Do not let the title of this show fool or throw you. “Snow White with the Red Hair” (“Akagami no Shirayukihime”) only has the lead character share the name (and not really that); beyond this vague reference, she is her own woman. Shirayuki is a normal citizen of the kingdom of Tanbarun. Well, if you consider an herbalist ‘normal’; it is a rather rarified vocation. She has another unique feature: her red hair…which we already mentioned. When the first prince of Tanbarun, Raji Shenazard, orders her to become his concubine, rather than agreeing to this, she cuts her hair and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen Wistalia and his two aides, Mitsuhide Lowen and Kiki Seiran (but obviously does not know this when they first meet).
When Zen is poisoned by an apple meant for her (OK, THAT reference as well), Shirayuki successfully creates the antidote and decides to accompany the trio to Clarines. Shortly thereafter, Shirayuki passes an exam for a position to train in the palace as a pharmacist/herbalist. The story follows Shirayuki and her friends as she finds her place in Clarines and carries out her duties as a court pharmacist.
This is one determined woman who is dismissed right and left as a commoner, a gold-digger and a person of small means. We see that she is the real McCoy but does not want to trade in on her relationship with the prince; she wants to make it on her own, despite the huge amount of roadblocks placed before her. Zen’s older brother, Izana, is cold and calculating and thinks he’s got the 411 on everyone and does what he can to split these two asunder. We also have Obi, an assassin/bodyguard who also gets into the mix to make things tough on Shirayuki. We see all kinds of court machinations, as everyone wants the upper hand and everybody wants to rule the world and everyone wants to be the Big Cheese.
It is also a tad thin for a first season, done more to propel us into a second season, as she still has a long way to go, as does Prince Zen.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Servicable, but a tad bland)
Plot 7 (Done well enough)
Pacing 7 (Action scenes can get a bit too much)
Effectiveness 7 (Too much of an early read)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey & Clover”)
Overall 7 (Nothing grand, nothing gross)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I must see the Prince.