I have two words that sum up my love of this anime: silver-haired bishie. ‘Nough said!
Akagami No Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) is an anime adaptation of the manga by Sorata Akizuki that is about a skilled young herbalist named Shirayuki who is identified by her shockingly red hair. Said hair gets her into trouble when the prince of Tanabarun is bored and on the hunt for a new concubine. I suppose adding to his harem is a good way to alleviate a case of the doldrums. Needless to say, Shirayuki does not accept his, ahem, gracious offer and instead decides to flee to the neighboring country of Clarines. It is here that she meets Zen (whom she later discovers is the country’s youngest prince) and all sorts of adventures start to shape her life.
And no, there are no scenes where Shirayuki is singing and little forest friends help her do the chores. There is no similarity between the Disney classic and the anime.
Shirayuki is an herbalist whose aspiration is to help others. Her red hair brings unwanted attention from her country’s prince, causing her to find herself in Clarines. She resolves to become a court herbalist so that she can walk the same path as Zen on her own two feet, while supporting him in his endeavors to mature as a prince of the realm.
Zen is the youngest prince of Clarines. He has not had it easy as a prince. Zen has learned not to trust too easily simply because he is not seen as a person, but rather as a prince. This could be really bad if say your best friend may want you dead because of what you are rather than who you are.
Mitsuhide, Kiki, And Obi
Mitsuhide and Kiki are Zen’s personal guards. While Kiki remains a mystery, Mitsuhide was assigned to Zen by Zen’s brother to protect him. Mitsuhide has witnessed how hard it is on Zen to be in the position he is in and yearn for a normal friendship. Gradually, Mitsuhide wins Zen over and the two become fast friends. Kiki remains a mystery. Hopefully, the viewer gets to learn a little more about her as the series progresses into season two. Obi was originally assigned by a noble to scare off Shirayuki, but is caught on the job. Zen assigns Obi to watch over Shirayuki and report back to him. Obi eventually wins the respect of Zen and his caretakers and joins the fold.
The first prince of Clarines and the elder brother of Zen. He is masterful to the point of seeming fierce in his manipulation of events that transpire in the kingdom and nothing escapes his notice, including Shirayuki. It is easy to dislike him, but his character is actually much deeper than one’s initial reaction to him. He has no disinterest in his brother. In fact, he cares greatly, which is why he is so critical. Plus, he also bears a striking resemblance to Howl from Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Yum!
The music for the series is very uplifting. I am a fan of the opening song; Yasashii Kibou by Saori Hayami is incredibly catchy! If you have not heard it yet, I encourage you to give it a listen. It can be found among other great anime songs on the Yatta-Tachi Dubtrack.FM Broadcast.
The animation style is clean and rich and reminds me of Kaleido Star. Both anime tastefully employ the use of computer-generated techniques to bring an incredibly vivid picture. One of my favorite recurring scenes is that of the palace lit up at night. The castle has a warm vibe about it that makes me feel as though rather than it being a large structure made of tons of cold rock, the castle is alive, as if the soul of Clarines resides in it.
The characters in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime are very likable and are strong in the respect that the main characters are not clingy in a way that takes away from the anime overall. The anime maintains an overall light feel that makes it so easy to watch that the episodes pass by without the viewer even realizing it.
Because of the lack of a true sense of time passing, I got the feeling that things progressed quickly. It seems as though the events that transpire and the feelings that develop are a little rushed. That may not necessarily be the case, but that was the feeling I got.
Another thing that got me was even those who are considered “villainous” are revealed to be not so bad due to circumstances that forced their hand. It in incredibly forgiving! It toes the line between being heartwarming and cheesy.
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