I watched Black Heaven over the weekend. While the premise is silly, I actually wound up enjoying the series. Primarily, the main character's personality is what drew me in. I wasn't paying attention when I inserted the discs, and I made the mistake of watching the fourth disc first, but as it turned out, it was pretty good that way. As long as you watch the shows in circular order, it doesn't really matter where you start. lol
After that, I watched the first disc or two of The Story Of Saiunkoku (Season 1). So far, I like it a lot. While I don't go out of my way try to make comparisons while watching anime, Saiunkoku has a way of inviting them.
At first, I expected another Fushigi Yugi type story, but this series doesn't involve the supernatural, which came as a relief. Even though I like FY, I really wasn't in the mood for magical beings. So, it started to seem more like a royal version of Rurouni Kenshin, given the dynamics among the female lead and the two male leads. But, it's not really as action-oriented as that series (and the swords are jian, not katana). It's more like Fruits Basket, in which you have a female lead who's heart is naturally pure and she inspires everyone else (for the most part, intelligent, accomplished male characters) to want to be better human beings. The scope of Saiunkoku is much larger though, and now that the first story arc has concluded, I'm curious to see where the series goes.
While many of the male character are unrealistically beautiful (duh - anime), most of their behaviors seem to be more realistic than in other shows of this genre. Some of them have personality quirks typical of anime characters, but they still put their responsibilities first and don't spaz-out during inappropriate situations, which is refreshing. There's an amazing amount of yaoi potential here (think Kyo Kara Maoh! x2), but so far, it's all been for the tease-factor, which is appropriate for the plot.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there's Taifu-So, one of the Grand Officials, who's a man among boys. His physical appearance is hyper-masculine in contrast to the other male characters. When he's on the screen, I don't think of potential yaoi match-ups; I think of responsibility, obligation, honor, duty, swords, spears, battle tactics, fortifications, and organized warfare in general. He's so different, it almost seems that he's wandered into the wrong anime. But, the contrast works very well, in the context of the story.
I can't say much about the plot without it being a spoiler (although I'm probably the only one here who hasn't yet seen it), but it's rather interesting, so far.