(12 episodes, with another season already planned for 2016)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a shojo manga series with a medieval setting.
Shirayuki, our protagonist. Why her parents named her “Snow-White” when she’s got the reddest hair ever is a mystery for the ages. They’re not around anymore, though. She makes a living with her herbalist’s shop, although you easily get the impression that she cares more about helping people out than really making money. But then she catches the attention of…
Raji, the local prince, and a complete twat. He sends out soldiers to inform our heroine that she’ll be his concubine, starting tomorrow. Her reaction is of course “fuck no” ; she prepares some last bits of medicine for her regular customers, cuts her hair out in a grand gesture, and quickly leaves the city (and the country just to be sure) before the day is up. She ends up sleeping next to a half-deserted isolated mansion in a forest when she’s woken up by…
Zen, a brash young man who regularly hangs out their with his two companions. He somehow manages to hurt himself when he notices her, and she nurses him back to health after she gets him to trust her. They quickly hit it off, although she’s anxious to leave once he starts probing her a bit too much about what she’s running from exactly.
Someone left out a bunch of red apples by the door, and it’s very obviously coming from Raji. Zen, being a moron, bites into one of them. And promptly gets poisoned for his trouble. Shirayuki feels she has not choice but follow the soldiers back to Raji. While she clearly tells him how little she thinks of him, she feels obligated to obey the asshole in order to get an antidote for Zen. Who promptly shows up looking none for the worse (claiming he’s been building poison immunity) and announces that this won’t be necessary. After all, Raji doesn’t want it to be known that he just poisoned a prince from the much more powerful neighbouring kingdom, right ? So he’d better forget about Shirayuki. Capishe ?
Quite good ; studio Bones can always provide with a baseline of quality animation and scenery porn.
Well, this is a perfectly entertaining shojo romance show. It’s got the benefit of a heroine with an actual backbone and agency, and a male lead who’s quite likeable and offers no rape overtones, which is always welcome. It’s got decent comedic timing, and some fun dialogue when Jun Fukuyama has a hoot playing the villain. (“Mirror, mirror, tell me who is the fairest in the land ?” “Sir, there is no mirror, this is one of your informants.”)
If there’s one flaw here, it’s that it’s a bit bland, even as it plays around with the Snow-White tale. And there’s the question of what happens next once Shirayuki starts leaving at Zen’s castle ; how will the story proceed ? Presumably something more dramatic than mere slice-of-life romance ?
But hey, this is likeable enough for me to give it at least a second episode to gauge its direction, if not more.