When it comes to fantasies or historical fiction in anime, princesses and princes seem to be the go to characters to go off adventuring out in the great big world. What could be more thrilling than traveling across the fantasy countryside fighting dragons, getting the jump on bandits, or befriending swashbuckling rogues? The epic tale can only begin after the princess or prince leaves the castle and forges their way away from home. Because, one thing is for sure, there is no story for anyone that focuses on the kingdom rather than the adventure right?
Well, maybe not. Though royal intrigue anime might not have as many dragons to slay, it is certainly not short on monsters. The characters might not get the jump on bandits, but they do have to dodge being stabbed in the back. For the ones that are strategically navigating their way through political dangers, they might also need to befriend some sneaky rogues, make allies with snakes, or even hunt down some warriors of their own. And in the end, though they might not find the treasure, they might just get the throne instead!
Color Cloud Palace
The anime Color Cloud Palace: The Story of Saiunkoku is about Shurei Hong, a daughter of a nobleman in ancient China. Though the nobleman worked at the royal palace as an archivist, he didn’t have much money. Though the family lived in a large complex, they had no money to maintain it, so the mansion was falling down and crumbling. Shurei, trying to make money for the family, was a teacher for the local children and played music at restaurants.
Recently a new king took over the throne, but he seems to be very lazy and kind of dumb. He doesn’t go to government meetings and he doesn’t participate in any of his royal duties. An older politician working in the palace has heard of all the hard work that Shurei has been doing, so he offers her a lot of money to be the consort of the king for six months to train the king how to work hard and rule properly. With so much money on the line, she accepts. Little did she know how treacherous of an environment the royal palace would prove to be! Poisonings, murder, disappearing princes, and trauma oh my!
Ranking of the Kings
Ranking of the Kings in a unique anime about Prince Boji, son of a great king that defeated ogres to protect his kingdom. The king was a giant, unbelievably strong, and a wise ruler. Conversely, Boji was born very small, and rather weak, deaf and mute. Though Boji was the first born son and rightful heir to the throne, many people in the kingdom (including his step-mother the queen) believed that he wouldn’t be able to rule the kingdom the way he was. Through scheming, violence, and betrayal, Boji was denied his birth right, and the throne was given to the second prince after the king’s death. Unfortunately what very few people noticed, even the queen that raised him, was that Boji’s true strength was his ability to make friends with strong allies, his way of strategically using few assets to win difficult odds, his resilience through adversity and his amazingly big heart. All of which made him more than worthy of being king, and perhaps it might just be enough to take back the throne.
Yona of the Dawn
Boji isn’t the only royal to have his throne taken from him. In the anime Yona of the Dawn, Princess Yona lived a happy life with her loving father the king, her best friend Haku a fierce warrior, and her crush for the longest time Soo Won a general’s son. Yona is so smitten with Soo Won that she plans to marry him once she’s old enough. Then one night after Yona’s sixteenth birthday, Yona witnesses Soo Won murdering her father. Soo Won’s soldiers seize Yona, and as she is about to be executed too, Haku defeats the executioners and gets Yona out of the castle. Princess Yona is now on the run from the soldiers and royal government that once protected her.
Not surprisingly, Yona is greatly shaken by Soo Won’s betrayal, the murder of the king, and attempted assassination of her. It’s not long before Yona hears that Soo Won has taken over the kingdom and crowned himself the king even though Yona is still alive and the rightful heir to the throne. Waking herself from her shock, Yona begins a journey to find the powerful dragon warriors that can help her defeat Soo Won’s army and take back the throne that was stolen from her.