CCU Student Reviews: Snow White with the Red Hair
Art by Karinna Brockelman
You’ve probably heard the name “Snow White” before. After all, Disney’s Snow White was the first in a very long line of princess movies that has made the brand so popular in our culture today. Such an iconic character was bound to create spin-offs, especially when the source material from the Grim Brothers’ tales is technically public domain. Today, we’re going to be looking at one such adaption: Sorata Akizuki’s Snow White with the Red Hair.
Snow White with the Red Hair was originally a Japanese manga series written by the aforementioned Sorata Akizuki. Currently, the manga has 22 volumes, but only the first 18 have been translated to English thus far. In 2015, the story was animated to life in a Japanese anime by the same name and was later given an English voiceover as well. The anime has a two-season run with a total of 24 episodes, but fans across the globe have continued to beg for more.
Snow White with the Red Hair tells the story of our leading lady, Shirayuki, and her friends Zen, Obi, Kiki, and Mitsuhide as they go about their adventures. Now, before you go saying, “Wait, Shirayuki? I thought this was about Snow White!” let me explain. As mentioned before, this show originated in Japan. This in mind, “Shirayuki” can be translated to “white snow”, thus Snow White. For some reason, the English adaption decided to keep Shirayuki’s native name instead of the translated one. Personally, I prefer it, as it helps to differentiate Shirayuki from Disney’s Snow White.
Anyways, our story begins by introducing us to first Shirayuki, and then the rest of our leading cast. This beginning story arc is probably the closest to the “traditional” princess story of Snow White for the entire show. The tonal difference is mostly due to Shirayuki herself, who is a very independent, hard-working young herbalist instead of the classic “princess” archetype. For those of you who hate the “helpless princess” trope, this show is definitely for you. Shirayuki takes nonsense from no one, but still maintains a very caring and gentle aura about her.
Despite Snow White with the Red Hair being roughly fifteen years old already, it’s aged very well. The art style is gorgeous, and age doesn’t detract from this beauty. As for the story itself, it still holds well due to the fictional world it’s set in. The show doesn’t ever rely on any real-world references for context. It’s a nice show to watch when you’re looking for a chance to get away from our world for a bit.
The plot of this show certainly relies on character relationships. It’s no issue though, as the entire cast is full of vibrant characters. One of my favorite aspects of this show is that many characters have memorable and friendly personalities. Even the characters who I didn’t favor in personality were still well written and evolving. It made for a world full of very endearing and charming characters in their individual ways. Even some of the lesser secondary characters have their own loveable quirks.
Speaking of relationships, the best part of this anime is the central romance. Not too overbearing as to negatively impact the plot, thank goodness. The relationship itself is very sweet, well developed, and pure. Beyond some kissing, the couple are both very respectful of each other and have a very strong morality about them. Though it’s not technically Christian, it was nice to see a relationship on screen that shared similar moral boundaries with my own faith.
Overall, I found Snow White with the Red Hair to be a wonderful show to watch. It’s a great watch when you just need something sweet and heartwarming. I’ve watched this show multiple times since I first discovered this gem several years ago. There was never once that I regretted watching it again. In a way, coming back to show was always like seeing an old, dear friend again.
Here’s some content warnings to keep in mind.
Mild Gore: this is a medieval world where the characters use swords when they fight. Thus, there’s a little bit of cartoon blood splatter as well as red stains on injured characters.
Poisons: of course, a story of snow white would include a poisoned apple, but there are some more instances beyond that. There is a character who has to poison themself to become immune afterwards, as these characters don’t have vaccines like we do, which isn’t covered in detail, but is mentioned for plot purposes.
Romance: not much more than several kisses here and there, and nothing immoral; something to be aware of, but not concerning in most cases
Death: there is a “minor” aged character who dies in this show, but no other death beyond some mentions of characters who have passed away
Mature Concepts: there are some more mature concepts in this show, including kidnapping, slavery, classism, and concubines. Nothing most of us couldn’t handle, but maybe take precaution with some of the younger children.
Uncomplete: even though this show is 2 Seasons long, the story does not end there. For further adventures with Shirayuki and her friends, check out the manga which goes beyond the anime starting in Volume 9.
If you’re interested in watching Snow White with the Red Hair, there are multiple sources available to you in both the English voice over (dub) and the Japanese version with English subtitles (sub). It’s available on Hulu if you have a subscription. If you want a free version with ads, you can watch on Funimation. You can also by the DVD sets of each season from Amazon. For even more Snow White with the Red Hair, you can check out the manga series, which is currently undergoing translation to English.