This episode is all about consequences—especially the unintended ones. As we talked about last week, Leon knew from the moment he stepped up to protect Angelica that it was almost certainly the end of not only his school days but anything amounting to a comfortable life within the kingdom in the future. As a man with nothing to lose, he goes all in on getting the maximum amount of self-satisfaction by tearing the prince down both physically and verbally. Part of this is simply venting his frustrations, sure, but he is also trying to force the prince to confront his privilege and hypocrisy—especially in regards to Angelica.
Basically, the prince’s problem with Angelica is that she never saw the “real him”—despite the fact that he never once tried to show her. And while that is obviously unfair, what truly makes him a hypocrite is that he never bothered to see the real her either. Angelica has worked her whole life to be the partner he will need to be a good king. She devoted everything to him, but he gave her nothing but scorn in return simply because she wasn’t able to magically read his mind like Marie.
More than just rejecting Angelica’s love, he completely dismisses the idea that she could even be in love with him, implying that she doesn’t even know what love is. However, more than anything Leon could have said, it is Angelica giving up on the prince after the duel that proves him wrong: after all, what greater act of love is there than to want your loved one to be happy, even if that happiness doesn’t involve you?
Of course, with Leon’s victory, the prince and his lovestruck companions basically lose everything. For breaking off all their engagements publicly (truly messing up the web of political alliances in the kingdom in the process) and losing to a mere baron in the subsequent duel, all of them are disinherited. While this doesn’t bother them all that much (they still have true love, after all), it is nearly the worst-case scenario for Marie. In her attempt to rush to the harem ending, she didn’t allow Angelica the time needed for her to grow into a reviled villainess. What should have been a just denouncement became the opposite. Now she has her harem but none of the trappings of money and power that were supposed to come with it. Rather than a cushy happy ending, she’s going to have to work her butt off for the foreseeable future. It’s karmic justice at its best.
Leon, on the other hand, had been aiming for a “bad end” where he took all responsibility (protecting his family from the fallout) and was left with nothing but his life. Of course, with Luxion, Leon would have been able to make his way just fine even as an outcast. Yet, by playing the villain so obviously, he is instead viewed as a humble hero by noble society—the one man who was willing to speak truth to power regardless of the consequences. Thus, rather than being stripped of his lands and title, he is both promoted and knighted. He has gained respect from outside the school and animosity from within, and he now has two stalwart companions who see him both for who he is and who he could become.
The episode’s other main theme is that of “revenge.” For Marie, she longs for the traditional type: she wants to see Leon, Angelica, and Olivia hurt for “stealing” her happy end. For the prince and his friends, their revenge is more about aiming to regain their pride by defeating Leon in battle rather than making him suffer. But the most important take on the theme is Angelica’s.
At first, everything still points to her becoming the villainess—she understandably hates Marie after all. And while Oliva (as the pure heroine) is all about forgiveness, Leon is not beneath revenge. However, he suggests a positive form of revenge, one that revolves around living well for themselves rather than wasting their time bringing others down. It’s clear that implanting this idea in Angelica’s head is the catalyst that will change the course of her life. Just as Leon is no longer a mob character (despite his best efforts), Angelica no longer needs to become a villainess. Together, they have a chance to carve their own path, which is the best outcome they could have asked for from the duel—not the money or fame. And while Leon may be oblivious to this fact, it will be fun to watch how they grow thanks to this newfound freedom going forward.
• While the plot of the world can clearly be derailed, it’s interesting that some parts of the setting are still pre-built for Olivia alone. The fact that she can take focus away from Leon’s duel with the prince despite not being directly involved (and not having a mic) is proof of this.
• So the terms of this holy duel stated that if the prince lost, he would have nothing to do with Marie anymore. He didn’t even last a day. What a hypocritical asshole.
• Leon looks so happy just watching Angelica take his step-mother down a peg.
• I love the friendship between Angelica and Olivia. Unlike the prince, Olivia has seen Angelica for who she truly is from the very beginning. Angelica has thus found a person she can be her true self with—two, actually, if you include Leon.
• I could see a poly relationship between Angelica, Olivia, and Leon actually working. The three of them seem equally into each other rather than having the two orbiting around a single person like we see in most anime.
• Real talk though, Marie is attempting the Dark Souls of dating—and as the relationship is built entirely on a web of lies, I don’t believe for a second she can pull it off.
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Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.