The princes are given a problem to solve as a king would, learning about the laws and bureaucracy of their kingdom in the process. To the surprise of everyone, the one with the best solution to the problem is Leonhard, who is able to understand the concept of insurance due to the way he saves up cakes. Everybody is of course very proud of him, however it sets of Bruno’s inferiority complex as he starts to worry about how no matter how hard he tries, he’ll never be fit to be king. This is mostly due to the fact that the eldest brother Eins – who currently lives apart from the other four – is said to be the most likely candidate to be king, something that has always troubled Bruno.
It starts to affect his academic performance, including a paper he planned to present at a university function. Heine gives him some advice and he eventually manages to rewrite the whole thing and present it without a hitch – and, what’s more, meet his favourite scholar, a Doctor Dmitri from fakeRussia. Dmitri offers him a spot as a scholar at his home university – something which, although Bruno longs for – would require him to give up being a prince.
Now it’s Bruno’s time to get a little depth, and I’ve got mixed feelings on it. I do like how it shows that ones success is not necessarily proportional to ones self esteem, given that someone as accomplished as Bruno can still feel such inadequacy. But at the same time, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how he got over his funk. He has two in this episode, first he gets depressed about no longer being good enough to even better Leo (c’mon, Bruno, you saw the episode the other week where Leo only just learned basic maths, right?), and then he gets depressed over not being able to choose between his seemingly impossible dream of being king and his more attainable dream of being a scholar. Both of these are ‘solved’ by Heine, but…Heine doesn’t do anything. I know that’s kind of the point, and that Bruno was meant to find the answers in himself, but the thing is that Heine doesn’t even say anything to cause any kind of epiphany in him at all.
For example, all he does the first time is tell Bruno to write a good paper. We see Bruno trying and failing over and over again and then…he writes a good one. It just felt kind of empty to me, and would have worked better if there had been some kind of trigger or epiphany that he had, but there wasn’t really anything. I mean sure, good on you Bruno for doing well, but storywise its not tremendously exciting and has the unfortunate side-effect of making him look like he was whining over nothing. Next, Heine’s opinion of which path Bruno should take is entirely irrelevant. In fact, he even seems to be in favour of him becoming a scholar. It’s Bruno that makes the decision to stay as a prince on his own. Why is this important? Because at the end of the episode we see the silhouette of Eins, apparently mad that his plan to get Bruno out of the running to be king didn’t work, and implying that this is all Heine’s fault. Whatever.
Speaking of Eins, maybe it was because I watched the first episode of this directly after some other real crapper of a first impression show and so wasn’t at full attention, but I seriously don’t remember him being mentioned at all. In fact the only reason I knew who he was in this episode was because I bought the manga and saw him mentioned there…and to be honest, for some reason I thought he was dead. What exactly his problem is we still don’t know. He’s apparently a shoe-in to be king and Viktor only wanted his sons educated as a back-up if something happened to the eldest son, but what is he so paranoid for, exactly? If he was so worried about any of the other princes becoming king instead of him, it’d make more sense to get rid of Viktor and be king straight away. (Granted I have no idea how cold-blooded Eins actually is because he doesn’t seem to want to actually harm any of the princes, not yet at least). Someone must have some serious dirt on Eins if he sees the other princes as a threat to his succession, though. Or he’s just an idiot. I guess we’ll find out.
Kai comes to Heine for help on his communication skills. Although he wants to be able to get along with other people, he’s too shy and awkward to talk properly to anyone outside his family, and his appearance tends to intimidate the castle staff even when he tries to be nice due to his subconscious glaring. Meanwhile, the little princess Adele has a ‘fight’ with her dog Shadow that results in her wanting to go to the zoo and get a new pet. The princes and Adele decide to go to the zoo for a day trip, and Heine decides to combine this with helping Kai’s social skills, and for some reason no one tells Adele that a zoo is not a pet store.
Although everyone has fun looking at animals at the zoo, and Adele eventually realizes that Shadow is a much better friend than any of them, Kai still doesn’t improve very much. He tries out various methods to be better liked in the palace with the staff, but still can’t seem to not scare the maid he wants to talk to the most. Heine eventually gives him a pep talk of sorts but points out that all people are different and not everyone responds to the same tactics in the same way when trying to strike up a conversation, and Kai eventually manages to thank the maid for all her hard work without scaring her.
Yay, a Kai episode! He’s been given the least amount of attention in the show so far, so I was waiting for him to finally get an episode and……he has to share it with Adele? Alright then. Now, I don’t dislike Adele, but this does kind of reveal a problem that the anime has had. The thing is, Adele’s been pretty much irrelevant – I actually forgot she existed in the anime at all until now – whereas she gets a lot more cameos doing random things in the manga, and hence it doesn’t seem as weird when she’s suddenly given more attention. I don’t think there’s anything that bad about giving Adele attention all of a sudden, it’s just kind of weird and not entirely warranted when it’s supposed to be an episode about Kai.
There’s also the problem that Adele’s…drama? if it can even be called that, is extremely stupid. She has a fight with her dog. (It’s revealed this is because he tried to protect her from a painting that caught on fire, but she didnt realize and thought he ruined the painting by knocking it down.) Inserting this weird subplot into the show at this point, where it was previously gearing up for something more serious to go down regarding Eins and Rosenberg, is especially weird. I can’t stay entirely mad at it because the zoo visit was cute and all, as was Heine being revealed to be a really crappy artist, but it just felt like a strange place to insert it.
On the plus side, Kai’s dilemna is relateable, especially with him having to work up the courage to say something simple to the maid at all due to not wanting to bother her or scare her. I especially liked the talk that Heine gave to him, which was a lot more substantial than the one he gave Bruno before. I’m glad the issue that the same advice doesn’t apply to every potential person you want to talk to was brought up, because it’s true, and it made his advice a good deal better than some kind of generic ‘just be yourself’ thing it easily could have been otherwise.
Apparently, Eins mustn’t consider Kai a threat at all because his problem did not result in his claim to the throne being in jeopardy, unlike the other three princes. Which is…ironic, considering that he is the eldest of the four and thus arguably the most likely to earn the position over Eins in the first place. It’s another reason this episode felt weirdly out of place to me after the others. In fact, the possibility of Kai being king whatsoever isn’t mentioned at all, not even in passing. As much as I did like the cute/funny parts of this episode, I can’t be the only one that found that odd. Even Leo had it brought up in relation to his crappy grades.