Endo & Kobayashi Live! Part II: Sieg Listens, & It Changes His Life

Crown Prince Siegwald can hear the voices of the gods. And all they ever want to talk to him about is someone else. If you were in the prince’s shoes, would you listen? 

It’s pretty common in Christian circles to talk about God speaking to us or hearing God’s voice. It’s a vital part of our faith’s claim to personal relationship with our Savior, after all, which is why I like to write about it. But I wonder how often it’s really the “us” part of the equation that we’re interested in, rather than the “God speaking” part. We listen because we want answers, or instructions even: What is our calling and purpose? How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? We speak with God because we want something to change, whether it be our circumstances or ourselves. And so we should. Communication is a crucial part of any relationship, especially one with God. But still I wonder, would we invest so much effort in hearing God if he only ever spoke to us about someone else? 

In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Crown Prince Sieg does. And you know the incredible thing? Even though the conversation doesn’t revolve around him, listening to his gods transforms Sieg’s life for the better. Let’s see how!     

In episode 1 of this season’s hilarious otome game romcom, Crown Prince Sieg miraculously hears the voices of what he takes to be two gods, Endoh and Kobayashee. They are in reality the otaku Aoto Endo and Shihono Kobayashi, who are playing the game in which Sieg is a character, and it’s their play-by-play commentary and analysis that he can suddenly hear. What a surprise! And what an honor too for the Crown Prince, who seems to be the only one who can hear them. Must be a perk of the royal blood.

Except that practically the only thing their Holinesses talk about is their enthusiasm for the game’s villainess, Lieselotte Riefenstahl. Which is not only odd but also rather offensive, to be honest. You see, Liselotte hates Sieg. At least, that’s what he believes. Because she told him so. Repeatedly. (She’s a peak tsundere!) Sure, he and Liese may be engaged, but it’s a political marriage and they haven’t had anything to do with one another since childhood. That is, until now, when they suddenly find themselves attending the same magical high school for the sons and daughters of the elite (plus the one commoner, Fiene, who is of course thrust into the mix to keep things interesting. This is an otome game, after all!). And rather than Liese having mellowed in her antipathy toward him during their separation, she seems to be on the warpath against Sieg, constantly criticizing him in public and causing a scene. In other words, when the gods start speaking to him, it’s about someone who only treats him with contempt. 

That’s gotta burn. If that happened to you and me, would we listen? Or would we shrug off the voice that was clearly deluded and possibly mocking us by showing such love for someone who has treated us so poorly? Compassion can be a difficult thing to hear when it’s to the benefit of those who have hurt or opposed us. It’s so much more natural to keep score and make that score known in subtle ways, isn’t it? Like raising a meaningful eyebrow or giving a skeptical look when someone compliments our nemesis at work or school: “Well, I used to think so too, until…[they did this].” And how often do we hear bad news about someone who has wounded us in some way—or even someone we don’t know personally, but who is on the opposite side of An Important Issue—and think to ourselves that, well, they had it coming. Poetic justice, we call it. It’s easy to slip into hard-heartedness.

But Sieg doesn’t do this. Fortunately, he is too stunned and too faithful a son of the royal line to ignore the gods. Even when they tell him to do something that he believes will earn him rejection or even a slap in the face, he nevertheless obeys, giving his fiancée a kiss on the cheek. When Liese’s response is not what he expected—the only reddened face between them is hers, and it’s not due to the feared slap—Sieg’s confidence in his gods grows: “But of course the gods know well!”  

This is exactly how faith works. This is what it looks like to “walk by faith and not by sight,” to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” Rather than allowing his past experiences and Liese’s current haughty demeanor—that is, “what is seen”—determine how he responds, Sieg listens to divine counsel, to “what is unseen,” and does something he would never have conceived. And as a result, Sieg sees a side of Liese he never would have discovered on his own. Indeed, the gods know.

In addition to instruction, Sieg also gains perspective from his gods. Endo and Kobayashi provide him with language (“tsun de rais” or tsundere) and a new interpretive grid so that he might better understand Lieselotte, his relationship with her, and her relationships with others as well. They literally translate her to him! As he continues to listen to the divine perspective on Lieselotte, Sieg comes to see his fiancée in a completely different light—quite literally as they both glow and sparkle every time he understands something new about her and speaks to her from that place of understanding. Sieg begins to see Liese’s heart for himself and it changes everything.

Our God teaches us like this too, even giving us the words we need in the most challenging of situations. He doesn’t just set out instructions for our behavior, but guides us personally so that we might grow in knowledge and wisdom, and in so growing, become more and more like him. By his Spirit, God opens our minds and hearts so that we might perceive ourselves, others, and the world around us in the way that he does. He teaches us how to walk in love by looking for the gold in others, encouraging them, being willing to show them love first, and supporting them in their growth and dreams. Kobayashi and Endo do the same for Sieg, who learns to recognize the caring intentions beneath Liese’s abrasive manner thanks to their divine training in the way of the tsundere. It is also under their prompting that Sieg also learns to encourage Liese, as with her embroidery; to lead in showing affection to her while she is yet so haughty (that peck on the cheek!); and to help her tactfully when she stumbles in expressing herself to others, as with her failed attempt to invite Fiene to her home for the summer holidays. In doing all these things, Sieg is learning how to love Liese well.

The “learning” doesn’t just stop with Sieg though. As the Crown Prince grows in his understanding of Liese, he influences how others see and treat her too. He shifts the atmosphere around her! As he steadily interprets Liese’s heart for others, they too begin to catch on to her sweet nature, hidden though it may be beneath a haughty harumph. Fiene in particular begins to see the heart-warming dere dere side of the intimidating villainess, thanks to Sieg. Pretty soon, Liese is surrounded by a circle of friendly faces. Sieg’s faithfulness in listening to his gods redefines the relational dynamics in his entire community.   

It isn’t only Liese who benefits from all this, but Sieg as well. He gains a new relationship with his fiancée, and new confidence in himself too as he learns from Endo and Kobayashi to demonstrate his affections. Sieg has been raised as the Crown Prince of a kingdom where the king is expected to express no emotional attachments, have no favorites, and instead treat all his subjects the same, including his future wife. Duty before all! And so far, he’s been dutiful—which is why he spends the summer break inspecting the estates of the realm. But in the course of fulfilling his responsibilities, he longs to see Liese again and finally decides to visit her. He chooses, in other words, to do something for himself, for the sheer enjoyment of it. He steps into “life and life in abundance,” and the exceeding joy that God intends for us. And in so doing, he steps into his identity not just as a royal heir, but as a human being who desires relationship and is worthy of pursuing it.

Meanwhile, Fiene too grows in her connectedness to her own heart as a result of her new perspective on Liese. When Fiene finds herself acting contrarily and running away from the amorous knight Baldur, she recognizes that she is behaving just as Liese does around those she cares for. In making this connection, Fiene realizes her own affections for Baldur. Fiene learns to read her own heart as a result of learning to see Liese’s.

Perhaps most profoundly of all though, Sieg finds purpose through listening to his gods, namely, to love Liese well. This entire journey Sieg has been on with Endo and Kobayashi—from obediently treating his fiancée kindly, to growing in understanding for her character, to coming to share his gods’ perspective her, to leading others in extending grace to her as well, and finally to taking ownership of his affection for her—has seen his love for Liese blossom and his confidence in pursuing that love rise to new heights. So when he learns of the fragile state of her heart and the enemy who would exploit it to destroy the world through her, the prince dedicates himself to protecting Liese. He finds new meaning and direction for his life as he sets about the task that will save the world. (What a powerful allegory, right? Love someone well; save the world.) 

There’s a lot we can learn from Sieg. Despite the fact that his gods forbid him from asking questions (for fear of spoilers!) and only ever want to talk about someone else, Sieg listens faithfully to their divine conversation. And in doing so, he finds the answers to all the deep, burning questions of life: he discovers love, he discovers himself, he discovers his purpose in the world. More than that, he also transforms part of his world, and by the end of the series, he might just save it too. All through humbling himself and listening. 

Listening is a simple act, but a profound one, and one that must continue each day—hence the use of present continuous tense (or the “-ing” form)! You see, Sieg learns a great deal, but he doesn’t learn it all. He doesn’t even learn enough. For although he is able to understand Liese without any help from Endo and Kobayashi at one point in episode 6, he still needs their insight in the next episode, when Liese is recovering from her encounter with the Witch of Yore and is particularly flustered in his presence. Even after proving how far he’s come, Sieg still needs his gods to help him communicate well with Liese and keep his heart toward her open. He’ll never grow out of needing divine support—and neither will we.

Unlike Sieg, we have a God who actually does answer us, although he does not always do so in our preferred timing and rarely in the manner we expect, which means that it can be tempting to stop listening. We can also be tempted to stop listening when we believe we already have the answers we need, or that we’ve come far enough, learned enough, or pretty much know how to get along in the world by now. But Sieg’s example reminds us that this isn’t the case, and challenges us instead to keep listening even when it’s not about us, our priorities, and our pressing questions; and to keep listening even when we’ve been listening so faithfully and so long that it has changed us and we’ve even had the privilege of changing a little corner of our world in turn. Like Sieg, we must keep on listening. Because as he now knows, there is always something more wonderful to discover when we do.

Endo & Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte can be streamed on HiDIVE.

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