(Based on this on storyboard&scene where Jim and him are fighting with cutlery.)
So let me tell you something about male fencers: As soon as you begin your warm-up, you have to -, by eternal law! - roll up your tee sleeves to your shoulders! Even if you got no muscles at all and your arms look like scrawny sticks: Roll them up!!
I don’t know if anyone’s already made the connection, or pointed this out before, but I’ve recently gotten into the Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) fandom, and it struck me that Obi and Zen are total opposites in almost every single way. Their contrasting qualities go beyond mere esthetics, too, which I figured out after carefully watching both seasons of the anime and doing some basic research into the manga. I’m only just now getting into reading the manga, so please bear with me if I jump to the wrong conclusions.
To prove my point, I’ll break down their characteristics, including physical appearance, skills, mannerisms, habits, personalities, etc (hopefully you all find this as interesting as I did):
Zen and Obi’s colours are direct inversions of each other. Zen has white hair and blue eyes, whereas Obi has black hair and yellow eyes.
Zen wears mostly white/silver regalia with blue accents, whereas Obi wears dark tones, often black, brown, and other earth colours. His attire is usually more casual and that of a lower station.
Zen has a serious nature and can be quick to temper. He is described as being a very straight forward, easy to understand person. His emotions are very readable. Obi has a relaxed nature that borders on easy-going. He jokes around and avoids answering questions seriously. He often veils his true emotions to the point of being considered mysterious by almost all of his acquaintances. He rarely shows his true feelings to anyone.
Zen is literally a prince, the highest form of nobility, whereas Obi is an ex thief with no title: a mercenary with no social status. They exist on opposite ends of the medieval caste system.
Zen is a master swordsman who fights in the open, preferring to announce himself to his opponent, giving them a fair chance before engaging in battle. Obi hides in the shadows and attacks with hand blades, throwing knives, and other projectile weapons. He moves silently, never giving his position or his intention away to his enemy.
Zen has no visible scars or birthmarks. His appearance is totally symmetrical. Obi has several very noticeable scars: one over his left eye, one massive scar across his chest, and many others etching the rest of his body.
Zen has bodyguards looking after him day and night. Obi is a bodyguard.
Zen has a lengthy name and title: Zen Wistaria, Second Prince of Clarines. Obi is just Obi. He has no known last name.
Zen rides a horse or in a carriage almost exclusively while traveling.
Obi not only avoids riding in carriages, but is rarely shown riding a
horse. He moves around mostly by running on foot or traversing through
Zen, despite having Shirayuki’s love and attention, gets jealous when others spend time with her. This is especially true when the person she’s spending time with is Obi or even Raji. Curiously, Obi fully supports Zen and Shirayuki’s relationship, not getting jealous of Zen and Shirayuki’s relationship despite having complicated feelings for Shirayuki. Even in love they are completely opposite.
Zen comfortably refers to Shirayuki by her first name. Obi uses pet names in place of Shirayuki’s first name, preferring to call her ‘Miss’, ‘Little Miss’, and ‘Mistress’ instead, and has been shown to feel embarrassed or shy while saying her actual name, often catching himself before finishing the word out loud.
Zen shows his face openly, rarely disguising his features. Obi initially covered some, or all of his face before Zen instructed him to not mask his face while in his employ.
Zen’s posture is fixed, upright and proper. Obi’s is fluid, often shifting from a position of extreme alertness to that of complete relaxation, much like a cat. He often walks around with his hands resting on his hips or behind his head.
Zen is popular and well-loved by his people, including his aides, Mitsuhide and Kiki. He has very little trouble winning friendships throughout his kingdom with his charm and good looks. Obi, on the other hand, is trusted by few people, forming no lasting friendships or relationships, preferring to keep to himself. Only Shirayuki and Zen initially trust Obi.
Zen is classically handsome with blue eyes and light hair. He is princely in both title and appearance. Obi is ruggedly handsome, with animal-like features, short, messy hair, and a scar over his eye.
Zen has no freedoms and is monitored constantly both at home in the castle and abroad. Obi goes wherever he pleases, initially choosing to serve Zen on a whim, his attachments unknown.
Zen, as Clarines’ second prince, is forced to abide by his brother’s rules. He asks permission and negotiates before acting. This includes times of emergency, an example being Shirayuki’s kidnapping in Tanbarun. Even though he was visibly upset by the news he received, he chose to act only after formally requesting permission from his brother, the first prince of Clarines. Obi acts first, often forgoing giving people notice, let alone asking permission. When Shirayuki was kidnapped, he immediately rushed after her, despite being injured by her kidnappers the night before.
These are the ones I’ve noticed so far. I’m sure there are plenty of others I’m forgetting, so I may update this list at some point to make it more complete.