Day five of my summer anime first impressions (covering episodes 1-3) will focus on Snow White with the Red Hair, AKA Akagami no Shirayukihime. If you ever wanted a light Disney-esque slice-of-life romance anime, then this is your lucky day, because that’s what this series is.
This series went on my radar mainly because images of the story’s original manga always had such great artwork. The anime adaptation we have here doesn’t transfer that style over as well as I would’ve liked, but it’s a Bones production so it’s still easy on the eyes. The music is also quite nice (by Michiru Oshima, the same lady behind the music for Rokka incidentally). It’s always nice to get a shoujo anime with good production values, so all of this is well-worth noting.
But what about the story? At first I thought this would be a bit of an epic fantasy adventure akin to Yona of the Dawn (AKA Akatsuki no Yona), but with a
medieval Disney Europe setting rather than a traditional Korean one. However, it looks like Snow White aims to be much more of an episodic and laid-back slice-of-life type of series. And that’s just fine–I think that just means it’s helpful to be in the right sort of mood for watching this one. This show is about as innocuous as it gets, and if I dare to throw in a Disneyland-themed metaphor, I’ll say this show is much more a Mark Twain Riverboat than it is a Splash Mountain.
The premise seems to only barely reference the Snow White fairy tale, so don’t expect an in-depth adaptation of that. In this anime, the eponymous Shirayuki (Snow White) lives in a little town, making herbs like it’s nobody’s business. (She’s likely responsible for all your health pick-ups in the Resident Evil games.) But here’s the Big Plot Twist: she has red hair! Everyone thinks this is so fascinating. I’d love to see any of these random villagers go visit Ireland! Or even better, see how they’d react if this guy showed up one day.
Anyways, a Bad Prince likes the red hair enough to make Shirayuki his Thursday concubine–so our heroine takes off for a neighboring kingdom, where she meets a boy named Zen(?)… who turns out to be a Good Prince. It’s all incredibly basic, but the execution for all this turned out better than I expected. I think it all comes down to these two characters, really. Shirayuki is a great protagonist as a resourceful and no-nonsense herbalist whose kindness makes her easy to like. (She is voiced by Saori Hayami [e.g. Yukino from My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU], who lends a calm and methodical air to Shirayuki’s words.) And as for Zen, it’s nice to see the series didn’t settle for the troubled or mysterious “bad boy” tropes, and instead has him as just this nice guy–and amusingly, a bit of a doofus.
All in all, Snow White seems like it’ll be nice for those who want a relaxing shoujo to watch. It’s not as sweet as Natsume’s Book of Friends, or as funny as Kamisama Kiss, or as exciting as Yona of the Dawn–but so far it’s working for what it’s setting out to be.