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A King, An Ultimatum, and Sachertorte

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I expected a group lesson, and in a way, it kinda was in that all four princes were together. Though after watching the episode, it wasn’t a lesson they were gathered for per se (although they did learn something).

Heine and the four princes are summoned for an audience with King Viktor, having returned from a six month tour. In general, the princes seem less than thrilled about seeing their father, though Kai is the only one truly happy with a cosmic scale love for the man. They are ushered into the King’s office where we find that these apples have certainly not fallen far from the tree in terms of looks (I’d say Leonhard resembles him the closest). As he is also their King, the boys formally greet their father who suddenly turns into a clichéd anime dad and seems moved to tears that his sons are greeting him so politely. Bruno apologizes to Heine for the display and explains that this is this is a regular occurrence (and the reason they weren’t excited about seeing him).

The King greets Heine and thanks him for grooming his sons. Heine explains that he and King Viktor only corresponded through letters and the former was offered the position based on them. Seeing that the princes don’t object to their new tutor, the King puts the fatherly act on pause and addresses them seriously. Having read Heine’s report on their competency tests, he commends Bruno’s perfect score but says he needs more flexibility to become a leader. Also commending Kai’s score, he advises the silent prince to work on his communication and learn how to properly convey his emotions. The King reprimands Licht’s score of 60 because he thought the test a chore and tells him to “break that habit”.

Finally, he comes to the problem child, revealing he was also shocked beyond words at Leonhard’s abysmal grade and even more surprised that Heine granted him a sympathy point for writing his name. Fearing Leonhard will never be fit for the throne if the poor grades persist, King Viktor declares that the prince will retake the test in three days and if he can’t meet or beat Licht’s score, then he will be removed from the line of succession. He also tells Heine to give Leonhard extra lessons in addition to the promised equal treatment.

After leaving, the princes and tutor regroup in the reception hall, where Leonhard turns out one reflective diary after another in despair. While Heine is admittedly impressed that the King could be so stern with his beloved son, the others attempt to cheer their brother up, though Leonhard is more disappointed that his father is unhappy with him than his right to the throne. All set to give up, they all convince Leonhard to let them help prep him for the makeup test. Although after trying to assess Leonhard’s academic level, they find that he is tragically unable to add one plus one (he first thinks the answer is three, then settles on eleven). Heine advises him to count using his fingers, which gets him the correct answer but derails when asked four plus three and he runs out of fingers on one hand (pretty sure no human-made tests could measure his competency level).

They begin pondering ways to help him. Licht suggests the idea of Bruno tutoring him, but Leonhard proves too enamored with Bruno’s intellect to pay much attention. Licht then suggests memorizing the answers from the previous test, but this idea is rejected on the basis than Leonhard cannot possibly memorize that many answers in order (and because it would be cheating). Heine requests sachertorte and employs a proven visual technique to teach Leonhard basic arithmetic, which miraculously proves successful even when the numbers are increased. The conclusion is reached that Leonhard’s anxiety towards studying causes him to panic, rendering him unable to answer even basic questions correctly.

Using his favorite dessert as a medium does help, but on a subsequent practice test, Leonhard only scores 15. Though he is elated at this unprecedented score, he is still drastically short of the goal with only hours until the makeup test. Convinced that passing is hopeless, Heine shows him that his low score only means he has room to grow.

The next morning, after some last-minute cramming, Leonhard prepares to retake the test, with his brothers standing by for moral support. Once the allotted time passes, Heine grades the test and finds that Leonhard has now scored 59. Though the princes are ecstatic at their brother’s achievement, the professor reminds them that this is still below the required score. The King prepares to hold true to his word, but then reminds Heine of the grading curve, allowing one pointing for writing one’s name. Leonhard seems hesitant about accepting victory because of a technicality, but the King insists that it would be natural for Heine’s student to follow his grading method. Leonhard thanks Heine for his help and asks him to keep teaching which Heine accepts, revealing that he has already done a considerable amount of work regarding their futures.

Later that night, Heine returns to call on King Viktor with a bottle of wine. Viktor jokes about a child bringing him wine, but upon Heine’s objection, he claims it’s retaliation for the professor lie about never having met him. As the two of them share the wine, Heine thanks the King for his ultimatum, believing Leonhard would never have been motivated to study otherwise. Viktor expresses his wish for his children to be happy and build a bright future for Granzreich, and that Heine will help that wish come true. The tutor reminds the King of a promise they’d made regarding his mysterious past, which seems to have been a condition on his accepting the job.

Based on the preview, it looks like next week we’ll finally get to see Licht as a waiter. I’d been reading about that since I first found out about this series and I’ve been very eager to see. I doubt we’ll find out this “condition” Heine had for accepting the position of Royal Tutor in the next episode, but hopefully we will before the series concludes (which hopefully won’t be for a good long while). I recently found out that a dub has been in the works and will soon be aired. Honestly, as much as I love dubs, I’m a little hesitant about seeing Shouta’s character dubbed over. But if I could survive the First Love Monster dub, I can probably survive this. And at least in that case, they kept his voice in the theme songs and the insert songs.

Episode 1 dub reaction

It’s a little hard getting used to hearing “Glanzreich” after seeing it romanized as “Granzreich” so much, but not worth fussing over. Micah Solusod puts a bit more emotion into Heine’s portrayal than Keisuke Ueda, but that’s be to be expected I guess. Leonhard’s turnaround from welcoming to cold seemed a bit more drastic, but that can be credited more to the writers than the voice actor.

Licht’s dub voice is not what I expected, though that may be in part because of my bias towards Shouta Aoi. He still sounds as lively as ever, but the general tone is a bit more masculine than I’d expected (but to be fair, how many full grown English-speaking men have a voice as high as Shouta’s?). In his “seductive mode,” he comes off a bit like a cross between Viscount Druitt and Tamaki Suoh (don’t open that door ><). And I will say, I have a stronger aversion to his preferred nickname now that I hear it said in English.

Bruno’s dub voice is a bit lower than I’d anticipated, but otherwise it’s all right. It certainly suits his initial disdain for Heine’s uneducated background. The princes’ secret nicknames are translated exactly, though Bruno’s is shortened to just “the Brainiac Prince.” It was interesting to hear Leonhard actually use Licht’s nickname, though I will still never use it myself. Kai’s first words to Heine are certainly more choppy in the dub, but that does help convey the struggle a bit.

The episode still met the expected level of humor, even down to the verbal onomatopoeia when Heine sneaks a peak at Leonhard’s diary. Had I not seen it in Japanese first, I might’ve enjoyed the dub just a little bit more, but I liked it all the same. I don’t know if I’d say it’s better the second time around, but the ride’s still gonna be fun.

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Just a simple Jpop-loving, cosplaying otaku. My writing may not be glamorous, but I write about what I love.
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