Medieval romance returns
I can appreciate a series that goes out of its way to deliver another setting other than high school. Which is remarkable, that a change of setting is refreshing. Nonetheless, series such as Gosick and Ikoku Meiro no Croisee stood out with their non modern approach, giving a studio more narrative possibilities to flesh out the setting.
Shirayuki, a girl with red shining hair, flees her country when she discovers she is hunted down to become part of the prince’s harem. She flees into the neighboring country, where she runs into prince Zen, who takes her in as a herb specialist.
The narrative is really slow and the highlight is mainly in the first episode when she flees the country. One would expect she would readily be taken into custody for illegally crossing a border. Zen is the forgiving kind and a romance sparks. Which takes the necessary buildup, where you might expect the show to advance more quickly.
The romance is built up with events with mostly Shirayuki being a savior with her herbal medicine knowledge or a damsel in distress with Zen being her knight in shining armor. A very straightforward narrative with much left to be desired from a creative standpoint.
Akagami No Shirayuki-hime is set in what I suppose is the medieval ages. This brings variety to the seasonal menu and freshens up the romance genre with its fresh paint job.
Using medieval as a setting isn’t enough though. It has to bring depth to the story or at least added value. In this case I’m feeling the setting was just there to position the plot. There had to be a prince to give the anime a romantic vibe, something which is difficult to recreate in a modern day setting where the roll of a prince is far more vague and just symbolic.
MadHouse never really stands out with its designs from the works I’ve seen. It’s not bad, but its not excellent. It seems they are not going the extra mile with their productions when it comes down to visuals.
Shoujo anime has, overall, a less sharpened feel. It’s subtle and changes a lot in terms of contrast. Shirayuki was none of the aforementioned. The visuals were sharp and didn’t have much creativity to them.
The above frame shows a wide variety of colors being used and complementing each other. Nonetheless does it lack the level of detail a studio such as Kyoto Animation or P.A. Works would use to create such a vibrant scenery. Such a moment is the ulimate occassion to show off animation techniques and build the setting.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime was an honest attempt to revitalize the shoujo genre with a less standardized setting. May it be at heart as straightforward as any romance series can be. I rate Shirayuki-hime a 7 out of 10.