Here’s the story,
Of a girl named Shirayuki.
And she has some very, very lovely hair…
Well, honestly I wish there was more to say about the past two episodes of Shirayuki. But to be honest, not much has happened thus far. This series has a very slow pace, we are three episodes in and the main character has yet to even apply for the occupation that we know she will get just by seeing the opening and reading the series summary. We haven’t learned much about our main or supporting characters beyond what we knew already from the first episode. After the first episode seemed to rush and get an entire three-act structure out in one sitting, these last two have frankly been going at a snail’s pace.
It’s a quiet village.
It’s hard out here for a princess
Now I don’t mind that persay, this is a split-cour series, so it has some time. I just wish they’d give us a little more idea as to where the series would be going. The last two episodes have been used to get us acclimated to the new kingdom of Clairnes as well as the people who reside there, and what Zen and Shirayuki’s roles are in it. The only problem is, that Clairnes is really no different from any other provincial broadly-European fairytale kingdom that you see in everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is incredibly beautiful to look at, the artwork and the animation are as breathtaking as the score that highlights it. However, it really doesn’t take this long to get used to. We’ve seen this place several times before, we can get started with the plot now.
Every day, like the one before.
They have taken this time to show us what Zen and Shira are like on a daily basis. The other side characters, such as Zen’s two bodyguards are there, but they don’t have much of a presence other than to provide a small bit of commentary on the couple from time to time. Zen and Shira are the primary focus. This is good…now if only they would do something with them.
Of the two, it’s surprising that Zen is actually the more interesting to a degree. He’s got a little more going on as we see that he’s pretty much a subtler version of your mischievous runaway prince model. He respects his position and authority and does his duty when needed, but he also likes to get away from said duty whenever he can, to go gallivanting across the countryside and take a break from palace life like a commoner as well.
Ditching the palace with my girl, defending her honor–all in a day’s work for a prince.
At first, he seems a little irresponsible, even if he isn’t the heir apparent, he shouldn’t be shirking his responsibilities while considering it “seeing the real breadth of his country”. It’s a bit of an excuse, and it isn’t until he meets Shirayuki that he begins to wonder if perhaps he has been shirking his duty?
If you could please hurry this along, I have a job hunt to continue.
As for Shira herself, I actually feel that so far, she may have the weakest development so far. We know from the first episode that she’s good, kind, beautiful, a great herbalist, but above all–strong-willed and independent. And they’ve basically continued to reiterate that in the last two episodes as well, and thus we’ve learned nothing new about her. They continue to stress that she wants and can stand on her own two feet, whether it be against a kidnapper or an angry noble and his ninja spy, they continue to stress her independence and her desire to stand on her own. These are good things to have and all, yet it feels as if that is starting to be her only character traits. I’m all for independent women. Heck, I’m one myself. Yet, when that’s all that a female character has to give, it gets old and feels a heck of a lot like compensation for something. Also, there’s the fact that it feels a little out of place (or should I say “out of time”) in this setting. I don’t know why, but it just feels off. Maybe given time Shirayuki can merge better into her own series, I certainly hope so since I see great potential for it.
Okay, guys, what part of “I’m busy trying to get a job”, don’t you understand?
But enough of the cons, what are the pros? I have to say that perhaps the best thing this series has going for it, is the relationships. While Shira and Zen need a little work individually as characters, one thing that I do enjoy about the relationship between the two is their mutual respect for each other, and how they inspire each other to strive to be more. Their conversations are easy and comfortable, the friendship between them apparent, but even more obvious is that there is definitely something more, kindling there as well.
As the stars align…
And from the moment when he met her, saw her…
Shirayuki’s attraction to Zen is there, but it’s actually quite subtle compared to many shoujo series that you see. She’s happy to see him and happy to be there for him, and to a certain degree, her actions are guided by her desire to help him and be by his side. And yet, I can’t say for certain that Shira is at the “love” or even “strong like” stage yet. To her Zen is a close friend that she cares greatly about, but I’m not exactly sure if it’s really reached beyond that point at this time. And that’s not a bad thing. I’d rather things take its time and develop slowly, than for them to rush the romance between the two, which is I’d say, the strongest thing the series has going for it right now.
I’ll make time for you.
However, for Zen on the other hand, he may not have admitted it to himself yet, but he’s fallen hard for the scarlet-haired beauty. His actions all seem to come with a caveat of “what would Shirayuki think?” and “would she be proud of me in this moment?” His thoughts are constantly of her and what she’s doing. Whenever she’s around, his world seems to come alive. He’s been protective of her since they met. He even begins to frame his actions on what would suit her best. It’s come to the point where he’s begun to say her name in his sleep, and writing it on his documents when falling to daydreaming. It’s so obvious that pretty much everyone in the palace is aware of it, with both favorable and unfavorable responses.
This is actually not unusual for fairy tales as most times the male seems to be aware of his feelings before the female is. I have a feeling that this is related to how males and females translate their emotions and feelings as well as certain cultural factors as well, but that’s neither here nor there. We just know that only three episodes in, and our prince has pretty much fallen in love with our herbalist. It will probably take him a bit of time to realize this, and even longer to admit it, first to himself and then his lady love, but yeah, as far as the act itself? It’s pretty much a done deal.
He’s serious when it comes to his girl.
Well, in the next few episodes we’ll be seeing Shira continually working to get her court herbalist license. Hopefully that won’t take too much longer. I’m interested in how the new characters introduced so far will feature into the series. Will they become more important, or will they fall to the background along with most of the supporting cast? I’m interested in the young boy herbalist prodigy that we’ve gotten a chance to see, and what his story is. I’m also interested in how long it will take us to meet the rest of Zen’s family. We’ve heard little about the king and queen, and barely anything about his older brother. I’m wondering how long it will take them to warm up to Shira? Well, this series has time, let’s hope they use it wisely.