「坊ちゃんとアリスと二人だけの歌」 (Botchan to Arisu to Futari Dake no Uta)
“The Duke, Alice, and a Song for Two”
We’ve seen the past through the lens of Bocchan and Alice, and now we get a retrospect from Rob. It says volumes about how highly esteemed a butler Rob must be that he was entrusted to raise the family’s heir. With Bocchan and Alice’s flashbacks in previous episodes, we gained a powerful glimpse into how indispensable they are to each other. Rob’s flashback doesn’t tell us anything new, per say, reflecting Rob’s role as the quiet rock, watching over from the background. Rob may not have as dominant a presence as say Alice or even Cuff and Zain, but he is there when you need him, whether as someone to show off gifts made with love or a confidant to talk to in the middle of the night.
Someone who could learn a thing or two from Rob’s book in letting one’s charge learn for themselves in Zain. After Viola accuses him of not letting Cuff figure things out for herself, Zain tries to let her learn independence through some solo shopping. The end result-Cuff learns about money and rescues a pick-pocket from head trauma. As I suspected, it isn’t that Cuff isn’t stupid, it’s that she was too reliant upon Zain and not confident enough in herself. I look forward to seeing how her relationship with Zain matures, as he can become less of a nanny and more of an equal.
Bocchan and Alice are equals emotionally, but in terms of social standing, there is the tricky matter of their roles as maid and master. Bocchan reflects on what this means for their relationship in the future with unrealistic positivity. Sure, the curse will break but so may their relationship.
While Bocchan vows that he would cut ties with his family rather than sever things with Alice, I don’t think things will be that easy. Bocchan has been lamenting this curse all these years and working hard to break it so that he can reunite with his family. I doubt he’d be able to so easily leave the family home after having put all his effort into returning to it. Even though Bocchan would most certainly try to do right by his genuine feelings for Alice, she doesn’t seem willing to allow Bocchan to sacrifice everything for her sake. I feel a heartbreak waiting to happen.
This curse places them in a Catch-22: with the curse, Bocchan and Alice have the freedom to fall in love with each other, but they cannot consummate that relationship-the closest they can get is blushing next to each other in bed with distance (and clothing) between them. If the curse breaks, they can take their feelings to the next level, however, the family will also become involved- most likely leading to their separation.
I sincerely hope that if the curse breaks, the family will either be more lenient or Bocchan and Alice will find some way to make it work. Maybe it’s just because I’m a romanticist at heart, but I strongly dislike it when characters try to act selfless in sacrificing their love-it hurts themselves and the other person. If they are in love and happy with each other, they should fight to make it work- rather than trading off happiness for the sake of cold-hearted duty. The whole dynamic of this show is Bocchan and Alice-you can’t have one without the other.
Right now, the story is frozen-I feel that very little progress has been made on the curse in the past few episodes and there are just 2 episodes remaining. If there is a resolution to Alice and Bocchan’s dilemmas, the anime might not show it (unless a second season is released). I really want to know what happens with Bocchan and Alice in the end and to see them happily together. I hope that wherever the manga takes them, that the anime at least projects hope for a future with them together.