Legend of Rosy Clouds: Character Description Based on Saiunkoku Monogatari

Legend of Rosy Clouds synopsis

Intrigued with this upcoming series - Legend of Rosy Clouds - because of the storyline of its novel source, The Story of Saiunkoku. It¬†sounds so captivating! But I'm quite disappointed on how the sript of the drama adaptation was written. Feels like they change the flow of the story. ūü•ļ

One big change they made is how Seiran Shi's (Zi Jinglan played by Riley Wang in the drama adaptation) character was written in Legend of Rosy Clouds. He is demoted to the supporting cast when he is one of the main characters in the source novel.

Legend of Rosy Clouds synopsis
Three male leads in the Legend of Rosy Clouds

Sa Sakujun (Cha Shouxun in the drama adaptation played by Deng Wei) has been elevated to the main cast line when this character is not a big one in the novel.

Would this mean the drama script totally changed the direction of the story? Surely, they will give more screen time to Cha Shouxun, and Zi Jinglan will be reduced to just a trivial character.

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Deng Wei as Cha Shouxun

The original source

The Legend of Rosy Clouds is adapted from The Story of Saiunkoku (Japanese title: Saiunkoku Monogatari). It is also known as The Tale of the Kingdom of Colored Clouds. It is a series of Japanese light novels written by Japanese author, Sai Yukino, and illustrated by Kairi Yura. 

The story is set in a fictional country based on ancient China. The Saiunkoku is a kingdom composed of eight provinces or houses, and each house is named after a color. 

It tells the story of Shuurei Hong (Hong Xiu Li in the drama adaptation played by Li Yitong) - A descendant of a noble family that has fallen on hard times. 

Her mother's true identity was a powerful Red immortal and Rose Princess. Her father works as a librarian in the Imperial Palace, a post that offers prestige and respect, but little compensation. 

Shuurei's dream is to pass the imperial examinations and take a government post, a career path forbidden to women during that time.

Ryuuki Shi (in Legend of Rosy Clouds, Zi Liu Hui played by Joseph Zeng) is the new emperor and has gained the reputation of being a dork (silly) who is uninterested in ruling a kingdom. He often vanishes from the palace and wanders around, much to the disappointment of his officials. 

So the Emperor's Grand Adviser makes an offer for Shuurei to join the imperial household for six months as the emperor's new concubine to teach him good manners and how to be a responsible emperor. 

Shuurei easily accepted the invitation due to the large sum she will receive if she succeeds in making the emperor a good leader.

The mysterious Seiran Shi (Zi Jinglan in the drama adaptation played by Riley Wang), the adopted son of her father, accompanies her and enters the palace as the emperor's bodyguard. However, Seiran Shi has a hidden identity that is connected to the emperor.

Main Characters in The Story of SaiunKoku:

1. Shuurei Hong (Hong Xiu Li in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Li Yitong) - She is the daughter and only child of Shoka Hong and Shokun Hyo. She dreams of passing the imperial examination to enter government service but instead becomes the emperor's concubine. She is attracted to Sa Sakujun.

2. Ryuuki Shi (Zi Liu Hui in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Joseph Zeng) - He is the reigning emperor of Saiunkoku. As the youngest among the former emperor's six sons, he was not expected to ascend to the throne. 

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Joseph Zeng

But the execution of his older half-brothers (for treason) and the disappearance of his favorite older brother, Prince Seien, unexpectedly made him the emperor.

In his childhood, Ryuuki suffered abuse from his family for having a mother of a lowly background. His older half-brothers would beat him and lock him in a storage house for days. 

His favorite older brother was Prince Seien, the only one who was ever nice to him. But this brother disappeared without a trace and Ryuuki in his adulthood is desperate to find Seien. So he would deliberately appear as a stupid emperor so that the palace officials would make an effort to find Seien. 

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Riley Wang

3. Seiran Shi (Zi Jinglan in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Riley Wang) - He is the adopted son of Suurei Hong's father. He accompanies Shuurei to the palace when she enters as the new concubine of the emperor. Seiran serves Ryuuki as his bodyguard. Seiran Shi is later revealed to be Prince Seien, the favorite and long-lost brother of Ryuuki Shi.

Supporting characters:

1. Ran Shuuei (Lan Qiu Ying in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Cheng Hongxin) - A former General of the Left Habayashi Army, he is Ryuuki Shi's loyal assistant.

When Ran Shuuei was a child, his brother Ran Setsuna sent him to Kiyou to assist a young prince (later identified as Prince Seien). 

He encountered the young Prince Seien under attack in an alley and tried to help him, but Ran Shuuei's sword fighting skills weren't strong enough to defeat the assassins. Seien told him that he was weak and useless. 

Seien even defeated Shuuei in a sword battle in front of Setsuna and Emperor Senka. Humiliated, Shuuei retreated back to Ran province and trained hard to become a high skilled swordsman. 

However, by the time Shuuei returned to the capital, Prince Seien disappeared. He was ordered to track down Prince Seien's whereabouts, but to no avail. 

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Cheng Hongxin

Ran Shuuei and Li Kouyuu met during the Imperial Exams, in which Shuuei took the second highest honor and Li Kouyuu as the top honor. 

Near the beginning of Ryuuki Shi's reign, Shuuei briefly worked as a civil official until feeling disappointed because the new emperor wasn't interested in politics and kept disappearing. 

Switching from the civil service to the military, Shuuei joined the Left Uringun army and rose to the position of Shogun (general/military commander in Japanese culture). 

Shuuei and Kouyuu become reacquainted after being assigned to serve the emperor. He becomes Ryuuki Shi's personal guard and Li Kouyuu the emperor's personal advisor.

Ryuuki Shi likes to wander around so he often leaves the palace without informing anyone, leaving Ran Shuuei and Li Kouyuu in the library for a month of boredom.

However, upon meeting the emperor's new bodyguard, Seiran Shi, Ran Shuuei easily recognized him as the long lost Prince Seien.

2. Li Kouyuu (Li Jiang You in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Tian Jiarui) - An imperial court official directly assigned to the emperor (Ryuuki Shi), a position he does not like because the emperor is a dork who often disappears. 

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Tian Jianrui

After agreeing to be tutored by Li Kouyuu and assuming a more active role in the government, Ryuuki offers Kouyuu an iris flower as a sign of trust. 

3. Sa Sakujun (Cha Shuo Xun in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Deng Wei) - He is the head of Sa Clan. He is a manipulative badass. Disturbingly calm and composed even during the most inappropriate times. He only likes Shuurei Hong. He hates the idea of Shuurei paying attention to anyone other than him.

4. Ran Jyuusanhime (Lan  Shi Sanji in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Dai Luwa) - Her name means "13th princess". She is the younger sister of Ran Shuuei and the bride prospect of Ryuuki (the emperor). She joins the military and rises to General. She is a look-alike of her brother Ran Shuueri so they often switch places as part of a ploy to foil an assassination.

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Dai Luwa

5. To Eigetsu/Yougetsu (Du Yingyue in Legend of Rosy Clouds played by Jian Yuxi) - A thirteen-year-old boy who comes to the Imperial Capital to take the qualifying examinations for government office. 

Eigetsu befriended Ran Shuurei and becomes the youngest person in history to win the position of Jougen (top scorer of the year in the imperial exam), beating the previous record set by Li Kouyuu.

Legend of Rosy Clouds drama
Jian Yuxi

When the young emperor Ryuuki appoints him and Shuurei as the new governors of Sa province, Eigetsu is again the youngest person to ever win that position, as well as one of the first set of co-governors to share such an office. 

Eigetsu does not like to consume alcohol or even smell it, because it literally turns him into another person: Yougetsu, who is brash, arrogant, and an excellent fighter. 

Note: This is a challenging role for the young actor Jian Yuxi and we're excited to watch him in this role. Jian Yuxi gained attention last year when he played the young version of Xiao Zhan in The Longest Promise and Gong Jun in Legend of Anle and also this year as the younger version of Chen Zheyuan in Sword and Fairy 4.

6. Shokun Hyo - mother of Shuurei and adoptive mother of Seiran Shi. She is the wife of Shoka. Shokun Hyo is later revealed to be the Rose Princess of the Hyo family and the Red Immortal, one of the eight sages who served the first emperor. 

7. Shoka Hong - He is Shuurei's father, Seiran's adoptive father, and the eldest son of the Hong clan. Despite his mild-mannered exterior, Shoka is a semi-retired deadly assassin known as The Black Wolf.

So that's how the original characters in the source novel appeared. Since scriptwriters in the drama adaptation often tweaked the original writing, it's no surprise that the flow of the above characters might no longer be the same as in the drama (Legend of Rosy Clouds). 

We're just hoping that the scriptwriters did not totally change the trajectory of the story otherwise it would be as disappointing as Legend of Anle where the scriptwriters also changed the description of the characters from the original novel.

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  1. Please note that in Saiunkoku Monogatari, Shuurei's family name is NOT Hong, which is the Chinese version of the name. Her family name is actually Kou.