary post as a captain of the Forest Army.

During Seiran's stay in the Imperial Palace, he participates in a Fighting Tournament, where the Emperor, Ryūki Shi, discovers his identity as Seien, Ryūki's older brother. Some time before the tournament Taifu-Sō and Shūei Ran had also figured out that Seiran was in fact Prince Seien during a sparring session.

When Shūrei is later kidnapped by Grand Guardian Sa (Sa Enjun), who knows of Seiran's true identity, Seiran had to confront him. Sa reveals his plans to assassinate Ryūki and then place Seiran on the Emperor's throne as his puppet Emperor. Seiran is of course against it, and states that if people knew he was alive, another civil war would begin. Seiran starts to feel the effects of the paralyzing toxin Sa had released in the room, but before he falls unconscious, he is able to throw a dagger at Sa's back, which leads to Sa's death. When Seiran is about to be taken away by the guards, he is secretly saved by the Black Wolf, while Shūrei is rescued by Ryūki at another location.

Nearly a month after leaving the palace, Shūrei encounters Ensei Rō, an old acquaintance of Seiran's, though Seiran is not too thrilled in seeing his old "friend", who calls him "Little Whirlwind". A series of events once again puts Shūrei in harm's way. Frustrated in not always being able to be by her side, Seiran decides to formally enlist as an official soldier.

He is then assigned as an exclusive officer in charge of defending Shūrei and another official, Eigetsu, as they travel to Sa Province. Unfortunately, upon their entrance into Sa Province, Seiran and Ensei are arrested for being members of the Satsujinzoku, but they escape their captors, and proceed to journey alone, whilst fighting off enemies who are hunting them down, until they once again meet up with Shūrei and the others.

Their reunion, however, is ruined by Sakujun Sa, the man responsible for Seiran's introduction into the Satsujinzoku many years ago and also for the chaos inflicted upon Sa Province. Despising Sakujun, Seiran begins to show his darker side, and for the first time, he proclaims himself Prince Seien (to himself). Upon learning that Sakujun has grown a liking for Shūrei, he urges her not to fall for him. In an effort to protect his loved ones from Sakujun, he asks Shō Sai to acquire a deadly poison, vaguely expressing what he will use it for, leading Shō to describe his words as those of a "true ruler."

Relationships

hūrei Kō

:Having watched over Shūrei since childhood, Seiran has grown quite protective of her; he once threw a boy, who was constantly hitting on her, into a river, in the middle of winter. In the drama CD, "Ura ka Omote ka", a drunk Seiran admitted to throwing bamboo shoots at the boys who made a pass at Shūrei in her childhood, and goes far as saying that he would do the same to Ryūki; Seiran did send bamboo shoots in a package to the confused Ryūki.

:Shūrei grew up side-by-side with Seiran and often confides in him, telling him virtually everything. She also constantly worries about him because he always keeps to himself and does not express himself to her, while she often expresses her worries to him and sometimes even seeks his advice.

:Due to spending so much of their time with each other, many of the townspeople have mistook them for a couple on several occasions. Though they have a strong bond, neither side have shown any romantic feelings for the other. Seiran wants the best for Shūrei and acts more like an older, over-protective brother towards her. His over-protective ways even go to feeling useless and irritated if he could not help or protect her from her surroundings. This has been criticized by Suō Shin, who told him that his over-protective ways really made Shūrei oblivious to the dangers of the real world and contributed to her naivety.

:He has yet to reveal his past to her, making her unaware of the fact that he is Ryūki's older brother, Seien.

Ensei Rō

:In many ways, Ensei Rō could be considered Seiran's closest friend. Having known Seiran since their days as part of the Satsujinzoku in Sa Province, Ensei knows more about Seiran than most. He can easily tell whether or not Seiran is agitated, angry, or concerned. He also knows of the painful experiences that Seiran has gone through and is aware that he is the former Prince Seien. :Since they have gone through so much with each other, Seiran, when in the presence of Ensei, feels comfortable enough to act in a way that he does not with anyone else. He is often seen as being cruel towards Ensei and sometimes even makes fun of him. Also, rather than keeping to himself, Seiran usually speaks to Ensei in a direct manner. He even temporarily entrusts Ensei with his sword, Kanshō, trusting him to protect Shūrei during her journey.

:Although they are close friends, Seiran considers Ensei and himself complete opposites. He speaks of Ensei as a person who lives in the light and prefers to avoid darkness. On the other hand, Seiran is a person who would take advantage of the darkness, as long as he is able to protect those he cares for. ["The Story of Saiunkoku" episode 30, "Women Are Brave".]

Ryūki Shi

:Seiran's true identity makes him Ryūki's older brother and, arguably, the true heir to the throne. However, Seiran has shown no interest in claiming the throne for himself, preferring to act behind the scenes and assist his younger brother. He states that he is happy for Ryūki and is certain that he will be a great Emperor. Seiran had also said that back in his days as Seien, the one person who truly loved him, without hidden motive, was Ryūki. He goes on to say that the only reason he stayed in the palace was because Ryūki was there.

:Even after discovering Seiran's true identity, Ryūki harbors some jealousy over the fact that Seiran spends more time with Shūrei and that she confides in him more. Though initially surprised at Ryūki's advances towards Shūrei, Seiran later shows signs of supporting their supposed relationship. He wants nothing more than Ryūki and Shūrei's happiness.

:Ryūki had once described Seiran as, "Stubborn and unwavering, standing at the ready, and not flattered by power. He has a self-respect that runs close to arrogance, as well as an unshakable self-confidence and belief, who would not bow his head unreasonably." ["The Story of Saiunkoku" episode 06, "Lacking The Finishing Touch".]

Notes and references

Other sources

*Various "Saiunkoku Monogatari" manga chapters, light novels, and anime episodes.

See also

* Shūrei Kō
* Ryūki Shi
* List of The Story of Saiunkoku characters
* The Story of Saiunkoku


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