A story of a lovely girl and her kind prince who wish to make their kingdom a place where everyone may choose their own path is one that fits right in with old fairy tales. Snow White with the Red Hair is an anime that sits comfortably among the old stories of princes rescuing the lady and then ruling a happy realm, except Snow White the anime offers so much more. The characters speak of their purpose in life knowing that they must fulfill their part in the world which evolves along with themselves. The most surprising aspect of this series that continues to please is the self-recognition that the characters are learning how to become their own person while taking on vital roles in their respective kingdoms.
The plot thickens heavily as the next three episodes reveal how Shirayuki’s life is getting even more complicated and dangerous as her friends are willing to risk their positions and lives for her. Episode 16: The Name of that Step is Change, shows how Prince Raji is trying his hardest to live up to Shirayuki’s wish of him becoming a prince worthy of her home country of Tanbarun. Shirayuki encourages him by saying the next time she visits she hopes to hear the villagers say how proud they are of their prince. This one statement resonates with Raji as he begins to study state affairs, something he refused to do before his visitor said she wanted to improve their relationship which is still undefined by both parties. Tanbarun’s royal servants are whispering about her influence over their once sloth-like prince and the twins Rona and Eugena begin plotting ways to keep Shirayuki in the castle. Their whisperings are not just mere wishes; the people and royal family now see how Shirayuki affects Raji and that she is able to influence him into becoming a true ruler. Raji’s personality and work ethic change is one that I greatly appreciate in a fairy tale. He goes from the initial villain into a kinder and friendlier person that can help people instead of being a miserable enemy who gets defeated at the end of the conflict. The change in Raji does not come without a price for him; he appears to start feeling more than friendship for Shirayuki which will only end in sorrow since Shirayuki and Zen are undoubtedly in love.
On the surface it seems that everyone is falling in love with the apple-red hair and yet this shows how much of an influence Shirayuki has on those she befriends. She is the type of person that encourages friends to become the best version of themselves and that ability is what makes her a strong character in this tale. Her own power does not lie in a sword or battle combat like Prince Zen’s personal guard and friend Kiki, but with her words and intelligence. The threat of kidnapping becomes a reality in the seventeenth episode: The Prologue of the Quietly Twisting Fate. A new character comes into the light; the “pretty boy” Kazuki manages to kidnap the court herbalist despite Obi fighting his hardest. Obi’s personality of quiet, swift and rebellious streak adds some extra fun to the royal court. Sadly, he too is beginning to fall for Shirayuki.
The wrath seen in Obi’s eyes as he trails the kidnappers in the forest, is animated so well the emotion hardly seems painted. With the pain and anguish of losing his friend to bandits, Obi’s emotions blend with his sense of responsibility as a guard of a member of the court. Ironically, Shirayuki gets re-kidnapped along with Kazuki, and this second kidnapping is the most exciting (in the dangerous sense) part of the story. This involves a group that terrorizes the seas to “collect” beautiful people and sells them to high paying nobles. Now this is the antagonist that Snow White’s story craved: a major threat to the characters and the story’s kingdoms. Snow White has seen threats before, but none that have been affecting Clarines as a country.
These pirates are are well crafted to the point of resonating realistic portrayals. The Claw of the Sea as they call themselves are nasty and will do whatever it takes to get their gold and cause harm. The tale does not sugar coat the nasty expressions of meanness of these kidnappers who rule by fear despite the soft color palette. Episode 18: Many Different Resolves further goes into how desperate Shirauki and Kazuki’s situation is for themselves and their rescuers. The audience is getting closer and closer to learning where Shirayuki is really from and why she possesses the rarest hair color in the surrounding countries. After a full season and half, it seems that her true past is not only hidden from viewers but Shirayuki as well. The constant questions that arise about who she is and why her hair is red is maddening from the viewer’s position. It appears that the point of keeping the knowledge hidden is to push the idea that a person’s own actions are what make them who they are and counts far greater than where they were born.
The lessons that Snow White with the Red Hair teaches of personal responsibility, self-awareness, loyalty and kindness outweigh the slight annoyance of not having full character backgrounds. This story seems to have been born from the era of old kingdoms and yet it is able to speak to audiences today. It helps us realize that we have choices that lead us to creating our own path.
You can keep with Snow White with the Red Hair by watching the anime through FUNimation.