Snow White the Pharmacist has returned, and she’s brought her Prince Charming along for the ride.
Well, welcome back once again to the land of Clarines. The gang’s all here, and our return back to this fairy tale land is indeed a warm one. However, there seems to be change on the winds and storm clouds gathering in the east. What will fate have in store for our fated royal couple?
And we’re back!
I don’t know when.
The episode actually starts out rather simply as these things are want to do. It feels as if we were barely gone as we are reintroduced to all of our favorites. We see our male lead, Zen Wistalia Clarines, second prince to the kingdom that bears his name. Mitsuhide and Kiki are both back, ready to be Zen’s left and right hands. Zen’s newly appointed messenger, Obi is back and delightfully roguish as ever. Ryuu, Izana, all the royal pharmacists, Kiharu and all the other supporting cast are all on hand. And saving the best for last, we have our beloved royal herbalist and princess-to-be: the red apple-haired Shirayuki.
She works hard for the money, so hard for it honey.
All of our characters are how we left them. Zen continues to be inspired by his lady love to be the best he can be and works diligently to prepare for their future together. Shirayuki delights in her job as a royal herbalist, learning more and more each day. Yet, while she has a wonderful teacher in Ryuu, she is on her own in trying to figure out the nuances of romance. She is going to faint if she flusters about every time her unofficial fiance says a word in regard to their progressing relationship or delightfully takes her hand. But then again, I’ll just let her enjoy the throes of young first love.
It’s okay Shirayuki, just breathe.
I don’t know how.
Zen and Shira aren’t the only ones we see interact. There is some cute conversations between the little Ryuu and the cat-eyed Obi. Ryuu is just adorable. He’s such a prodigy, but he’s rarely sure of himself outside of the herb garden. Not behaving as most normal boys of the time, he’s not at all proficient at climbing a tree, but Obi is there to help him out. The look on Ryuu’s face is precious, and I was equally delighted to see him thank Obi with the seeds. I would like to see the two of them form an aniki/otouto bond, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Boys will be boys.
I love how they have advanced Obi specifically from a supporting to a main character this season (according to MAL). And if they do this right, than it will be quite easy to see why. I love Obi as a character. He’s quite possibly my favorite of all of them. We know by now that he himself has feelings for Shirayuki, and while, because he respects both her and him, he will not step on Zen’s toes, I always get the feeling that if ever Zen proved himself unworthy of her, the young shinobi wouldn’t hesitate to choose his side. I like how he decided to keep the seeds when he knows that it includes one of the seed colors that Shirayuki was looking for. Perhaps it’s because he will be keeping something that she desires? He also acknowledges that one day he will be leaving the castle, and I think that would probably be for the best considering his feelings. However, for now, he’s staying and I’m glad to have him. His dry humor, worldly ways, and dashing personality never fail to charm me.
And so, everything goes on as it has been, everyone continuing on with their duties and their lives, as the sun shines down upon this quite, calm day in this fair kingdom….
But I know something’s starting right now.
And if by now, if you haven’t realized that this was all set up to be the stereotypical “calm before the storm”, then the episode’s done a better job at lulling you into false security than I thought. For, the plot is beginning to move and these peaceful days are about to take a fierce detour.
A thief in the night
It all starts with the return of a character that many may have confused for a one-and-done sympathetic villain. We haven’t seen Mihaya since way back in episode two of the first season, and after all this time here he is back again. The jail sentence for kidnapping back then must be rather short. (Either that, or Clarines needs to rethink its law system.) But having finished his sentence, the ne’er-do-well finds himself back up to old tricks and in the process comes across a “bishounen” who is very interested in “a girl with rare red hair”. Knowing only one person who can fit that description, he blatantly tells the boy where to find Shirayuki–right before walking right up to the castle himself, and demanding a reward from Zen for the same information.
New trouble this way comes.
I like how Zen is much more comedic this season so far than he was last season. His facial expressions and fluttering angry chibi distortion tantrums gave me quite a number of laughs. His response to Mihaya’s presence and demands is hilarious. However, it’s Obi’s response that has piqued my interest.
Watch and you’ll see.
If looks could kill…
You see, he’s never met Mihaya, having come on the scene the following episode. While he does give his dry wit comments here and there, you can see his observing the whole scene with keen, watchful eyes. It’s not long before he deduces the other blackguard as an enemy of those he cares about and while not immediately apparent, you can see his stance has changed. Those catlike eyes have begun to shine with interest, like that of a feline that has spotted a mouse creep into its field of vision.I’d advise the scoundrel ex-noble to watch himself quite closely, because unlike the others, Obi is not one to fear getting his hands dirty in the dark shadows of lonely alleys. And he knows the world that Mihaya occupies, and he won’t be so easily fooled.
But beyond Mihaya is the fact that there is some mysterious “bishie” who appears to be adamantly searching for Shira. And even more than that, his one statement about there “being a better place than the castle” for her, whispers ominously in the now disturbed atmosphere. What could he mean? How does this boy know Shirayuki? Does he mean to remove her from the castle forcefully?
“A bishounen, Shirayuki…a bishounen is now after you too.”
Someday I’ll be…
And if that isn’t enough trouble, Prince Raji (the rather pompous prince who was pretty much responsible for Shira moving to Clarines in the first place) has invited to come to his palace for a ball. Prince Izana, up to his usual tricks, commands Shirayuki to go in order to continue relations between the countries. If Zen wasn’t so emotionally involved, I doubt he would have taken his brother’s bait, but then again, if he hadn’t been assured of getting a response, Izana would have simply sent a note.
I swear, if we get a surprise in nine months, I will have you drawn and quartered and then make you take responsibility.
No, the heir apparent of Clarines is playing the long game. He knows like everyone else in the land, that the second prince is romantically interested in the herbalist of the red hair. However, Izana has begun testing both members of the couple to see exactly how serious they are about this relationship. The first prince will not see his royal family weakened or his brother crushed because of an unfit woman. He also will not have his brother embarrass the kingdom by not being completely sure and responsible with the relationship that he had dared to initiate.
If Zen wants to be with Shirayuki, he will have to show and prove that he is serious about her and how much does she stack up against his duty to his kingdom. Shirayuki will have to prove her own strength as well, for the blond will call no weakling, fly-by-night romance, his sister-in-law and a princess of Clarines. For now, both of them are passing his tests with flying colors, but will they continue to do so?
Just so we understand one another.
With all these storms coming their way, Zen has preparations to make for Shira’s journey back to her homeland. At the same time, Shirayuki will have to hang up her pharmacist coat for a ball gown as she is about to get a crash course in protocol, etiquette, and the social graces.
Hey, buck-up Snow White, it won’t be too bad. Think of it as pre-matrimony practice for your future role at Zen’s side!
…part of your world.
This was a nice return to the series and I like that after a little set up, we get to the plot right away. I look forward towards watching for the preparations for Shirayuki’s journey as well as what will go on with the two new challenges on the horizon for our romantic couple. I will admit that, yes in fact I have been reading the manga since the last couple of episode of last cour, so I do know what will be happening this arc. But unlike my other times reading the source material beforehand, this time, it actually enhances my viewing experience rather than takes away from it. Also, for those who noticed, I did finally chose a motif for this season. I just decided to choose between the two redheaded Disney princesses, and only one of those two really suited my needs as well as the story. So…yay for motifs!