Saturday, January 16, 2016

Snow White with the Red Hair, Ep. 13

Snow White with the Red Hair might not bill itself as a slice-of-life show, but in many ways I feel like that is exactly what it is.

Warning: spoilers for season 1 in the rest of this post.

Probably the one show I was most looking forward to this season, Snow White with the Red Hair was one of my favorite shows last year, and the second season continues right where it left off, not even resetting the episode numbers. Watching through the first season, one thing that struck me was just how much of a slice-of-life show this was. While there were certainly many moments of drama throughout, overall the show was presented as the depiction of Shirayuki, Zen, and their friends overcoming various smaller trials over time, and growing day by day because of them. Even the romance between Shirayuki and Zen, formally acknowledged by the two toward the end of the first season, felt less like the centerpiece of the show and more just another part of their lives together. Add on the fantasy world of Clarines providing an extra sense of a relaxing atmosphere, and the resulting show easily became a favorite of mine, and knowing it would continue this season gave me pretty much my lone spot of anticipation in a season distinctly lacking in early favorites.

If I had blogged this show earlier, I probably could have broken down all the various ways this show worked as a slice-of-life. Thankfully, this first episode of the second season provides plenty in this area to work with already. The episode starts with the very mundane task of the herbal department's regular cleaning--an activity that resides squarely in the realm of slice-of-life stories. It might not seem like much, but seeing Shirayuki worry about an enel plant that does not smell like it should already shows a lot about her character, something that slice-of-life can be really good at. Even beyond the main characters, we can get a glimpse of what our side characters are like. Watching Obi encouraging Ryuu to climb a tree, and then later give him a piggyback ride, is something kind of special, and not just because this show has not given us a whole lot of Ryuu, something I'm hoping this season will fix.

Of course, drama has always been part of this show, and it comes up here in two forms. First, we have Mikaya, the guy who held Shirayuki captive way back in episode 2, and a mysterious other guy who has some interest in Shirayuki, as well as a special ball in Tanbarun that Prince Izana orders Shirayuki to attend. The latter is of more immediate interest, as it highlights the continued tension between Izana and his younger brother and his relationship with Shirayuki. Here, again, though, we see how rather than slice-of-life and drama being opposed to each other, how the two can work together. The complex and evolving nature of Izana's relationship with Zen and Shirayuki is shown very well in these moments of conflict, and it just further exemplifies how this show allows its characters to grow naturally.

Zen, for his part, decides that the best way to handle the matter is to send Mitsuhide to accompany her, which should provide for some interesting interactions. The matter with the mysterious visitor may or may not play into this visit, but it should be interesting to see how both Shirayuki and Zen develop throughout the ordeal, as they have with ordeals in the past.

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