I kinda feel like the team making Akagami no Shirayukihime is subtly trying to tell its viewers that nothing is ever as it seems sometimes, because that’s definitely what this episode felt like. More backstory and hidden agendas were revealed, and we’re learning lots about these characters and their motivations this season. Shirayuki is more than just a young woman with red hair; Obi is not just a stuffy bodyguard; Prince Raj is no longer the insensitive member of royalty he once was; and Kazuki is not the heartless kidnapper he first appeared to be.
Episode six begins with Shirayuki flashing back to the last time she saw Zen, and then Kazuki is trying to hustle them along. If they can get away from their kidnappers before they are put on a boat, they’ll have a chance of freedom. Upon opening the door to their room however, they are dismayed to find that they are already locked below deck on a ship. It seems like they’re stuck until Shirayuki spots a bag of chitoka seeds, which they decide to burn in order to attract the attention of their guards. When the two men come below deck to investigate the source of all the smoke, Shirayuki and Kazuki knock them out. They flee onto the top deck, but Umihebi stops their escape in its tracks.
At Tanbarun Castle, Mitsuhide brings Zen back his shattered watch which got dropped during Shirayuki’s abduction. When he shows no major reaction, Mitsuhide and Kiki whack Zen heartily on his back and tell him to stop burying his emotions. Zen snarkily responds that when they get back to Clarines, Mitsuhide is going into the “punishment room” alone. Just then Prince Raj returns with information about a group called Lions of the Mountain who live up in the hills. They are enemies of the Claw of the Sea. Zen and his troop decide to go find these Lions of the Mountain in the hope that they have some information about Shirayuki and Kazuki.
Up in the dusty cliffs, Obi and Itoya have reached the Lions of the Mountain’s main base. They make their plans and split up, and Obi tags along with Itoya and the Lions’ leader.
Out on the water, Umihebi is beating the stuffing out of the two guards who were knocked down by Kazuki and Shirayuki. Kazuki attempts to tell Umihebi that he is now a Lion of the Mountain, no longer a part of the Claw of the Sea, and she hits him across his face. In his anger, Kazuki accidently reveals to Umihebi that Shirayuki is of great importance to the Lions of the Mountain. Well shit. This will not bode well for Kazuki.
Back on land, Obi, Itoya and the Lions’ leader are racing towards a still unknown place that the chief wants to check out. A flash of blue flying high overhead alerts Obi that Zen might be nearby. Sure enough, Zen comes flying out of the bushes on his horse and intercepts Obi’s group. We see Obi’s emotional reaction to seeing Zen again, and when his master calls him on his rough voice, Obi’s mask slips back into place for the duration of the episode. *pout*
Zen interrogates Itoya and the Chief, and it was just a little heartbreaking to see Prince Raj’s reaction when Itoya finally spilled the beans behind why Shirayuki was kidnapped: Kazuki had been poorly treated in the past by nobles, and when he saw that Shirayuki had been made to flee the country (based on Prince Raj’s initial behaviour towards her in the first season), he wanted to take Shirayuki away to someplace safe “where idiots couldn’t get her.” Ouch. At the end of this scene, Zen and the Chief of the Lions of the Mountain agree to work together to bring Kazuki and Shirayuki home safely. They head towards a nearby tavern town under the control of the Claw of the Sea.
When their group arrives, they hide on the edge of the forest and try to make a plan. Kazuki has been spotted but Shirayuki hasn’t; they decide that they need a plan. And it is Kiki who comes up with the idea that Zen and the others should try to sneak her onto the ship as “cargo”.
The plan is a success, and Kiki is taken aboard the sailing ship. Shirayuki is initially struck dumb upon seeing Kiki on the boat with her and Kazuki, but she is incredibly relieved to see her friend. Plus the knowledge that Zen is in Tanbarun with the others trying to bring her home makes her cry. Awww!
My thoughts: I really liked the moment between Shirayuki and Kazuki below deck, right before they attempted to flee. Kazuki asks her what she does for a job and whether she chose to do it. When Shirayuki tells him that she became an apprentice court herbalist because she wanted to, Kazuki looks a little surprised. Given what we find out later in the episode, I suspect he’s never really considered that Shirayuki stays at Clarines castle because she wants to, and instead was only thinking that Zen was forcing her to stay with him. He’d only kidnapped her because he’d been trying to help her in his own way.
My heart really went out to Kazuki this episode. Umihebi is quite the sadistic bitch, and when she was set on getting her way, the people around her suffered. Water torture, ugh.
There was a nice parallel between the last episode and this one. In the previous episode, Umihebi coldly tells Shirayuki just before the credits that she can never go home again. Shirayuki is understandably frightened and overwhelmed to think that she’ll never see Zen again. However when Kiki arrives on the ship, she’s quick to reassure Shirayuki that their friends are working hard to rescue Shirayuki and Kazuki. “You can go home.”
I can’t wait for the next week’s episode!