Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2 – Episode 7 [Wave of Determination]
Aka the episode which could have instead been titled “The Many Amusing Faces of Prince Raj”
or “OMG THIS SHOW IS FCKING FANTASTIC!!”
Ahem. So episode seven picks up with Kiki being reunited with Shirayuki and Kazuki on the Claw of the Sea’s ship. She gives the necklace from Zen to Shirayuki, because Zen and the others are using one of Kihal’s birds to track Shirayuki (as Zen used the bird to find Obi in the last episode).
Back at Tanbarun’s port, Prince Raj bites the bullet and tries to rally the city’s merchants to use their ships to help him save Shirayuki. He’s nervous and a little scared about how they might react, but he knows Zen is counting on him to complete this task and so he must. Surprisingly enough, it works. The merchants go from not respecting Prince Raj at all to deciding to work with him, because he had the courage to ask them for their help directly and even sail together with them on this mission.
Out on the open waters, Umihebi’s gang sees some ships closing in on them. Initially Umihebi thinks it’s the Lions of the Mountains chasing them, but no it’s the merchants and Prince Raj. They’re all flying a navy flag, and are doing their best to block the Claw of the Sea’s way. Shirayuki has been brought up to the deck at this point, and Prince Raj angrily shouts that the Claw of the Sea will regret taking Shirayuki.
This attack causes Umihebi to flee west with Shirayuki, towards something known as the Blue Vortex. It is a “random” collection of whirlpools that appear in Tanbarun’s waters, although given that its location and manifestation are apparently well known it doesn’t seem to be very random at all. Umihebi’s crew is able to slip through the Blue Vortex, but Prince Raj and the merchants are left on the other side. There must be a way to get through, but how? It is Sakaki who remembers that the waters of the Blue Vortex magically reverse direction every 10 seconds, so Prince Raj decides to push through by alternating the rudder between left and right every few moments.
The Claw of the Sea makes it safely through the Blue Vortex and into their hidden base. Their reprieve is brief however, as Prince Raj, Zen and the others are right behind them. Prince Raj rams Umihebi’s ship with his own, severely damaging them both. Umihebi holds Shirayuki prisoner, but a knife thrown by Obi distracts Umihebi long enough for Shirayuki to bite her arm, resulting in Shirayuki being thrown to the ground. Zen is quick to help her up and then he takes her and Kazuki into a tunnel for their safety. The Lions of the Mountain have also shown up, and the Claw of the Sea’s looking pretty overpowered at this point. Kazuki runs back out of the tunnel to help the Lions once he learns of their arrival, leaving our two lovebirds alone.
Emotions run high, as to be expected given the situation. Shirayuki initially is overwhelmed at seeing Zen again, but when he coaxes her to respond she is only able to say his name and cry. Zen looks a little guilty, and he apologizes to her for not being able to come to her rescue sooner. He urges Shirayuki to head to the end of the tunnel where there are guards waiting, and says he will be there once their side finishes wiping the floor with the Claw of the Sea.
So between Zen’s crew and the Lions of the Mountain, they are able to overpower Umihebi and the Claw of the Sea. Zen, Mitsuhide and Kiki head up out of the cave, while Obi remains below with Prince Raj and some of their guys to keep an eye on the Claw. Shirayuki cries when she thanks Mitsuhide and the others for coming to save her.
But oh, what a plot twist at the end! Kazuki and the Chief of the Lions of the Mountain show up in the last few seconds of the episode, and Shirayuki recognizes the chief as… her father?!?
My thoughts: THIS EPISODE GUYS. OMG. All the feels, all of them! Actually no, not all of them. Going by the preview for next week’s episode, I will be flailing from all the feels then. But this episode was right up there with one of the best so far this season.
First, the pacing. I know I’ve said it a few times already, but I can’t get over how much better paced this season is compared to the first one. This arc with the Claw of the Sea lasted just a few episodes, which is a perfect timespan given that there’s only 12 episodes to work with. It’s short enough to hold a viewer’s interest and still leave room for another story arc or two.
Nevermind that the plot twist in the final moments of this episode was completely unexpected by me and I’m really invested now. Did we ever learn much about Shirayuki’s family in the first season? I hope this means we are going to learn more about her backstory.
Second, the last couple of episodes have really given room for lots of character growth, especially with Prince Raj. Raj stepped up as soon as Shirayuki was kidnapped, moving to help rescue her and recruit help from others to aid them in saving her. On a more personal level he is learning to admit his mistakes and when he is at fault, and how to show humility. In this episode when he proclaims that Shirayuki is the “Friend of the Crown”, Sakaki congratulates him for what I’m assuming is actually having a friend, possibly for the first time in his life.
If I’m going to complain about anything in this arc, it’s that Shirayuki had to be rescued. “Strong female character” stuff inserted here, etc. But she’s got some development going on too, so I’ll live with it.
As for the Zen x Shirayuki ship, guys there were fricking SPARKLES when they reunited. That’s how magical this romance is. On a more serious note, I think that scene was handled beautifully. Zen was clearly overwhelmed with his feelings for Shirayuki, who made her first genuine movement towards him (holding onto him as she cried, and then reaching to touch his hand) in reciprocation. I’m not surprised that she started crying, as she had just undergone this upsetting ordeal, but I thought it was a nice touch that they showed Zen get teary eyed as well. Equality, yo. I was kinda hoping they’d kiss, but I’m thinking we might get that next week instead.
AND THE PREVIEW FOR NEXT WEEK!! I will warn you all now, I’m probably going to be super shippy and spazzy because it looks like we’re going to have at least a scene or two with Obi feeling guilty about Shirayuki being kidnapped, and oh damn if Zen finds out– !! Or maybe he already knows? Dammit why can’t it be next week already???