“The Princess Who Spread Her Wings and the Friend Who Had a Duty”
Nino reveals the secrets behind Jean and Lotta’s royal parentage though flashbacks that recount the events of the past 33 years. Explaining that he and his father are servants of Princess Schnee’s guard, Abend, Nino details their task of secretly reporting back on Schnee and her family’s life.
If the reveals from last week were astounding, this episode of ACCA lays bare the story behind Nino’s entire involvement with Jean. It answers every question that might relate to him, with the motivation to do so likely having a lot to do with his parting words as he left Jean in Kororē. Even if nearly the entire episode was flashbacks that made no movement with the current threads, the amount of headway it makes in fleshing out the backstory is a real treat in the otherwise slow narrative.
Illustrating the points where Nino’s past intersects with the major event in this series’ story was a brilliant way to convey the information considering that the series has never shied away from extensive cryptic dialogue or emotionally muted delivery. Having the imagery to go along with the explanation lets viewers observe the events similar to how Nino has done all throughout this series. From the life altering decisions of Schee and Abends to the small moments that would seem insignificant without context, every relevant point about Jean’s life before he even existed is expertly captured, along with the friendship that he and Nino shared.
A few things about the story are yet ambiguous, like exactly what the danger was that Schnee represented with her ‘radical’ ideas and free demeanor. A closer than appropriate relationship with Abend is a likely cause that explains his devotion and her willingness to leave everything behind at Qualm’s suggestion. It makes for a bittersweet tale that shows how even the small details, like the types of foods that the characters like to eat, are tied back to their shared histories.
Other parts of the story really draw the viewer toward Nino and his thoughts about this lifelong task. Numerous times we have seen him at odds with what he has to do, and subtle scenes such as the one where he’s gently brushing his father’s recovered camera hint at how much pain he’s had to endure in the name of secrecy. As compelling as Nino became, it’s a shame that his story seems all but complete at this point. His blunt statement that he “won’t mess up and get noticed again” all but confirms that he’ll return to the background and leave Jean to do what he will with the truth.
Theorizing about the rest of the story is just as intriguing as everything we may have been wondering about Nino. Abend’s identity is perhaps the top mystery at this point, as are his long term goals where Jean and Lotta are concerned. A fan favorite that seems to be forming is that he’s Grossular, though earlier episodes make me doubt that claim. As with most things, Jean is either taking his time in figuring it out or not letting on about what he’s already deduced, leaving viewers waiting anxiously to find out which.
– The episode provides historical context in an engaging and character focused way
– The way Nino’s story wass woven through everything was truly enjoyable to see
– It’s not a strike against the series at all, but I’m worried we’ve seen the last of Nino.
This week’s episode is compromised almost entirely of prequel events, as the mysterious life of the second Princess of Dowa, Schnee, unfolds. After studying in Kororē, Princess Schnee becomes captivated by life outside the kingdom boarders. With ‘radical’ ideas, such as philosophy, shaping her thinking and her inquisitive mind, Privy Council President Qualm strongly suggests to the King that his daughter be removed from the royal family. Naturally, this is for the “good of the Kingdom,” and nothing more.
The King gives Schnee a choice, she can be a princess or she can be free. Rather than be off put by this, Princess Schnee is a willing participant in orchestrating her own disappearance. To escape her heir-bound duties, her death is fabricated under the ruse of a capsized boat. A commoner’s existence affords Schnee a peaceful freedom where she grow and learn according to her own rules. After marrying and giving birth to a little Prince Jean, followed by a bubbly Princess Lotta, Schnee’s life was shaping up to be quite perfect.
Honestly though, she is never truly free. Schnee’s faithful retainers continue to watch over her and send reports home to her father. Already mentioned in the previous episode, Schnee was released into the world with her guard, Abend, to watch over her. Of course I (and everyone else really) suspect Abend is Grossular, but that is a complete aside for now. It appears Abend also has a devoted retainer, who turns out to be Nino’s own father.
After a train accident takes the lives of Princess Schnee, her husband, and Nino’s father in Rokkusu, leaving behind an orphaned Jean, Lotta, and Nino. Just as Nino’s father’s loyalty was to Abend (and the royal family), Nino’s devotion is to his father. So after his father’s tragic death, Nino is tasked with watching over Jean and Lotta.
In an entirely speculative sense, if Abend is Grossular, then the death of the princess doesn’t necessarily mean his duty and loyalty towards her doesn’t remain. With someone like Schwan intending to seize power, a royal heir that foils Princess Schnee’s personality in the worst way, this might just be the catalyst that spurs Grossular to action. After all, there is technically two living, breathing heirs alive who possess some of the Princess’ more admirable qualities. There is just the pesky matter of legal claim to the throne that stands in the way. Does everyone understand where I am headed with my thinking?
– Prequel episode details well the back story of many significant characters.
– The execution of this series, especially the way subtle details are slowly revealed, is absolute genius.
– Uncertain if viewers were expected to determine this episode of Abend and Grossular are one in the same. If so, far too many fans are still utterly confused.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Part