July 13th, 2015.
Noooo! They cut off Shirayuki’s lustrous red hair! I liked it! Well, back to business, this show has music almost non-stop, and it’s good. It makes me think of Disney/Ghibli films, how there’s almost always background music playing pleasantly through the show. And the other bit that makes me think of those two studios is the lush art, especially of backgrounds, and especially of the nature. Buildings are not the best to look at, and character designs are cute and somewhat quirky, but the backgrounds and the music make this show a pleasure to watch throughout. Except when we get indoors, I guess. But even there, there’s a rustic charm to it.
I do want to note the voice acting, to note that Hayami Saori and Osaka Ryota more or less reprise the same roles they had in last season’s Yamada-kun, and we even have Fukuyama Jun in the background. The two leads have a good chemistry going on, and it’s nice to see them employing it again.
OP – I’ll call this “Soothing”, I’d like to call it “warm”, but it’s not exactly the right word for it, as “soothing” has a cooler feel to it, as if a breeze. The art isn’t much to speak of, and the sound is mostly light and nice. Main voice actress singing is nice as well, Hayami Saori has a nice singing voice.
ED – They’ve gone for a more minimalist style with the art here. In terms of energy, it seems they’ve misplaced the OP and the ED, as this is much more energetic, but it’s also not as good as the OP, and has the repeated refrain that has you tapping your foot, but still, more of an OP material, and one I’m less fond of.
Story / Theme:
This entire show is about its demographic and genre, it’s a shoujo romance. It’s so much of a shoujo romance it hurts. Shirayuki has to run away from home because a prince wants to marry her, so she stumbles upon another prince, and he’s gallant, and foolish, and saves her, gallantly, while she still tells him she’s her own person, and they fall in love at first sight, and then stare stupidly into one another’s eyes as everyone around them chuckles, and people are perfect, but also flawed so they could be fixed, and they speak of how they love one another’s country, and company, but also mean the other, and isn’t love great?
It’s so sweet one could puke. Well, almost. In some ways it reminds me of the still currently airing Ore Monogatari!!, which was good when it had actual drama, and overly saccharine and vapid the rest of the time, but here it still feels better. I only watched two episodes thus far, but it still feels as if there’s slightly more to it – it helps that while both of the main characters are seriously smitten with one another, the “I am an independent character” act they both have going actually means they’re both characters we can follow without the other being around, and that they can actually interact as two people, rather than only get lost in one another’s eye. The production values and the amusing surrounding cast make me feel it might be worth keeping on with, so I’ll watch a few more episodes. I actually am a big sap, but I like it when the story isn’t just squeeing about how cute the other side is, and actually has some story besides, which this seems to have.
And yes, there are the age old bildungsroman themes of finding your place in the world, of finding what it is you wish to do and how far you’d be willing to go for it, and already some musings on people less fortunate, and the balance of power and rulership, but that’s often the case with shoujo/josei fantasy series, the question is how didactic and idealistic it’d be, and my bet is on “very”, before everyone will just end up in a big happy group that goes on adventures and fixes all the ailments of the world. The theme of hard work and self-betterment is also an undercurrent here.