So there I was, enjoying this week’s episode of “Douwa Through the Back Door”, when a whole lot of plot broke out. But in typical fashion, ACCA dished out its blockbuster information in utterly deadpan fashion – and didn’t stop dishing out the regional specialites de cuisine as it was doing so. The funny thing is, I feel as if both it and Jean legitimately feel that finding the best place to buy omiyage choco is more important than potential coups and life-changing family secrets.
This might have been the week that ACCA spilled the beans on most of the major mysteries we’ve been speculating about, but it probably spent more time obsessing over yukinotama – the “snowballs” that were Lotta’s request for Jean’s audit to the capitol (and they do look good). And in the end I guess that’s a big part of the series’ charm – it’s nice that Niino and Jean can find time to talk about desserts even after Niino was caught out in his betrayal and Jean has finally immersed himself in trying to figure out what’s going on around him. The matter-of-fact way ACCA deals with- well, everything- is a perfect mirror for Jean himself. And as I’ve noted before, I rarely remember a series that was so epitomized by its main character.
So what did we find out here – besides the best place to buy yukinotama? Perhaps most sexy is the revelation that Lotta is indeed a member of the royal family – or if she’s not, ACCA is pulling one of the great head-fakes in anime. The portrait Schawn stares at looks exactly like her – and it captures his deceased aunt at the age of 16. She was said to have died in the tragic incident 33 years earlier that was referred to last week – the sinking of a royal ship, where she supposedly perished along with her loyal “white-haired” guard, Abend. But the evidence is that they in fact died some twenty years later – in the train accident we learned of last week.
There are plot implications both subtle and gross here, of course. First off it should be noted that if this development was suspected on these pages, so was the fact that Schwan is not nearly as dim as he seems – indeed, he seems to intentionally play up the baka prince persona to cast suspicion away from himself where political machinations (and perhaps treason) are concerned. The prince wasn’t interested in Lotta as a romantic target – he spotted the family resemblance and freaked out. If in fact Lotta is the daughter of this dead princess, that would of course also mean that Jean is a direct descendant of the king – and as he’s older than Schwan and Douwa (like Japan) allows only male monarchs, that would make Jean first in-line to the throne.
It seems reasonable to suppose (though I’m not assuming anything) that the false rumors about Jean being an intermediary for coup plotters were contrived to disgrace a potential rival for the throne. But by whom? Not Schwan, obviously, as he had no idea who Jean was until Magie t0ld him. And why would the death of the princess and her presumed future husband (and Jean and Lotta’s father) have been faked 33 years ago? And just who is Niino reporting to after he reports to Grossular? If I were to hazard a guess, I wonder if Niino isn’t ultimately working for the king himself (and/or his sideman Kuvarum, played by the great Ishizuka Unshou), testing Jean to see if he’s fit for the throne.
For my part I don’t believe Grossular is plotting a coup himself – though one has to wonder if the mention of Abend having white hair connects with him, somehow. My instincts are telling me that Mauve might actually be the one behind the plot, though that’s more a hunch I can’t quite justify yet. I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact, if the amiable king were the one plotting something nefarious for ACCA and the country and the acerbic prince the one thinking of the common good. But I think the big question that remains on everyone’s mind is obvious – was Jean able to find the best chocolate shop in Korore, or not?