There are days that there’s an anime that has a first impression that leaves me enchanted to want to watch more, especially to an anime whose genre I’m not that much into. Actually a mix of two genres that I’m not into…..romance and fantasy. Granted, there have been some shows from both genres that I particularly liked but this one…..
This one really got to me quick watching it for the first time and then re-watching it again at the time of this review.
Shirayuki is a normal herbalist citizen in the kingdom of Tanbarun with one rare unique feature: her beautiful red hair. Due to her unusual hair color, Shirayuki was raised to always be careful of showing her hair in new surroundings and grew to be an independent young woman. However, her hair gets her noticed by Prince Raj, who orders her to become his concubine. Refusing his orders, she cuts her hair and leaves it behind as part of what he wanted and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen and his two aides Mitsuhide and Kiki. Finding respect for the young man, she decides to serve at his side as his court doctor.
Now I have mentioned this before in my seasonal first impression and I’ll say it again. The plot and vibe of this sounds like something you get from an Disney animated movie in the earlier years or even now, only this is definitely NOT a carbon copy of the classic tale. Yes, you’ll get the whole poison apple thing happening (in the first episode so it’s not spoilers) only it’s not Shirayuki that bites it, it’s Zen. Anyway, I liked what the story provided for us, Shirayuki entering another world with a higher social class and also she doesn’t want to be some concubine to some douche prince. I mean, I don’t blame her at all. While this is in fact a romance anime and there is plenty of this, it does show balance between that and some of the other elements in here like Shirayuki perfecting her skill as a herbalist, sibling rivalry between Zen and his brother crown prince Izana, numerous problems from visiting kingdoms and also kidnappings. Yes, kidnappings happen here. A lot.
Oh, and there is also exploring the characters throughout the show and see what development they’re going through.
And since we are on characters…….Shirayuki might be one of my favorite female anime characters. Like top 10…or 5.
I like the way she is portrayed here as someone who isn’t exactly full extreme to any typical character trait of either the damsel-in-distress or the bland stereotypical Mary Sue bad-ass. She’s somebody that can sometimes get herself out of trouble but it’s not guaranteed whether it’ll succeed or be fucked. There are a lot of things to like about Shirayuki as a character from her knowledge of herbs, her personality and she can definitely help those who are in need, especially in episode 10 — possibly my favorite episode of the series — where she helps this girl and her pet bird protect the species of said bird from some local poachers and social higher-ups and one of my favorite lines from there is her saying that you might be higher social class status but it doesn’t make you a better person. Something like that but damn, I really liked that line and it holds true to current events as of late that I wouldn’t go into.
The blooming romance between Shirayuki and Zen is one that does develop thoroughly the 2 seasons and see how much it progressed from beginning to the end of the series. Plus, it also helps that Zen is likable as well albeit something you would expect from a male character in a shoujo anime but considering I don’t always watch that type of anime, he was acceptable. For the others….his aides Kiki and Mitsuhide was good with the latter is more of the butt of the joke sometimes but I’m good with both of them. Raj, the prince that wanted to marry Shirayuki for her hair in the first place…..yeah, he’s a little bitch character– At first, however in the 2nd season, he has matured over time and he isn’t as gratingly stupid.
And then there’s Obi…….he’s another one of Zen’s aides and I do see that in the show he got feelings for Shirayuki, too……thankfully they didn’t pull any stupid love triangle bullshit or some ridiculous heel turn. Dude is obviously loyal to Zen and he’s not stupid to do something like that. However, him overall….he’s an OK character, not really somebody I was deeply into but I don’t loathe him at all. He’s alright.
Yeah, I’m pretty much repeating every other person when I say that the animation here is wonderfully made courtesy of the legendary studio BONES. The artwork is vibrant and colorful in every way and the same can be said for the character designs, especially Shirayuki and her red hair and you can say the people in the show wasn’t the only ones fascinated by her hair. Although anime girls with red hair isn’t taboo but it still looks gorgeous.
Music in here is delightful and full of magical and sometimes whimsical moments….Hell, I said it earlier, this has the vibe of an animated Disney movie and the music fits well into the story especially with the opening theme for the 1st season “Yasashii Kibou” sung by Shirayuki’s seiyuu (JPN Voice Actor) Saori Hayami and the ending theme “Kizuna ni Nosete” by Eyelis that really pulls off that vibe from start to finish and for the 2nd season opening and ending themes, “Sono Koe ga Chizu ni Naru” by Saori Hayami and “Page ~Kimi to Tsudzuru Monogatari~” by Eyelis, they still retain that only I would favor the 1st opening and ending more due to their impacting sound while the latter two are not that bad as tracks but it didn’t pack much of a punch as the other two did.
Funny thing I noticed about the dub is…..well, the two leads have been romantic pairings only on another show that I actually don’t like and yes, I’m talking about Brina Palencia and Josh Grelle as Shirayuki and Zen, respectively, and both of them delivered great performances as them. I do have a feeling that Palencia’s performance might remind people of her role as Holo from Spice and Wolf (and yet, I can’t say because I haven’t seen it yet. I know, I know…..I’ll make plans of that. I already got a lot of backlog shows to look at.) and on Grelle’s performance, I didn’t know it was him at first even though I knew he was the voice because I always hear him as someone with a higher pitched voice (ala Armin from AOT) but I really dug his bravado and suave performance in here. As for the others…..Todd Haberkorn as Raj is his usual schtick, I like Ian Sinclair and Jamie Marchi’s role as Mitsuhide and Kiki, Eric Vale as Izana is the usual standard for him and Austin Tindle as Obi is solid as well.
FINAL VERDICT: All-in-All, Snow White with the Red Hair is a fantastic fantasy romance anime that does operate on every facet that makes it so fascinating and entertaining to watch to the characters, the situations they get into and the fact the balance between that and the budding romance is steady here. Not to mention, this is really something that I can see families and younger viewers watching as there isn’t much anything inappropriate aside from a little blood but it’s PG-level. Definitely something for Valentine’s day to binge and basically any other day.
And that’s why Snow White with the Red Hair passes her exam with….
FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY!
At the time of this review, SNOW WHITE WITH THE RED HAIR is available on DVD/Blu-ray but only Season 1 at the moment. Season 2 is coming to DVD/Blu-ray April 25, 2017 but don’t fret as you can still watch it streaming on FUNimation.com in both sub and dub or on Yahoo! View/Hulu Plus for sub only.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and remember to watch your apples thoroughly so you won’t eat any poison ones.
SNOW WHITE WITH THE RED HAIR – animation by BONES / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT