And at last I see the light…
Darn you, Shirayuki! My Beauty and the Beast motif was going well, and then you had to upset the balance by putting in obvious Tangled imagery? That story wasn’t even as good! Well, I don’t care, I will continue with my motif as we finish out this epilogue to this first season of Snow White of the Red Hair.
Two lives have begun now.
The morning after…
I have taken the advice of one of the readers to actually just sit down and read the manga to this series. I usually don’t like to do that with a series that I have had no prior exposure to, but with it coming to its season finale and the nature of the series in general, I decided that I might as well take a look. And I have to say that I’m very glad I did. I have been enjoying the original material very much and have already gotten to the 6th volume at this point, and seeing what is ahead actually makes me pretty excited for what is to come for our couple next season. However, before we can get there, we do have this small bookend of a finale to tide us over through the next season until Winter. And I must say, it was beyond satisfactory.
The episode’s title was quite apropos, as this is the end of the beginning as our couple have finally moved onto the next level from friendship to romantic relationship. Shirayuki and Zen are finally a couple after spending some months together, and while Zen feels like nothing has changed and Shira is trying to convince herself that everything is the same, they are both beginning to realize that a new beginning has come and with this new dawn, everything is becoming new.
A royal “open house”/fair is the setting for this episode as the palace is opened up for commoners to come visit and see the royals, as well as for a festivities to be set up and everyone to enjoy themselves for an evening. Zen, the rapscallion that he is, like to dress up like the guards and observe the castle and the people from a new point of view, except of course when he has to publicly address the people, in which I have to say that his official ceremonial regal attire is rather dashing.
So close and yet so far.
He and Shirayuki dash around the hidden corners of the palace like children as he tries to find some time to enjoys the festivities alone with her, and yet you can see that with the change in their relationship, Shira’s first love flutterings make her feel awkward and unsure when she’s alone with him. Also, she’s becoming more aware than ever before of how far apart they are socially and sometimes mentally, and she begins to show doubt of whether this will actually work out in the end.
Two hearts become one now.
And yet, despite these fears, when she and Zen actually talk to each other face to face, it’s obvious that he’s still the same man she’s known for quite sometime and that he along with all their friends have become home to her, and that perhaps everything isn’t as far away as it seems on the outside. He may be a prince and she a commoner, but when they are together, they are no different than any other man and woman who are in love. Men marrying outside of (and most of the time, below) their class circle for love in romances is nothing new. From your most basic fairy tale, to classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, this is a pretty common thing in stories actually. So, while Zen and Shirayuki are definitely going to face some obstacles in their way, there is hundreds of examples of clear precedence that this will work out in the end, we’ll just have to see how they do it.
One passion, one dream
The world is a stage
I like how in the end, the season ends with a fairy tale retelling, just as the opening episode had one, though done in a different way. The stage play was a fun little way for Zen and Shirayuki to have a good time in front of everyone. While the play itself reminded me for some reason of the opera scene in Final Fantasy VI (it just needed a song!), I like how Zen went out to protect his lady love from embarrassment….even though, he would have probably have done something else just as reckless simply out of jealousy. 😛 But it was cool to see our prince so cavalier, especially since we’ve seen him do more statecraft than swashbuckling as of late. But he better watch himself, as I think another suave male character might just have begun stealing away the audience’s hearts.
Chicks dig a guy who can kick butt in uniform.
I have my eye on Obi, as the cat-eyed ninja-skilled rogue has been slowly but steadily moving out from among his fellow supporting characters in the series, to being probably the second most important male main character in the series. He’s been spending quite a bit of time with or female leading lady, first as a job and then later as a friend. And the more time we’ve spent with him, the more interesting he’s become as a character. And honestly, after watching him in the series and reading more of him in the manga, he’s honestly started to become a more interesting and dashing lead than Zen himself! Zen, while do like him a lot, there is truth to the idea that the fairer sex finds themselves attracted to the dark, dangerous, and mysterious.
Shirayuki hasn’t noticed Obi’s affection for her, and to be fair, his attraction is not extremely obvious to those who aren’t the audience, but I honestly don’t know how long that will keep. I can’t ever see Shira and Zen not being together, so Obi’s presence as an unrequited love interest is more painful than sweet. But love is a very complicated emotion, and despite knowing that Zen and Shira are perfect for each other and that he’s happy for them, I somehow in the back of my mind, think that if the ex-assassin ever finds an inkling that Zen isn’t the man he thought he was and no longer fit to be a match for our red-haired Snow White, I don’t think he’ll hesitate to make a more obvious move.
One thing forever true…
But that’s an issue for next season, as our family of friends end this season on a beautiful lantern-lit happily ever after. While Shirayuki is still unsure about some things, she is sure that she loves Zen, all of her new friends, and her new home here in Clarines. She has a roof over her head, food in her stomach, loyal friends by her side, a successful and secure career, and a man who loves her. Things can’t get much better than this. Enough worrying about tomorrow, it’s time to enjoy today. She’s earned it.
I love you.
As for the series as a whole, it was an interesting experience. While at first, I had felt it was going just a bit too slow and tedious, I’ve began to enjoy it a lot more in later episodes, and now I’m fully into the adventures of our group of friends as their lives continue to unfold. Shirayuki, Zen, Obi, and Izana have all proved to be very interesting characters to follow, and while Mitsuhide is beginning too, I hope Kiki, Ryu, and some of the other background characters become less wallflowers and real supporting entities with characters of their own.
For the future, I would like to see Zen and Shirayuki’s relationship grow even more and for her to continue to realize that she does always have to be completely self-reliant. Any real, serious relationship with another person means that you can no longer just think in terms of “I”, but instead of “we”, and I’m glad that Shira is beginning to realize that. I do wonder about what compromises they might have to come to in the future. I’m sure that being the wife of the second prince (would that make her a princess or just a duchess, or both?) has official responsibilities that Shira is not prepared for yet that might affect her career as an herbalist. But I’m sure we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I also hope that in the future she begins to “own” her red hair and no longer cares about showing it off. It’s as much a part of you as your skin is darling, you can’t hide it forever. You are always going to have some ignorant people who are going to comment, but you are you, be proud of it and show it off, don’t hide it.
We’ll all see you next time!
As for Zen, as much as I love seeing him do statecraft and paperwork, we can’t get much from his character that way, so I’m hoping we get to see him in a change of setting and function. I hope that we will eventually see a girl for Obi too, but I’m not holding my breath. And maybe more advances in our main couple’s relationship? Not the big “M” yet of course, but I hope the two don’t make this a long secret engagement either.
Well, it’s time to say goodbye for now, and let’s all meet up again with the royals and company of Clarines in a few months to see what new surprising things will be in store for us next winter. See you then!