Snow White with the Red Hair (赤髪の白雪姫) is a shōjo, fantasy, romance anime adaptation of the original manga series by Sorata Akizuki. It aired in the Summer 2015 simulcast season with a total of twenty-four episodes. The anime was produced by Bones and directed by Masahiro Andō. I came upon the series after it was recommended to me by a fellow ani-blogger during my search for feel-good, wholesome shows within the medium. I should send that person a basket of goodies because thus far this series has been one fantastic treat for the feels.
Snow White with the Red Hair follows a young herbalist, or natural pharmacist, named Shirayuki. She resides in the kingdom of Tanbarun and is relatively known for her beautifully flowing bright red hair. When this unique quality catches the interest of the kingdom’s prince, he demands that she turn herself over to him as his concubine. Disenchanted by his boorish and entitled attitude, Shirayuki chops off her hair, leaving it behind in her humble shop as a gift for the prince, and then flees to the neighbouring country, where she encounters a dashingly handsome young man and his two childhood chums.
There were so many things in this first episode that I became immediately smitten with. The breathtaking animation, the marvellous musical score, the charming characters, the superb chemistry, and the unique take on a classic fairy tale round off the bulk of them.
Within the first few minutes of starting the first segment, we get such gorgeous, almost panoramic views of the kingdom of Tanbarun. The colourful buildings of the township that can be seen from atop of a richly verdant hill kissed with tall, lively trees that also overlooks the dazzling river with the royal castle on a cliff on the opposing side. It is the quintessential fairy tale setting. More views of the countryside and small cottages that speckle the scenery continue to contribute to the world-building of the anime and I adored every ounce of it. This sort of atmosphere and these environments are my absolute favourites, especially within a romance or fantasy-based narrative, and Bones does not disappoint in bringing it all to life.
The ambiance of the realm is further complemented by the incredibly cinematic musical score, particularly where the violin and piano accompaniments are concerned. It fits the tone and whatever is unfolding on screen quite perfectly and helps the watcher to fall totally into the world that’s being presented. I’m a sucker for musical scores, especially video games and anime, and this has some of the finest. It’s so good that it made me want to keep on watching even before I knew what was happening story wise.
The series has such an original take on the Snow White fairy tale, although I don’t believe that it’s what shall become the focal point as it progresses. You have a beautiful princess-like girl who runs away from a future that she knows is all wrong for her. The use of red in the exposition of fate and literally taking one’s own destiny into their own hands was engaging and supremely intriguing. The twist with the apples and the smaller details that round off the first episode were all just done so well. Most of what one would expect from a Snow White inspired story gets wrapped up in this initial segment, so I’m really curious to see how the rest of the twenty-three episodes are going to unfold and which direction it shall veer towards. I’m anticipating some more originality that I won’t be able to predict easily and I sincerely hope it won’t disappoint in that regard.
The characters are probably my absolutely favourite aspect of Snow White with the Red Hair. Zen is a handsome and impeccably charming young man. The chemistry that he has with Shirayuki is so wondrously flowing and natural and I wasn’t expecting it to be so effortless. It definitely knows how to incite strong fluffy feelings from the heart. I also loved Zen’s engagement with his two friends, Kiki and Mitsuhide. Their bantering back and forth and heartfelt way of teasing one another reminded me so much of my best friends and it’s spectacularly endearing. You can tell they have spent plenty of time together and know one another on quite a personal level that transcends mere camaraderie.
All in all, I had a delightful time checking out Snow White with the Red Hair and I’m positively ecstatic to continue my watching journey. My gut is telling me that the anime will more than likely end up becoming a very dear favourite, which adds to the overall excitement that’s fuelling my anticipation.