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Akagami no Shirayukihime – 02 »

Akagami no Shirayukihime – 01

「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 Sequence

ED: 「やさしい希望」 (Yasashii Kibou) by 早見沙織 (Hayami Saori)

Preview

July 7, 2015 at 8:12 pm
54 comments »
  • July 7, 2015 at 8:28 pmShinwinds

    I though this show will be a poor man Akatsuki no yona. But the first episode just blew my mind. It’s appealing in a nostalgic way, It’s simple and beautiful. I Think this show will become my top 3 this season.

    • July 7, 2015 at 9:26 pmChloesong

      That’s interesting! I also expected that AnS would pale in comparison to AnY so I was considering whether to watch the episode or not. Your comment (and Cherrie’s post) definitely changes my mind so I’ll give a try.

      • July 8, 2015 at 2:33 amKaleRylan

        I think that while there’s some superficial similarities, this is pretty different from AnY. That was shoujo fantasy of course, but its emphasis was on the fantasy. Romance was more innuendo than the main plot, which was more political and action-y. This seems like the reverse, with more attention on the two leads and no huge dark fantasy plot taking up the center. Hard to say yet though.

        I definitely enjoyed the first episode. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a fun, happy story.

    • July 8, 2015 at 5:21 amPasserby

      I should jump in and reinforce the point that Akagami no Shirayuki is not really the same kind of story as Akatsuki no Yona. Akatsuki no Yona was a fantasy first and shoujo second, whereas it’s vice versa for Akagami no Shirayuki.

    • July 8, 2015 at 6:30 amJustpassingby

      They’re totally in a different vein from the start. AnY is a war shoujo fantasy where a central theme involves revolution and changing times, while AnS is a medieval shoujo fantasy where status quo, classes and chivalry play their themes.

      Apart from the redheaded headstrong female lead, there are barely any similarities here…

  • July 7, 2015 at 8:42 pmRule of Nature

    Look like shoujo/seijou.

    • July 7, 2015 at 8:43 pmRule of Nature

      wrong word.

      *jousei

    • July 7, 2015 at 10:27 pmSaburau

      Because it is.

  • July 7, 2015 at 8:44 pmmetalder

    In every Bones show, the girls are always beautiful.

    • July 7, 2015 at 9:27 pmcookiethief

      That’s kind of ironic! Quite a few fans are disappointed that the anime designs aren’t on pair with the manga artwork

      • July 7, 2015 at 9:39 pmEnna

        Yes, I’m one of those who were disappointed by the anime design since the manga is so beautiful but overall, I’m quite happy with how the first episode came out!

      • July 7, 2015 at 10:51 pmJustpassingby

        I’m pretty okay with the character art except Mitsuhide. Shira and Zen are passable, Kiki is ok but the anime fails to copy Mitsuhide’s distinct quality. Obi will have to wait as well as the elder Wisteria.

      • July 7, 2015 at 11:51 pmKiseki

        Watanabe Hajime would’ve been the best choice for the character designer.

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:01 pmSiberDude

    Love the characters. I think they’ll be Working well together!
    http://i376.photobucket.com/albums/oo201/SiberDude/working%20together_zpshhcuuhk5.jpg

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:19 pms_w

    I really enjoyed this one! I didn’t know what to expect going in, but as a fellow redhead, I felt compelled to watch in support. (And I wasn’t disappointed.)

    Honestly, they could have dragged out the first episode into 3 or even 4 episodes, but I’m really glad that they didn’t. It was a good story to establish characters and setting a bit, and now we can move on.

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:19 pmsamui

    I cannot help but gush on how this is handled. The artwork and the animation are pretty, the music complements the mood of the story and the characters are more than just talking cardboards. Then Raj got burned! Haha. Well, coming from a studio with a history of producing good animes, I hope to see more in the next episodes.

    Well, on a less relevant note, I guess there is now a pattern in animes that I have watched where…

    Red hair = strong personality

    …and what is with their enamor with red haired females in anime? Seems like it is a highly rare trait or something.

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:35 amKaleRylan

      It is kind of weird how often the main heroine in Shoujo stories is a redhead and how often the fact that she’s a redhead is a major plotpoint, not just a color.

  • July 7, 2015 at 10:25 pmzztop

    Akagami will be a split-season anime; Season 2 airs in 2016.

    Word is they’re doing this to maintain quality control for Noragami Season 2 and another original anime for this Fall.

  • July 7, 2015 at 10:36 pmzztop

    The mangaka states she was inspired by the Snow White fairytale when conceptualising the 1st chapter (which the anime covered), but didn’t intend to follow it faithfully. Later chapters phase out the direct fairytale allusions, it’s all her own work from there.

    The Final Fantasy-esque costumes are also her trademark design; similar costumes appeared in her previous fantasy oneshots.

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:18 pmCherrie

      I didn’t go in expecting it to be similar to Snow White given the synopsis of the story… but I do kind of wish the author chose not to include the apples and the “hut in the middle of no where” scenes from Snow White. It makes me wonder if she’s just copying elements that she likes or if she’s actually making a reference of importance. Rather than guess, I just assumed she kept the parts that made sense to the story. I don’t think there will be too many references going forward (or I hope not). This is not Once Upon a Time, so I don’t expect a collaboration of all fairytales or Grimm tales.

    • July 8, 2015 at 3:57 pmcookiethief

      Was the first chapter (now adapted into the 1st episode) originally a one-shot? I heard the series was continued because of its popularity

  • July 7, 2015 at 10:40 pmevc_09

    wow this premise is making my inner pharmacist swoon

  • July 7, 2015 at 10:58 pmKrono

    “she continues to study herbology (is that a word?)”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbalism

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:13 pmCherrie

      Yay! I got it right!
      Took it straight out of Harry Potter so I wasn’t sure if that was a JK Rowling thing or not o_o

  • July 7, 2015 at 11:48 pmKiseki

    Zen is neither the typical “prince” that shines and glitters

    He kind of is though, a very princely prince into very prince-y prince things.

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:37 amKaleRylan

      I think it’s more where he fits into the standard shoujo stereotypes than the full-on fairy tale stereotypes. Shoujo male leads tend to be either REALLY pretty and glittery or dark and semi-abusive until the heroine shows him the light. Zen seems to fall in the middle in that he’s just a nice, easygoing guy. That’s a bit unusual for shoujo heroes. More normal in your average anime though.

      • July 8, 2015 at 2:26 pmCherrie

        Very well said. If you have ever seen Fruits Basket, that anime/manga has typical shoujo leads. Yuki is the typical handsome, smart and “prince” in the series. Kyou is the loner, dark, misunderstood guy that’s rough around the edges. You rarely get a good guy inbetween that has flaws but still tries to be nice. I don’t think Zen is “perfect” by any means which will give him good development later.

      • July 9, 2015 at 6:18 amKiseki

        I didn’t mean that in reference to shoujo love interests, but rather that he’s literally as much of a prince as a prince can get.

      • July 9, 2015 at 8:38 amKaleRylan

        Yes, but you quoted Cherrie, who meant it in regards to Shoujo-love interests. So the point stands. He’s not that unique outside of Shoujo, but for Shoujo he’s fairly rare.

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:30 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Always gotta love a strong female lead – Shirayuki giving me strong Nike Lemercier (Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii) vibes with her tougher, rebellious, and defiant attitude towards Raj.

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:40 amMishieru

    I really love how Bones handled this episode. The background art, animation and the ost are simply beautiful. My only complaint is that they didn’t adapt the character designs from the manga.. Akizuki Sorata’s art is just too beautiful that I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. Aside from that, Bones did a great job! I can’t wait for Obi to appear! <3

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:46 amlosing steak

    Heh! Another red-haired beauty. Would love to see a Shirayuki x Yona yuri crossover. No ship for you yet, Zen. Yona’s taking the helm for now.

  • July 8, 2015 at 8:04 amstarss

    Kind of reminds me of The World Is Still Beautiful, complete with a red-headed, stronb=g female protagonist. That one sucked me in for Nike alone, so maybe this might.

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:58 pmAndré

    I stopped watching this in the middle of the episode. Both the main guy and the main girl are too smart, good looking and perfect, in other words, they’re not interesting… Generic and bland.

    • July 8, 2015 at 8:34 pmMishieru

      The source material is really well written so I hope you’ll give this series a chance. ^^

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:40 amKaleRylan

      I’m guessing you don’t watch/read much shoujo? They tend to all be like this at least at face value. Their casts are usually VERY pretty and their personalities tend to be very dramatic, though exactly how dramatic, and whether in a good or bad way, varies by series.

    • July 10, 2015 at 9:13 amsamui

      Yet I rather have smart protagonists than those who are resistant to logic.

  • July 8, 2015 at 2:43 pmjibun

    I’ve never heard of this anime, but everyone was saying it had a great story so I checked it out for myself…and loved it! It had this sort of Ghibli’s production feel to it. Can’t wait for more!

  • July 8, 2015 at 7:46 pmPetit Orenji

    I really like this! Hopefully there will be more multilayered plots as we tread along but I like the premise and characters.

    It’s great that Zen is kinda middle-of-the-road at the moment. No one can tell if he’s going to turn dark in the middle of the series, and if so, how dark.

  • July 8, 2015 at 11:50 pmProfChaos

    Anyone else watched “Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches” last season? Because all I hear is Shiraishi (instead of Shirayuki…. and there’s Yamada).

    I’m definitely enjoying this anime so far :)

  • July 9, 2015 at 6:54 amtritoch

    Can’t wait for the rest. But as far as redhead strong female leads, Kou Shuurei from Saiunkoku Monogatari still takes the cake but I am liking Shirayuki so far.

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:42 amKaleRylan

      If Kou Shuurei was the main girl in that (been a while, so the names escape me) she was not a redhead. Very standard Chinese looking girl with black hair.

  • July 9, 2015 at 6:56 amtritoch

    Hoping this becomes this generation’s Saiunkoku where there’s a lot of storylines and depth and plenty of characters and relationships.

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:32 amCherrie

      Wow, someone remembers Saiunkoku Monogatari!? That’s awesome…! I watched that one so long ago and it was quite a long anime for its time but well worth it. I just wanted to know which guy she ended up with… =X lol

      • July 9, 2015 at 8:41 amKaleRylan

        I really liked the OP for that. Very disappointing that it never ended. Constant struggle with anime. Like half of them don’t have endings.

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:53 amWorldwideDepp

      Yeah, but in Saiunkoku Monogatari, is was more the female lead showing the young King the World, some kind.

      Yeah, i admit. This also was my first Anime where i saw a Leading strong female fighting against old Traditions, and in top of that, they use a China setting. Somehow, or was this ancient Japan?

      Here, the “King” is not an shut in ruler. So here the Base is a bit different

      and yeah, i also watched this anime, back at that time

      • July 9, 2015 at 11:55 amKaleRylan

        That was definitely China

      • July 9, 2015 at 12:07 pmWorldwideDepp

        Ah, okay. And the best female encourage speech until today was in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha ep 09. It still give me the chills

    • July 9, 2015 at 9:56 pmMishieru

      Seeing you mention Saiunkoku made me happy. It’s one of my favorite animes and Shuurei is one my favorite heroines. ^^

  • July 9, 2015 at 5:09 pmSilver

    I enjoy fanservice shows but when it comes to shows like these, I gobble them all up. They are just great! After watching this episode, I ended up reading all of it to the most recent chapter in a day. Definitely good. I like Akatsuki no Yona a lot but I prefer this one more since the setting is more western like. Other series that I could think of that are similar at the top of my head is:

    Majo no Shinzou (Manga)
    Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (Manga, Anime)
    Kino no Tabi (Manga, Anime)
    Akatsuki no Yona (Manga, Anime)

    Sort of similar but not quite:
    Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (Novel, Anime)
    Tegami Bachi (Manga, Anime)
    Karneval (Manga, Anime)

    Anymore recommendations?

    • July 10, 2015 at 12:49 pmSilver

      Oh and I completely forgot:
      Mahou Tsukai no Yome (Manga)
      This one completely has the red-haired strong heroine as well. A bit more modern though but still similar.

  • July 10, 2015 at 8:15 amSinsI

    Raji was wonderful in this episode. Zen is boring as hell.

  • July 13, 2015 at 4:54 pmSissy

    Can it just be said? OOOOOOBBBBBBBIIIIIIIIII!!!! <3

  • August 28, 2015 at 6:18 pmharry_kinomoto

    While the idyllic medieval fairytale setting was beautiful and elegantly put forward, the talk of dreams and following your heart and etc etc wasn’t something I could get behind… What exactly was it in reference to? Just because she got proposed to by a prince whom she already knew was a bit of a lecher? The personality and brains she displayed earlier on surely would have suggested she would have been able to deal with it resourcefully; as opposed to go into a deep existential crisis that that kind of conversation suggested she had!

    Or maybe it was Zen’s way of encouraging her to leave her old life behind so that she would go live with him. It probably was both, the former to set up the girl to play the role of a damsel in distress; the latter to give her love interest the debonair charm required to make her fall for him! I’m guessing this is what everyone is referring to as the shoujo style? I guess it’s a nice idea, shame the plot had to be sacrificed for it to be put forward!