Shirayuki, why are you so special and so loved by everyone you meet? This is the question I cannot help but ask with each episode I watch of this anime. The specialness of this very bland, boring, ordinary girl with a supposedly unusual hair color just goes way too far. If I'm not feeling it, then why are all of these idiots in her world?
Those who claim this anime sidesteps the usual shoujo anime tropes couldn't be more wrong. It falls awkwardly and unawares into most of them and sloshes around in the ditch water like a pig wallowing in its own filth. We have
a very cliched protagonist, Shirayuki, who is the Mary Sue of anime.
First, she has a very unusual name in any culture, "Snow White." If that doesn't scream "Mary Sue," then I don't know what does. Second, she has a rare hair color for NO story reason in order to force her to be considered special by the other characters, but it doesn't convince the viewer who is not impressed with this unrealistic display. Third, she is so special, the prince of her own kingdom wants to make her his concubine, but she decides to flee the country instead, only to run into none-other than the SECOND prince of the neighboring country. A coincidence for you, and one coincidence for YOU---coincidences for everybody!
But, wasn't Shirayuki escaping a horrible life when she ran away from home? That's why she ran, right? Well, no. In fact, she was very well loved by everybody in her own kingdom and she literally threw it all away simply because Prince Raj got horny and decided he wanted to pamper her like a wife without actually marrying her. I'm not saying this is okay, but there are worse fates out there.
So, now she's in the kingdom next door as the very special friend of Prince Zen, a young second prince she meets immediately upon leaving her own kingdom. Because she had already worked as an apothecary, she took naturally to this whole herbs business and easily passed the test to become the palace's apprentice herbalist. Well, nothing's hard for this girl, other than being so beautiful and revered. Life is hard, indeed.
And, that's just the problem. There really is nothing about Shirayuki's life that is a problem. She was happy before and she is happy now. She was pretty before and she is still pretty. She was hardworking before and she is hardworking now. She stood up for herself before, and she does it now, too. What is the point of even watching this anime when the story is nonexistent and she has so little conflict in her life?
It comes off like a wish fulfillment fantasy that gets so carried away with making the protagonist's life perfect, it's BORING AS HELL. There is no character development whether in Shirayuki, Zen, or anyone. You cannot have meaningful anything or anyone if you have nothing at stake. There is nothing at stake here, and it is a story about a really fortunate girl, with perhaps a bit too much fortune, finding a very fortunate love match. Perhaps this would be more interesting if there was some struggle and some real growth in Shirayuki and Zen, but it doesn't exist.
Watching this can be a way to pass the time if you're bored, but I found myself becoming bored while watching this. If a story about everyone getting along with everyone else and only having to deal with minor misunderstandings sounds like a blast to you, then dig in. I ain't got no time for this lightweight storytelling crap.
Roses, tomatoes, and human blood. What do these all have in common? If you guess their color, then you would be correct. A certain girl with noticeable red hair also exists in a fantasy world where the colors of red decorates its colorful storytelling. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) isn’t exactly a Disney tale where there’s just prince charming or Cinderella shoes. Rather, this show is what I’d envision as a unique fantasy story of vibrant coloring.
Adapted from the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Sorata Akizuki, the series focuses on a young woman named Shirayuki. She is
born with her trademark red hair that catches the eye of almost anyone she meets. This unfortunately attracts the attention of a prince named Raji who wishes to marry her and in response, Shirayuki attempts to escape from the country. She later meets a young man named Zen and helps him with an injury. As prince Raji attempts to find Shirayuki, we see how her adventure begins not as a heroine who is on a mission to slay dragons but to obtain a rightful place in the world where she belongs. The series is noticeable that it’s a split cour (12 episodes) each. This review will cover the first cour of the adaptation by studio Bones.
As a fan of the manga, I was ecstatic to see that this anime adaptation became a reality. To get straight to the point, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a very classic fantasy. It takes place in the Kingdom of Clarines that is highly decorative. In fact, its first few episodes will make you see the world fiction that Shirayuki and the others are part of. Even the very few first scenes of the show will unravel what may be expected. The highly decorated castle, the scarlet red haired heroine, and a prince with a commanding presence all bring out the atmospheric shoujo setting. The premise also includes a poisoned apple which is a classic plot device used in the original Snow White story. But rather than Snow White being saved, it’s Shirayuki who does the saving. In essence, Shirayuki is an antithesis of the damsel in distress trope. She is courageous, intelligent, daring, and very compassionate with the people around her. She helps a stranger (Zen) with little hesitation and often puts others’ will-being above her own. What defines her as a strong woman also makes her independent as she relies on almost no one to achieve her goal. And in this story, her goal is to become a professional pharmacist.
The show executes its storytelling from many angles. The most prominent would be the relationship building between Shirayuki and Zen. The two already have a charming chemistry with their moments from the very first time they’ve met. Zen’s curiosity of Shirayuki is also interesting to see as he wants to know more about her each episode. Their social status in the show contrasts greatly but it’s shown that they are similar in a variety of ways. Both are confident in their abilities, skillful in certain arts, and often uses clever thinking to solves problems. They are also both sometimes stubborn with certain objectives such as when Shirayuki stood in front of a sword while risking her life to get a point across. Furthermore, it’s also shown throughout that Zen has grown fond of Shirayuki to the point that he sometimes feels dependent of her. In return, Shirayuki often looks after his well-being while developing a mutual respect for one another. And given the shoujo fantasy premise, there’s little doubt that romance soon blossoms between the two.
As a character driven story, the series also puts emphasis on the other people that we see. The two most noticeable are Zen’s aides, Mitsuhide and Kiki. The two has a strange relationship although it’s shown that they very close. Their sense of loyalty is also unparalleled each episode as they are willing to put their lives at risk to help Zen. Although we don’t learn much about them, it’s shown that they’ve also grown quite fond of Shirayuki’s presence. Other characters such as Obi makes the audience wonder what they may be capable of especially with what they make of their first impressions. Lastly, there’s also a bit of sibling drama that occurs in the show. Zen’s brother is shown to be manipulative individual who is hard to read; sometimes he is serious, other times he is playful. The siblings’ relationship often creates tension whenever they are on-screen together and it really makes the audience curious to see how their relationship develop in the present story.
For Shirayuki’s role, she undertakes challenges to prove herself as a capable pharmacist. While the show is predictable, it still manages to capture the interest of the viewers as we see how she is able to take on different challenges. The experience she shows in the series isn’t just by the actions she does but by how she does them. It’s interesting to note that Shirayuki’s confidence comes from willing to help others as a goal to become a pharmacist rather than just earning money or achieve fame. Her selflessness combined with courage and independence makes her stand out as an inspiring heroine.
While the series is very appealing, this might not be a show for everyone. For starters, this is not to be taken as an action theater. In other words, do not expect epic sword clashes, war drama, or political affairs that spans into complicated plot angles. Instead, this is more of an inspiring fantasy shoujo that classifies the characters and how they progress. The relationship dynamics makes this series very colorful while retaining the strengths of a classic shoujo. I do have to admit that not everything is captured by source material adaptation standards. Also at times, the story’s pacing feels sluggish in particular with the first few episodes. There’s also some forced comedy that occasionally appears although this can be neglected by the memorable dialogues. A fantasy adventure like this isn’t also without romance so expect some obvious direction that the story follows up with. Despite this though, the show itself stands alone as something unique. It’s not a reboot of Snow White but a colorful tale of red.
As one of several Bones’ series to premiere in 2015, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a powerhouse when it comes to visual arts. The show’s animation features vibrant colors combining elements of resourceful landscapes, architecture, and character designs. The Kingdom of Clarines is also shown to have fantastic features that is fitting for a grand castle along with its neighboring town. Shirayuki’s red hair is decorated as unique throughout the season. Her outfit gradually changes as her skill evolves and reflects on developed experience. Zen’s outfit is also fitting for someone with the status of a prince and alongside his aides, they make up a memorable trio. There is also virtually no fan service as the show makes its point to unravel Shirayuki as an independent heroine, a female character that doesn’t need to rely on looks to gain others’ attention. All things aside, I do have to admit that there are occasionally some sluggish animation issues with the character movements. However, the body language in the show is undeniable when it with ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ moments.
The word I’d describe the music for the show would be sweet. It’s lighthearted that isn’t hard on the ears but instead convey its fantasy shoujo feel whenever it needs to be. The OP/ED theme song are decorative and well connected to its atmospheric setting. Character voice mannerism comes from the strengths of the main leads. Shirayuki shows a lot of personality in her voice that shifts from confidence, humorous, and daring when she needs to be. Similarly, we also have Zen who displays a familiar nature as a prince. His voice sometimes does display inklings of stubbornness and even arrogance when interacting with his brother. That actually brings up to a good point as well. Izana is probably a character that I’d describe as the most hard to read yet. Just judging on his voice alone, there’s a lack of trustworthiness in his character. But overall in terms of character voice mannerisms, the whole cast is well portrayed.
So what else is to say about Akagami no Shirayuki-hime? It’s more than a tribute to the original Snow White story. We get a colorful cast of characters in a world where possibilities can become a reality. The show does a wonderful job when crafting its premise while staying true to it throughout the season. The character relationships are some of the key highlight points that makes the show worthy of its praise. And when it comes to its technical features, the series is a red scarlet eye candy of fantasy. In retrospect, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime makes you feel attached to the characters, story, and become a part of something almost magical.
There are anime series which excel because they have an original story (Clannad After Story, Stein's Gate and Madoka Magica) and there are those which soar due to well-written characters who carry an otherwise generic story. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime may be dismissed due to its straightforward nature which seems to religiously follow the shoujo genre but a deeper look reveals its characters that defy the tropes which makes it special.
The legitimate weakness of this series is that its story does not stand out. We were introduced to Shirayuki, a girl who ran away from her home because their prince wanted to make her a
concubine then she met Zen, a prince from another country. The premise basically rings a familiar trope that was used too many times before (Disney, anyone?).
The first episode is very fairy tale like in my opinion with all the events being mirrored with the first few events of Snow White. We then follow her life and struggles after she made friends with the Prince. In all honesty, it can be tiresome at times since the first few episodes were made to look as if she was a princess in damsel and the prince has to rescue her just at the right moment.
Other moments involve Shirayuki taking an exam, being introduced to Zen's brother and so on but again, the story does not stand out which is a fair claim to naysayers to dismiss the series as just another shoujo show. This hurt the series considerably in its not so stellar episodes and might leave a stagnant feeling to the viewers.
DISCLAIMER: My praise to Akagami Shirayuki-hime begins here and it might border as if it came from a rabid fanboy but I will try my best to balance my review.
The artwork is highly consistent courtesy of Bones and is the prettiest looking series this season. It was as if the staff borrowed some of Shinkai's technique (the man behind 5 Centimeters Per Second) when it comes to the relaxing hues used in Akagami Shirayuki-hime. The artwork (lighting and the characters' expression) was also able to accentuate the heartwarming scenes in this series (Episodes 4 and 11 in particular) and along with the standout score, it elevated an otherwise generic moment.
As regards to character designs, these were cleanly made and these faithfully followed the mangaka's but modified them a bit to have a Bones feel to them. These also mark a departure from your typical shoujo fare where the typical characters are so pretty that you might be dazzled.
Again, Bones is not a stranger in putting the right music at the right moment which makes the effect of crucial scenes in this series very potent to those who invested their time in it. Strings were used during climactic ones which elevated nondescript scenes to heartwarming events. It also knows when to stop during the show's most crucial moment (I am not going to spoil anything) to emphasize something irreversible with Zen and Shirayuki has happened.
For most of the time, the musical score is relaxing enough to complement this languidly paced series which is a very commendable job for Bones.
Akagami no Shirayuki is a character driven show which has actual and relatable characters and a very strong lead reminiscent of Akatsuki No Yona. For what the story lacks, the characters in this show compensate.
Shirayuki defies the traits of a typical shoujo lead. She is socially capable, strong-willed, is not afraid to speak her mind and has actually has a brain which knows her limits. A viewer might expect a typical shoujo lead to go doki doki with her love interest but Shirayuki holds her own and yearns to seek position for her to see Zen as her equal. A crying main character trope because she was intimidated is also not present here but we are given a very rational one who thinks before she acts.
Zen, on the other hand, might err at times to your typical male shoujo character but a closer examination reveals that he is not. While he is kind, his past (a very painful one, mind you) reveals what made him like he is as portrayed. He might be likable and composed but his insecurity (or whatever that feeling is) to his much superior brother is palpable and shows its ugly fang when triggered but not to the point that he shows angst about it. He also narrowly avoided the sparkly main lead syndrome by toning down some of his traits and by not giving him a chick magnet role.
All other recurring characters were also given ample time to get some development. Mitsuhide and Izana benefited from Zen's flashback of his past so much that it can be also viewed that certain story was theirs and not Zen's. They were also elevated from plot device to actual characters which interact with the leads (and contribute to their future paths) without the feeling of emotional manipulation. Izana in particular might just be my favorite character in this show for his reasons and his peculiar ways of handling problems which antagonize him a bit.
Obi, on the other hand, is a very interesting oddball which complemented Zen's calm nature. He is quite perceptive and throws statements which drive the series to a positive direction. The confession scene would not have happened without him after all.
If you are a shoujo junkie and are looking for shoujo-esque moments every single episode, then I am sorry that you are looking for the wrong show. There are no overly complicated relationship webs (A likes B who likes C who likes D... yada... yada...) and we are only given focus with Zen and Shirayuki for as long as the shoujo nature of this show in concerned.
You will also not see Zen getting doki doki around Shirayuki (vice versa until the climactic moment in this show) just because it's the genre's trope. A crying lead being submissive to her love interest after an unfortunate event is also missing here. Instead, Shirayuki has her own resolve in the show's larger problems.
The main leads also prove that we don't have to go for two seasons of confusion and misunderstanding to get a very satisfying confession in the end. And boy, what a satisfying event that was.
There are episodes which fail to copy the oomph of the series highlights (Episodes 2 and 5 in particular can be erased and it will be better in my opinion) but I expected a generic love story upon hitting the play button. Then my prejudice in this show was destroyed in the first episode. This is how execution can make cliches to something special. A second season is coming in January which I hoped will live what makes this one a good romance title.
This review will not contain any spoilers regarding the series.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime's story is straightforward and simple, it's concept and how it is formed is something that is very common with the demographic that it resides in. So in that regard, it is not something that has not been seen before. Despite it being so simple and straightforward, it gives the feeling of being magical and soothing. How the events unfolds towards the character is incredibly seamless.
While it may follow the specific tropes that come from the demographic, it tries its best to either break the trope and become surprising or execute it in a
way where it is appreciated. Many people may hate the 'damsel in distress' trope, but this series tries its best to avoid it, as much as the synopsis/first episode gives the impression of it occurring, the continuity of the series avoids it.
As the name of the show suggests, the show tends to give a feel of it being a Disney movie. It's charming, fuzzy and cute to watch through. The story is definitely light and focuses more about the dynamics of the characters, and how their relationships progress through the events that approach them.
The art and animation of the series is incredibly exquisite. As expected from a studio that is well known for it's gorgeous visuals, Bones. It does not follow the usual colorization that someone would expect from this type of show. Yet it fits it perfectly. The colors are bright and the animation is slick smooth.
It is easy to distinct between the characters and it highlights everything. The visuals are consistent throughout the entire series without a hint of drop in quality. Surprisingly, the visuals compliment the series atmosphere, considering how warm the content of the series is.
In this situation, the visuals play a factor in the enjoyment of the series, since it visualize everything that is needed.
The opening and ending themes are not my favorite, but they're fine. They're not bad or amazing. They don't feel out of place, the sound is something to be expected from the type of show this is.
On the contrary the soundtrack for the series is fit and light. It does not overwhelm the atmosphere that the show is trying to represent. It does not stand out, but I'm under the belief that it is intentional, considering that it is not the type of show that the music should take the spotlight. It's only more evidently used in scenery focus moments to capture the feel of the place.
It may not be a great field on it's own, but that does not necessarily make it bad from my perspective. (Please note that both sound and art category are for most post completely subjective points; they're my opinion)
The relationship between the characters is what this show is all about. Or well, to be more accurate. It is what makes the show special and great to watch. Shirayuki is a fresh of air from the usual heroines that are commonly in this type of demographic. She's very clever, independent on what she does and holds responsibility of what she does and try to repay any favor that she may hold to anyone. She is not there to be saved and protected for romantic moments, she holds her on and tries her best to be in the same line as the male main lead. Her boldness and ability to solve situations on her own is nothing short of amazing!
The same falls for other characters. Most of the characters showed how multidimensional their characteristics are instead of being one dimensional characters. Character developments are thankfully still open for the continuation of this series,.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is an anime that is incredibly easy to watch through. It's light and warm as I have mentioned previously. The interactions between the characters are interesting and the dialogue rarely leaves the person to be bored or feel that it is being dull. It may have it's moments that feel "cheesy" on book, but the way it is approached is what makes it gorgeous and beautiful to watch.
If you're fan of the shoujo demographic and the Disney-like settings, with a strong-willed heroine, then this show should be right up the alley.
Thanks for reading this review, any feedback is appreciated on my profile!
I’ve tried watching this anime twice now. The first time when it came out I got up to episode 5 before I stopped. The second time I decided to watch all the way through, because I rarely disagree with anime that are rated highly on myanimelist. I go through the anime on this site that are highly rated, when I'm wanting to watch an anime and have no idea to watch. This is actually the first time I have disagreed with the overall good rating of a show.
I don’t get the hype. At all.
Sometimes, even if I don’t like an anime, I can see
why other people like it: It’s just not my taste. I don’t click with the characters. I’m not particularly fond of the art style. Etc etc. But I honestly just can’t understand why this show rated so well. In my opinion, there’s barely anything good about it.
I love fantasy anime. I especially love fantasy anime set up in a kingdom setting. Love shoujo and romance, so this should have been right up my alley. But it’s not.
This may contain the slightest bit of spoilers, but only because I can’t criticize what is wrong with it, without mentioning plot points. I will keep them as vague as possible.
Everything is so pseudo-melodramatic it’s irritating. The “problems” the main character faces are presented as super dramatic, even life threatening, blah blah blah, but then get resolved so easily it’s laughable. They try to make Shirayuki “different” from the typical damsel in distress in that she tries to solve problems on her own, but ultimately in the end, the prince always shows up at the last minute to save her.
Everyone is in awe of Shirayuki because of her red hair and because of her character, but all she does is act like a typical, normal person. She doesn’t do anything extraordinary. Everyone else acts weird and super stereotypical towards the archetype they’re created as, so her utterly normal actions get glorified like they’re wondrous/amazing/so odd and quirky and charming, when they’re just normal, human responses to problems. So many of the side characters and minor characters are irritating, judgmental insufferable idiots, so of course, Shirayuki, who is just a plain, nice person, is a hundred times better than they are. Anyone set up against those types of people will shine.
Seriously, it’s not an exaggeration. Skip this one paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers completely, because it will contain a slight minor scenario spoiler (but doesn’t affect anything about the story). In episode 4, a sick patient comes to get medicine. Yet, instead of being grateful to the herbalist he insults them horribly to Shirayuki. Like… how believable is it that a patient will show up to the doctor, then directly insult the doctor to one of the staff, instead of just getting the medicine they need. Like I said, side characters and even minor characters are set up to be so unbelievably stupid and rude so as to contrast with Shirayuki’s not-so-amazing character to make it seem amazing. And of course Shirayuki won’t stand for the insults and insinuations against her senior (as any plain, normal person wouldn’t) so she’s seen as super amazing and different and shocking when she takes offense towards the incredibly offensive comments.
So of course, since a normal, nice person is apparently the rarest of the rare in this world, the prince (and everyone else) end up being so utterly charmed and surprised by Shirayuki [insert massive eyeroll here]. It's really not amazing when someone doesn't want to be insulted or treated poorly, nor is it amazing when someone doesn't like it when their friends are insulted/treated poorly, but apparently, in Shirayuki, it's utterly amazing and unique and seemingly in this world, Shirayuki is the only person in history/existence to ever feel that way, so everyone is in complete awe of this aspect of her character episode after episode after episode. -_________-
Because of this, the story is lacking. It revolves around Shirayuki doing these “amazing” things, that really aren’t so amazing, so there’s nothing to build off of. We don’t learn much about the characters besides the prince. We don’t have a solid plot to follow. It’s just Shirayuki getting into predicaments, then she struggles with solving them, solves them a bit but then gets stuck again, then gets rescued by the prince. Then she encounters more new people. Some of these new people cause her problems, which then repeats the cycle. To mix it up a bit, they throw in problems that are ALWAYS plant/medical related, so unsurprisingly, Shirayuki as a herbalist, is always able to easily solve them.
They try to develop some side plots revolving around the prince and related royal conflicts, but they’re so shallow and laughably simple and barely concentrated on (and of course, following the pattern of this anime, easily resolved) it’s just an annoyance.
You never even have the slightest bit of worry that problems won’t resolve themselves because they’re so incredibly simple. It's marketed as a drama anime, but there's nothing dramatic about the story, just that things are presented in an overtly dramatic fashion.
The best thing by far in this anime is the artwork and the setting/world building. Stylistically, it’s not the best or the highest grade of artwork, but it’s richly detailed and the details of the kingdom setting are nicely developed and pleasing to see. However, nice artwork can't save a show that is lacking in every other aspect.
So yeah, I don’t like it. Plot is lacking and undeveloped, and what is developed is always predictable. Problems follow the same repeat pattern over a over. Problems also lack any depth or complexity. Characters follow their stereotypes, so it's easy to "get to know" them, but that leaves them incredibly one dimensional and predictable.
I guess though, I could recommend it to people to watch if they’re in a really bad mood/having a bad day/week and want to watch something that is incredibly easy to follow and doesn't require thinking if you're exhausted, and everything predictably always works out so your day won't get worse than it already is. Like how adults watch simple kids cartoons sometimes when they're feeling bad, because it's simple and easy and you know you don't have to think or feel or see anything that might disappoint/hurt your heart/worry you, about the characters or story.
Taken from Sorata Akizuki's manga, the anime series by Akagami no Shirayukihime consists of 24 episodes aired on Japanese television and divided into two cours. Present in the ranking of the manga that the Japanese would like to see transposed into anime, it is one of those now rare cases of anime taken from Shoujo manga, the kind of stories that fans of the genre are increasingly hungry and never too full.
Shirayuki is a simple girl with a very special feature: a hair of an intense red that certainly does not go unnoticed. Raji, prince of her native country, is rightly noticed, who is intrigued
by the girl's peculiar hair color, decides to take her with him as a concubine. Shirayuki does not even think to please the stupid prince and runs away. The meeting of fate takes place in a forest, when she meets a boy to whom she will cure his wounds. Our protagonist is indeed an herbalist and makes the most of her knowledge to save Zen, which we will discover to be the second prince of a neighboring country, Clarines. If it is true that, as Zen says, red is the color of destiny, even their meeting is not casual and Shirayuki will soon find herself at the palace of the beautiful prince for her apprenticeship as a court herbalist. From this moment begins the new life of the girl, firm and determined to build step by step a life and a destiny of which she will be the creator, without renouncing, as in any self-respecting romantic fable, to love.
To read the title of this series (Snow White with the Red Hair) one might think of a revisitation of the snow white and the seven dwarfs tale, but it immediately becomes clear that of the Grimm brothers' fable, this story has very little and borrows from it only the name of the protagonist and some expedient, see the poisoned apple. Shirayuki lives a fairly simple and straightforward story, in which her red hair is more a pretext than a symbol or a sign of something more. Shirayuki does not have to reconquer an usurped throne, she does not even have to stop a war between two nations; the girl just has to find a place to write her own story, helped by the people she loves and in particular by the person she loves. Easier said than done, as a good shoujo heroine, Shirayuki will have to face many difficulties to see her dreams come true. Between a kidnapping and the other, the training to become a herbalist of the court, the cute whims of Prince Raji, various misadventures and the inevitable problems given by the difference in rank between her and the beloved, our redhead faces every day with decision and firmness, constantly putting on display (perhaps too much) her unshakable will and determination.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime therefore presents itself as a simple story, made up of genuine and not complex characters, which in a fairly transparent manner show off feelings, goals and emotions. If the series is therefore a romantic slice of life set at the time of ladies and knights, fun, simple, which occasionally adds a bit of adventure, by force of things is missing from mordant compared to other similar series, settling on a quiet trend that only sometimes gives some emotional twist. This does not mean that the series is necessarily boring, but a bit more verve and a greater depth of the characters would have helped to make it more intense and active. Also to be noted as Shirayuki and Zen, almost absolute protagonists, are characters a bit 'too done and finished, that starting from a fairly predefined character base, do not evolve particularly, as if they were already complete as people and characters. Shirayuki, who has no obvious defects, looks like a heroine too perfect while the adorable prince Zen blue is ... a bit 'too "blue". Although they renew their good personal and professional growth goals every day, they actually seem to be perfect as they are, even though Zen sometimes shows a somewhat childish character (but always remains in the field of adorability). In short, the less perfect and evolving characters would have made, in my opinion, the most compelling and engaging series, in the same way, a deepening of the other characters would have helped to give a sense of true chorus to the work (an example: the Kiki's story has been fairly synthesized, causing much of what the character is to lose).
In spite of the defects listed above, however, it must be said that Akagami no Shirayukihime wants to be a series with a romantic content, which offers exciting moments not in battles and twists, but in expressing the love of its protagonists. A story which will not fail to beat the heart in front of the princely declarations of love of Zen or their passionate kisses lul. Despite the excessive perfection of its protagonists, we are still in front of well-built characters in their role, showing a not indifferent kindness of ways and feelings, this attitude that seems to be now "out of fashion" by the standards of many modern shoujo manga . Honorable mention should be made to two characters who quickly acquired the sympathy of the audience: Raji and Obi. The first, is the classic example of what is missing from Zen and Shirayuki, that is an evolution and a concrete maturation as a person and as sovereign; the second, in addition to having from his sympathy and good looks, shows himself against our heroine, sweet but at the same time more virile than his colleague Zen, giving the impression of the boy "dangerous" but with which you can really live many adventures , not just romantic.
In its simplicity and its slow and peaceful performance, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a sweet, romantic and fun series, which offers its public a love story with a classic taste of fairy tales: an instant fall in love, which unites the two lovers without need of reasons, as if to say that the two were destined to meet and be together. The series shows us a decisive and determined protagonist to write her own life, in the place she has chosen and with the people she has chosen, without being conditioned by anything. A demonstration of fortitude that may appear, from a certain point of view, cloying and overly constructed, but which in the extremes of the concept is nevertheless a vehicle of a more than positive message.
Okay the score is a little low but this is based on my opinion so everyone who's seen this and really liked it please put your knives down...
Story 3/10: the main reason for the low score was the story, I had high expectations for this anime when I heard about it, a girl that has to run away from her kingdom because the prince wants her and all that, but when the anime aired I realized that the first episode was the only good one. It wasn't bad, it was just boring! I found a complete lack of plot, and the only thing it had
was romance. I mean don't get me wrong I love romance anime but there has to be a scenario that can back it up.
Art 7/10: the art was what initially made me want to watch it, it's not something unique but that's not really a bad thing in this case, it's good art.
Character 5/10: well I liked Zen, the whole prince with a tragic past was nice and was at least making an effort for a storyline even though it failed, Shirayuki on the other hand was boring, she is a strong character which is a good change from the weak high school girl we usually see in shoujo, but I felt like she didn't really have a purpose in life, she was going on and on about a place to belong which would have been nice if her previous home was terrible and people there hated her, but she was really loved and apart from the thing with the prince she had a nice life there. Also the only thing that she seems to be interested in is alchemy which would have been nice if it wasn't ONLY centring around medicinal herbs.
So overall it is not the kind of anime that you will hate, and if have free time and just want to watch romance than give it a shot, but if there is something better in your "to watch" list then see that one.
I am reviewing this show after the final episode that aired a few days ago. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, translated to Snow White with Red Hair in English, was a romance anime running in the summer anime season of 2015. It was the only romance anime running in the season, or at least the only noticeable anime to have romance as its main genres. This I believe is the reason the show got the kind of views that it did, as it was the only choice this season for the romance enthusiastic.
Let's get started.
This time around there will be four categories that I will score
separately and collect their averages to give a final score out of 10. The categories are, Story, Characters, Production and Enjoyment. I decided to remove production from the bigger category of Enjoyment, because I feel like it deserves its own section and also because, just because the production value of an anime is high doesn't mean it is enjoyable. Please tell me if there is anything else I should change, this structure is still a work in progress.
There was no overarching story in Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, referred to as Akagami from now onward. Each episode or a pair of episodes has its own conflict that in the end builds up the characters as individual characters and their relationships with other major characters.
Though having episodic stories does not automatically mean that the anime is bad with story, though to have it done right, a very unorthodox method of storytelling has to be used. I am referring to the classic anime Mushishi when I say this and the exact opposite would be that thing called Nisekoi, in which episodic stories do not work out, even with an overarching story line. Akagami however did not tell its tale in the way Mushishi did and did not have a main plot. Everything just happened, one after another.
There almost isn't a story for me to score, and in all honesty I gave the story a score of 1 when I first started writing this review. I increased it after realizing that the main focus of this anime is to build a relationship between Zen and Shirayuki.
The building of Zen and Shirayuki's relationship is actually kind of weird. The relationship itself is actually very nice but the way it developed, and how the writers decided to play it out, is a bit wobbly. I have to assume that there are a lot of timeskips in the 12 episodes of this anime. Though there is no significant mention of them, it did feel like a lot of time had passed after each side arc. The way that played out, was quite confusing, and it would have been better for them to state how much time had passed in some way after each event that took place.
This actually ended up causing a bit of problems for me when it came to character and relationship development. I did not know for how long had Shirayuki and Zen known each other for by the time Zen ended up confessing his feelings. I would assume that it was months, but no information was given and because of that I couldn't asses the type of relationship Zen and Shirayuki were having.
I could talk a lot about how bad the story component of this anime is, but to put it simply, there was no clear cut story to this anime. It was episodic, in the type that Slice of Life anime are written.
I knew that the story of this anime was going to be very... shit, at around episode 5, but I continued watching the show for two reasons. One being the characters and the other being the production value, which I'll talk about later. There are three main characters of the show; Prince Charming, Disney Princess and Obi the G.O.A.T.
Shirayuki, is the lead character. At first glance and at an overall look she is an extremely generic Disney princess type of character. Ordinary village girl, that happens to be very beautiful and kind, and ends up having the prince fall in love with her.
But the thing is, Shirayuki's character is so extremely generic that at this point it is done on purpose. You would expect here character to be just your average damsel in distress type of character, but then all of a sudden she does something unpredictable. For example, the time she jumped from the top of the tower into the water below, or the time she made a good escape attempt from her kidnapper.
This makes Shirayuki a very interesting character to watch. Not only that but in nature Shirayuki is a normal girl, she jokes around, she gets angry, learns new things, gets embarrassed and basically behaves like a normal person would. Which also makes her a likable and relatable character for some.
Then there is her Prince Charming; Zen. He is again a typical Disney Prince, that likes being out of the castle exploring rather than sitting in his castle signing papers and being served high class tea. Though unlike Shirayuki, Zen doesn't throw loops in that character structure of every Disney Prince. Instead Zen is like Shirayuki, a likable and relatable character.... most of the times.
But of course, Obi is the best character of the show. Not only because he is absolutely hilarious, loyal but he also doesn't give a shit about any thing at all. There is a lot of mystery left unsolved for Obi by the time this season ends, but I do expect it to be explored more in upcoming seasons.
What's really amazing about Obi is that he is slowly falling in love with Shirayuki. But it's different than Zen. Originally it seemed as though Zen fell in love with Shirayuki for her looks, which isn't something I would want to complain about, but the fact that Obi is falling in love with Shirayuki slowly because of her actions, puts shame to Zen (sorry this is just me talking about my favorite ship).
The supporting characters in this show are surprisingly good for only 12 episodes running time. That's mostly because they were all made to be likable characters and most of them follow tropes in anime that everyone sees quite often, and because of that we can fully understand the character's personality without even seeing much of them.
There were no characters that I felt needed to be explored more, which I feel is always a problem in short, seasonal anime. Each character was given enough time for what they were worth and how interesting they were. Obi being the only exception, who didn't get enough development, but I am fine with it because it adds mystery to his character and gives me something to look forward to in new seasons of this anime.
The animation for Akagami was amazing. Even among the marvelously animated shows running this season, I always get impressed by the art style and animation that Akagami offers every episode. The art style in the first episode reminded me a lot of a Hayao Miyazaki film, especially the way the backgrounds were drawn, but it slowly faded away from that and everything started looking more computer drawn, though still well done.
The VA for Shirayuki was the only VA that stood out from the show. The way she handled the comedic scenes vs the serious scenes always matched the type of character Shirayuki was. And if you already didn't know the VA for Shirayuki is Saori Hayami who has also done some other amazing voice acting roles and is also the one who performed the anime's opening theme.
The opening and ending sequences for the show are just average, nothing that stands out.
Because of the episodic nature of the show, there was a point where everything became boring. There is a point in the show where you realize that everything that is happening is most likely irrelevant to everything and will never be mentioned again. Also the redundant use of Shirayuki's morals about her path, got to the point where it was annoying to listen to.
Other than that, I did feel the need to come back to the show every episode. To enjoy the characters and the beautiful animation that Akagami offered.
Like everybody else I was expecting a Snow-white anime but was surprised at the misleading title or so I thought since the MC’s name Shirayuki translates to Snow-White! In addition, the 1st episode drops a few hints from the original show too. Shirayuki’s flashy red hair gets everyone’s attention including the Prince of the country (Prince Raj) who intends to make her his concubine! Shirayuki escapes and meets with Prince Zen who happens to be the 2nd prince of the neighbouring country and that’s where the story progresses. She accompanies with Zen where she practices to become a skilled
herbalist and must accommodate living around with a prince and his world. And amid all this, an adorable romance springs up between Shirayuki and Zen! For a fantasy genre, it’s fairy tale aspects are weakly portrayed but whatever they get by feels right! The show also doesn’t shy away from its clichés but since they own it, I can’t complain much. I still would have preferred more of grey villains rather than the corny one’s here. Moreover, I really hated the ridiculous attempt at the forced love triangle that’s probably going to be touched in the next season because it totally comes across unwarranted, included just to introduce cheap love drama! Now the good stuff and the 1st best thing about the show is its representation of romance which is beautifully grasped, taking a mature route with the 2 leads fully realized relationship. Comedy is lightly sprinkled throughout the course of the season but gets its job done. (Especially those 2 guards!)
The 2nd strength comes in its character’s depiction, for they are wonderfully realized. Shirayuki could have easily been turned into a Mary-Sue but thankfully they refrain from it! Instead we get an awesome person who’s very likable with her positive hard work ethics, strong yet infectious personality, all in all a badass with bright red hair! They pull this off by not OPing her but rather showcase her exuding confidence in one sided fights, making her that much more attractive. Furthermore, her strong stand on achieving her goals without taking any short cuts just further proves how motivated she is as an individual. And she’s wholly supported by Prince Zed who once again, thankfully wasn’t utilized to a one note, paper thin character. With distinct set of skills, he was well-defined to the result of personable and likable. His love for exploring his city and mingling with the crowd solidifies the existence of his big heart! Zen has a strict yet kind, though direct behaviour who honorably sticks to his promises and this made him the perfect partner for her! Aside from them, we have good side characters too. Kiki and Mitsuhide relationship with Zen is well defined, especially Mitsuhide who gets his own arc later in the series.
The animation is very welcoming, with its colourful backgrounds and vibrant overall nature of the anime. With the addition of music, they naturally set a romantic tone to the entire show which I appreciated. The dubs were great here, both the voice actors for Shirayuki and Zen do justice to their characters, never leaving them out of field.
The romance really is well handled, coming across downright adorable due to the amazing chemistry between the two! They have you rooting for the 2 leads at episode 1 itself! The build-up was patiently worked out, starting off as good friends and getting to know each other, then the playful banter between them, going on adventures while sharing those sweet and tender moments with each other and finally the confession. I also liked the fact that the show doesn’t play around with the romance arc, they get right to it with the leads speaking out about their feelings. So please, please and please, don’t tarnish all you have accomplished with a terrible love triangle! I also took notice of the times where Shirayuki needs to be saved but they are done in a way where she doesn’t come across as weak. And when the story calls for it, you get pretty good action too. I was pleasantly surprised with this anime even when it’s not my type of thing! I do hope though that Shirayuki grows her hair back in s2! Definitely recommend this, great for anniversaries or Valentines too!
I'm not gonna lie: the anime industry isn't what it used to be. Now, I don't mean to sound like one of those crotchety old people who say "back in my day things were much better!" However, there's no denying it: anime now just isn't as good as it was years ago. True, there were some duds, but creators back in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s were able to churn out many episodes of whatever the heck they wanted, loved doing it, put a lot of effort into them, and as a result, many of them are well known and beloved, with some titles
being Rose of Versailles, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Gundam, the World Masterpiece Theater, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Digimon, etc. There's a reason they're all so well known and loved, and that's because people back then did everything they could to write passionate, riveting stories with three dimensional characters, and were able to utilize their time and tell the story they wanted...most of the time, that is. Now? Anime only get 11-13 episodes, with the occasional DVD episode here and there, and most of it is just wish fulfillment, self-insertion fare full of cute girls with big boobs, bland guys who get harems for no reason, moe stereotypes, phoned in voice acting, panty shots, questionable writing, stupid plotlines, etc. They make the most money now, and unless the industry changes somehow, I don't see the trend ending anytime soon. However, this doesn't mean quality anime don't exist anymore. There's fewer in number, yes, but they're still popping up despite the lack of success. One of those shows is Snow White with the Red Hair, or Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime...and I'm not gonna lie: this is seriously one of the best anime to come out in YEARS.
The story centers on a young woman named Shirayuki, who is well known for her work as a herbalist and...her red hair. Nobody in her country of Tanbarun has such red hair, and this makes her the center of unwanted attention. When the moronic Prince Raj falls in love with her and wants to make her his concubine, she refuses to let herself be subjected to a cruel fate, so she gives him the middle finger by cutting her hair and runs away to the next kingdom, Clarines, as she has nowhere else to go. While traversing through the forests, she finds herself befriending the crown prince of Clarines, Zen, who offers to let her into his kingdom to protect her from Raj. She isn't quite sure what his intentions are, but she does want to pay her debt to him, so she becomes a court herbalist in his castle. With this, her adventures in the Clarines kingdom begin.
From what I hear, Bones is a very well liked animation company. I've seen some of their works, such as Angelic Layer, the Escaflowne movie, and Ouran High School Host Club. But I wouldn't consider myself a big fan of them. However, I can tell you that the popularity Bones gets is 100% justified, as their work on Shirayuki-Hime has to be one of the best I've ever seen from them. The series has a soft, shiny, serene animation style that blends perfectly with the low fantasy setting, and the architecture design is great. The fluidity of the characters' movements, bird wings flapping, and other things are absolutely sumptuous. Even little things such as a character's hair swaying in the breeze, and tears flowing from someone's eyes are animated with such tender loving care that you can almost feel it. Seriously, Bones. You've earned my respect.
Both the opening and ending theme songs are wonderfully sung and animated, with the first one simply telling its story in little time as opening themes should, and the ending theme adopting a more artsy, Art Nouveau style that still matches the story's serene atmosphere. Both art styles compliment the series well, and the music does its job. The soundtrack itself isn't anything home to write about, but it fits the setting just fine, and I didn't find any pieces that I didn't like. Everything seemed to just fit into place. I did notice one thing about the soundtrack: it's always mellow and subtle, never bombastic, even during compelling fight scenes (and there's only ONE action scene in the entire series, which says a lot about the series and what its like for those new to it). I think the music composers did a good job in keeping the soundtrack like this, as even though Shirayuki-Hime is a fantasy, its more political and character-oriented in nature. There's no slaying dragons, no warring kingdoms, no princesses with magical powers, etc. Nobody said having those things was a bad thing, but nobody said NOT having them is bad, either. Shirayuki-Hime knows what it is: a mellow fantasy story about a commoner girl and a prince who has to deal with his responsibilities.
I know I praise the characters a lot in my reviews of anime, but for me, if an anime doesn't have good characters, then it doesn't win any points for me. Thankfully, Shirayuki-Hime's cast is fairly well rounded and great in their own right, and defy many stereotypes in shoujo manga. Shirayuki is friendly, kind, brave, and not afraid to do what she wants, but this trait can also get her into trouble, and she still has moments of vulnerability throughout the series that keep her from being perfect. Zen is a slightly mischievous and playful prince, but unlike most princes, we see him having to deal with his responsibilities, such as going to territory under his jurisdiction and making peace between countries using whatever methods he can. He is constantly under pressure, and his status as a prince is both a blessing and a curse, as a tragic event in his past involving a person whom he thought was a friend made him realize being a prince has both benefits and drawbacks for not just himself, but others. Seriously, how many cartoons in any country even go into this kind of stuff?! The only shows I can think of that also tackle the issues royalty face are My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Rose of Versailles. For someone who doesn't know much about how royal business goes in the real world, I think the show did a great job in showing the trials and tribulations a prince (or princess) have to go through in order to fulfill their duties. The other characters like Mitsuhide, Kiki, and Obi are also wonderful in their own right. There's even two guards who sometimes pop up every now and again who have very funny scenes and play off of each other very well. Even minor characters are given complex personalities and serve a purpose in the show, while still managing to come off as...well, people! I wish I could write characters like this.
I personally couldn't find anything the show that I actually hated or put me off. But I know some episodes are very character driven and slow paced, and this isn't a show for people who like high octane action or constant melodrama going on. Everything is presented in a down to earth manner, and there's no dragons or magic or alchemy or anything like that. Plus, I liked the soundtrack, but I wouldn't consider it the greatest soundtrack ever. Not only that, the show is very short, having only 12 episodes so far. I say so far because, wonder of wonders, it has a second season coming up, so it'll be able to explore more of its story! Though from what I hear the manga is still ongoing, with 12 volumes out, so the anime, even with 24 episodes, probably won't be able to tell the entire story. But nonetheless, I still find whatever it does tell to be very enjoyable.
If you're looking for a gem in a sea of excrement, Shirayuki-Hime is the anime for you. It's not perfect, but it's a diamond in the rough that deserves all the love and appreciation it can get. You won't regret watching it...but you do require patience and appreciation for atmosphere.
Like many Shoujo shows, they are sweet. Sweet as in they are sugar coated in ingredients that entices people who easily go for anything that is similar to its flavor. Not that people who follow Shoujo are easy to impress, but its a genre that many akin to when they do not want a complex story or complex characters. There are some exceptions to this and become classics in their own right. However, there are others that try to do this formula, such as Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, and come across as painfully average in the process.
When I say that it is average, or just borderline
okay, I mean that there are parts of it that work tremendously to help facilitate the anime from being bad but there are other rusted parts that feel unstable and slightly bring it down a notch. Obviously, if you do not fit into the demographic that this show typically panders to, most of the problems I'll mention might not be an issue for you. Nevertheless, if you're like me and want to be surprised by an anime of any genre, there are many things to pick out of Akagami no Shirayuki-hime that range from positive or negative.
Let us start out with the positive aspects, starting with Akagami's main heroine, Shirayuki. As far as female characters go, she is what many would figure out as the perfect example of a strong female character. But do not be discouraged if you think the show is going to rub it into your face about how strong she is. Shirayuki's strong charisma and optimism feels very natural and less tact-on to be in league with many other strong anime females in the past. Voiced by the always lovely, Saori Hayami, she adds a nice level of innocence and personality that gives Shirayuki a likable presence along with her actions. They even play with the damsel in distress plot arc and give it a nice twist to it that makes her capable and true to her character arc. Not that she is a woman because she does this but because she just so happens to be female and succeeds in doing so is where Akagami flourishes.
Like many Shoujo anime, the art style is usually fitting for the characters to look relatively minimalistic and less-overblown, to which Akagami is no exception. However, the art style has nice little tidbits to it that give it a nice pastel atmosphere from the character designs and how the world is drawn. I would not say that it is exactly like a Studio Ghibli production, but there are various elements that seem like inspirations to the studio. The character expression all feel very natural and fluid, not to mention the saturated colors of the characters and backgrounds feel almost as if they were done with a paintbrush that give it a 1980s aesthetic in modern times.
That is where, unfortunately, all of the positives grind to a halt. Where most of the problems lie is the plot itself. Is it badly written? Do the characters not have enough development? Is it boring? Both of these can be answered with: Yes, yes, and yes. It is badly written from the prospect that the plot feels very bland and not really well-thought out. From the half-way point into Akagami, I found myself really apathetic to what was going on because the plot has nothing to it other than we're just watching Shirayuki try to fit in with this new town that she is living in. And while I do love Shirayuki as a character, nothing else that she does that tries to further the plot does nothing to resonate me with it.
On top of that, another big crux to the plot are the other characters besides Shirayuki. It was almost as if the writers took most of their time to focus on how great she is, but forgot that there were other characters to shine as well. Her knight in shining armor, Zen Clarines, is a prime example of this where his entire personality is completely overshadowed by her's. It comes down to how Zen is portrayed as a knight hopelessly in love with her and the lines and things he does, unknowingly, to win Shirayuki's heart is about as cliched as one can get out of a Shoujo anime. The other characters that fall into the same spectrum as Zen, such as Obi and Rouen, are just as dull and uninteresting as he is; so much so that I had to look up their names so I could write them down on this review.
As I mentioned about Zen being overshadowed by Shirayuki, their relationship that reaches its climax by the end of Akagami does not heighten my positive reflections of Shirayuki or lower my perception of Zen. It just feels like your typical romance relationship that does not feel surprising by the time you reach the last two episodes. It goes about as you would expect if you are familiar with this kind of story. Not that I was wanting a new way of telling this type of romantic story, but if it wants to do something similar, at least give Zen a better archetype that helps in keeping this from being monotonous.
While Akagami no Shirayuki-hime boasts one of the best female characters this year, the plot does not win best of the year. If it was not also for the magnificent art design, this would have been an extremely forgettable anime to pick out. It was a polarizing experiencing that could have been something more than what it already is if time was spent to write better supporting characters. Akagami was a missed opportunity in being special, no doubt. It just cannot seem to get pass the curse of being another generic Shoujo anime.
Before I start, I'll have to disagree with megaan about some of the points mentioned, and that giving this anime a score of 4 is the biggest insult in anime history.
First of all, to state that the characters' personalities are outright flat and that their conversations with each other are boring already showed glaring flaws in the review. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is not your typical anime nowadays that over-dramatize everything to invoke humor/or just to bring a point across.
This anime focuses on its more relaxed nature and keeping its innocence. It's like giving a bad review/score for a romance anime because it doesn't
have good fighting scenes. Her review is just flawed in that sense. I will only agree that the plot is abit on the bland side, though a well tradeoff to preserve its relaxed innocent nature.
If you were looking for an action-packed anime like Shingeki no Kyojin, then this isn't the anime for you. And perhaps meegan reviewed this based on that.
However, if you are into romance and slice of life genre then I'd recommend this to you.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Review:
Akagami no Shirayuki is unlike your typical cliche romance anime whereby girl meet boy, goes crazy for boy or is only there for ecchi bullshit cliches. It focuses on its calm and more relaxed nature as suggested by its bgm even at the very start of the first episode. Its romance sets them miles apart from your typical shoujo.
Over here, the romance is very pure and innocent. Our beloved characters can hold proper conversations without any cliche moments/ecchi fanservice. The interaction between the characters are very refreshing in that sense. The scenes and conversations are well-crafted and thought-out and sure knows exactly when to be romantic as hell when the appropriate moment arises.
Every episode makes you go "awww" and leaves its viewers a warm fuzzy feeling inside. The love between the protagonists, Zen and Shirayuki are so pure and lovely. Truly the best couple of 2015.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is the epitome of romance and truly a gem in anime history of its genre.
(This is a spoiler-free review adapted for this site)
[Synopsis]: Shirayuki(Hayami, Saori), a strong-willed girl with exceptionally rare red hair, led a normal life as a town herbalist in the kingdom of Tanbarun until her beauty attracted the attention of the first prince Raji (Fukuyama, Jun) who requested that she become one of his concubines. Unable to outright refuse his demand due to her social status, she fled the kingdom and had a chance-encounter with a stranger by the name of Zen (Osaka, Ryota) who, after curing him of a poisoned apple meant for her, is discovered to be the second prince of the kingdom of
Clarines. In Zen's company, Shirayuki continues on to Clarines and attempts to start her life anew.
Shirayuki, the protagonist of the story, offers refreshing enough characterization - she is intelligent, kind-hearted, and resourceful but her uniqueness resides in how she interacts with the rest of the cast. She avoids the majority of the character tropes associated with the romantic lead and female love interest through her conviction and at times assertive personality both of which I found to be compelling character traits. Moreover, while she may not exemplify the traits of the more typical romantic lead, she does offer a number of instances where she operates within a role-reversal between herself and prince Zen. Though she does not become masculine in this way, her actions more closely resemble that of the a male-lead. An explicit example of this reversal was when she climbed a tree to visit Zen on his balcony. Perhaps my only and most notable qualm concerning Shirayuki is that she exists too closely to a character paradigm and doesn't offer much in the way of character flaws or moments of weakness - her character very purposefully exists in order to overcome the obstacles that would make other typical female characters stumble and in this way is a shade too 'perfect'.
The lack of complications does not solely reside in Shirayuki and is also present in a decent number of the other cast members. The lack of this trait actually accounts for what I believe to be one of the shows major stumbling points in that, by nature of all of the main characters being goodhearted, sincere, and supportive the tone of the show becomes quite flat. Though they contribute greatly to the feel-good romance nature of the show there aren't all that many diverse characters within the cast. Even someone like Obi who initially was more of a scoundrel-esc character quickly becomes homogenized after his introduction.
To speak briefly about Zen, there was one major area in which I felt his characterization was quite interesting and well done. He represents a pretty typical depiction of the prince of a kingdom - dashing, good-mannered, and kind and there isn't much else that infringes upon this however I found it remarkable that despite Shirayuki receiving a good number of role reversal scenarios that he was not weakened or made less dominant within their relationship because of it. He possesses equal to or greater agency to anyone else in the story and his resilience and integrity of character in this regard was quite compelling as it, along with Shirayuki's role in the relationship, resulted in something slightly more unique than i would have expected from what is otherwise quite a typical Shoujo romance.
The art and animation of the show was delivered in top form and avoided any and all noticeable quality drops throughout its 12 episode run. There were a great many uses of dynamic lighting which added significantly to the more important scenes and the scenes of greatest import were visually delivered quite beautifully. While the character designs were enjoyable by themselves I did find the presence of a fairly dynamic wardrobe to be a decent visual bonus as it made the show feel a bit more alive.
While Shirayuki offers a handful of uncommon character traits the story fails to follow suit and plays out in fairly predictable and typical ways with perhaps the exceptions where it attempts to specifically highlight Shirayuki's characterization. One fortunate thing to note is that the story does offer plenty of romantic progression and so it avoids the route of starving the viewer while simultaneously tantalizing them each episode; in this area the pacing is good. The story initially exhibits some folk-tale influence through the use of poisoned apples and a snow-white-esc premise however this element seems to quickly be forgotten and I think it would have perhaps been more interesting had there been a greater number of allegories or references in this way.
Akagami's story most likely falters for me due to its character reliance. Because the show is less concerned with offering an engaging plot or exploring the world being present and more focused on developing its main two characters both as people and as a romantic couple it comes off as highly reliant on the success or failure of its cast. With that being said, the cheerful and supportive tones in each and every one of the main characters makes for pretty bland and unexciting dialogue. The story doesn't drag but is a bit uneventful outside of furthering character relationships and so not only does it proceed quite typically in the form of many other shoujou romances but offers very little to break away outside of its main character.
The music fit the show really well and while it didn't blow me away I think it added significantly to the show. The soundtrack was used especially well to play up key moments of the show to better dramatize them. I think this element of the show could be described as working well for the show while falling short of being interesting in an objective sense.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
At the end of the day Akagami plays out as a typical feel-good romantic show while offering several areas of interest such as its protagonist. Shirayuki's characterization and avoidance of tropes was delivered in a bit of a hamfisted manner however this also allowed the show to more directly parody the stereotypical romantic relationship and so I am of the mind to forgive it in this way. I think the show still offers plenty of potential going forward into its upcoming second cour where the characters could very well better diversify themselves and a more interesting plot might develop. I remain hopeful for the show in the future.
I gave Akagami a 6 because, while it was uneventful in many regards it also avoided being forgettable. Shirayuki and Zen carry the show to a degree and I feel that it's worth watching almost solely because of how it plays with the dynamic of their relationship though it doesn't offer a great deal beyond this. It was a decent show and certainly may turn into something more engaging in the future though ultimately there are better romance stories out there though few that play with its characters in this specific way.
I would recommend Akagami first and foremost to those interested in the romance genre, more specifically to those who prefer shows that don't spend their time endlessly dancing around the subject of romance but instead are frequently involved with it and see fairly frequent relationship progression. There are a handful of action scenes though they mostly exist to reinforce the setting rather than add to the show's actual diversity of tone and so I don't think it exhibits anything special in this regard. The show is fairly light on drama though some does manifest by means of the romantic tones and so while some drama exists Akagami falls a bit short in terms of quantity to actually exhibit the genre fully.
Supposedly Akagami no Shirayuki is one of the better shoujo animes out there, and I can reluctantly admit to this. However, this also makes me incredibly sad about where shoujo anime is currently at. And the reason, AnS is one of the better shoujo animes is because Shirayuki isn't an idiot and sometimes she does things on her own without the help of the prince. (Note: I do admit the art is very pretty to look at, and Shirayuki + Zen are kinda cute together)
Many reviewers have mentioned how Shirayuki is an independent, strong and intelligent character, and it seems each episode attempts to demonstrate
this but somewhat fails. In the second episode( which was an incredibly pointless episode that did not progress the plot whatsoever) Shirayuki gets captured and manages to escape her captor before the prince goes to save her anyway. Am I supposed to be convinced that she isn't a damsel in distress? Also, episode three; another episode in which the show tries to demonstrate again how brave she is, when she gets banned from the castle, but somehow enters anyway, and has a 'showdown'( I say this lightly) with Marquis Haruka. Basically Haruka threatens her and says that intruders should be dealt with immediately, raises his sword towards her (at this point, in which I was like 'HIT HER!') and Shirayuki somehow proves herself by stepping towards it, and Haruka withdraws his sword. HUH??! OH Shirayuki you are so brave and so unordinary. WHAT?
In a way, the problem with this show is less to do with Shirayuki as a character but more with the lack of tension and conflict in the show. She's a fine character, but I fail to see the specialness that everyone else seems to. The plot isn't strong enough, and the characters aren't interesting enough by themselves. I'm not suggesting that it needs to be more psycho pass- esque but a touch of sabotage(hello prime opportunity during the herbalist test!!!), or even people who don't automatically fall in love with her (yes, you lot- Zen, Ryu, Obi, Mitsuhide, Kiki) would make this a better show.
I'm as much a sucker for romance and quasi-reverse-harem anime as the next girl, but nothing about Akagami no Shirayukihime really drew me in. I suppose the biggest compliment I can give to Akagami no Shirayukihime is that I finished the series. It wasn't bad enough on any level to compel me to stop. That being said, there wasn't too much about it that had me invested in the story, the characters, or any other component of the series.
The emotional relationship between Shirayuki and the Prince, Zen, is developed to around 90% completion in the first episode -- that is to say, they are
pretty much instantly and unreasonably attached to each other from the get-go, which leaves very little room for development as the series goes along. The result is a very boring shoujo anime.
There's no interesting conflicts between the two. You get no warm-happy feeling watching their relationship blossom. There's no "FINALLY!" moment when the characters reach the realization that they're in love. It pretty much seems to happen INSTANTLY (even if it's not *directly* vocalized), and the rest of the series wanders down this path of "I-want-to-be-an-herbalist-and-everyone-falls-in-love-with-me!" which -- while not particularly offensive -- isn't super gripping.
Overall, I'd say the series is 'fine,' but I don't think it merits the rating it has. There is no development in the series, in characters' relationships, or in the characters themselves, really. The only characters who seem to change are the ones who go from "I have my doubts about this Shirayuki person" to "Shirayuki is hard-working and great and I might have a crush on her!" -- and there are quite a few of those, unfortunately.
The art is actually pretty nice (I'll give it that), but that can't rescue the series. I won't be watching season 2.
"Most shoujo female protagonists tend to be weak, so let's make ours the strongest willed person to ever walk across this god-forsaken world."
I guess this was roughly the general idea when creators were coming up with the premise of Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime. And I'd gladly support that under normal circumstances. Having a female character who doesn't blush every three minutes does spark a lot of interest and promise in an otherwise very average piece of fiction. Sadly enough, the show is not able to capitalize on its strong premise and instead gives us a world full of empty characters and meaningless emotions. Which is a
shame, because this anime really wasn't doomed from the start.
It doesn't take a lot of time to realize that the supposedly strongest aspect of the show, that being Shirayuki, is actually the one bringing it down the most. Why? Well, let's start the actual review, shall we?
Shirayuki is absolutely perfect. She's strong-willed, intelligent, beautiful, caring, kind, brave, considerate, moral, gutsy, useful, cute when drunk, cool and I don't know what else. Everybody is obsessed with her. It doesn't matter if it's a kid, old woman or a prince of a country, everybody is astonished because of how perfect of a person she is, and how uniquely red her hair is. The first prince fell in love with her just after hearing about her beautiful hair. That's right, he hasn't even seen her at the time and he already knew she was the prettiest girl alive. The second prince fell for her just after a first glance at the striking red of her hair. Random people casually show up out of nowhere just to kidnap her because her hair is just that fabulous. I really do throw around the word 'hair' a lot. Well, watch the show and see for yourself, there is legitimately not an episode that would go without someone admiring Shirayuki's bEAUtIfUl hair.
Back to her characterization as a whole, I thought she was a pretty endearing character at the start. She is different than most females in shoujo romances, and that is a welcome change. It really seemed like the creators genuinely cared about making her a strong character. However, it only took a handful of episodes to realize that it was just a tricky bait. Shirayuki's writing goes nowhere. She's presented as strong in will and never in any other way. Basically every single episode adds just another positive personality trait to her already admirable arsenal. She's never portrayed as a character who's struggling, never makes a bad decision, always comes up with solutions for problems. She is just that amazing. Maybe she could be considered a 'strong' character if we were to talk about her strength in personality. However, she is not a strong character when it comes to writing. Strongly written characters are believable, which means they have flaws. Every human being has flaws. Shirayuki doesn't. She's perfect in every sense of the word, and I find that disgustingly sickening.
Well, now that we got the main point of this show out of the way, you could basically look at any other shoujo romance review because the originality of this show ends exactly when you stop talking about Shirayuki.
Her male counter-part Zen is, surprise surprise, the manliest male in the world, exactly how it tends to be with shoujo characters. Just like Shirayuki, he's perfect. Almost everything I said about her can be said about him. He's also an amazing prince who genuinely cares for all his peasants even though every other politically active character is presented as arrogant and greedy. He's amazing, absolutely flawless. Even his obsession with Shirayuki, which could technically be considered a flaw, or at least weird, is made to be a positive trait in this case because why would the writers of this anime want anyone to have flaws?
Well, that's a pretty convenient question actually, because once we move aside our main 5 characters (of which 3 are not even worth talking about) suddenly its pretty normal for people to have them. Almost every episode presents multiple characters that could be thrown into a pile called "horrible people". Shirayuki gets kidnapped by evil guys on daily basis, people who act selfish and arrogant are that much more normal. The point is, these people only exist so that the main two characters could seem that much more incredible. There's someone acting like a douche? Well, be sure that Shirayuki is close enough to start yelling at him and show her strong demeanor. There's someone talking bad about Shirayuki? Well, be sure that Zen is close enough to hear all that and start protecting his end-all-be-all love. It's ridiculous just how perfect the two main characters seem compared to everybody else. I've legit never seen a show so bad at portraying evil. Random people showing up doing bad things with zero IQ just to serve as a foundation so the main characters can act cool and complex for a while. Pathetic writing honestly.
In which we get to a very important point of Shoujo romances, or just romances in general. That is, of course, relationship development. Well, nothing to write home about here either. Okay, fine... I admit. It's true that the show creates a lot of space for Shirayuki and Zen to properly develop feelings for each other. Good job there. However, the way it goes about it feels very artificial, at least from Zen's point of view. He gets obsessed with Shirayuki basically the second he sees her. It's not rare for him to go out of his responsibilities just to see her pretty face. It doesn't matter if he has tons of paperwork to do as long as Shirayuki is close to chat. It's like that all the time. Whenever Zen pleases, he goes to see her, while never caring about his responsibilities as a prince. Speaking of that, he sure has a lot of time to play around with his love for someone who is part of a royal family. I always thought people like that would be short on time, but apparently, it's no problem for Zen to visit Shirayuki like 15 times a day or spend the night with her somewhere. It's also no problem for him to start freaking out every time she gets into trouble and such. My point is, that this "love" doesn't feel anywhere close to reality. I've been in love, I know how things go. Sure, you do think a lot about the person in question but responsibilities always come first, even more so when you are in a position Zen is. There is absolutely no subtlety in his feelings because all he ever thinks about is Shirayuki. We never see him getting involved in royal matters, we never see him doing casual things, all we see him do is talk to Shirayuki or think about her. Now that I think about it, we know basically nothing about him besides how much he loves her. If that's what's called 'raw emotion' nowadays then I'm probably very old-dated for my own generation.
Shirayuki's emotions are, in this matter, much more respectable, as we see her engage in more things beyond just socializing with Zen. That bit of humaneness on her part is enough for her feeling to be justifiable and no matter what I'd said about her as a character, her side of the relationship growth was pretty decent. If the show kept some time to portrait Zen's life the same way as Shirayuki's maybe I could view him as something more than just "a guy who likes a girl with red hair".
To not come off as a douche out of this, I also need to mention some of the things I like, though they are pretty modest in numbers. Shirayuki's character was really interesting the first three or four episodes, it's sad that her writing and development later on was shit. Animation remains fairly decent for the most part. I also like the half fantasy/half historical setup for whatever reason. Two midsection episodes containing flashbacks of Zen's past are actually not bad at all. Sadly enough, they are also the only two episodes in which Zen becomes a real character and actually develops a bit, which once again proves how horrible at writing characters people who made this are. You simply cannot throw a couple of flashbacks onto a shallow character and expect him to look better. Development shouldn't be happening in the past. It should be happening in the present.
That about wraps it up. It has been a long time since I last wrote a review for a non-seasonal show, but I guess that perfectly shows just how frustrating of an experience this anime was for me. What started out with tons of promise quickly faded into generic nothingness. Perhaps that is a sad fate for all shoujo anime.
Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime is really good at one thing. At tricking people into thinking that it's better than other shoujo anime. The sad part is that it really could've been one. If the interesting world and intriguing female lead got supported with good development and writing, I don't think I would be sitting here writing this negative review. The bitter taste in my mouth won't go away for a while.
Bad shows are just bad. Bad shows which wasted its potential are a general disappointment.
The trigger to the female main character Shirayuki meeting who she'll meet, getting into messes she'll be getting into is all because of her red hair, but in the anime you have a silver haired prince, a blue haired attendant and a dark green haired character, it makes no sense for her hair to be the solely unique one.
Apart from that, the story development is very entertaining, the anime doesn't empathise her looks too much and focuses on a good character build. But the character backgrounds of most characters are lacking or very anti-climatically explained and the protagonists don't really have an antagonist to balance
it out. You could say it's too happy go lucky, no matter what happens it'll turn out well for the protagonists.
The female protagonist is a bit too perfect in that aspect as well, considering she's living in a medieval timeline, living alone, but targeted by many for her rare red hair colour, she bears no grudge towards anybody, even naive at the present and in the future too. She is independent, headstrong and doesn't falter in front of hardships. Admirable but considering it logically it's a too good to be true story of a girl meeting her prince charming. (In comparison the male protagonist faces several more realistic hardships)
(This review has been adapted from my blog/reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
(As supplementary material for this review, please refer to my writing on the similarities of this anime, Shirayuki and Snow White Similarities, found here: http://thechuunicorner.com/2016/01/04/shirayuki-and-snow-white-similarities/)
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?” This iconic phrase is most often credited to the animated, Disney-made film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. That is actually a pretty difficult question to answer, no matter what is being compared.
I would consider myself a big Disney fan. I like Goofy and Donald – mostly thanks to my extensive time playing the Kingdom Hearts series – but
I have an affinity for its fairy tales, too. Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin are among my favorite animated, fairy tale films (which, coincidentally enough, are also within the Kingdom Hearts series…). There is just something about the blending of the real and the magical, the budding romance, and the supremely happy endings that fills me with pure joy.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, otherwise known as Snow White with the Red Hair, is not technically a Disney-made anime, but it is a fairy tale. A tale that instills similar feelings of joy.
Akagami is about finding one’s path in life. It is about happy fairy tales. It is about romance. But most of all it is about balance. This idea of balance is key to the narrative, balance that rests on a shaky foundation.
For starters, the anime often relies on the same set of events. Namely, Shirayuki is in trouble but then Zen comes and saves the day. This happens a lot over the course of the season. Shirayuki is attacked by a selfish prince, so Zen protects her. Shirayuki is kidnapped, so Zen rushes to her side. Shirayuki is going to be disrespectfully used in a public play, so Zen stops the nefarious actions. It can get a bit repetitive watching the same set of events unfold each and every time. But the anime is a fairy tale, so the “damsel in distress has her knight in shining armor rescue her” is not completely out of place.
Zen is not always rescuing Shirayuki, though. In fact, Shirayuki regularly saves herself. She discovers the problem plaguing the soldiers of Fort Laxdo, as well as cures them of their ailments. She is the one that jumps out of the watchtower and into the lake to retrieve the lost whistle. Even when she is kidnapped, before Zen arrives she proves that she is more than capable of handling herself.
The best moment, however, is after the dinner party, when she does not let Zen come to her but instead insists that she go to him. So she climbs the nearby tree (rather than taking the steps or some other route), leading her to his hand and a private moment between the two of them. In all these scenes, Shirayuki takes the initiative, going against the typical fairy tale structure. This consequently shifts Akagami away from being a one-sided narrative and towards a more balanced one.
Balance is further achieved through the rest of the scenes that are neither all about Zen nor all about Shirayuki, but rather all about the two of them together. During Shirayuki’s herbalist test, she and Zen work together to switch the flowers. The confession scene likewise achieves this balance. Not just that they both confess their feelings of love for one another but also that the writing afterwards flip-flops between Shirayuki and Zen narrating, indicating that the prince and the maiden are now on the same page.
This balance is what makes the romance feel so right. Akagami is a tale about how Shirayuki and Zen, a man and a woman with different lives and different statuses, share a romantic relationship. So what the first season shows is Zen coming down to be with Shirayuki and Shirayuki climbing up to be with Zen. Zen sneaks away from his guards, he seeks out Shiryuki against his brother’s wishes, and he risks his life for her. Shirayuki, in return, travels to Zen’s country. She trains as an herbalist in the castle. She takes part in the castle’s activities. For both Zen and Shirayuki, they strive to be with each other, equally, in balance.
Since this is the first half to Akagami, this theme on balance starts off strong. It is the anime’s other themes that have yet to be fully explored. The obvious social disparity, the notion of following a path in life, the difficulties romance – be it the one Shirayuki and Zen share or otherwise – entails, and so on. The anime certainly alludes to these themes throughout the first half but does not outright expound on them, presumably saving said expounding for the second half. So, for now, not exploring more of its themes is not so much a negative as it is a signal that the continuation should (and better) do so.
One of the worst missteps that the anime makes is when it tries to make the anime not about Shirayuki and Zen, disrupting the balance the two share. The conflict with Raj is acceptable; that causes the two lovebirds to meet. What ruins the narrative is when Izana kisses Shirayuki on the forehead (after having been hostile towards her) and when Obi clearly has an interest in Shirayuki (ripping off her bandana to see her smile, giving her his prize that he won at the arena, and so on). These are smaller scenes, but nonetheless they are distracting. They get in the way of the romance which, subsequently, gets in the way of Shirayuki and Zen’s balance.
Akagami is also not without its share of poorly executed moments. Shirayuki slapping the medicine out of Raj’s hands was a bit too dramatic. The worst offender, however, was Shirayuki’s spat with Lord Haruka; given the context and direction of the narrative, the scene was overly confrontational. Here, the balance is off. Not with romance but in the mood. Yet, Akagami has its well-executed moments, too. Shirayuki dropping her books and getting flustered as Zen inadvertently grabs her hand is one such scene. Another is when Zen comforts a crying Shirayuki at a window sill. These are the moments when the balance is perfectly struck, romance-, emotion-, and mood-wise.
Akagami is not done telling its tale. There are obvious improvements to be had, but the narrative is at the minimum acceptable for an opening act.
Arguably, the strongest part of Akagami is its wonderful art and animation.
The anime takes place primarily at Zen’s castle, the surrounding grounds and the inner rooms making up most of the backgrounds. In order to combat any feeling of repetition, Akagami lathers its art with dazzling colors and bountiful light. Beautiful pinks, purples, and blues are accentuated by the soft, visible sunlight as well as noticeable sparkles here and there. Greens, oranges, and, of course, reds are likewise supported by the hardness and playfulness of the light. Altogether, the medieval backdrop – castles, swords, and gardens – combined with the colors and the light, paints Akagami as the fairy tale that it is.
While actual animation never surpasses the stunning artistic direction, the animation still manages to remain at an elevated level. Truth be told, not a whole lot of action takes place. Zen, Mitsuhide, and Kiki fighting some bandits near Fort Laxdo, Zen dueling Izana, and Izana and Mitsuhide defending Zen from a group of marauders make up the most action-heavy scenes with lots of sword swinging and flourishes. Yet this is not the impressive part of the animation. It is the subtler aspects that are. Shirayuki’s hair and outfit swinging as she moves. Her hands clasping Zen’s as they share an intimate moment. The swaying of leaves as a gentle breeze passes by. Everything has a fluidity to it that makes the anime feel alive, much like romance does to those that experience it.
Beyond the fairy tale setting and the animation, the show does not play around with the camera too much – most of its shots are framed around singular characters or a pairing of characters. This, as it turns out, follows the anime’s own balancing motif; having Shirayuki standing in the middle of the shot or showing Shirayuki and Zen opposite each other achieves that sense of balance visually.
The character designs remain consistent, both in terms of quality and balance. Shirayuki’s bright, red hair and stark, green eyes make it easy to see why she is the apple of Zen’s eye. Shirayuki also wears many different outfits over the course of the season. A hooded outfit, her professional, white work coat, and her one-time-only (for now) princess get-up change up her appearance at a regular pace.
Shirayuki’s red hair and white coat bring about the balance. Zen is similar; his white hair and striking blue eyes match his white and blue princely outfit, dignifying him while also balancing him. Mitsuhide, with his teal hair and brown outfit, Kiki with her blonde hair and purple gear, and Obi with his short black hair and olive green scarf continue the balance of the designs, coinciding with the anime’s main theme.
Akagami has a medium sized cast. Mitsuhide, Kiki, Ryuu, and Raj are notable members of said cast, though they are not technically the focus. Obi and Izana might arguably be more important than the rest of the side cast, but even they do not have much to go off of beyond their base characterizations. Zen and Shirayuki, however, are ripe for picking.
Zen is the easiest to start with. Zen is a dutiful prince. He completes his paperwork, he cares for the people of his country, and he takes responsibility for his own actions. Perhaps most importantly, Zen looks out for Shirayuki. Obviously it is because he is a kindhearted and respectful young man, but it also because he clearly has deep feelings for her.
Despite Zen upholding his status as prince, he often acts of his own volition. He sneaks away from Mitsuhide and Kiki to tease them a bit, he dresses up as a guard to observe his people on “Open Castle Day” from a different vantage point, and he makes sure to drop whatever he is doing should Shirayuki find herself in trouble. From this list, it is clear that, even when he is not following what he is “supposed” to do, he has the people around him in mind (especially Shirayuki).
Although Zen was not always like this. As a child, he was naïve. He rebelled against authority. He hated being seen as someone above others. He understood that everybody compared him to his older, more accomplished brother. All he wanted was to be treated like any other normal kid. Thus, he flocked to Atri, his childhood best friend. Through Atri and Atri’s death, Zen sees firsthand the difference between him and the common man. Atri’s death deeply affects him – Mitsuhide is, thankfully, there to support the young prince – but rather than resting on his laurels, Zen vows to become the type of prince, the type of person, that anybody – be they a recent traitor or a civilian – can view not as a distant man but as a close friend. Thus, the path he takes leads him down that of kindness, respect, and camaraderie.
Shirayuki, in contrast to Zen, is a bit more complex. Shirayuki is not a princess, she is a woman with a knack for herbs and flowers who also happens to have uniquely colored hair. Above anything, though, she wants to forge her own path. She does not like people controlling where she goes, and more importantly she does not like people telling her she cannot do something. Akagami even pokes fun at this during her drunken state; she tries to go to Fort Laxdo, alone, to help the soldiers there in order to apologize to Zen for getting him in trouble.
To be fair, Shirayuki is not the best character possible. At least, not yet. Shirayuki acts independently, she is both funny and sweet, and she is undeniably cute. This makes her extremely likable to not just the people around her but also the audience. But she does not necessarily grow as a person. She remains pretty much the same independent, sweet, and cute woman from the moment she cuts her hair to the final light show at the end of this first season.
Interestingly, outside of a single (and single-framed) flashback, Shirayuki’s past life is unknown. This detail seems unimportant, but it is actually quite clever. Again, Shirayuki is someone who is always moving forward. Dwelling on the past is something she would never consider because that is just not who she is. So, the anime ignoring her past further highlights the ideals that Shirayuki has about following one’s path in life and never looking back. Thus, the path she takes leads her up that of goals, achievements, and dreams.
For both Zen and Shirayuki, they follow a path of their own design. And as the anime shows, their paths converge. At first, they just crossed. Zen comforting Shirayuki as she cried over his medical records, Shirayuki falling into Zen’s arms, and Zen kissing Shirayuki for the first time in the watchtower. By the end, their paths no longer cross. Now, rather than moving down their path by their lonesome, they are moving on the same path together, hand-in-hand, as the couple they were always meant to be. That is to say, they have achieved a balance that befits them both. A status barrier still separates Shirayuki and Zen, but that barrier, as has been shown time and again, means nothing to them. For them, all that truly matters are each other.
There are other character details worth noting, those not directly tied to Shirayuki and Zen. Mitsuhide receives a proportionate amount of focus that makes his character more than just a man that guards his prince. Contrarily, Kiki and Gazelt (Shirayuki’s main boss) are sorely lacking in the characterization department. At the same time, the constant shuffling of villains seems like a poor decision since they each become one-offs, but doing this puts Shirayuki and Zen into more scenarios together, leading to more opportunities for the two to connect.
Altogether – and given that this is the first half of the anime – the characters, while not amazing, are poised and ready for what is to come in the continuation.
The opening theme starts off awkwardly, but maintains its stride following its first few notes. What is most impressive about the OP is the airy quality about it, as if the singing and the instruments are carried by the wind and not by their power alone. The soft background choir and the subtle ambient sounds further contribute to this feeling of lightness. There is this small dip in the middle of the track where the piece somewhat resets itself, and in doing so prevents the release of the tension the song had built up immediately prior, adding weight towards the conclusion of the piece. Combined with the chimes and the rhythmically parallel lyrics, the track makes for a wonderful beginning to every episode.
The ending theme is nowhere near as floaty. Instead, the ED chooses a kind of stepwise approach, the beat and the lyrics stepping through the song. In contrast to the OP, the beginning of the piece is the strongest part, starting off orchestral and dance-like in tone. This leads into a mellow, dainty track that more or less follows the general mood of the show. The piece is not fairy tale-esque, hurting its relevancy, but it is at the minimum catchy to listen to.
As for the rest of the original soundtrack, it follows in the path of the OP. Almost every piece is grandiose, orchestral in tone and fairy tale in feeling. Instruments like the harp and the flute help to achieve this feeling faster, although the tracks are not without calming violins and shakers. One of the tracks is particularly moving: a slow trumpet, followed by an ensemble of triumph, can only be described as magical. Besides the more uplifting pieces, the anime also includes tracks filled with harrowing violins as well as mysterious guitars for those grim times. But no matter what part of the OST is playing, the music produced is nothing short of stellar.
The last bit of sound-work is the voice acting which (after careful consideration) sees an average level of performances. Saori Hayami as Shirayuki can easily be said to have performed the best, her womanly and determined way of speaking fitting the red-haired maiden perfectly. But beyond Ms. Hayami’s performance, the rest of the cast is not that noteworthy. Ryota Osaka as Zen has a kind and princely way of speaking, Kaori Nazuka as Kiki speaks as nonchalant as possible, and Nobuhiko Okamoto as Obi as a wily tune to his voice, demonstrating that they each fit their role nicely enough. But nobody reaches the same sense of perfection that Ms. Hayami does throughout the season.
I will say it until the day I die: I love romance. The love interest blushing, the holding of hands, the much-anticipated first kiss; all of it makes my heart skip a beat.
For this reason, I really liked this one. While the beginning makes it sort of unclear how Shirayuki feels about Zen – Zen, in contrast, wears his emotions on his sleeve – the further along the anime went, the more romance I got, and consequently the happier this anime made me. Zen getting mad at himself for not saving Shirayuki faster while she was trapped on the island was awesome. Shirayuki and Zen telling each other at Fort Laxdo that they are the driving forces for one another is way too adorable. Shirayuki looking absolutely flabbergasted after Zen kissed her, for the first time, following her radiant smile made me laugh out loud due to joy and excitement. Every small flirt, every romantic happening between Shirayuki and Zen put as big of a grin as could fit on my face.
I also like the not-really-said-out-loud-but-probably-more-than-likely romantic pairing between Mitsuhide and Kiki. Literally nothing happens romantically between them, but I can see the anime taking that direction if it wanted (and I hope that it does).
One part of the anime that I take offense to is Obi’s interest in Shirayuki. He seems like a kind dude, but at the same time the anime trying to make it seem as if he wants to be more than just friends with Shirayuki is irritating to say the least. His presence gets in the way of Shirayuki and Zen, which means his presence gets in the way of the romance, which also means his presence gets in the way of my happiness. I think he has a place in the anime, just not as the faux-rival the show is somewhat designing him to be.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a fairy tale in anime form. The characters’ pathfinding, the stunning art and animation, and the wonderful romance come together to create a nice experience. Some hiccups do exist – such as some faltering with the story and portions of the sound-work – but they are not so egregious that they outright ruin what the show has started. To answer the mirror’s earlier question, while Shirayuki and the gang are not the fairest of them all, they are certainly high up on the list.
Story: Fine, strong theme on balance leads to equally strong romance, some distractions throughout, with a mix of both well- and not-well-executed scenes
Animation: Great, beautiful art, crisp animation, and thoughtful character designs
Characters: Good, Zen starts off strong, Shirayuki, while extremely likable, needs a bit more work, but the two together prove that not every path has to be taken alone
Sound: Fine, good OP, okay ED, great OST, okay VA performances
Enjoyment: Good, the high amount of romance is divine, but Obi’s presence I could do without
I will be reviewing this anime as someone who has been reading the manga before the anime was released.
I really love the story line and characters in "Akagami no Shirayukihime", and I think the anime is made very clean and neatly, but I find that the story is shown too much like a "fairy tale". When reading the manga, I really liked the ethnic & detailed background, and feel. I would have liked it if the anime used more realistic colours with less vividness.
Also, I feel that the anime puts more power into the romance parts rather than loyalty, pride, and responsibility, that I
found made the story very deep and meaningful. I really liked the choice of the voice actor for Shirayuki but I hoped she would have talked with more strength in her words. I couldn't feel the strong and responsible character she should have. With Mitsuhide, I think the anime makes him appear too flimsy, while he is more down to earth in the manga.
These are opinions that I had because I read the manga before and can't help but compare because I love the manga so much. lol
TL;DR: If you like a story that resembles a Disney movie, romantic cliches, heartwarming romance, and like having everything go your way in terms of story, give this a watch. If you don't like very stereotypical shoujo romance anime, I wouldn't suggest this anime in particular, but give it a go.
Having been a fan of the manga for a while and not being aware there was an anime adaptation the whole time, I was ecstatic beyond belief to begin the first episode in the two season series we've all come to know and love. Personally, the premise of the story reminded me of something that
would come from Disney; though that didn't bother me at all.
The basic synopsis of the anime, is that Shirayuki (Snow White), known for her apple red-hair (oh, the irony) and her expertise in herbalism, is chosen to become a concubine for the prince in her home-country, Raj Schenazade. In an act of defiance, Shirayuki decides to cut her hair, essentially quit her old life as an herbalist in Tanbarun and crosses the border into a neighbouring kingdom, Clarines. From there, she has a fateful encounter with a white-haired boy roughly the same age; and from there, the two develop a long-lasting relationship filled with adventure, romance, and well; more romance.
The story was something that felt very straight-forward and linear; following a path other anime of the similar demographic have taken. Though that may be true, something about the simplicity of the story and the smooth transitioning as well as the development of the different relationships in the anime made it very magical, or maybe even Disney-like, per se.
The art throughout the anime; the different scenes involving the castle, the city, the environment in general; I have to give it to Bones, the art was something I really appreciated for its exquisiteness all throughout, and was something that felt really soothing to me as I continued to watch. The quality of the art was very consistent and accurately displayed the mood, whether it be warm and fuzzy, or stone-cold; showing no visible drop in quality throughout the series. Heck, I'd even say the quality got visibly better between the seasons.
The selling point in the anime for me would've definitely been the music. Other reviews I've seen haven't really talked about the music in particular, but the soundtracks played throughout the anime at pivotal moments made it all the more heartwarming, giving me an "Awwwww.." feeling as I continued to watch in delight. It's been a month since I downloaded some of the soundtracks on my phone, and I still give it a listen when I feel like reliving those warm moments from the anime.
All in all, the character development between the two would probably be, fairly linear to say the least. It feels like everything was set to follow the most stereotypical shoujo cliche possible, but reluctantly I'd have to say that even then, Akagami no Shirayukihime is one of the better shoujo animes out there. I'd definitely give this a watch if you want everything to go your way and not have to worry in the least about any obstacles the two lovebirds face.
To conclude, I just had to give this anime a 10/10 for enjoyment, and a 9/10 overall. It was something I was able to follow along with without much effort, and the characters, the art, the sound, and the story all mixed in were very enjoyable and very heartwarming to watch. I would DEFINITELY recommend this to anyone who enjoys shoujo anime / manga and is looking for a good, cliche, heartwarming relationship between two lovers.