Akagami no Shirayukihime – 19

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Sailor Moon’s got nothing on Akagami no Shirayukihime.

Akagami - 19 -1Transformation complete – Akagami no Shirayukihime has changed more from cour to cour than just about any series I remember (except maybe Baka-Test, but that was just a complete shark-jumping).  The nice thing is that the essence of the series is still there – the essential kindness and warmth – but damn, it’s gone full-on action adventure now.  In fact this episode had an almost Princess Bride quality to it I thought, sans most of the humor – and that’s certainly not a bad thing to be compared to.

Akagami - 19 -2If I were to niggle a bit with this arc, it would be over the fact that there’s really no growth on the part of Shirayuki.  In fact I wouldn’t dismiss it if you were to argue her character has even regressed a bit, though that’s more of a judgment call.  But irrespective of that, while the arc has been a showcase for the development of several other characters, Shirayuki has been reduced to more or less a passive role.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing since she probably had more development in the first cour than anyone and the ledger had room for some balancing, but I still haven’t made up my mind on that point.  I did find her a bit too weepy towards the end of this episode, though she certainly had good reason to cry tears of joy so maybe I’m just a heartless DB.

Akagami - 19 -3Probably no one has grown more than Raj, though of course he was starting from a remarkably low base point.  I suppose the love of a good woman can change any man in a shoujo fantasy, even if it’s unrequited.  But I’d like to think Raj simply figured out that it was time to grow up, and that it was his shameful prior treatment of Shirayuki – and her forgiveness for it – that made him realize it.  Stepping in to request the aid of the merchant fleet was probably the hardest moment of the arc for him – harder even than ordering his ship into the Blue Vortex (seriously, you can’t get more Princess Bride-y than that).

Akagami - 19 -4Raj even names Shirayuki “Friend of the Crown” in a nifty bit of thinking on his feet, but while the intent is to unnerve Umihebi, I wonder if it’s a good idea to tell a kidnapper that their captive is someone that valuable.  Again, it’s not Shirayuki proactively engendering her own escape – Kiki helps from the inside, buying time until help (including her “partner”, heh) Mitsuhide arrives at the Claw of the Sea’s secret island (the Don Karnage parallels just don’t quit).  Raj pincering by sea, Zen and the Lions of the Mountain by land – Umihebi has no idea how much she’s bitten off here.  But she’s a pretty despicable woman, so it couldn’t happen to a nicer pirate.

Akagami - 19 -5The long-awaited reunion between Buttercup Shirayuki and Wesley Zen doesn’t disappoint, complete with lots of tears (even a few from Zen) and soaring music, as the non-royals (and Raj) clean up the mess outside.  The thing is that this is the sort of scene that Akagami does so very well, so it totally works – and in that moment of vulnerability and relief where neither of them is thinking about shyness or decorum it’s absolutely clear that Zen and Shirayuki are completely in love.  It’s a good payoff for the arc, which has certainly pushed their relationship (if not Shirayuk’s character itself) forward.

Akagami - 19 -6But it doesn’t end there, oh no.  It’s been hinted at, but the reason why Kazuki was so anxious to bring Shirayuki back with him becomes clear when she calls the Lion King Mukaze (Ookawa Tohru) “Dad”.  I’m actually glad Kazuki had a more compelling reason for what he did, though I can’t help but wonder – are they siblings (and if so, what color hair did the stable boy or chambermaid have)?  And why did Mukaze not immediately recognize (or at least acknowledge) his daughter when red hair is clearly a curiosity in this universe?  Questions still abound, though it does seem the fireworks of the non-emotional variety are over, and this epic arc can conclude with everyone taking a deep breath and sorting out their relationships.

 

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5 comments

  1. Y

    I thought it was perfectly understandable (and even welcome) for Shirayuki to be as upset as she was. No matter how strong a mind she may have, she was still almost completely helpless here, in more ways than one, which we know is something that goes against the very nature of her being; and the combination of intense fear and relief can cause anyone to lose their emotional footing for a time. It never seemed like character regression to me, but rather like another, more vulnerable and previously untouched side to a character we’ve already come to know as someone determined and resourceful.

  2. P

    Thanks for putting my thoughts into words! Everything you said is on point about Shirayuki crying.

    Also I’m not sure why Enzo is/was surprised to see the direction the story went in, it’s a romance story set in a place with kingdoms, royalty and the rest of it. It only seems natural for them to expand the world and tension for the main couple, and that normally includes pretty much what has happened in this arc (though with a bit more finesse than others).

  3. That was a much nicer ending than I thought we would get, given how many plot points there were to settle. I like how a series as rational as Akagami dealt with the pirates in a logical way, Raj’s character growth was also phenomenally handled.

    I don’t think Kazuki and Shirayuki are siblings though, I’m just going to go with the fact his hair isn’t anything close to red.

  4. I am amazed on how this series makes anime tropes refreshing. This episode is basically saving the princess in damsel but I am loving it to bits thanks to the characters.

  5. S

    As you touched on, I think Shirayuki herself has regressed a little bit this cour. The damsel in distress thing doesn’t work very well for me, even though I guess it’s a good way to unite the interesting support characters around her. let’s hope there’s less of that in the future

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