Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1 – Quick Summary
In Raven of the Inner Palace episode 1, “The Jade Earring, Part 1,” emperor Xia Gaojun had a problem. He needed to find the identify of a ghost he suspected might be connected to his family. So, with his attendant Wei Qing, he sought the help of the mysterious Liu Shouxue. Wei expressed outrage at how disrespectfully Liu spoke to the emperor, but Xia waved aside his concerns. Who is Liu that she can speak to the emperor that way? What is her role as the Raven of the Inner Palace? And why does that over-sized chicken named Xing-xing live with her?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
Favorite Quote from Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1
Seriously, who talks that way to the emperor? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
First episodes often have a lot of introductions. I try to pay close attention to those, especially in a series like this where I have no prior experience with the characters or situations. Liu Shouxue, the consort who is called the Raven of the Inner Place, is the introduction I watched the closest. Not only is she the title character, but she represents several contradictory ideas. She’s powerful, yet confined. She’s willful, yet cannot control her own destiny. And of course, she has mysterious powers.
The show wasted no time in defining some of the limits to her power. After she used teleportation magic to kick the emperor out of her room, he returned the next day with delicious food. Seems Xia is adept at enticing people. That’s certainly better than coercion!
The steamed buns got her attention, though she made a show of reluctance. As she happily munched on the buns, he asked her if she could divine the earring’s owner. When she said she couldn’t, he said he had heard that the Raven Consort could answer any question.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, her mouth full (08:59). “I’m not a god.”
I admire her honestly. I think Xia did, too.
Best in Show Moment for Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1
She gave us a realistic glimpse into palace life – for the subjects. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Setup: The Danger of Romanticizing Imperial Life
My education lacked any mention of eastern histories. Even the college-level classes called “World History” really meant “European History.” I regret that, and I think it’s a seriously blind spot in the United States education establishment. Because I’ll tell you this for free: current events made a lot more sense after I read Henry Kissinger’s book On China.
That was one of the things that made me want to check out this series. Another was the soundtrack and animation. Both are right in my strike zone. But those would not have been enough to make me want to review the show. There has to be some hook, something that inspires my imagination. That turned out to be my favorite moment in this episode.
As fascinated as I am by Chinese history, much of its characteristics repel me. The very concept of an emperor is troublesome. Power + humans = suckage (and please do check my math!). Let’s face it: emperors have near limitless power within the human sphere. They can build great monuments and provide stability for their people. They can also abuse humans at will.
The previous empress embodied a lot of what I detest about those who wield imperial power. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
That was one of the concerns I had going into this episode. I was afraid the series would try to glorify imperial power. Also, I was afraid it would try to depict happy subjects who sang their emperor’s praises.
The show did not give that to me. And I am grateful.
Instead, the show gave us a matter-of-fact portrayal of the people who lived and worked in the palace. Liu hilariously went undercover to find the earring’s owner. I say hilarious because I don’t think she’s very good at it. It’s only because Jiu-jiu was so innocent that Liu’s act worked. But work it did. And I must say that Liu gets points for her willingness to work to earn the information Jiu-jiu gave her. I like that attitude!
Delivery: Liu Uncovers Evidence I Might Like This Show
With Jiu-jiu’s help, Liu found a woman who knew a lot about imperial court intrigue. She told the two younger women about the poisoning death of one court lady and the subsequent “suicide” of Ban Yingnu, the woman accused of administering the poison.
After hearing the story, Liu wondered if the investigation had really proven Ban’s guilt. After all, she said, someone else could have poisoned the fish broth. The other woman laughed it off and said that’s just how things worked within the palace.
I really want to know more about her story. She seems unjaded (pun not intended!) by imperial life. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
“But because of that, we never run out of things to gossip about,” the woman said cheerfully (16:55). Liu, clearly displeased, lamented that even death had become entertainment for the inner palace. The other woman answered, “What do you expect us to do? We’re forbidden from leaving this place for our whole lives.”
And just like that, the show put my concern to rest. It wasn’t an in-your-face kind of moment. It was just a passing moment of a woman gossiping, then justifying that gossip with a matter-of-fact statement of her condition in life. That gave me hope that this show might be worth watching. That, and I really do like the music and animation!
What did you think of our first glimpse of the Raven of the Inner’s Court’s magic power? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!
Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1: Other Posts
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: Koukyuu no Karasu | Raven of the Inner Palace – Episode 1 discussion
- 2CentsBeat: ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!! | Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1 Reaction Opening Reaction & Thougts (YouTube)
- Lost in Anime: First Impressions – Koukyuu no Karasu
- Random Curiosity: Koukyuu no Karasu – 01
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 1: The Jade Earring, Part 1
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 2: The Jade Earring, Part 2
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 3: The Whistle
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 4: The Skylark Princess
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 5: Confidant
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 6: The Summer King and the Winter King
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 7: Glass Prayer
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 8: Blue Swallow
- Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 9: Water’s Voice