「出会い…色づく運命」 (Deai… Irodzuku Unmei)
“Encounter… Changing the Color of Fate”
Akagami no Shirayukihime begins with a young woman’s journey to leave the Kingdom of Tanbarun after the Prince, Raji (Fukuyama Jun) orders her to become his concubine. Shirayuki (Hayami Saori), the protagonist, is known for having uniquely red hair and is the local herbalist (kind of like a pharmacist) in town. After running away, she bumps into Zen (Osaka Ryota) and sparks a few good conversations with him after she uses her herbs to bandage his minor wound. Raji quickly finds the hut that Shirayuki is hiding in and sends her a basket of apples. Unknowingly, Zen takes a bite first and ends up poisoned and collapses. Shirayuki learns that the antidote is in Prince Raji’s hands and goes to negotiate with him. He makes her a deal that she rejects and before long, Zen barges in to save her! We learn that Zen is not just a wandering stranger, but the prince of a neighbouring kingdom, Clarines, and Raji apologizes for poisoning him and also promises to forget about Shirayuki. Our journey technically begins now with Shirayuki following Zen back to Clarines where the rest of our story takes place.
With that all said, now we know our story actually takes place in Clarines – Zen’s kingdom. The ending gives away a bit of what we have to look forward to for Shirayuki; she continues to study herbology (is that a word?) and likely lives in the castle or castle grounds. Besides that, there is plenty of romance headed our way! Or maybe I’m just being hopeful… I need more romance stories that defy the typical romcom harems stereotypes. Speaking of defying stereotypes, Shirayuki herself is a refreshing take on a female protagonist. She’s strong and has a mind of her own, doing whatever she thinks is right. Of course, she still lands herself in trouble – becoming a damsel in distress. However, even if Zen didn’t come to her rescue, I thought she held her own very well against Raji and she’s not terribly stubborn or full of pride either. Zen is a great counterpart to Shirayuki and that will go a long way for their relationship. Zen is neither the typical “prince” that shines and glitters, nor is he the misunderstood, dark male lead. He’s right in the middle and that makes for an interesting choice for Shirayuki (although the tall, dark, bad boy type isn’t bad either) and he’s behaves the way a realistic person would. He protects the lady that needs help and he’s a genuinely nice guy. He knows how to fight, but also knows that Raji isn’t worth killing or harming in the physical sense and makes the right judgment call. This reminds me of how a real gentleman should act so Zen has already won my heart.
The production value of this episode was exactly what I expected from Bones. It reminds me of anime from way back when, when women’s’ eyes didn’t dominate half their face and they weren’t abnormally disproportionate. Although this is all just the character design, I appreciate how these characters look taller and lankier compared to the cute and innocent ones. Bones has also done very well with the animation backgrounds, the close-ups and how fluid and solid each shot is. There wasn’t a single pivotal scene that didn’t look perfect. I also give props to the soundtrack and music; it’s not exactly the songs that I like, but the way it fits so well with the scene and that tie-in at the end was beautiful. I have so much love for how well produced this anime is and I have confidence behind the staff and cast as well. With Ando Masahiro (Zetsuen no Tempest) as the director and Akao Deko/Mieno Hitomi (Noragami, Arakawa Under the Bridge) doing the series composition, I’m sure they’ll do wonders for this manga. I don’t normally look into the staff and cast as carefully as I have for Akagami no Shirayukihime, but after watching this premiere, I just knew there had to be some experienced folks on this production and I was right. Super excited!
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #Akagami_anime reminds me of good ol’ romance anime from way back when. Bones never lets me down. Love how Shirayuki isn’t a damsel in distress. But I love Zen more for being a prince in shining armor.
ED: 「やさしい希望」 (Yasashii Kibou) by 早見沙織 (Hayami Saori)