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The Story of Saiunkoku (彩雲国物語, Saiunkoku Monogatari; lit. "Tale of the Land of Colored Clouds") is a series of Japanese light novels written by Sai Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura. As of July 2011, the eighteenth and final volume was released, concluding the series. Four side story anthologies have also been released, collecting stories originally published in The Beans magazine.
A manga version, also illustrated by Kairi Yura, is serialized in Beans Ace, which is published by Kadokawa Shoten. However when Beans Ace ended, the manga was moved to Monthly Asuka. Currently, nine tankōbon volumes have been released. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English release in North America as part of their Shojo Beat imprint.
The anime adaptation series, produced by Madhouse Studios, is directed by Jun Shishido, and broadcast on the Japanese television network NHK on Saturday mornings. The first season began airing on April 8, 2006, and completed its run on February 24, 2007, airing a total of 39 episodes. The second season, titled Saiunkoku Monogatari Second Series (彩雲国物語 第2シリーズ) began airing on April 7, 2007 and consists of another 39 episodes, ending its run on March 8, 2008.
Set in the fictional empire of Saiunkoku, the story centers on Shurei Hong (Kou), a descendant of a noble family that has fallen on hard times. Her father works as a librarian in the Imperial palace, a post which offers prestige and respect, but little compensation. Shurei teaches in the temple school and works odd jobs to make ends meet, but her dream is to pass the imperial examinations and take a post in government, a path forbidden to women.
Shurei's plans come to an abrupt halt when the Emperor's Grand Advisor makes a startling offer for her to join the imperial household for six months as the young Emperor's consort and teach the Emperor to be a responsible ruler. If she succeeds, a reward of 500 gold coins will be granted.
The story details Shurei's growing relationship with the Emperor and other members of the court, the intrigues of imperial politics, and her commitment to better herself and her country.
 - Alternate Saiunkoku Monogatari Wikia