Izana always ruins everyone’s day.
This chapter sets up a lot of interesting developments: Shirayuki and Ryuu’s work with the northern pharmacists, the little boy and his ailing friend, Izana sneaking around undercover and probably plotting to destroy everyone’s happiness, and Zen making his way to the North as well.
I really like the new characters. The head pharmacist, Garrack, has always been one of my favorites because of her eccentricities, and it seems like the northern pharmacists are cut from the same cloth. I also look forward to Ryuu befriending the boy he ran into and maybe he can get in touch with his inner child. While I like the cast that’s been set up, I do think they were thrown out there a bit suddenly, like Mistress Haki and Shidan. Naturally they will serve some bigger purpose in later chapters, but their introductions were sudden and forgettable.
Izana’s appearance was no real shock; it was pretty obvious he was going to run into Shirayuki if that wasn’t his original plan. I like this idea of him hiding his identity and following around Shirayuki because it makes a nice twist. Normally this archetype of character would be a romantic rival and try to drive a wedge in the main protagonists’ relationship because they either like the girl or hate the guy. I’m really hoping this isn’t the case here because it’s so overdone, but Izana is an intriguing character. It’s really hard to tell what he’s thinking, but when we finally find out I think it’s going to be to be a great twist.
One thing that irks me is that Zen and Shirayuki are making such a big deal about being apart for a while, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be apart for more than one chapter. They were certainly apart for much longer in the last arc when pirates kidnapped her. But their moments of longing are cute so I’ll forgive them. But I will say that if Zen shows up in the next chapter then there wasn’t much point to it all.
GO Rating: 3.5/5