Toru OhkawaKaori NazukaYuko KaidaYuichiro Umehara
Snow White with the Red Hair: Season 2
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2016: S
Also known as: Akagami no Shirayukihime: Season 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Director: Masahiro Ando
Original creator: Sorata Akiduki
Writer: Akiko Waba, Deko Akao, Megumi Shimizu
Actor: Ryota Ohsaka, Saori Hayami, Akira Ishida, Chiwa Saito, Inori Minase, Jun Fukuyama, Kaori Nazuka, Katsuyuki Konishi, Mikako Komatsu, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Sachi Kokuryu, Shintaro Asanuma, Toru Ohkawa, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Yuichiro Umehara, Yuko Kaida, Yuko Sanpei
Keywords: Akagami no Shirayukihime, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season Two: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 24 June 2016
Akagami no Shirayukihime
It's still very nice. Easy to watch, pleasant, charming. It has a bit of a drama deficit, in that you know where it's all going and you never believe for a moment that anything's going to seriously get in the way. It feels safe. Some baddies show up this year to target Shirayuki and the show does them pretty well, but none of that shakes the show's inherent sense of comforting stability. It thus lacks the dramatic force of (to give some random examples from the previous year) Akatsuki no Yona or Chaika - The Coffin Princess.
That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, though. I'd recommend it. It's not a high-urgency show, but it's well-made, solid and likeable. Shirayuki is a herbal doctor in a pseudo-European pseudo-historical world. (I don't want to call it "fantasy".) Imagine a cleaner, tidier, more civilised version of the Middle Ages. Lots of Disney works are set there. These people's medical skills in particular are probably on a par with the early 20th century, with all that astonishing expertise in herbs. Anyway, Shirayuki works really hard at her job, is sensible almost to a fault and is probably the most dependable person in the world. If you had to trust someone with your life, you'd choose her. Her friends include:
1. Prince Zen. They love each other, but Zen wouldn't be allowed to marry Shirayuki because she doesn't have a noble title. There's a forehead-slappingly obvious solution to this and no one thinks of it until the final episode, but on the upside it's done more satisfyingly than I'd expected. The show earned that.
Zen's a good match for Shirayuki, being a practical, sincere chap who takes his job seriously. Neither of them are comedy characters, but they're not very experienced in romantic matters and that can be amusing, especially when they're being observed by...
2. Prince Zen's attendants, Mitsuhide, Kiki and Obi. They're just as serious about their work as Zen and Shirayuki (especially Mitsuhide), but they're more likely to be funny. Mitsuhide is an easily panicked worrywart and a bit of a doofus. Kiki has a nice line in deadpan. Obi is a purring, catlike person with a criminal background, so he's capable of winding up the others for laughs. There's no suspense about the endearingly inevitable Shirayuki-Zen romance, but your antennae will be twitching like crazy for Mitsuhide-Kiki. They must end up together, right? Surely? Unfortunately Mitsuhide's top 1000 priorities all involve Zen, while Kiki normally gives the impression of being a cold-blooded efficiency calculator, even if buried deep underneath that is a dry sense of humour. No one can pour water on other people's silliness like Kiki.
3. Prince Raji, although he and Shirayuki started out badly. (Ordering someone you've never met to be your concubine isn't a great way to make friends, especially when you then send guards to get them.) He's also a brat and an idiot. However this also makes him the character with the most growth, as he struggles against both his personality and his reputation. He's trying to live up to Shirayuki's expectations of him. No one else has any. They call him the "Idiot Prince". Even his dad agrees. Raji's clearly a twat, but he'll end up trying to grow out of that and I think he's also the show's most dynamic story element.
Mind you, the show's world is arguably less nice than it looks. Slavery is practiced, Raji's original plan for Shirayuki wasn't treated as anything uncommon (even by Shirayuki herself) and there's a paramilitary force in the mountains because they don't trust the government. Bandits, pirates, etc. operate with almost free rein, unless they happen to go so far as to attract a royal search-and-destroy operation. "Don't touch anything above her neck." Meanwhile Raji's dad rightly thinks he's a fool, but he still gave him absolute rule over Tanbarun even when he was (I think) a sexually predatory teenager. There clearly are kings, but we almost never hear from them. The princes appear to do whatever they like.
I always found this an easy watch, whether episode-by-episode or marathoned. It's a good show. Solid plot, strong villains (when they eventually show up) and an enormously likeable heroine. It's relaxing and reassuring rather than melodramatic and urgent, but there's nothing wrong with that.