Light spoilers are in this review.
The anime Snow White with the Red Hair, based on the original manga by Sorata Akizuki, returns with it’s second season and with it comes new adventures for Shirayuki, Zen and their friends.
One of the aspects of this series that draws the audience in is the art. The artwork and character design are truly as beautiful as the first season. Anime fans who look for a series that features gorgeous settings and music to match should add Snow White to their Must Watch Lists. Clean lines and the soft art style give the impression that this story has been well crafted and the animation crew took great time in making the series a moving piece of art.
One particular drawn element of the series that impresses me the most is the fashion of the story’s world. The clothing is freshly designed to establish the belief that Snow White with the Red Hair’s universe is a rich one. Hair pins that have beads and silk dangling bear a resemblance to traditional Japanese hair ornaments. The lab coats worn by the court herbalists are official yet feature gold buttons and deep blue timings to establish their court status. Shirayuki’s usual clothing of the lab coat or simple dress with few embellishments is changed due to Prince Izana’s order for her to accept Prince Raji’s invitation to the Tanbarun ball.
The first episode of the new season, Episode 13: The Red That Spins Fate, shows the audience how life at Clarines Castle has settled and the new occupants of Shirayuki and Obi have become part of something bigger than themselves. After all the incidents of the first season, I was happy to see a glimpse of the castle’s way of life for the staff and Prince Zen. Just when I believed the entire episode was going to be a peaceful one, 1st Prince Izana steps in to complicate things with an order for Shirayuki to begin decorum training since she will accept Raji’s invitation to the ball. This quick moment contains a blend of emotions for this rising Court Herbalist. In this instant, Shirayuki recognizes she will be going back to her home country of Tanbarun for the first time since running away and that she will be staying with the very person she was trying to run away from, in addition to becoming a representative of the Clarines Court. It seems an awful lot of emotional strain to put on a single person. Yet this is Shirayuki’s moment to show not only Zen’s older brother, the 1st Prince, what she is capable of, but also the country that she can act with grace as a true member of the royal court. Zen becomes angry over the news and orders a trusted guard to accompany her. The guard who eventually becomes her guard is a surprise left up to you reader to discover but it’s a bitter-sweet realization for Zen.
Although this situation is a serious one, it’s great to see some of the characters have humorous reactions and expressions. The reactions are far from Snow White becoming a comedy but it gives the audience some relief during the upcoming intensity of this season. Episode 14: Eyes That Protect and Look Forward explores more of Zen’s protectiveness towards Shirayuki. Her lessons of dancing and elegant manners thankfully were not shown, (these types of “Princess Lessons” have been overdone and rarely offer something to entertain). Instead Shirayuki tells Obi she stepped on the dance master’s feet too much and wants him to fill in as a practice partner. Seeing the dance master hovering over his bruised feet makes Shirayuki more of a fleshed out character. Besides her drunken scene in the first season, this herbalist hasn’t shown real flaws. The characters are developing nicely and are so much more dynamic than in the previous season.
The obnoxious Prince Raji has calmed down considerably and is acting (as much as Raji can) as a real prince worthy of the kingdom Shirayuki hails from to behave. However, his snapping of the fingers gives a sharp cringe to the listener and after the first 3 times, I found it annoying. Raji’s growth into a decent human being and a royal prince is all due to Shirayuki’s speech from an earlier episode. Having the female lead of an anime influence the minds and feelings of practically everyone she meets makes this anime a great one for younger anime viewers. Shirayuki has little physical strength to fight battles; instead her strength lies with her wisdom and spirit. Despite the tests life has given her, Shirayuki continues to pass them with the grace and poise befitting a princess.
When Raji takes Shirayuki and her attendant below ground through a labyrinth of underground passages in Episode 15: Indecision Caused By Confusion to the royal greenhouse, he loses it. Raji reverts back into a whiny-spoiled brat who wants to be carried and won’t stop complaining. Shirayuki tries encouraging him with kindness to remember the correct path back to the earth’s surface instead of slapping him in the face and shaking him like anyone else would in that situation. A new fun fact pops up in this episode when Raji’s younger twin siblings (whom were never mentioned before this point) appear in the tunnels. Princess Rona is enamored with Shirayuki for changing her big brother. She wants to meet the girl responsible for Raji’s princely transformation and hints that she wants them to love each other. Prince Eugena barely says a word and instead prefers to hide behind his twin while she takes charge. Rona’s encouragement of Raji pursuing Shirayuki will not bode well for anyone involved and as a fan of Snow White with the Red Hair, I sincerely hope Rona doesn’t make things even more complicated for Shirayuki. Yet the foreshadowing has already been cast and with the threat of another kidnapping taking place, the series is far from staying simple.
It seems that Shirayuki’s hair, being the vibrant apple red, is a probable cause for her to always be threatened with kidnapping. Zen and his guards spend all of their time, while Shirayuki is away, to find out any information about the devious plot. During the last season I found it slightly dull that there was no main antagonist. It was a point that seemed to be the only thing lacking in this enchanting anime. With these first three episodes of the second season, I’m beginning to recognize that it is far better to have more than one person seeking to capture Shirayuki. Having various enemies one after another is giving an impression that Shirayuki is someone whom several commoners, nobles and kingdoms want to kidnap. There must be another reason aside from her hair color. Whatever that reason is will hopefully be revealed in this season. Snow White is getting more exciting with each episode and the charming characters are enough to make this anime worth continuing. Adding in the gorgeous scenery and rich details, Snow White with the Red Hair is perfect.
You can watch Snow White with the Red Hair episodes from Season 1 and Season 2 at FUNimation.