Akagami no Shirayuki-hime – 20

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This was a quiet, leisurely episode, especially after last week’s excitement on the high seas, but few shows do quiet and leisurely more pleasantly than Shirayuki, and in any case, a little rest and celebration is in order. Shirayuki and Zen are invited to the village headquarters of the Lions of the Mountain, whose chief, Mukaze, is indeed Shirayuki’s father. She remembers seeing him at her grandparents’ bar years ago, but held on to that memory in case she ever saw him, since those grandparents went against Mukaze by saying he was alive after all.

What I like about their reunion is that there isn’t any rancor or hard feelings; Shirayuki is just glad she had the opportunity to meet her dad, and vice versa. We even learn that his wife, Shirayuki’s mom, was once betrothed to Mukaze’s relative, but he stole her fair and square and was then banished. Not all that different from Shirayuki herself being “selected” by the earlier, awful-er iteration of Prince Raj!

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It’s not just a time for Shirayuki to catch up with her dad; Kiki manages a genuine “thanks” for Mitsuhide worrying about her. I’ve always enjoyed the rapport and, if we’re honest, love between these two badasses, even though it’s not romantic love. They care about each other, and it shows when it counts.

As for Obi, he’s so down about letting Shirayuki down by letting her get nabbed, he spends much of his time in the forest alone…until Shirayuki goes after him, to assure him she doesn’t blame him for what happened; it was an unavoidable, unfortunate situation all around.

Obi knows she doesn’t hold his failure against him, but that doesn’t make his failure any more acceptable to him. Even so, Shirayuki asks that he be her guard next time they visit Tanbarun.

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A night of light drinking and carousing ensures, with Mitsu, Obi, and Kiki matching drinks, Shirayuki talking with her dad and Kazuki. Later. Mukaze finds Zen on his own and has a conversation he’s probably been looking forward to, the “what are your intentions towards my daughter” talk.

Mukaze first asks if Shirayuki loves him, then realizes he’s the wrong one to ask, and instead asks him how he feels about her. Zen is forthright in declaring his love for her, leading Mukaze to shout “I won’t allow it!” – but he’s only joking, and always wanted to say that. Worse for Zen, Shirayuki overheard everything, and when he spots her on the stairs, the two turn an intense beet red that really pops in the blue-filter night.

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When it’s time to go to bed, Shirayuki asks Zen to stick around with her a little longer. Uh-oh, I thought…but only for a minute. These two aren’t really going to do anything until they’re good and married, so instead they spend a few hours simply chatting and enjoying each others’ hard-won company. Shirayuki is the first to doze off, whereupon Zen puts her to bed and gives her a tender goodnight kiss straight out of the fairy tales.

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Mukaze expresses his happiness that his daughter has found a place where she’s happy (even though it’s not where he is), and sees her off. Shirayuki, Zen and Co. then head back to Tanbarun, where Prince Raj is elated to see her once more, and the rescheduled ball is still on.

Raj’s little siblings again try to start some shit, but they are stayed when he tells them he doesn’t want Shirayuki at the palace “forever”, because that would be boring. It’s one of Raj’s better lines, delivered with his trademark snap, and is essentially a mic drop to the meddling twins.

A lovely ball ensues, with Raj having the orchestra play the piece chosen by Shirayuki, and the two having a nice dance together. Zen watches from afar, and is surprised how far Raj has come. Rajs owes a lot of his growth to his time with Shirayuki, including the predicament she ended up in.

When she was out of danger, she taught him how to be more self-aware and selfless and less presumptuous; in times of crisis he brought out his courage and stalwart determination to secure her safe release from baddies. Now they’re at the point that when Shirayuki’s hair grows out again, she’d be happy to show it to Raj, because now she considers him a friend, and the feeling is mutual.

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End-of-Month Rundown – February 2016

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Weather-wise, it’s been a kinder, gentler Winter here at RABUJOI HQ. This past Sunday in particular was unseasonably warm and lovely. Spring is on the way, and with it at least 20 new shows to check out and vet, with hopes of whittling that collection to a dozen or less.

Since dropping Phantom World, we’ve been happy with the group of ten Winter shows that remain. Here’s where those shows currently stand with one month left:

  • ERASED continues to be a revelation; easily the best show watched by any of us since Steins;Gate, which is oddly enough an opinion shared by the FMA and Gintama-loving MAL community, who have elevated the new show to 5th all-time
  • Speaking of superlatives, Hannah is willing to go ahead and declare Gundam IBO the finest and most complete Gundam series she’s seen (though she’s watched a lot less than some)
  • Grimgar rose to dizzying heights this month, progressing in Preston’s mind from curious SAO facsimile at the start to a emerging classic that stands on its own
  • Zane has been pleased as punch with SGRS and its mature, sophisticated and witty storytelling in a postwar Japan bursting with the promise of hope and redemption
  • Snow White with the Red Hair went Full Swashbuckle with pirate kidnappers, stormy seas, hidden bases and a daring rescue.
  • There are times when it feels like KonoSuba’s male protagonist protests too much when it comes to his new life, so it’s good he learned he liked that life a lot more than he thought when it almost came to an end
  • Hannah is hoping Durarara!!x2 will sort out the sometimes imposing tangle of personalities and motives both human and supernatural in the final installments of an epic 36-episode run
  • GATE delivered a hell of a dragon battle to save Tuka’s sanity, then gave us more of the underutilized Lelei. Sherry was a pleasant surprise, but the likable core cast always seems to be competing for time with the wider political issues of the two worlds
  • Dagashi Kashi is a competent diversion, with glimmers of a sweet romance and sporadic laughs, but the detailed history lessons can drag, as does Hotaru’s statically eccentric personality