Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: Ep. 6
‘Shirayuki, I’m sure you’re scared, but can you move?’
– Kazuki asking Shirayuki a stupid question
Damsels of distress apparently don’t exist in the kingdoms of Tanbarun and Clarines. We’ve already seen Shirayuki show off her wits and guile in high-pressure situations, but it was nice to see that she also has plenty of mettle to back up her smarts as well. Ass-kicking ladies are very much in trend with feminism in media right now, but we’ve rarely gotten women who are more typically feminine but possess sharp minds and fortitude under fire. It’s great to see a female character show fear and vulnerability, but also a willingness to take action instead of helplessly waiting for her prince to come to her rescue. Kiki showing up on the pirate ship (I was honestly expecting Zen) was nice surprise — for one thing, we finally get to see Kiki do something other than act as Zen’s more straight-faced bodyguard, and it was pretty notable that none of the men around her questioned her abilities to pull off such a plan. Finally there’s Umihebi, who seems to be more of a stereotypical villain, but any woman who can command a crew of male pirates counts as a badass in my book. Safe to say that Akagami no Shirayuki-hime has abandoned its leisurely, slice-of-life roots, but it’s doing pretty darn well with its faster pace and more suspenseful storytelling, and I can’t wait to see what the next episode has in store for ourbeloved characters.
Other random thoughts:
- Raj continues to be my new favorite character. His swift agreement to compensate Mihaya even before he’d heard his terms not only spoke volumes about his transformed character, but also gave a glimpse into his new administrative foresight.
- Kazuki’s reasons for kidnapping Shirayuki were remarkably limp and honestly made very little narrative sense. I’m hoping that the actual reasons are still under wraps, otherwise it could severely undermine the emotional narrative of this entire arc.
- I like that the messenger birds from the first season finally managed have some narrative relevance.
- Mitsuhide was the only one who protested Kiki’s plan, which was probably more out of concern for her safety than doubt about her abilities.
- Badass Obi has been great, but having to hold that taut, aggressive face for so long can’t have been easy on his facial muscles. And Zen was spot on when he said that Shirayuki wouldn’t be at all afraid of Obi’s scary face.
Durarara!!X2 Ketsu: Ep. 6
Mikado self-destructed in a far more spectacular fashion than I’d ever imagined, without me having to lift a finger. He’s weak. As fragile as a sheet of paper. That said, at this moment, he’s… just a little scary.
– Izaya clearly likes the new-and-improved Mikado.
For the sixth straight week, Durarara!! continues to play Jenga with its characters and storylines, with the pervasive sense that it could all spectacularly collapse at any given moment. This week, Masaomi confides in Chikage, Saki confides in Anri, Izumii confronts Mikado, Namie goes on a chatroom rampage, and the yakuza reappear as reconnoitering agents. At the center of all this hubbub is Mikado, who continues his downward spiral into psychopathy with unnerving congeniality. I wrote last week that Kasane was holding all the aces in the game of Ikebukuro’s implosion, but I might have to rescind that statement; Mikado is the one holding the match that could set Ikebukuro aflame, and that he constantly seems to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown while maintaining his amiable personality remains deeply disquieting. His delusions of grandeur border on the ridiculous, but is still incredibly self-aware of his own limitations — there honestly isn’t a single soul in Ikebukuro whom he could beat in a fight — but it is his contradictions, his ostensible fragility and unwavering self-assurance, that are unsettling to anyone with whom he comes into contact with. At this point, I honestly don’t care if Durarara!! ends up a flaming train wreck; I just want to be seated front row and center to see it all go down.
Other random thoughts:
- Izumii is working with Aozaki, but in turn both he and Mikado are being spied on by Akabayashi. I’m confused enough with the characters and their shenanigans; throw in the yakuza and Russian gangs and my already tenuous hold on the web of storylines falls faster than a deck of cards.
- What exactly about Masaomi’s past did Saki share with Anri? Was it the same thing we saw back in the first season, or could it be something completely different?
- Masaomi, as he’d been doing since the end of the first season, continues to twiddle his thumbs as everything around him progressively self-destructs. At least he now has Chikage in his booth to keep pushing him forward.
- Namie is out for blood against Mikado for, well, Seiji-related reasons.
- Mikado was exponentially more terrifying than Izumii in that confrontation scene, but whatever the item that Izumii gave to Mikado is probably going to be significant further down the road.