「坊ちゃんとアリスと雪の記憶」 (Botchan to Arisu to Yuki no Kioku)
“The Duke, Alice, and Memories of Snow”
Bocchan’s courage is being built upon stage by stage, like the tiers of a snowman. For the first time, we saw him in a playful mood-initiating a snowball fight with Alice and Rob (whose strategy must be go big or go home). Playing in the snow is for once, an activity Bocchan can do with Alice, without danger of killing anything and he certainly has at it. (How is Alice handling that snow with bare hands??) It was adorable, seeing him get mischievous with the snow and dart around the house later with his scarf (although that scene with him dancing around with his bath fantasy song was more weird than adorable).
Alice is not a purely sensual lady, as she also taps into her sentimental side- inviting Bocchan to play in the snow, partly as a throwback to childhood when Bocchan befriended her in the snow. Her relationship with Bocchan goes far back and he clearly played a significant role in accepting her when no-one else did, highlighting why it is important it is for her to do the same for him. Her feelings for him are more than skin deep and that’s only from the teases we get of her past. I’m sure her bond with him will turn out to be even deeper, the more they show us of her (and his) history.
In spite of Bocchan’s skittishness around Alice’s teasing, he does pay careful attention to her and her needs. He is the only one to notice when something is off, leading to a cute moment when he watches over her while she recovers from her cold. Later on, he pays attention when she is distraught at losing her mother’s earring and braves the cold he so hates to find that earring. Now that he has realized how he feels about Alice, it is beginning to color his actions-he not just feels his love, he acts upon it in small, feasible ways. If only that witch hadn’t cursed him!
Up until now, the only idea of a witch we have had is of the “evil” witch who cursed Bocchan. Cuff gives us a different image, of one who is kind and spacey-a drastic difference. Cuff struck me as bland with her disinterested attitude and inability to think for herself. If we eventually meet her friend, he may be quirky enough to allow her to shine as his stark contrast (although the idea of the girl needing someone else to think for her is a bit problematic for me).
Her redeeming quality is her kindness in rescuing Bocchan. Also, apparently many characters (well, two, so far) in this show have a thing for desserts, with Bocchan’s sister and now Cuff. That seems a typical anime-girl trait.
The half witch-half human Cuff strikes a chord with Bocchan-he sees himself in her, as the outcast with nowhere to belong, except at the side of a childhood friend. Cuff’s history with losing parents to human-led witch hunts, for me, poses the question: Was Bocchan’s witch truly evil or did his parents lead a witch hunt, provoking the witch? Regardless of which it is, Bocchan is still the victim because cursing an innocent child, no matter what the parents did, is inexcusable. However, this could place the witch in a different light, as having a motivation and history beyond the fairy-tale archetype who is evil only as a plot device and not a character in her own right.