Anime Review: Snow White with Red Hair Season 1

March 19, 2017

Palace Herbalists taking a break

I hope that everyone is doing well and having a great weekend, regardless of how it was spent.

Things have been mostly busy while running maintenance and a few other things, but I can finally sit down and do something relaxing.

As many should know, I recently got a couple of titles from iTunes, as I was finally reimbursed for a large expenditure. So far, I have covered one of those titles and only one remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that last remaining title, which is called Snow White with Red Hair Season 1.

Shirayuki & Zen meet

Shirayuki is just an ordinary girl that puts together herbal remedies for the townspeople, so that they can deal with their illness and injuries, but she has caught the eye of a certain prince because of rumors of her unusual hair and ordered to become part of his concubine, which causes her to flee.

However, when she paths with a prince of a neighboring kingdom, the two become friends, and start to develop a strong bond.

Marquis Haruka not pleased with Shirayuki's presence

I kind of found this series to be okay.

While I cannot say that this held my attention enough that I did not want to stop watching for any reason, it was able to capture it and hold it for much longer than the atrocity that was The Garden of Words.

One of the biggest appeals of Japanese anime that seems to be brought up quite frequently, even by me, is that, unlike a good portion of shows produced where I live, most anime has some kind of story to tell, and every great story is able to capture and maintain the interest of the audience.

Now, since many have come to my blog for the book and manga reviews that I have done for quite a few years, both before and after I got the domain name that I use today, I will admit that the exact amount of time it takes to capture a person's attention varies from person to person, and even by the medium used to present that story, but every great story or series that I can think of has been able to do that within the first few pages, episodes, or minutes.

Bones Studio, who were responsible for both the 2003 and 2009 adaptations of FMA, has shown that they can deliver quite well in this aspect and that they understand what they are doing quite, and that level of competence in being able to capture my interest fairly easily, at least in the best moments of the series, since I remember that my interest was held much better in both of their adaptations of FMA than it was with this series.

Even though I do not want to rank this very highly in a list of series that had me interested from beginning to end, I am at least glad that I got this much after having to sit through a movie that was as unimpressive as The Garden of Words.

After all, nothing in this world is perfect, even though I, and many others, would prefer to have anime and books that had things that could be praised enough that whatever was wrong with it could be overlooked, and I have to accept this fact of life, but that does not change the fact that what Bones Studio delivered here was only passable at best, when compared to the other series I saw from them.

Hopefully, Bones Studio can deliver something as great as FMA Brotherhood sometime in the near future, otherwise I think that they will eventually suffer the same fate as Gonzo, since quality of animation, which a lot of anime reviewers on YouTube comment on, will only get a studio so far.

I also liked how there were a few things to laugh about.

While much of it could be found in other anime series, though this series does have the fan service that is heavily common in popular anime and manga, I could still find myself chuckling a bit, especially a lot of the humor comes around because of things like Prince Zen and Shirayuki possibly being in a serious relationship, which is kind of expected to happen in this kind of series, because of how the early episodes go and the fact that this is a considered a romance story.

One of the reasons why the romance in John Grisham's The Whistler felt kind of dull, aside from the characters and what they did not really being that interesting, was because nothing really made me feel like chuckling because it just felt too realistic, whereas what happens in Baka & Test is so ridiculous that I find it hilarious.

If readers like to have moments where there can laugh, anime fans at pretty much the same, especially because anime fans tend to hate when atmospheres are ruined in an unnatural way just as much as avid readers, at least when you are talking about the fans that are not as perverted as the citizens of countries like UK or where I live think they are, since people think of anime as being kid's stuff or porn.

Thankfully, Bones Studio knows this much and delivered fairly well, though I can only mark it down as passable.

Another nice thing about this series was that there was hardly any, if any, profanity.

Now, as I mentioned in my reviews of The Garden of Words and The Chapel Wars, and probably enough that it is annoying people, I do not really have that much of a problem with profanity because it can make a work better, thus making it more enjoyable.

However, the presence of profanity can also make a work of fiction worse, as was the case with Sentai Filmwork's dub of The Garden of Words, especially when it is excessive.

Fortunately, FUNimation does not seem to have the same kind of problems as Sentai Filmworks when it comes to the use of profanity, and they seem to know how to use, or even when to use it, so that it does not detract from whatever enjoyment that could be found in their anime releases.

In fact, I actually felt some rather strong emotions in this work when the characters were sad, angry, or upset because of the minimal use of profanity, and it helped me to immerse myself into the world of the series.

If dubbing companies understood the importance of this balance as much as writers have to, I think that the amount of decent dubs would be able to improve by quite a bit, at least as long as the voice actors chosen for the roles and the directors do not mess things up to the point where the characters are more annoying than bearable.

Then again, even if there was a drastic improvement in that area, a lot of anime fans would still prefer subtitles, since their issues with dub might be at the same level as the reasons why I lived the live action Death Note movies better when I watched them with subtitles than dubbed.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the relationships and bond between the characters actually felt realistic.

In many titles featuring, or mainly focus on, romance where I live, things just seem to be sped through at a quick enough pace that all relationships seem to be as one-sided or developed for selfish reasons as the kind of romance found in teen romance novels, according to an article by Cheryl L. Dickson in The ALAN Review, and available on the site of Virginia Tech's Digital Library and Archives, that they would not really feel as real as a relationship between actual adults, even if at least remotely close to being realistic.

Here, however, the relationship between Prince Zen and Shirayuki feels more realistic because they are seen spending time together and even worrying about each other, such as Shirayuki not wanting the prince to stay with her, since he needed to stay healthy, and how they each knew that they could stand on their own, with Shirayuki not wanting to ever take advantage of the fact that she has a connection to nobility, like people thought she would, and makes me think that they might have some chance together, though I do not think that it will be to death, nor am I really willing to go find out how far their relationship progresses in the manga, since this series was not able to capture my attention that well.

Honestly, fiction would be a whole lot better in general if things progressed as slowly as Shirayuki and Zen's relationship has, because the lack of any kind of bond would not be present.

Unfortunately, I do not really see this improving any time soon in the world of fiction, at least where I live, because the need of serious relationship seems to feel more like status attainment that Cheryl mention in the article previously link to, especially among my peers, than something that people can be truly happy about, since we equate being single with misery, and very few people know what a family actually is.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly like, at least that can stand out.

Because my interest was somewhat captured well, I could get a few laughs, and the relationships all felt more realistic than how they are normally portrayed in fiction, this show was fairly decent.

Bandit angry at Zen's party

Although I did find a few things to like, there are some issues.

However, aside from things to minor to talk about, there was only one thing that bugged me.

I could not really get into this series at all.

Even though works of fiction generally have a particular target audience, whether they be children, teens, young adults, adults, or people interested in certain subjects, the best works of fiction do not appeal just to that particular audience.

For example, Fruits Basket was published in a magazine targeted towards girls, but there are some men out there that enjoyed the series quite a bit.

If Fruits Basket, or even any of the other titles out that garnered male and female fans, then that means that there are writers capable of creating series that have wide appeal, and is something that book publishers seem to like more than stories that are actually well-written.

However, this is not one of those titles that seems like it can appeal to more than its targeted female audience, because the things that seem to occur seem like the would appeal more to feminine females than people like me, or even those that enjoyed Yona of the Dawn.

Yes, Shirayuki and many of the other female characters do seem to get their time to shine and are shone to be able to stand on their feet better than Kagome Higurashi, but it does not come off as interesting as anything Yona accomplished after fleeing her home, which causes me to not feel too invested in the series.

If I had to say why, it is for two reasons.

First, Shirayuki still came off as more of a damsel in distress, even when she was fully capable of being independent.

While I do want to kind of hold Bones Studio, since this is an adaptation of the manga, I have to blame this on Sorata Akizuki, since Zen seems to always comes to Shirayuki's rescue at the very moment she needs him in the manga too, with only a few possible exceptions.

Shirayuki may not have gone from being capable of standing on her own to a wimp, like Asuna from Sword Art Online, but she certainly does not come off as being able to accomplish as much as Mikoto Misaka or Princess Yona.

Really, Sorata? Is this really what a strong female lead should come off as? If so, then I am definitely disappointed enough not to even check out the manga more than just the simple glances I took when trying to decide whether this fault existed only in the adaptation or not.

There are not really any strong females in this series, aside from Kiki, and that means this series deserves to be praised for a good cast.

The other reason was that Prince Zen himself felt like the so-called knight in shining armor that my elders think men should aspire to be.

Honestly, Prince Zen just seemed to come off as too perfect, even though he had his flaws, because he always seemed to know when Shirayuki needed help and stood by her side, even when they first met.

Even though I do like that he stood up for Shirayuki, as a good friend should have, it came off more as him doing it because he was her prince and she was his princess than him actually being a good and decent human being.

This is why people like me have grown tired of the clich├ęd moment of a prince going to rescue a princess. It has been done to dead and it will not interest anybody but women who enjoy that kind of thing.

Now, I do expect all female protagonists to be like Princess Yona or Raildex's Mikoto Misaka or all male protagonists just to sit around and let the women take care of everything, but I do expect a story that has a bit more depth than this.

Instead, it seems like Sorata has not outgrown the fantasies where women are always rescued by men, and gives me less incentive to watch the second season of this series, which a product page on Rightstuf says will be released towards the end of next month.

Fortunately, nothing else happened that could ruin this series any further, so I can let things rest here.

While there was only one issue with the series, the fact that the components that caused it to happen really limited the potential audience took this show from possibly being great to just okay.

Despite the fact that there were things to like, the fact that the negatives made it hard for too many people to become interested made this series only good enough to kill time.

I only recommend this to people that like stories of princes rescuing princesses and the most feminine women, because those are the only people that will be able to enjoy this.

If you have seen this series, what are your thoughts on Snow White with Red Hair Season 1? Please leave a comment and let everyone know why you liked or hated it, especially if your reasons differ from mine or you disagree with me.

Also, if you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so that I can continue finding more worthwhile anime to watch.

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