Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Snow White with the Red Hair Review (Collab)

Snow White with the Red Hair Review (Collab)

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of Snow White with the Red Hair. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

It's that time again. Time to welcome Luke back as we tackle another collab review. And this time, to match our main female's red hair, his text is going to be red. Say hi Luke!

Hi, Luke!

That was totally not on purpose, but continuing onward!

Fairytale retellings are nothing new, at least in the book world. In the past few years, the dystopian trend has died down, and replaced with high fantasy novels or fairytale retellings. Seeing this will eventually get tiring, but I've actually enjoyed most of them that I've managed to read. There have been a few that haven't been good (or don't sound good), but most of them have left me fangirling or with a smile on my face. But seeing a fairytale retelling in anime form? Now this was something interesting.

This series also looked to be completely adorable. That teaser literally made me squeal internally, and having the two leads be from Yamada-kun? That was the deal breaker: I was going to watch this show, and I was going to giggle/swoon/ship people.

Immediately after seeing the first trailer, I knew right off the bat I was going to like this series. Combined with what Luke said, and also hoping for Shirayuki to actually be smart, we went into the series with high expectations. I'm happy to say those were quite met.

This series was awesome! Shirayuki is, hands down, one of the best lead characters I've seen in anime this year, and one of the best female protagonists I've ever seen. The story was fresh and very interesting to follow, and the show did a good job with pacing that felt natural, so it didn't move too fast or slow. Even with the repetition of Shirayuki's red hair being an extreme rarity and her being in "danger" for the first half of this series, this was still very nice, and I can't wait for more come January!

I don't think I loved this show as much as you, Dazz, but I still had one heck of a ride. Shirayuki and Zen's relationship was undeniably adorable (it had me swooning in episode 1), and I really liked our cast of characters (particularly Obi because OBI!). I also really liked how even though Shirayuki is undeniably our main character, everyone gets enough focus and development to truly shine, which is always nice in a shojo anime such as this.

Let's first start off with the story for this anime. It's pretty interesting if you ask me,


Shirayuki, a girl who is a skilled herbalist, lives in the country of Tanbarun. Besides attracting customers with her helpful remedies, she's also highly attractive with her BEAUTIFUL UNHEARD OF RED HAIR.  It's this that attracts the incompetent prince of the kingdom, Raj, to force her to becoming his mistress. Knowing that this isn't the life she wants, Shirayuki decides to flee Tanabarun to a neighboring country called Clarines, but not before cutting her hair short before she leaves.

When Shirayuki stops to take a rest after she arrives, she meets a boy named Zen, who jumps over a wall and, upon noticing her, trips on the ledge and falls. The two strike an immediate friendship (and maybe even something more, as Zen's blushes hint) and share a walk in the woods. However, the peaceful moment is interrupted when treats arrive from Tanbarun, courtesy of that stupid prince. When Shirayuki looks to be depressed, Zen takes a bite of an apple that turns out to be poisoned. Unfortunately, the only antidote is available through the prince, which leads Shirayuki back to square one.

The meeting with Raj actually goes better than expected. Besides Shirayuki standing her ground, Zen manages to help rescue her, finding out two facts about him; one being that he has an immunity built up for poison, and two, he's the second prince of Clarines. AKA, the country that Shirayuki stumbled into. She decides to go on her own path with Zen and his 2 closest allies, but not without a few bumps in the road, of course.

Good news is, not all of them are about her hair. But unfortunately, most of them involve her being in danger more often than not, which is a problem with the show's first half. The good news is, unlike the writers in Devils and Realist, the show knows when to shut up about both topics, and focus on other things at hand. For example, Shirayuki moving to the castle to become an apprentice herbalist, and traveling to a borderline to help sick soldiers.

A thing that also comes up is the relationship between Shirayuki and Zen. Rather than have them be a part of an immediate relationship, the two gradually begin to like each other, with Zen actually facing the brunt of the romantic feelings. This is definitely a unique twist in terms of the typical shojo romance, as the girls usually have the most intense experiences. Having the guy realize his love first is a nice touch that sets it apart from other shows.

Oh yes, the romance. *swoons*

I definitely agree that that was pretty surprising and well-paced throughout the show, with the eventual start at the very end of this season. I'm really excited to see where else it'll go next season. I don't want bad romantic conflict. The series also had a great pace; whether we'd be facing with an episode about a character's past, or an issue our characters needed to solve.

So overall, despite the repetition issues, I still liked the story for the most part. Like animation, a lot of anime have these, and Snow White with the Red Hair is, for sure, one of them.

Time to meet our characters!


The characters of Snow White with the Red Hair are a colorful bunch, both in hair and personality. Whether they're serious or stoic, upbeat and outgoing, or quiet and reserved, there's an interesting collection of people involved in this show.

I can agree with that Luke. Though some may appear only for a couple of episodes, all of the characters in Snow White with the Red Hair has at least personality, and can add a new event into the story, or actually be useful later on.

Let's start off with our main character, Shirayuki:

First, I want to give props to the original author of this manga for creating a strong main female character. It's something that's always refreshing after reading and seeing so many dumb ones.

Besides having rare red hair that isn't normally seen in these parts, Shirayuki is also a skilled herbalist. She knows a lot of different plants, and it can come quite in handy sometimes, for medicine or for escaping a trap. She meets Zen after escaping from Tanabaurn, and tends to his wounds after he stumbles upon first seeing her. After getting used to the castle and after a couple of threats on her life, Shirayuki becomes a assistant herbalist to Garack, the chief pharmacist. She is very independent and brave, but she can get a little flustered, especially after what happened at the end of Episode 10. ;) *giggles*

The main reason why I liked Shirayuki as much as I did was her ability to be smart whenever she was threatened. She doesn't give up easily at all, and she isn't stupid. She comes up with plans in order to escape the situation that she's in, even if it means jumping from a window to only land in the sea. She has guts.

I agree with Dazz. Shirayuki's definitely not the stereotypical shojo heroine in any sense. Sure, she is a little dense sometimes (especially towards Zen's feelings for her), but she's smart with her job and can defend herself easily when conflicts arise. I also like how she never once seriously starts to doubt herself or her decisions, and she isn't afraid to offer her opinion on topics. 

Strong female protagonists FTW! We need more of these for sure. Oh, and in books too.

Luke will helm Zen's section, so let's move on to him:

Zen is one of two princes of the Clarines kingdom. At the beginning of the show, he's often seen abandoning his work and deciding to spend time with Shirayuki or training with a sword (or, you know, jumping over walls). He gets down to business later in the series though, which may have had to do with something his older brother attempted to do with Shirayuki.

Zen is definitely quite the prince, if I do say so myself (and no, that wasn't me attempting to flirt). He's a kind and serious individual who doesn't resort to manipulating people to get what he wants, and he actually does care about his people. He also does care about Shirayuki and sometimes rescues her from dangerous situations that she can't get out of.

Oh Zen! *romantic sigh* He was easily one of my favorite male characters out of the anime I've watched this year (more outrank him, but he's in my personal top 30 of all time). I kind of like how he doesn't fully care about his duties as a prince, and would rather want to spend time dueling with his aides or just explore. But he still has a serious side, especially when it comes to protecting his closest friends or allies. Shirayuki and his connection is easily felt at the beginning, and if you ship them hard throughout, you're probably going to scream when they finally get together. It's well worth the wait, and incredibly sweet.



Agreed, although I do see Shirayuki and Obi and Obi and Zen working out. I've never shipped more than one couple per show until now, which is extremely awkward.

LOL XD Yes it is. Moving on:

Mitsuhide's time to shine. I found I could have found a picture of him in the present, but here's a picture of him from the flashback we get about Zen in Episodes 8 and 9.

Mitsuhide is one of Zen's closest aides who travels with him on journeys, and also defends him in case of trouble. If Kiki is serious and focused, Mitsuhide is calm and outgoing, his bond with Zen having grown over age. He was appointed by Izana to watch over Zen (though he wanted to watch over Izana). and at first, their relationship was a bit rocky. However, after Zen's closest friend at the time was working with traitors (that's all you're going to get for spoilers), he and Zen started to become friends, and now they're pretty tight.

Though Mitsuhide doesn't have a lot of development in this season (besides when he and Zen met, I don't think his time is yet), he's far from being the worst character of this anime (and there's not many actually). He has a nice personality that combats with Kiki's own (she needs development too, but I think that's coming up) and I find it a little funny when he gets picked on. Looking up this show, it also seems that he and Kiki will have a romance of their own, so looking forward to seeing that.

Since I focused on Mitsuhide, it's Luke's turn for Obi's section. Let me get him out of his fangirling while I leave for a short while.

*nudges Luke*

This is Obi. He's the funniest character in the entire show, but he doesn't start off as a hero. In fact, he's a minor antagonist who was working with a lord of the kingdom in order to kick Shirayuki out of the palace. After this, Obi becomes an aide to the Clarines kingdom, making sure Shirayuki is safe and protected when Zen is not there to help her. Obi fills the sly trickster in this romantic comedy, often making jokes in inappropriate situations and being a smart aleck when he really shouldn't. He's also the source of some of the most hilarious moments in this show, as shown in these pictures here.

Oh Obi, only you would make snowmen in a time of crisis XD.

Aside from his trickery, Obi is fiercely loyal, looking out for Shirayuki and Zen and protecting them from invaders (particularly that guy who sneaked onto castle grounds in Episode 9 or so; Obi probably would've stabbed him if he had possessed eviler intentions). I like that side to his personality, as it adds more to the guy who just laughs everything off (and who possesses a crush on Shirayuki, but she doesn't know that yet).

Obi is definitely my favorite character from this show. He's snarky, provides a bright spot in dark moments, and always makes me laugh. I guess that's what a comedic character is for though, isn't it?

For me, my favorite is the OTP. Well, mainly Zen out of the OTP. But Obi's still very memorable.

Other characters in this anime include Kiki, Zen's other guard, Izana, Zen's older brother and the first prince of Clarines. He's very crafty, as shown in flashbacks, but he's also somewhat boring and hard to see through sometimes. Haruka, a lord who despises Shiryuki who is forced to leave her alone after a stare-down, Garack, the head herbalist at the castle, and Ryu, her assistant. From a small island, we have Kihal, a bird trainer, along with the evil landlord of the island, Viscount Blaker. Let's not forget about the guards! XD

In Zen's childhood, we have Atri. And then from Tanbarun, we have Raj the prince, and his retainer Sakaki (anyone else reminded of Rarity and Twilight's character in Heart's Warming Eve for this relationship), And last but not least, we have Mihaya, who kidnaps Shirayuki in Episode 2 in order to to show Shiryuki to rich people and get money. He returns later on, so I am looking forward to it. He was kind of funny.


The animation for this series was produced by the studio Bones, who are also known for Soul Eater, Show by Rock, and Chaika- The Coffin Princess.

As a whole, the animation for this series is quite brilliant. Everything looks lush and vivid, from the hair to the backgrounds. It can be overly simple, but does a fantastic job at doing so without making it boring. There are some times where it does drop a little bit, but it can be mostly ignored because this is how to be simple without causing yawns.

At some points, the animation did dip slightly, but I never really minded (Dazz, on the other hand, was very quick to point it out). The show isn't trying to be extravagant or have itself drown in its beauty and lore (like say the 1990's Romeo and Juliet or the latest adaptation of The Great Gatsby), and the animation is reflective of that. Its beauty is simple and elegant without needing to extend its resources to make it stand out.

All of the character designs are distinctive in their colors and features (Obi's cat eyes immediately come to mind, but I also like how every character is drawn with a soft touch), and settings are lush and vivid. I really shouldn't give too much away, so I'll leave the rest up to you guys ;).

To wrap it up, let's just say the animation's kind of grown on me after a few weeks of it being over. XD But still, it's quite pretty, and I'm sure everyone's going to enjoy it.


The score for this series was composed by Michiru Oshima, who is most recognizable for her work on the original Fullmetal Alchemist series, Blast of Tempest, and Nabari no Ou.

My opinion on this musical score is that it was pretty much nonexistent. I only remember that there was an orchestra and an electronic based song. That's it. The opening and ending were cute, though :).

My own personal thoughts on this score:

I hardly remember anything about this score at all. The orchestral elements were nice, but there was a time where all of it started to blend together, making a score that never managed to push itself for me. But, this is only the first cour, and maybe there's some pieces that haven't been used yet that I'll like. As of now though, it definitely isn't going to stick in my mind in a few weeks. At least it's better than Uta Pri, which was either too snooze-worthy or messy to be fully memorable. But like Luke, the opening and ending were very nice.

Let's transition into the voice acting! I'm gonna get more into specifics than Dazz will, so let's talk about this ensemble as a whole. All of the actors in this show have great chemistry, and their performances show just how invested they are in acting. I love that Saori Hayami and Ryota Osaka, the leads from Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, are back as Shirayuki and Zen in this show, as they play much different characters here. Shirayuki isn't nearly as quiet or blunt as Urara Shiraishi, but she still carries that intelligence and investment that Urara put into her schoolwork in Yamada. The same is said for Zen, who is nothing like the loud, crazy, and brash Ryu Yamada. Osaka here applies a softer and more regal tone to his character that works incredibly well, and his voice plays off of Shirayuki's sweetness also.

I also really enjoy just how versatile the voice actors of Japan are. Nobuhiko Okamoto's performance as Obi is deep and coy, the complete opposite of the sweet yet creepy nature of Mizuki in Kamisama Kiss and the shy and gentle person that is Shin-Ah in Yona of the Dawn (I have yet to see the whole show, but Shin-Ah just steals my heart). Chiwa Saito's portrayal of Kihal is very in line with Yona, the titular character of the previously mentioned show, yet still sounds incredibly different from the sarcastic Chitose in D-Frag and the seductive and shrill Kimi in Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. All of these actors are incredibly talented, and I love seeing them in different roles here.

Funimation has licensed this show, but they did not give it a Broadcast Dub this summer, most likely because the company pretty much dubbed all of their simulcasts in the spring season and probably weren't successful at doing so (they might not have gotten a large collective number of views overall). This is understandable but sad, yet I know that this will get a dub in the future. Personally, I would cast Alexis Tipton and Clifford Chapin in the lead roles here, as I feel they'd be the best fit (funnily, they're also my dream casting choices of Ryu and Urara in Yamada-kun). The other characters will be interesting, but I'm curious to see who Obi will be played by. We'll just have to wait and see ;).

Highlights for me from this show are Saori Hayami, Ryota Osaka, Yuichiro Umehara, Kaori Nazaka, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Akira Ishida, Yuko Kaida, Yuko Senpai, Chiwa Saito, Yuma Uchida, Chiharu Sawashiro, Romi Park (nice to hear her boyish voice again), Jun Fukuyama (because DUH!), Katsuyuki Konishi, and Toshiyuki Toyonaga.


Overall, this show managed to prove that I set my expectations at a fair level. I really liked almost everything about this series, and I hope Season 2 still sets up to these standards. I think we could use more anime like this.

I would recommend this show for someone who likes fairytale retellings (like myself), or people who need a shojo anime to swoon along with as the main romance develops.

I really enjoyed this too! Watching the show made me smile, made me laugh, and if you want a feel good show, this is the one for you. I can't wait for the second part in the winter! I hope for more cute blushes <3.

See, don't they make the cutest couple ever <3? The other couples I listed before in this review might be nice, but these two are the best.

Yes, yes they are. Adding this to my bucket of anime pairings I ship.

Score: 9/10


Main story was engaging.

Great main characters.

Nicely simplistic animation.


Good pacing.

Shirayuki is one of my favorite female leads.


Repetition of "Shirayuki has unique hair! IT'S THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!" and "OH NOEZ! Shiryuki is in danger!" for the first half of the series.

OST is very boring.

Rating: ****

Highly recommended

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