Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Season 1 Review

As I do write reviews on anime rather often, I decided I’ll slowly start sharing them on blog as well. After all, I may as well. I’ll start off with the latest review I’ve written and then add more as I go along. Thanks for reading :’)

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Red hair – most commonly referred to as the hair color of the perfect girl, at least for me. It is indeed special, so special actually that, according to this anime, it warrants the attention of not only one, but two princes! You don’t believe me? Yeah, I don’t believe myself either. Or this anime while we’re at it.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is an odd specimen of anime – mainly because it’s rather average in both the story and characters, yet it still somehow captivates you. By all means, it’s nothing special, but it still somehow etches itself in your mind and makes you think of it, at least a little.

TL;DR: Pros/cons

+ Simple story
+ Beautiful art design and scenery
+ Good voice acting
+ Relatively interesting side characters
+ Quite enjoyable as the whole
+ Large room to grow

– Underwhelming main duo
– Lack of interesting plots within the story
– First half is quite episodic and most things from it are never mentioned again
– Too goody-goody for me

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The story on Akagami is no feat of any kind; it’s your standard common girl meets a prince and problems ensue, and it isn’t even executed that well. As such ordinary story, it has your standard set of disapproving characters to whom our main girl needs to prove her worth, a set of characters that don’t think too highly of royalty etc., you get the point. First half of Akagami is purely of episodic nature, as our main girl, Shirayuki, faces ordeals that come with being close with a prince and having an unexpectedly distinct hair. The best thing I can say about the story is that its simplicity is good for this anime – it’s straightforward and you know what to expect, but still somewhat charming enough for you not to go down on it too hard.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of the story here – aside from our main girl ‘proving’ to everyone around her how she’s unique and special enough, despite being a commoner, to stand by prince’s side. Sadly, none of those moments are really striking enough to be memorable, and it all falls into sideways by the time next episode/mini-arc rolls around. It’s relaxing enough, though, as it doesn’t have melodramatic feeling to it, and the problems are never truly exaggerated so it’s something to be appreciative of when it comes to this type of anime.

Another decent point of it is the dialogue; although, at times, it tries way too hard to be abstract and artistic, for the most part it keeps itself cool, calm and collected. Aside from a few scenes, there were never really times when I had a hard time believing that someone would utter such sentence, so props for that.

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Production values, on the other hand, are right high. Art design is beautiful, and more than a few scenes have etched themselves in my mind and I’ll probably have a hard time forgetting them, if at all. Designs of characters, while not a standout, are well presented and each character has its own uniqueness – mainly related to the color of hair, unfortunately. There’s a whole spectrum of colors here – red, blue, white, blonde, brown, black, but most are done well enough in a rather realistic matter, if you’d believe it.

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Scenery though is definitely the high point, as it boasts some breathtaking pieces in nearly all episodes. Gardens, sunsets, ocean – the high driving force of art department, and it’s apparent that a lot of work has been put into those scenes.

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On the sound department there isn’t really much to say. All voice actors did their job well enough and are deserving of praise, and even the music was quite solid, despite me never truly ‘feeling it’. Ambiance sounds to hold the scenery back a little bit, but not by a large margin.

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When it comes to characters though, it’s more of a hit and miss. Our main duo, Shirayuki and Zed, were far too goody-goody for me. They don’t seem to hold grudges and, even if they do, they don’t last for very long. This is especially the case with Shirayuki.

Her character doesn’t have the appeal of someone who’d bewitch half the guys in the kingdom, princes included. Aside from her hair, there’s nothing truly special about her character; yes, she’s hardworking and honest, but those aren’t the traits she should be praised for. On the other hand, her rather humane nature is quite refreshing, since she really doesn’t go balls-to-the-walls when unexpected things happen and deals with them rationally. Despite that, though, I feel like her character could have used a little bit more refinement, and she should have been given some sort of a edge to go along her honest personality. As it stands, she’s far too dull in my opinion to hold the show, and the affection of so many people, on her own.

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Most of what I said about Shirayuki applies to Zen as well; I feel that, as a prince who knows how people work and function, he’s far too goody-goody for me to look at him and believe it. Although, at times, we do see the other side of him, or rather the side that should be dominant, there weren’t too many moments where he acted like an actual prince for me to consider him a well written character. Definitely better than Shirayuki, but not by a large margin.

When it comes to the rest of the cast, only two really stand out: Obi, and the first prince. Obi’s a rather intriguing character and there really isn’t a dull moment with him on the screen. He has the offbeat personality and often pokes fun at things I would poke fun at. He’s laid back, yet still manages to be helpful. In my opinion, Zen should have had his personality as it would have been far more fun to watch him. Nonetheless, definitely the high point of the cast, and I wish he’d have gotten far more screen time.

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The other one is the First Prince. His character starts off as your everyday pompous asshole prince, but it does’t take too long to realize that he’s just really acting like any person of royalty would. Of all the cast, despite receiving rather low amount of screen time, he seems to be the most complex character and one I wish they’d explore more in the second season.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime was a rather relaxing and enjoyable watch. Although nothing extraordinary, and a first few episodes were rather dull, it was still something I consider worth my while. With the 2nd season out, I’m hoping for more dynamic between main duo as well as more of the story. As it stands though, on its own, Akagami is good enough to be viewed by anyone interested in a rather relaxing anime with cute romance and decent side characters.

OVERALL SCORE

7/10

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