This episode was all about getting Shirayuki ready for the big ball in her homeland, Tanbarun. While Shirayuki is learning how to dance and behave like a “proper lady,” final arrangments are being for her trip. Mitsuhide has been chosen to accompany Shirayuki to Tanbarun, so all’s left for her to do is pack her things.
Down at the docks, Obi and Misaya are discreetly asking around whether someone matching Kazuki’s description has been seen. Obi asks people to detain Kazuki for him if the young man decides to show his face around town, and they agree that they will.
Later that night, Obi, Kiki and Mitsuhide meet up and call for Zen to head to bed. As the trio takes a few moments to watch Zen spar alone, Obi sees an opportunity. He challenges Zen to a duel; if he wins, Obi will take over for Mitsuhide as Shirayuki’s bodyguard. Naturally Obi is the victor, and Zen thinks nothing of making note of the switch in the official records. But could it mean…? >>
After the duel, Zen stops by Shirayuki’s room to talk to her privately for a few minutes. Poor Shirayuki tries to invite him into her room before he quickly redirects her to a nearby seating area; she’s so cute. They both are! The two lovebirds make small talk about safe topics like Shirayuki finishing her dancing lessons and Zen’s duel with Obi, and then she heads to bed. Before she can close her bedroom door though, Zen grabs Shirayuki in a hug from behind and they get all smiley and blushy with each other. Did I mention they’re really fucking cute??
When the sun rises in the morning, it is the day when Shirayuki is leaving with Obi for Tanbarun. Everyone shows up to see her off, including Lord Haruka, who will be accompanying our duo to the border, and– Prince Izana?? Hmm. He still has me suspicious (no I haven’t read the manga or any spoilers). Shirayuki continues to be adorable by asking Zen if he has something on him that she can keep until she returns from Tanbarun, and he hands her an intricate looking pocketwatch. Our young couple smiles and blushes some more. Everyone say it with me now: D’awwww!
Obi is clearly relieved when they reach the border with Tanbarun and Lord Haruka is out of their hair. They proceed onward to the castle, where a charming and polite Prince Raj greets them and welcomes them inside. Once they’re inside however, the illusion of a new leaf is shattered. Prince Raj has no idea why Shirayuki and Obi are even there in Tanbarun, and his freaking attendant has to remind him about the invitation to the ball being a way to show Shirayuki his gratitude. The attendant goes on to insist that Prince Raj should spend a lot of time with Shirayuki, to help her feel welcome at his castle. (Quick, someone make him a badge that says “Matchmaker”!) Shirayuki accepts, and the final moments of this episode have Prince Raj giving her his best Tamaki Suoh impression. Looks like Shirayuki has not one, not two, but three guys interested in her??
My thoughts: As I’ve started watching this second season, I’ve been trying to figure out why I like Akagami no Shirayukihime so much. It’s a slower show, which can sometimes backfire when there is not enough plot or character development, so is the romance really the main allure for me? After thinking about it, I think it’s because the show’s premise is relatable for many people (including myself). Seeing such a cutesy shoujo couple figure out their relationship may remind some people of their own experiences with trying to work through a new or difficult romance. Or for other viewers, perhaps it just reminds them of their own early exposures to dating. Who knows.
But I think that’s why I keep watching. Namely that although I figure the show will have a predictable happy ending, I still want to see Zen and Shirayuki work through the challenges and enjoy the tender moments which are part of being in a new romance. We know Zen is the forward one, and so while he’s gently supporting Shirayuki, I want to see her figure out these new feelings she’s slowly acquiring for him. Maybe we’ll even get a scene or an episode that will really test Shirayuki’s relationship with Zen, and she’ll be forced to step outside of her comfort zone a little in order to reciprocate the feelings he’s shown for her.
And while I know the pairing is almost guaranteed to not work out, I want to see what happens with Obi and Shirayuki’s friendship. I feel like there’s something there – Mitsuhide even commented on it. Will Obi stay loyal to both Shirayuki and Zen until the end?
Oh but there’s the whole subplot with Kazuki to consider too! Perhaps season 2 of Akagami no Shirayuki will be when the show strikes a better balance between relationships and action. We’re only two episodes in but I’m really hopeful!