Anime Blu-ray Review: Snow White with the Red Hair The Complete Series

Snow White with the Red Hair The Complete Series combines the Blu-ray releases for Snow White with the Red Hair and Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2 into one set. The set includes both an English dub and the original Japanese with English subtitles.

Snow White with the Red Hair The Complete Series
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 16, 2018

Shirayuki, an herbalist in a small medieval village, becomes the target of Prince Raj. The prince wants her to become his concubine because of her unusual red hair. Shirayuki is rightfully offended by this, so she decides she’s going to run away. Shirayuki’s not entirely happy about the color of her hair because of all the attention it gets her, since people like to gawk at it and bring attention to it. She cuts off some of her hair and leaves it behind, then crosses the border into the neighboring kingdom of Clarines.

As she wanders, Shirayuki comes across a fancy house, but no one is home when she knocks. She falls asleep outside, and when she wakes up the next morning, she sees a boy about her age jumping over a nearby wall. He’s so distracted when he sees her that he trips and injures himself. After some convincing, Shirayuki and Zen become friends. It’s soon revealed that Zen is a prince of Clarines, who is often accompanied by his retainers, Mitsuhide and Kiki. But Zen sees both Mitsuhide and Kiki as friends in addition to his attendants.

When Prince Raj forces Shirayuki to return to their kingdom, Zen saves her and makes it clear to Raj that he needs to leave her alone. Shirayuki moves to Clarines, and she works at becoming an apprentice court herbalist.

Unfortunately, there are those in Clarines who object to Zen’s friendship with Shirayuki. This includes lords in the kingdom and Zen’s older brother, Izana. One of the lords against Shirayuki hires a young man by the name of Obi to do what it takes to keep Shirayuki and Zen apart. But after Shirayuki stands up to this lord, Obi becomes a retainer for Zen, along with Zen’s longtime friends Mitsuhide and Kiki. After earning Zen’s trust, Obi is given the task of watching over and protecting Shirayuki. By the end of the first season, our two main characters realize that they have feelings for each other. But it appears that Obi might also have feelings for Shirayuki.

The second season of Snow White with the Red Hair opens with a character named Mihaya reappearing, bearing news that a mysterious boy named Kazuki is out to kidnap Shirayaki. On top of this, Prince Izana informs Shirayuki that she is invited to a ball in her home country of Tanbarun and he forces her to attend. By returning to Tanbarun, Shirayuki must be around Prince Raj, which is rather awkward. But Shirayuki makes it her goal to try to find a way to improve her relationship with him. But as Shirayuki is making progress on her goal, she is kidnapped. Zen and Raj must team together to try to rescue her. A little over half of the season is focused on this story arc, and by the end of it, Shirayuki learns something amazing in the middle of all the awkwardness and confusion.

After an episode that provides a small bit of backstory for Obi, the remainder of the season focuses on trying to figure out the future of Shirayuki and Zen’s relationship.

When I watched the first episode of the series, I thought the animation in Snow White with the Red Hair looked rather nice. I especially loved seeing how lush the backgrounds looked. I was truly convinced that I was watching something that takes place in medieval times. While the characters have typical shojo designs, the artistry of the animators helps to make them not look as average as they might have. And as the series progresses, the quality of the animation doesn’t appear to noticeably decline in quality.

I could also tell that Shirayuki would be a character that I would like. She is sweet, helpful, beautiful, and she also has agency. She’s not going to let people with sexist ideas push her around, and she’s willing to be her own independent person. She retains a lot of these traits throughout most of the series but becomes a little more willing to put her guard down around Zen after they acknowledge their feelings for each other.

The obsession over Shirayuki’s hair and her treatment by some in the court is very relatable to viewers, since it resonates so much with the various kinds of prejudice we see in the real world. But Shirayuki handles this all with grace and can hold her own.

At the beginning of the second season, I admit that when the story arc with Prince Raj first started, I was a little annoyed about having to see him again. However, the arc was very well done, and it tied up the loose end of the awkwardness of Raj and Shirayuki being around each other. Also, this provided some very needed character advancement for Raj, which helped to make him a more tolerable character than he had been in the first season. And it turns out that Raj plays an important role in the direction that Shirayuki and Zen’s relationship takes at the end of the final episode.

The episode that provided some backstory for Obi was also nice to see. While it may not have provided much backstory, it was just enough to better understand him as a character.

The final three episodes see Shirayuki having a couple of life-changing events happen to her, as well as trying to figure out how she feels about Zen and if their relationship can ever have a future. But throughout the series, even in her moments of doubt, Shirayuki still displayed the agency that I appreciated seeing during the first season of the series.

The second season of Snow White with the Red Hair was the perfect continuation of the first season. Many loose ends were tied up by the end of it, and at least a couple of characters made great strides in their progression. The series ended pretty much as I expected it to.

In the end, while Snow White with the Red Hair is a shojo series that focuses on love and relationships, it never gets so sweet and sappy that it becomes saccharine.

The Blu-ray video has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Audio includes Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I had no complaints about either the audio or the video quality of this release.

The first disc in the set includes commentary for Episode 9. The second disc includes commentary on Episode 11. Also on this disc are promotional videos and a commercial collection for the first season of the series, along with textless opening and closing songs and trailers for other FUNimation releases.

The third disc in the set includes commentary on Episode 16. The fourth disc includes commentary for Episode 23. Also on this disc are a promotional video and a commercial collection for the second season of the series, along with textless opening and closing songs and trailers for other FUNimation releases.

It’s a little disappointing that FUNimation didn’t go to a little more effort for the bonus features. I’m surprised they didn’t try to do any interviews with the English dub actors. It would have been nice to have gotten their perspectives on their characters and their characters’ development outside of the episode commentaries. If not that, then something that’s a little more interesting than just the standard fare.

Even though the bonus features are a little on the underwhelming side, this set is still worth getting and adding to your anime home video library if you’re a fan of the Snow White with the Red Hair anime series.

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