Now that’s what I’m talking about.
Well, the season’s almost done as we prepare for the summer season to end and for fall to begin, and Snow White of the Red Hair will be ending along with the season, at least for a little while until winter rolls around. This series has been a test of patience for me since while I love romance, the slow pace and episodic nature of much of the 2nd act made it a little bit of a challenge for me. I’m not very good with slice of life or slower stories unless something involved catches my attention. However, despite all of that, I have to say…it’s episode arcs like this one that make it all worth it .
While these two episodes do have background story to them–something about a girl, her island people, and some cool birds, to be honest, that’s not really what this story was about. However, because I want to get into the meat of what this arc was REALLY about, let me all least give my impressions on the storyline just in case Kiharu isn’t just a one-off character and this storyline ends up rearing its head again.
Well, what can I say, I liked it well enough. It wasn’t the most interesting of plotlines, but it did show another side to Clarines and a new culture that was slightly unique. I thought Popo was cute and his entire bird species was quite fascinating. The story was a pretty black and white one, with the Islanders trying to fight for their birds and livelihood, against one of the most idiotic two-dimensional villains I’ve seen since Bodin from Arslan Senki. This duke just wants to be able to hunt said birds and selfishly entertain his friends, which is stupid enough. If the villagers are living and working on his land, I’m guessing they are something like serfs and thus they pay him for being able to live and make a living on his land with their income. Well idiot, if the people can’t make a living using the birds then you’re just losing important sources of revenue simply because you want to entertain a few friends.
But no, he goes even further into idiocy! When the idea to turn the birds into messengers for the kingdom and thus make them a valuable resource and their habitat on the island a protected reserve for them, you actually want to not only go against this, but also sabotage the test that was done through royal edict? How dumb can you be?! Your land now has a valuable resource, do you know what kind of possibilities come from this?! Because of all that will have to go into this project and the laws and accordances that comes with it, you can get quite a bit of revenue from this. Also, there’s the possibility of contracts for these resources with non-government parties as well, which can lead to even more revenue and prestige. You turned an area that wouldn’t make very much for you, into a one of a kind place that can give whoever owns it more status and wealth than ever before. Why the heck would you go against this?!
“Hello, I’ll be your stupidly evil villain for this evening.”
And on top of that, you go even further to try to sabotage a royal test, bribe and hold hostage an important friend to the prince, and then even try to threaten the soldiers. Now, you could potentially lose everything, and for what? A few hours shooting down birds with your no-good friends? Yeah that was intelligent.
But of course everything works out in the end. The birds are saved and create a whole new revenue for the islanders. Kiharu (and her time-inappropriate hot pants) and her people get over their prejudice towards aristocrats and warm up to Zen. The duke is captured and Shirayuki, who was her usual heroine self and is a princess who is not okay with getting locked in a tower, is a-okay even after being injured once again.
“Even if there were train tracks in this time period, do you actually think I would let you tie me to them?”
And now, I can get to what this two-parter was really about…
There’s something sweet, and almost kind…
We’ve watching our leading lad and lady for 9 episodes now. I said back in episode 2 and 3 that Zen has already fallen head-over-heels in love with Shirayuki. He might not have realized it until a few episodes later, and even though he knows it now, that knowledge only makes things more complicated. But whenever he did realize it, he did figure out his feelings long before little Snow White even realized that there was an attraction there.
This is clearly seen when Shira has been injured one time too many, and with a dangerous mix of concern, protectiveness, and the light hitting just right when she flashes him one of those oh-so-kissable smiles, Zen’s heart overtakes head and he just can’t take it anymore.
The look on Shira’s face just says it all. She doesn’t reject the kiss, but she doesn’t respond either. She’s in complete shock right now. With a single action, she not only finds out that Zen feels more for her than she thought he did, but also that kiss changes the entire dynamic of their relationship. It has irrevocably closed the door on one chapter in their lives and unlocked another that they can venture to open if they dare to.
But now he’s dear, and so unsure,
Zen immediately recognizes his mistake and apologizes, but the damage has been done. Things have forever changed between the two and now that Zen has accidentally made his inclination known, he must wait to know what Shira’s feelings are on the subject. Well, she can’t really answer him since that kiss stole both her breath and her speech. It was such a cute, beautiful moment, and the perfect point to end the episode on. Neither she, nor the audience were expecting it and now that it’s inescapably moved their relationship to the next level, there are new questions, new problems and no clear answers yet.
I wonder why, I didn’t see it there before.
Episode 11 is as saccharine and sweet as us romance fans like it. It’s not overly cheesy, and neither is it too vague and stalwart. Shirayuki’s is trying to sort out her feelings, this being her first real experience with love. They do a great job showing all the signs from awkward moments, blushes, heartbeats racing, and the overall uncertainty of what’s even going on anymore. Ever since they met, Zen has been a source for inspiration and strength. Together the two have been through some interesting times as they taught each other how to be able to lean on each other’s strength. They’ve begun to cover each other with a love that was there, just waiting to be revealed.
While Zen’s physical attraction was immediate and his attraction to her spirit and her soul took a little longer, for Shirayuki it was the opposite. For her he was a dear friend that she could count on and draw strength from and give it back in return, unknowingly falling in love with his kind and valiant heart. She probably did recognize him as being handsome too, but it never really connected until now. And now with a single kiss, the sleeping bud has begun to bloom and she has now has all the signs. You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather; and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head! Yes indeed…Snow White has become–twitterpated.
New, and a bit alarming, who’d have ever thought that this could be?
We watch Shira stumble around through the throngs of first love, while Zen (who’s a little more acclimated to the situation) plays the waiting game behind his staunch facade. And while these two are struggling with their feelings, much of the comedy comes from our eternal observers Kiki, Mitsuhide, and Obi as they know something is different between the master and his lady. But of those three, Obi is probably the one that we will all have to keep an eye on. It’s somehow been both subtle and yet quite obvious that Obi has begun to develop feelings for our red-headed heroine. It makes sense and both you and he know that it won’t go anywhere, but you do sympathize with him and I’ll be interested to see where this subplot leads to.
And who’d have guessed they’d come together on their own?
And of course we get to the final scene in the forest where a chorus of birds sing and the sun shines upon our couple as they finally admit their love for each other and take this relationship from the close friendship it was, to something else much deeper. Seeing Shirayuki tearfully admit to realizing her love for Zen was a beautiful scene, especially since you know how much she has agonizing over trying to search out her feelings for what exactly her heart says about Zen. And in the end, when she finally says it aloud, her heart guiding her, and it’s no longer complicated and everything that needs to be said is said.
But there’s something in him that I simply didn’t see.
Her admission is resplendent, just as much as Zen’s heartfelt admission that while he doesn’t know what will happen and if all he has will be able to protect her, he will give all that has to her, and then gives one of the most beautiful and yet roundabout proposals to be seen in awhile. And so now, promises and vows were made, and our finally fully formed couple have moved from one stage to the next, and while there are sure to be challenges in the future, for right now, we can only bask in their sublime joy and be just as happy for them as they are in this contented moment.
There maybe something there that wasn’t there before…
I’m really happy that this series didn’t decide to wait even longer for this moment that we all knew was going to come eventually, but they did a very good job with it. There is one more episode left before the season end, but really, it can only serve as an epilogue after this last arc. One where will be saying goodbye to Zen, Shirayuki, and the kingdom of Clarines until Winter 2016. And this was an excellent point to end on before we must take a break. Next season we can go into the challenges our couple are bound to run into. Of course there’s the fact that Zen is a prince and Shirayuki is a foreign commoner. Their friendship was seen as eccentric but considering Zen’s nature, not unexpected. However, their engagement is something else entirely. This will not go over well in Zen’s circles, and while Shirayuki has supported Zen all this time, becoming the wife of a prince is not something she’s completely prepared for yet. However, I will be looking forward to how the two end up overcoming all the obstacles in their way. I think their love is strong enough to withstand the opposition, but we’ll just have to see.