「坊ちゃんと執事と迷い猫」 (Botchan to Shitsuji to Mayoi Neko)
“The Duke, His Butler, and a Lost Cat”
His mother and Philip aside, Bocchan is otherwise surrounded by people who accept him, death curse and all. Rob (Ootsuka Houchuu) is one of them-his deft capability as a butler reminded me a little of Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji (although he looks older than Sebastian and is completely human). Rob is just as fearless around Bocchan as Alice is-almost fatally tapping his shoulder. He claimed it was his eyesight, but he could see well enough to quickly rescue a vase of roses from Bocchan.
With his servants’ affections, it looks like Bocchan is thrown into a running gag of simultaneously dodging Alice’s smoldering touch and Rob’s accidental brush. The final scene where he was practically leaping away from the cat, Rob, and Alice was the most hilarious scene of the episode. Normally this kind of gag becomes tiresome for me (not to mention the uncomfortable nature of Alice’s harassment), but with Shinigami Bocchan they do it in such a way that it builds upon the character.
Bocchan doesn’t remain stuck in the role of a perpetually awkward, shy male lead who only ever fends off the amorous lady’s advances. While he remains awkward around Alice (and adorably so, especially in the scene where he can’t focus on piano-playing), he also gains the courage to make advances of his own-suggesting a dance with Alice, social-distanced style (although less than the 6-foot kind we are all used to by now). I am so happy they adapted this scene from the manga-this was one of my favorite scenes from what I read thus far. The physical distance between them did not matter-you could feel the emotional distance closing in between them.
The eloquence Bocchan cannot put into words, he pours into music- writing a song for Alice. Like the rest of his life, Bocchan’s hopes and happiness in romance are tinged with melancholy-reflected in his wistfully sorrowful love song, which Alice at first mistakes for a requiem. This doesn’t put her off and his feelings of passionate longing get across to Alice in the end. As frustrating as it is for Bocchan to not be able to touch Alice, this curse allows them to explore ways of expressing their feelings that don’t involve the typical embrace or kiss-making it interesting to see what they come up with next.
One of the big surprises is Bocchan’s sister, Viola (Minase Inori). I was astonished he had a sister-in his, it only showed his mother and group of peers. Was her absence in his flashbacks due to her being born after his family abandoned him or because her warmth towards him is not haunting like the rejection from his mother? At the family dinner table, we also saw another boy-presumably Bocchan’s brother. I wonder if we will be seeing more of him soon or if he shares his mother’s coldness towards Bocchan.
Viola does not take after their mother in neglecting Bocchan-paying him a surprise visit. Like Rob and Alice, Viola also is comfortable being around Bocchan, holding a forthright conversation instructing him in popularity with the ladies (although it is apparent she is not the expert she thinks is). I honestly found her annoying. Why is it that in some romantic comedies, the family is irritating (I also found this to be the case in (Tonikaku Kawaii)?! Regardless of her annoying status, she clearly plays an active role in his life, whether he wants her to or not.
Having people around him who do not recoil in fear at his presence will go a long way in helping Bocchan to accept himself. The curse is not just physical, but also emotional and mental in how it isolates him from society. Even if the physical aspect of the curse never breaks (which I hope it does), with the help of Alice, Rob, and Viola, the emotional/mental aspect of it will be broken once he accepts their love for himself.
Can we expect the anime to explore why Alice is doing this? What is there for her to gain?
While I expect to be bludgeoned with flashbacks in the coming episodes, until we learn otherwise, I’m going to go with her being truly, madly, deeply in love with him.
It’s still early so we don’t know really anything about the curse or what it may take to end it. And of course, we don’t really know anything about her or their relationship other than that she enjoys flirting with him. This episode, Rob and Viola were introduced to us and there’s likely more to come.
That is definitely part of it, that she is madly in love with him. What I like about Alice is that she sees Bocchan for his kindness, loves him for who he is a person when most other people overlook his good qualities in fear of his death curse.
I’m sure it will. So far, it seems implied that she is doing this to help Bocchan to see that while he doesn’t love himself, there are others who love him, helping him to see himself as desirable. Especially in the face of his touch of death curse, where no-one else will get near him.
Only one member of the family is on talking terms with Bocchan—yeesh. I am more interested in who this Witch is that cursed Bocchan. It seems like a cruel thing to do to a child, think about the mental impact this could have had on Bocchan. If the boy snaps he can go on a killing spree.
What’s the Witch’s deal anyways? Did this thing decide one day I’m going to mess with a family and curse their child for fun.
I hope the upcoming episodes we get to see Bocchan go out to town for some air with Alice.
I’m wondering if maybe the family did something to annoy the Witch and she cursed their oldest son as punishment-sounds pretty fairy tale like. It would also explain partly why the family shuns him, as a way of distancing themselves from the reminder of whatever they did wrong (and also, out of fear of dying).
That would make for a lot of humor and romance if they had a date on the town. But also, potentially dangerous on a crowded day. I could see Bocchan being very reluctant to do something like that and it would make it especially trying for him if it was a town nearby where everybody knew of him.