「Ring of tales①」
It’s a shame that one of the better stories this season is being rushed.
Interestingly enough, that’s not entirely Pierrot’s fault. Soreseka is actually adapting episodes at exactly the pace of one manga chapter a time; if it feels like a lot is happening, it’s partly because Dai Shiina actually writes a lot of events in the space of thirty or forty pages per chapter. She’s a bit skimpy on the details as a result (she’s put forward Livi’s age as both 12 and 15 at different points, for example) and sometimes the thread of the narrative can get a bit confusing or rushed. It doesn’t help that Pierrot is trying to cram all of that in the space of 20 odd minutes a week either, and the anime original stuff, while actually very good for character building, puts the pressure on even thicker. I hadn’t felt the rush much if at all until this week, but it would have been very hard not to notice this time.
For those of you asking last week if Livi and Nike are married yet or not, the answer is both yes and no. They are married in name and what I suppose you would call by law (think civil marriages), but they haven’t gone through a ceremonial process (think a church wedding). This is why Livi often calls Nike his wife or his queen despite the fact that the Sun Kingdom’s religion doesn’t consider them married yet. They’re pretty much married in every way except religious.
Unfortunately, as King and soon-to-be-recognized Queen, the religious acceptance of their union is very important. As most historians could tell you, the Church was a powerful institution closely linked to the monarchy as early as the late Roman Empire and as late as the Modern period. In some cases, like in medieval Italy, the Pope was actually considered a ruler in his own right, and all monarchs were in some shape or form regulated by the Papacy until the Protestant Reformation (and even after for some kings). Historically, it’s not too hard to see how the Cult of the Sun God would want to curb Livi’s power, especially so if they deem him unfit for the throne. The refusal to acknowledge Nike as Queen is just one way for the priests to get at him and deny him his way, and Rani Aristes seems to have a particularly nasty hatred for the boy king. Ethnic conflict certainly seems to be a factor, but it seems to me more to be about a power struggle between church and state, similar to something like the Investiture Conflict.
Either way, this places Nike in a difficult situation, because accepting the ritual to retrieve the ring from the underground temple means that she admits she is an inferior bride and requires testing. But fortunately, it isn’t in her nature to do nothing and watch someone she cares for struggle (thank goodness for that). Less luckily, the whole second part of the episode having to do with this political intrigue was rushed far too quickly. It was noticeable enough in the first half, but even more so as Nike accepts the trial and journeys underground. Honestly, even though the mangaka wrote this in one chapter or so, I feel like it would have been adapted much better in at least an episode and a half, if not two, and it’s a shame to see the story running through everything so quickly. I guess what matters more, though, is that Nike and Livi are still working in terms of interaction together, and that more than satisfies me.
Also, may Hylia have mercy on the poor girl’s internal organs.