Snow White with the Red Hair
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 15 of
Snow White with the Red Hair (TV 2) ?
Taking a basically one-dimensional character, especially the “bwahaha, I am evil because reasons” type, and expanding him into a more fully realized player in the story is not always a task easily accomplished. There was a vague attempt at beginning that work with Prince Raj of Tanbarun towards the end of season one of Snow White with the Red Hair, and now in episode fifteen, it looks like the show is really going to try to make it work. Raj is rethinking his feelings both towards and on Shirayuki now that she has come to visit for a week (with gorgeously uniformed Obi in tow), he appears to be really trying to find a way to open up to her. Whether or not that's because of how he really feels or if it's pressure from his attendant isn't fully clear; I'd hazard that it's a little bit of both at the moment. If he's persuaded that he really does have feelings for her, however, the consequences could be interesting. Sadly it isn't looking like Raj is going to have much chance to think by himself on the subject because another humanizing trick is being played by the story: this week we meet his younger twin siblings, Rona and Eugena, a girl and a boy respectively. (Yes, I think “Eugena” sounds feminine too.) Not only does their existence further complicate Raj's thought process – they twins appear quite keen on him continuing to be a nicer person via infatuation with Shirayuki – it also gives Obi a chance to reveal yet another amazing skill set: child scarer.
The main drive of the episode really is emotional. Along with Raj's inner turmoil, Shirayuki is busy doing her best Pollyanna impression, striving to make the best of what is at best an awkward, and at worst an uncomfortable, situation. When Raj accidentally reenacts the plot of that one episode of Slayers by getting them lost in a trap-filled subterranean maze, however, she loses her temper a bit, clearly tired of trying to hide her stress at the situation. This is the moment that really hits Raj, as Shirayuki insists that she must go help Obi no matter what Raj says, and that if he isn't enjoying her company or can't bring himself to trust her, she'd be happy to just go back to Clarines. Raj is visibly surprised and worried by her statement, and this may be the moment where he does the most thinking for himself as he realizes that he doesn't really want Shirayuki to leave. He isn't sure why he doesn't want her to go, of course, and that's more where the worry of others' influence upon him lies. Raj, I get the feeling, is not used to doing anything for himself, making decisions included. This sets him up even more as an interesting foil to both Zen and Izana, with the former invested in making his own choices and doing the best job possible at everything and the latter always with some sort of plot in his head.
For those concerned about a lack of forward trajectory, however, I don't think this emotional course is going to remain the strict focus of the show. During the portions of the episode focused on Zen, we learn that Mihaya has vanished from the castle, at he does in fact manage to find the pretty young man who was asking about Shirayuki. A foul plot is most definitely afoot, and unless I miss my guess, it is one that will take the combined wits and might of Zen, Obi, and Raj (and their cohorts; can't forget about Mitsuhide or Kiki) to sort out. It seems like this could present a very good opportunity for Shirayuki to unite Tanbarun and Clarines in a shared mission, or at least against a common foe, which may be part of what Izana is hoping for.
This episode, while still not as nice as the previous season, is still looking better than episode thirteen. Faces aren't so much off-model as very simplified in several scenes, but other moments, such as Shirayuki wading through a random underwater pond with her skirt gathered up or Obi setting the children down, look wonderful. Izana's body language when we see him lounging languidly in a window is also excellent, so we're definitely having a return to form.
Things are clearly heating up, and I feel like these first three episodes have been trying to get us to the real jumping off point for this season's main plot. Regardless, these emotional and political relationships are worth paying attention to, and part of what helps to make this such a captivating story overall.
Snow White with the Red Hair is currently streaming on Funimation.
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