Akagami no Shirayukihime – 03

Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -5 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -14 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -29

Before the invention of the text message, a person really needed to be creative…

If you’re looking for high drama, Akagami no Shirayukihime just may not be the series for you.  Even when there’s danger, somehow things don’t quite feel all that dangerous, and I think to some extent that’s due to the show being a victim of its own success.  It’s so good at creating a wistful and inviting atmosphere (those watercolor backgrounds, oh my) that for me at least, I’m never quite taken out of it no matter what’s happening on-screen.

Of course, with this episode things are relatively low-key to begin with, focused more on politics and classism than genuine peril.  We’re seeing a solidification of the dominant theme for Shirayuki’s character arc – she’s all about trying to be her own person.  That mens making her own decisions about where she wants to live her life and how she wants to live it, and achieving her goals based on her own abilities.  As epic fantasy plots go that may not be especially epic, but as the basis for a coming-of-age story it’s a damn good one – especially when the protagonist is a young woman in a medieval setting.

There’s another side to this too, though, and that’s Zen’s arc.  While Shirayuki’s role in the story is pretty much worn on the series’ sleeve, Zen’s arc is teased out in tantalizing hints.  We know he’s the second prince – we’ve never met the first (and presumed heir), or seen clues as to their relationship.  We know he’s a young man who wishes to understand his people and his country, but also a bit of an impetuous and perhaps reckless sort (well – there’s no “perhaps” about it).  I think Zen is something of a bad boy – a bit of headache and perhaps even embarrassment to his family.  And I think we’re seeing hints of that this week.

Obviously the fact that there are those in the palace unhappy that a prince suddenly declares a commoner girl from another county has an all-access pass to enter is no surprise.  They’re personified here by Lord Haruka, an advisor to the royals and clearly a man displeased by some of Zen’s choices.  He warns Zen of the mistake he’s making by risking a public association with Shirayuki, painting her as a climber intent on using the prince to her own ends.  And when that fails to move Zen, Haruka takes matters into his own hands and sets about severing the ties between the two on his own.

Funnily enough, early on this week I made note of the fact that I hadn’t noticed one of the two young palace guards was played by Okamoto Nobuhiko, and checked the credits to confirm.  “Oh – I guess his name is Obi”, I thought to myself – but it turns out Okamoto is doing double-duty here (as he did in Akatsuki no Yona) and Obi is a rather more significant character.  He looks like some sort of ninja, and Haruka seemingly sets him on Shirayuki to try and scare her away from the castle.  Haruka also apparently forges Zen’s name on an order rescinding her right to entry.  It’s to Shirayuki’s credit (and mangaka Akizuki Sorata’s) that she doesn’t accept this at face value (which would have been much more cliched).  She recognizes that the Zen she knows would never do this, and refuses to be driven off.

I liked the way this all played out, with Shirayuki bulling her way through to Zen despite Haruka’s efforts to intimidate her, and then telling Zen she wanted to try and get to the bottom of this on her own.  But I do think Zen was pretty lenient with Haruka, all things considered – I mean, appending a prince’s name to a court document is a pretty big deal I would have thought.  I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this conflict, or Haruka’s role in it.  As for Obi, he seems destined to become an ally of Zen’s, and judgning by his skill set it looks as if he could be a pretty useful one.  Even in a series like this one, you can’t have too many ninjas on your side…

Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -8 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -9 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -10
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -11 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -12 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -13
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -15 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -16 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -17
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -18 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -19 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -20
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -21 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -22 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -23
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -24 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -25 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -26
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -27 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -28 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -30
Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -31 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -32 Akagami no Shirayukihime - 03 -33
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8 comments

  1. P

    I fear this may be another Yona of Dawn situation. Deliberate and well paced, but then all we get is one season with a ending that feels like the story is just beginning…

  2. R

    Depending on various factors, forging the signature of a prince on a court document could be considered treason. In some countries Lord Grumpypants could lose his head for that.

  3. That was certainly my thinking – that guy is lucky he still has a place to wear his hat.

  4. Y

    Well, Haruka did say he was doing this for the sake of the prince himself (we didn't get any clues regarding an ulterior motive, after all), and Zen appears to generally trust him; he doesn't seem like a bad person, just an unreasonably conceited one. Plus, Zen did mention he appreciates Haruka's views on class and authority, in spite of how different they may be from his own or Shirayuki's — which is why he didn't issue a punishment, I think (nevertheless, he did appear to be appropriately angry with him, what with the whole "You value your name and title, do you not?" talk).

  5. E

    Theres a tradition of being too nice to villains in this show(kind of common in fairy tales maybe?) I guess. Usually I'm too engrossed in the atmosphere though to get especially distracted by this.

  6. K

    So far I wish I liked this series more than I do. The production values are top quality and I like Shirayuki as a heroine but the series could use a bit more drama & conflict (and I don't mean melodrama when I say that). Everything is so laid back that I just feel a bit bored.

  7. Y

    That's probably the biggest "problem" regarding this series that I could find (I'm up to date with the manga). There really isn't all that much "drama", if any. It's very laid-back, and oftentimes feels far too relaxed for the tastes of the general public (though I'm perfectly fine with this type of storytelling). There are many serious moments, yes, as well as quite a lot of character development, but most of that comes in the form of tackling "mundane" situations and exploring the characters' relationships in great detail. It kind of lacks the "extraordinary" element shoujo fantasy usually presents its viewers with. If you're looking for hardcore action and/or edge-of-your-seat developments, then I dare say this story's definitely not for you. It's meant to be very sweet, introspective and fairytale-ish, which in and of itself is by no means a bad thing, although I can certainly see why that seems to be a bit of a turn-off for some people.

  8. R

    Im actually satisfied that this particular plot point was handled in a less dramatic way. From what I gathered of the manga, the question of the difference between Zen and Shirayuki's isn't that significant, unlike many shoujo (and soap operas in my country) which really play this to death. This was a refreshing (albeit idealistic) departure from those. Of course, I would also want to see a bit more drama later on.

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