「 坊ちゃんと烏とアイススケート」 (Botchan to Karasu to Aisu Sukēto)
“The Duke, a Crow, and Ice Skating”
For all of Viola’s talk of being a charm expert, she really is clueless. For one, she’s oblivious to the fact that Rob sees her as a granddaughter of sorts and not a romantic interest, and she thinks her feelings are a total secret (which they’re not, but Alice is kind enough to indulge her). I’ve never been a fan of the one-sided romance where a character blindly pursues their interest even when all signs say that it’s a no. Which doesn’t endear Viola to me. Another blindspot from our charm “expert”- obliviousness to Alice’s feelings-not realizing Alice’s crush is indeed her brother. I can’t entirely blame Viola for that, if she hasn’t spent enough time around Alice and Bocchan and isn’t acquainted with Alice’s history.
What did intrigue me towards the end, was Viola’s one on one with Alice where she reveals how attention-starved she is at home, with all of her family’s attention going to the boys. The fact that she opens up to Alice says something about the closeness Viola feels to Alice and also explains that her obsession with charm may be her way of trying to get the attention and affection she sorely lacks. Exposing her inner struggle makes her more of a human character, as opposed to a 2D Miss “I’ve got a crush” character.
I hope in coming episodes they focus on her relationship with Alice and on how she cares for her brother, as these are strong points. With Viola’s frequent appearances in this episode, I wonder if they are building up to something-maybe Viola bridging an encounter with Bocchan’s brother.
I’ve seen plenty of anime guys who are ladies’ men, but this is the first time I’ve met one who was a bird. Zain (Kamiya Hiroshi) is the other half of a magician’s duo with Cuff. The two couples (Zain and Cuff and Alice and Bocchan) complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses nicely. Zaine and Cuff are comfortable physically expressing emotions, but can’t be verbally honest about how they feel. Zaine realizes this, when comparing them to Alice and Bocchan’s open communication, wishing he and Cuff could be more honest with each other. Cuff depends on Zain, but does she view him only as a caretaker, or as something more, and the caretaker is partly a way to hide her feelings?
Meanwhile, Cuff and Zain exemplify the physical closeness Bocchan wishes he could have with Alice-a further reminder of regret for everything the curse prevents him from and the urgency to break it. For all the bad that the curse is, it does make me wonder-if Bocchan wasn’t cursed, would he have fallen in love with Alice?
If he lived as a normal boy, he would have been surrounded by people-relegating Alice to the role of mere servant as opposed to the strong support and companionship she offered him in his cursed isolation. With the high social position as heir, most likely he would have been paired off with another wealthy lady and not allowed to associate with a maid. But, because he was isolated by the curse, this gave him and Alice the opportunity to love they otherwise would not have had.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and in Bocchan’s case, he has already taken two steps-one in opening his heart towards Alice and the second thanks to Zain and Cuff’s offer to bring them to a sabbath to investigate Bocchan’s witch. Bocchan will have a lot of preparing to do-mostly emotional, I imagine. If he does meet this witch, how will he react to her-with anger, fear, grief? Alice also seems to have a history with witches that she isn’t letting on to, with her flashback to the skull-lady she met in town-are the two witches connected? We’ll have to wait and watch in the next step of Alice and Bocchan’s journey!