What are you still doing here? I thought we already got rid of you.
Well, it looks like we’re making a bit of progress here. Yeah, it has taken some getting used to, this series. A shifting of expectations and interests, and so finally this little series has settled into its niche. It’s a very relaxed story, with really no real overarching plot or conflict yet to speak of. It’s a simple slice-of-life that happens to take place in a fairytale kingdom, nothing more, nothing less. We’ve had time to get used to our hero and heroine, just as they are trying to get used to their own surroundings.
“So I should just accept I’m simply not like them.”
Thankfully, it hasn’t taken very long for Shirayuki to pass the test to become a royal herbalist, or at least an apprentice, and we’ve seen her actions at work from the time that she was healing men in a castle, to her healing the heart of a young prodigy whose emotions haven’t caught up with his intelligence. I really like Ryu, and I like that Shirayuki is willing to learn from someone who is so much younger than her. She recognises the brilliance of his young mind, that belays his body’s age. But it’s also even nice to see that in all honesty, he’s really just a little kid, who craves approval and guidance, just like any other child.
But this story is really about Shirayuki and Zen, and signs of that romance are everywhere. Every step of the way on her journey of self-discovery, Shira finds Zen as her inspiration, and he feels the same with her. When he must take care of bandits terrorizing a fortress or having to deal with his own family, Zen finds encouragement in her presence and in her example. I like that Shirayuki is beginning to learn that standing on your own two feet doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own, and that you can’t lean on someone else. The two are obviously meant for each other, and I’m glad that they have established that this early, and I like that everyone is pretty much agreeing to their obvious romance. Yet, then why do I feel so dissatisfied?
“No matter what you do, I’m on your side…”
This series is, as many others have stated, one that you can pretty much relax to. Nothing really exciting goes on, everything is really solved in one episode or less, no really interesting characters come into focus or get introduced…despite everything going nicely, and it being nice to relax and all, relaxation really only feels the most satisfying after you’ve worked hard to accomplish something, and I think that is what Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is missing.
While the characters feel happy with what they’ve accomplished, I often feel as if something has been missing from the series thus far. While Shirayuki and Zen do work to accomplish their singular, personal goals, there’s really no long-lasting conflict, no really big obstacle, that they themselves have to work and fight to overcome. I had thought we would get that when “Big Brother” finally came on the scene, but well…
“No matter what the pain, we’ve come this far…”
Learn a thing or two from Arslan Senki: One prince, is never enough.
Izana is an interesting character, probably the most interesting one this series has had thus far. To be honest, if we didn’t already have a series about a blond crown prince, I might have really wished that he was the main character rather than Zen. (In fact, I still kind of do…) Even before the most recent episode, I knew that he loved his brother and wanted what was best for him, even if everyone else thought him to be a jerk. Big/little brother relationships are ones that I absolutely love in anime, especially ones that are strange and unusual. Before the reveal about Izana’s true nature, I was about to put him in the same camp as big brothers like Itachi from Naruto, or Illumi from Hunter X Hunter, ones that at first seem like the siblings from Hell, but then later you find that actually they were protecting and helping their younger brothers in their own ways, even if those ways seem unorthodox.
However, thanks to the latest episode, I’d say that Izana is really more like the big brother is a good guy, but he’s willing to play things more close to the vest. He’s a smart, confident, strong, and courageous guy, who is almost too perfect, and will become a great king, and just wants his little brother to grow and be the best he can be. And he approves of Shirayuki, how wonderful! And that brings me to the problem that I brought up before.
Brotherly support…or competition?
After only a couple episodes, even the threat of the older brother got settled in only a couple of episodes. It seems that every time something might come to challenge our romantic couple, it’s settled in an episode or two and they are blissfully together again. I’m not asking for the country to go to war and betrayals and destruction to tear apart our two lovers, but something a little more substantial is needed. Without conflict, you really have no story, that’s Plot 101. And I think that Akagami needs something much more substantial that what it’s been getting.
“I pray that you remain, exactly as you are.”
I’m a romanticist, I have been since I was a very young girl, and so I love a good romance, but it has to be told well. I also love character stories as well, we’ve had some interesting characters thus far, and we’ve scratched their surfaces to a degree. But we really need more. This series needs a whole lot more to make itself complete. It reminds me of the cookie part of an Oreo. While they are okay on their own (and there are some people who like them are their own), they really need the filling that goes between them to make them complete. Without that, they are really only just “okay”, and Akagami, continues to be, just “okay”.