I knew this episode was going to be focused on Licht, but I really didn’t expect to get feels on this level. Squealing over my darling Shouta’s voice was a given, and maybe that’s why the feels were so extreme, but for the most part it was truly a sweet, heartwarming episode.
Taking a break from educating the princes, Heine goes into town to buy books and comes across a little shop named Café Mitter Meyer. Upon entering the café, he is greeted by none other than our beloved Licht, who is naturally surprised to run into his teacher. Licht denies his identity, insisting he’s merely a lookalike for the prince, and Heine seems to go along with it. Asked for a recommendation, Licht offers his personal preference, the kapuziner: coffee with freshly-whipped milk and cream, topped with a mixture of cocoa powder and orange peel. He adds that the drink’s citrus flavors pair perfectly with the chocolate and caramel in a Dobos torte. The incognito prince’s eloquent sales pitch manages to convince the tiny professor to order both the drink and the torte, despite not having much of a sweet tooth.
Once out of Heine’s sight, Licht seems panic-stricken by the encounter. For a royal to have a civilian job is certainly unthinkable, so Licht fears that his brothers will mock him or worse, that his father would disown him. Hoping he managed to fool Heine, he resolves not to act like his normal self until he is approached by female customers, greeting him as “Richard.” Hearing that they came to see him seems to trigger his playboy personality, which disappears when he senses Heine staring at him. He naturally tries to get the café owner to wait on the professor (once again assumed to be a child), but the owner refuses, insisting that a professional waiter handles his own section and doing otherwise would confuse the patrons.
Licht delivers Heine’s order, hoping the miniature educator will leave once he’s finished. But to his hysterical dismay, Heine takes out one of the books he’d bought (as expected of someone so smart). He then resolves to stay as far away from his teacher as he can, though this derails when two customers start arguing over a pool game. Suspecting his partner cheated by moving a ball with his cue, one of them shoves the other, knocking over a coat rack that nearly hits a female diner. Licht catches the coat rack (impressing the young lady) and notes that the pool table was placed too closely to the wall, thus resolving the dispute. And as if he wasn’t awesome enough, he takes a pool cue and performs a behind-the-back strike that knocks the remaining balls into the pockets, claiming the victory. Heine asks for the check and commends “Richard” on how he handled the tense situation while maintaining the café’s atmosphere. Licht sees the professor out, thinking he got away with the façade, only to find Heine had slipped him a note asking to see him when he returns. Just then, another customer exits and quietly tells “Prince Licht” that his father is waiting for him.
That evening while privately tutoring Leonhard, Heine ponders the King’s reaction to Licht’s secret life and decides to discuss it with the young prince first. Suddenly out the window, he sees Licht emerging from a carriage still in his waiter clothes and a strange man behind him. Fearing the beans have already been spilled, Heine hurries to the King’s office to find the stranger leaving. King Viktor invites Heine into the room with Licht, asking the former if he knew about the situation. The professor admits that he had intended to talk to Licht before coming. Viktor reveals that he heard it all from the strange man (now identified as Count Rosenberg) and expresses his disappointment at his son. Heine interjects that Licht seemed quite serious at the café and that the boy’s thoughts should be considered. Licht admits that the whole thing started on a whim, after hearing his lady friends gush about handsome waiters and thinking the job was easy enough to do. No surprise, he was horribly inept in the beginning but with everyone’s help, he learned quickly and became genuinely interested in being a waiter. Licht then declares that he won’t quit his job regardless of what anyone says.
However, King Viktor refuses, saying it’s not enough that Licht wants to do it. He reminds Licht that as a prince, he is guaranteed at least minimum security when he attends events and that whether or not his true identity is revealed, his safety can’t be guaranteed outside the palace. Viktor insists that the prince should be more aware of his position as a royal and that the royal line would be jeopardized if something were to befall him. Like any child being lectured by their parents, Licht tries to pull a guilt trip, reminding his father of when he was a weak and sickly child that the King never bothered to visit. He claims his father didn’t care about him as he was a “fifth prince who could never become king,” annoyed by the irony of him choosing now to be a good father and protect him. He further insists that Viktor only wants to protect the royal family’s reputation and that he never tried to understand him. Viktor suggests talking about it, but like any child on a tirade, Licht runs out.
The prince runs into town and only then realizes that he didn’t think things through. He briefly considers staying with one of his lady friends, but remembers they’re all friends with some noble who would recognize him. Having reached Café Mitter Mayer, he decides to stay with one of his coworkers, even to live off working at the café. Just then, he is approached by Heine and King Viktor. Heine suggests returning to the palace to calmly continue the discussion, but Licht stubbornly refuses. The café owner then steps outside and notices Viktor who introduces himself as Licht’s father (though it doesn’t seem the owner recognizes him as the King). Licht initially thinks his father is about to make him quit, but Viktor merely asks the owner to allow him to work in the café for a few hours. Licht and Heine are both blindsided by the request (and Heine even tries to talk him out of it), but Viktor explains that he wishes to understand his son’s heart by walking in his shoes. The owner relents and agrees to let him work the remaining hours until closing.
After he gets into uniform (which is happily received by the female staff), the King turns to Heine who is surprisingly giving him the cold shoulder. The professor states that Viktor’s recklessness makes him regret taking him to the café, since he thought they were only going to bring Licht home, but Viktor insists he can only persuade Licht if he understands his feelings.
The owner then turns Viktor over to Licht for training, much to the latter’s chagrin. Uncertain of how to handle his father after their fight, Licht decides to only give him basic training, convinced the job could never be mastered in mere hours. A female customer calls for service and Licht sends his father over, eager to see him fail. With all the grace of a host, Viktor kneels for the lady and she is captivated enough to automatically order a franziskaner and a linzertorte. Licht is unimpressed, thinking anyone could take an order. Overhearing the owner having trouble with a French-speaking patron, Viktor steps in and takes care of the man who just wanted directions to the train station.
Much to his son’s astonishment, Viktor continues to shine as a waiter. But Licht begins to rethinks his prejudice, wondering if his father’s quick learning is the result of his royal duties. At the end of the night, the staff begs Viktor to stay on, but he politely declines and offers to help Licht bring in the café’s outdoor signs. He then apologizes to his son for forcing himself into the café and for not explaining himself well before. He further explains that if Licht were to be hurt outside the palace or if his secret job caused a scandal, it could jeopardize his claim to the throne, and he was worried that Licht wasn’t prepared for that possibility. He then resolves to leave the choice to Licht whether or not to continue working at the café. The young prince admits the job is a liberating experience, but thinks it would be wrong to keep working if it makes his father worry and apologizes for not understanding how hard Viktor’s job must be. He also apologizes for being hung up on Viktor never having visited him when he was sick, as a king has to put his family second to the good of the kingdom. Viktor then reveals that everything he did was for the kingdom but also his precious children.
Having overheard the conversation, Heine is admittedly impressed at Viktor’s integrity as both a king and a father, saying he expected no less from the first person he was able to trust. Licht decides to quit the café, but Heine tasks him to explore every alternative solution before he does, and offers to visit the café every week so as to keep an eye on Licht. Just then, two guards arrive to escort King Viktor back to the palace for a meeting and promise to send a carriage later for Licht and Heine. Licht then decides that he wouldn’t mind being King if he could be like his father. The professor states that he now finds Licht to be a “strikingly ordinary boy,” having previously thought him the most mysterious of the princes. He also secretly wonders how Count Rosenberg knew Licht was working at the café.
Unbeknownst to him, Rosenberg had watched the encounter from a nearby rooftop, expressing his disappointment that one of the candidates for the throne didn’t “drop out of the race.” But he decides to keep looking for scandals involving the princes, and wonders who he should ruin first.
I was so ridiculously happy to finally see Licht as a waiter. Heine seemed to treat Licht and “Richard” as two different people, and for a while I wondered if he truly thought “Richard” was just a lookalike (but his note disproved that). I did enjoy seeing Licht freak out over Heine visiting the café (but then again, I’m always eager to hear Shouta’s voice show excitement). When Viktor kneeled for that one customer, I remember thinking “This is not a host club! ><” But this was certainly the most interesting portrayal of a parent-child relationship I’ve seen in an anime. You wouldn’t expect royals to have normal family relationships, so it’s nice to see a King try and bond with his son. And I did love the subtle indication that King Viktor did indeed visit poor little Licht when he slept. I was very suspicious of Count Rosenberg from the get-go, and now I’m wondering just how much more despicable he’s going to get before the end.
I apologize for the length of the article. This may be the longest single topic article I’ve written that wasn’t for school. But even without my squealing over Shouta Aoi, there was a lot to be said. Based the preview, it seems that Bruno will be the focus of the next episode, and the weasel Count Rosenberg returns again.