Recently I had an opportunity to revisit one of the highlights of 2015, Snow White With the Red Hair. Please allow me to tell you how this is a series that only gets better with age.
First airing in the summer of 2015 (the second season aired in the winter of 2016), Snow White With the Red Hair is a story about a young girl named Shirayuki who works as a simple herbalist in her hometown. One day though, a prince named Raj hears about the beautiful young girl with red hair and decides that he must have her as a concubine. Refusing to be a party to such things, Shirayuki decides to cut her ties (and her hair) and leave for the neighboring kingdom of Clarines.
While hiding out, Shirayuki meets a young man named Zen who ends up saving her from her pursuers after revealing himself to be the second prince of Clarines. Striking a friendship, which proves to be problematic for many reasons, the pair start to grow closer as Shirayuki attempts to live her dream of being a court herbalist in the same castle which Zen occupies.
It's hard to describe all of the great things about this series without sounding like you're gushing. There are a number of things that one can point out as fantastic parts, but it's when you put all these things together that the whole picture becomes something special.
For instance, you could start by pointing out that the animation produced by studio BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist) is very pretty and has aged very well over the last three years. The character designs are wonderfully done and the backgrounds are quite lovely to see, so there's something special to be said about that.
Then you have the fairy tale-esque writing and storytelling. What makes this story so special and different from the fairy tales of old though is that Shirayuki is a strong and capable female character. She's very smart and driven forward towards success and happiness, and she's allowed to show that off in every single episode. While this might occasionally get her into trouble, her resolve is shown in every action she does and it's quite phenomenal to see such a strong female character portrayed in this way.
Of course, if none of that is your bag, you can also point out the memorable music that fits neatly into the background of each and every scene. Usually filled with string melodies, composer Michiru Oshima manages to paint a beautiful landscape with her music which fills every nook and cranny of your senses until you're in maximum overload.
Snow White with the Red Hair is all of this and so much more. Filled with a simple and meandering story, this series fills two seasons with fantastic story arcs which flip back and forth between a heartfelt romantic drama and a cute, bubbly comedy with relative ease.
There are very few places where this series falters. If one really wanted to quibble you could say that the action sequences aren't heart pounding enough, but honestly, if that's your reason for watching this series to begin with, you're already barking up the wrong tree. Everyone on the cast and crew deserve strong applause for this series and everything that it does all the way up to the end.
Overall, Snow White With the Red Hair is a powerfully moving series which continues to earn its spot in my regular anime rotation. Cute and clever are but two of the many adjectives one can bestow upon this series. It's fun in a way that not many titles are these days and that makes it a winner in my book. If you're looking for a fairy tale romance, you've found your next series with this one.