Having second male lead syndrome could potentially be the most painful experience when reading a story or watching a show, aside from a character death. Out of all the media content that I’ve enjoyed, I’ve never experienced second male lead syndrome as intense as in the series Snow White with the Red Hair.
Now if you’re already familiar with the storyline and plot of SWWTRH, you can skip these first few paragraphs and go straight to the next subheading, because I’m about to give a brief overview for those who are unfamiliar. If you fall into the latter category though, please keep reading. Also, to keep it real with you, let me say now that this post has a bit of lazy writing. My goal isn’t to get a lot of viewers or subscribers based on this post, but rather today I just want to talk a bit about my favorite second male lead without spoiling too much of the story. If this bothers you, I apologize. Now without further ado, allow me to begin.
Snow White with the Red Hair is a well-known shoujo manga (are we even surprised that I’m referring to a shoujo manga AGAIN) about a herbalist named Shirayuki who flees her country after being pursued for her red hair by the good-for-nothing Prince Raji and ends up meeting the Second Prince of Clarines, Zen Wistaria, and his companions Kiki and Mistuhide. After saving Shirayuki from Prince Raji, the two fall in love and continue all sorts of adventures come about.
The good part comes into play when Obi is introduced. Initially an assassin hired to keep Shirayuki away from Prince Zen, Obi begins to take a liking to Shirayuki’s bold and courageous ways and hands himself over to become Prince Zen’s personal attendant and messenger.
As time goes on, Obi is repeatedly assigned to watch over and protect Shirayuki in Zen’s place, which leads to the two spending a large amount of time together. Honestly, Shirayuki likely spends more time with Obi than with any other character in the entire series, except for maybe young Ryuu since they work together, but even so, Obi is often present while the two work.
So let’s talk a bit about Obi!
Throughout the story, especially in the manga, there is an abundance of cute ObiYuki moments. When Shirayuki is kidnapped by pirates, Obi blames himself and does everything in his power to save her, and afterward Shirayuki asks Obi to go to Tanbarun with her again. This part in the anime was extremely cute! Shirayuki is able to sense Obi’s disheartened state; she knows him so well that she can practically feel he is blaming himself for a situation that was beyond his control, so she puts his mind at ease by asking him to accompany her again. Shirayuki shows Obi that he still has her trust; no matter what type of hardships they face together, to Shirayuki, Obi is someone she can depend on.
Additionally, once Shirayuki sets out for Lilias, the moments shared between her and Obi only increase. When an unknown illness breaks out in the city, Shirayuki has an unexpected run-in with Zen and Obi at the gates. Upon seeing them both, she is quite surprised, but she only begins to blush once her eyes rest upon Obi (coincidence? I think not). The two of them then work side by side to save the town from the strange breakout, risking their lives and catching the illness in the process. One of my favorite scenes takes place during this time, when Obi and Shirayuki have to trek in the snow and they eventually both fall down, with Shirayuki accidentally landing on top of Obi (these types of scenes are the essence of shoujo romance and I LIVE for them).
Eventually, after confirming his feelings for Shirayuki to Zen, Obi is allowed to accompany Shirayuki for the remaining duration of her long medical research trip. Throughout the trip and the following chapters of the story, the two continue to spend so much time together, growing ever closer and at one point even pretending to be in a relationship with one another.
But the ObiYuki aspects aren’t all that make Obi so great. As a character, Obi has so much going on for him. His background is vague but in an interesting way: we know that he used to do some dirty underground work to make a living, but no one knows the extent to which he did this work, or what his work truly contained.
Further, Obi’s skill and agility in battle are both amazing. When Mitsuhide’s sword was taken from him, Zen entrusted Obi (who was also injured at the time) to fight along Kiki to protect Tsuruba-dono. Additionally, we’ve seen Obi spar with Zen for the right to protect Shirayuki, and fight with enemies in order to save her. Aside from his fighting skills though, Obi also has the skill of getting along easily with many of those he meets, except for stuffy nobles and lords.
In conclusion, Obi is the best second male lead I’ve ever read. He stole the show for me in this story, and I hope one day my ObiYuki heart receives the satisfaction it so sincerely craves.