As this series makes clear from the start, the biggest issue facing the Holfort Kingdom is its ultra-misandry. However, this episode chooses to focus on another of the kingdom’s systemic ills: its class system. While we’ve seen what it’s like to be a noble at the bottom of the totem pole through Leon, Livia, as a commoner, is going through much worse. Casually bullied by the noble girls of the academy even before the duel, her current position – as the only female friend of the most powerful heiress in the kingdom – only serves to exacerbate her terrible situation.
Now, it’s clear that Angie really likes Livia and sees her for the kind soul she truly is. After all, she and Leon were the only ones willing to stand by her side against the prince. Then, in the subsequent fallout, Angie was able to bond with Livia while she was at her most heartbroken and vulnerable. Judging by the way they build each other up, it’s safe to say the two love each other—as friends at the very least and possibly more. But while we all grow up hearing fairytales about love overcoming class and societal barriers, that is often something far easier said than done in reality. In fact, the prince and his group were disinherited in part for this very reason.
If Leon had been at the bottom of the totem pole, then commoners like Livia are basically the dirt surrounding it. Even Angie used to think this way before circumstances forced her to get to know Livia as a person (and she is quite obviously embarrassed by her past prejudice). The reason the bullying has stepped up in this episode is because, to the noble children of the academy, Livia is wielding borrowed power—namely Angie’s and Leons—whether she means to or not. They see befriending Angie as a calculated move on Livia’s part—because it’s exactly what they would have done if they had had the opportunity. Frankly, they are jealous that Livia has surpassed them despite their noble birth. And because Angie’s status is in decline thanks to the prince breaking off her engagement, they feel that they are safe to harrass Livia when Leon and Angie are absent.
But, as we see in the final scene, while most of the noble children are simply bullying Livia, some are keen to use her instead. Carla gets Livia to introduce Leon to her, and because it’s not Carla asking the favor but Livia, Leon rejecting Carla’s plea would signal to the nobles that Livia has lost his favor and thus his protection (paving the way for more bullying or worse). Carla has exploited Livia’s unfamiliarity with noble society to trap Leon, knowing he cares for Livia and won’t throw her under the bus. Hopefully Angie will be able to teach Livia what she needs to know, though with the noble girls of the academy working to drive a wedge between the two, who knows if that will even be possible.
On the other side of the episode, we get our introduction to the queen. While she initially planned to use the school festival as an excuse to get minor revenge on Leon for publicly embarrassing her son (by sending her tea back three times), she is instead confronted with the harsh injustices inside the academy, and as a foreign-born noble, she is disgusted by them. Her reaction implies that not every nation in the world is as misandrist as the Holfort Kingdom, and explains how the prince could be so painfully oblivious when it comes to the plight of the lesser male nobles at the academy: he grew up in an environment where men and women were treated equally and assumes that this is the norm rather than the exception.
She also provides an amazing opportunity to allow Leon to let his asshole-side out once more. The moment the Offrey heir orders her servants to lay hands on the queen, Leon realizes he has carte blanche in his actions—anything he does to them, no matter how violent, is as a knight protecting his queen. No one, not even the queen herself, can punish him for it. He’s just doing his duty after all.
Likewise, the scenes of him teasing her and straight up proposing to her are both funny and telling. Like Angie and Livia, she is a fundamentally good person, but just because she is kind at heart, that doesn’t mean she can’t see through the BS of this world created by hack writers. It’s cathartic to see her point out her son’s hypocrisy and how he projects his own faults onto Leon—not to mention his greedy exploitation of the students at the school at Marie’s behest. Also clear to see is her disappointment at her son for basically letting Marie get away with everything without even questioning her motives. But I guess this just shows that the world of otome games is tough for moms as well.
• As part of her training to be the next queen, Angie spent time as a maid for the queen. I suspect this not only instilled in her a sense of humility but also let her see how the sausage is made—so that she would better understand the plight of her subjects.
• In case you are unaware, a host club is a café where the employees basically pretend to date you while serving both you and themselves overpriced drinks (on your tab, of course).
• The male love interests are in so deep that they don’t even notice that Marie is basically acting as their pimp this episode.
• Having the sole prince of the kingdom acting like a male escort is probably going to be frowned upon by the majority of high society that exists outside the academy.
• It was very cute to see the queen caught up in Leon’s sudden proposal.
• The prince punching Leon and throwing him in the trash is the first time I’ve sided with the prince in the story so far.
• I like that both Livia and Angie were happy to see Leon thrown in the trash. They may truly care for him but they are still able to object to his more disagreeable acts—unlike the male leads blind to Marie’s own BS.
• How did a nobleman who teaches about serving tea get facial scars? I’m betting we have a secret badass in the house.
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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.