Thousands of years ago, in 11th century BC, an eminent conflict brews between the immortals in the heavens and demons who dwell on the earth. Zhou, the wise ruler of the Yin Dynasty of humanity, has been put under a spell by the evil Dakki and his empire is slowly starving to death. Unable to sit by idly, the immortal sages task the brash Taikoubou with vanquishing the souls of 365 demons, including Dakki. Together with his trusty beast and a powerful weapon bestowed upon him by his teacher, Taikoubou reluctantly sets forth to complete his task, helping others, finding new companions and sealing away enemies along the way.
Hitomi was just a normal high school girl, until she was taken by the mysterious Van Fanel and dropped into a world of romance, magic and giant sword-wielding armor suits! Now Van, pilot of the famed armor suit Escaflowne; and Hitomi, whose hobby of predicting the future just became a frightening reality, must work together and fight the advanced technology of Zaibach: a force who want to shape Gaea to their visions of "peace". Follow Hitomi in her struggles against both these forces who seek to conquer this world, and her own confused heart.
Vision of Escaflowne and Soul Hunter both incorporate a sense of otherworldly political conspiracy as a backdrop for a largely character-centric story. The animation styles have a similar quality, and and there's a sense of contrived esoteric communion involved. While Soul Hunter is more comedic than romantic, and Escaflowne is told form the perspective of a preteen girl, both protagonists take on a fantastic world into which they have been forced. Like one? Watch the other.
In an ancient and mythological land called Saiunkoku, the people have begun to recover from a period of war and famine; thus, when an official from the imperial court offers the impoverished and beautiful Shuurei more money than she could ever dream of in return for a favor, she jumps at the chance. What she doesn’t count on, however, is being asked to become a concubine to the recluse Emperor and help him transform into a better leader. What’s more, the Emperor shows little intelligence, seems to have no interest in ruling, and is rumored to prefer men. One thing’s for certain: Shuurei has her work cut out for her!
What does a reverse harem anime have in common with a fantasy based upon the clash of gods? Style. Both Saiunkoku Monogatari and Soul Hunter have this in spades. They require a massive suspension of disbelief to sink into a feel-good, world-altering premise. Both protagonists exist in a world ruled by Chinese Lords and seek to pacify corruption with their own unlikely brands of humor and self-righteousness. Target audiences may differ, but the similar approach between these two titles make them enjoyable across the board.
In the mystical world of Shangri-la, demons and humans live side by side, watched over by a parthenon of ancient Chinese gods. But when normally-civilized demons start to go berserk, the gods require the services of Genjou Sanzo - a Buddhist priest with a magical gun, an evil-banishing scripture and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Aided by the ancient monkey god Son Goku, the half-demon Sha Gojyo and the demon exterminator Cho Hakkai, he sets off on a treacherous journey westward, with armies of demons, dark mages and angry gods all standing in his way...
Soul Hunter and Saiyuki are incredibly similar, from their tone and feel to the characters, to the overlying Chinese elements. While based on different stories they both take place in ancient China with a mix of new and old technology. Saiyuki is FAR superior, but fans of one still should at least appreciate the other.