Snow White with the Red Hair
Episode 20

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Snow White with the Red Hair (TV 2) ?

It's always nice to have things explained, provided it's done properly…and I can't help but feel like this episode of Snow White with the Red Hair was just a tad bit too glib with its backstory. I'm not necessarily talking about how Shirayuki's father ended up in the mountains, because that actually felt like just enough to whet our appetites for her real family history while implying heavily that she's likely royalty (“land-owning family” indeed), but rather how she so easily recognized and accepted her father's presence in the Lions of the Mountains' village. The basic explanation we are given, that she caught a glimpse of him in the family tavern when she was somewhere between four and six years old (judging by how she was drawn), really falls short when we consider her reaction. She's not shocked or even really surprised to see him, and his story about how he and her mother ran away and ended up in the village appears not to really cause any reaction at all when really, this is pretty important information. She may not have known he was dead, but she certainly didn't know where he was or what he was doing, as she admits, so having her seem so blasé about the whole thing gives us sort of an anti-climactic feel. Not that Shirayuki is particularly free with her emotions – she does tend to keep her feelings close – but given that she's tried to keep his face in her mind and that she's clearly pleased to hear that she looks and sounds like her mother, I can't help but feel that this was really underplayed.

Overall this episode has the feeling of tying things up in neat bows before we move on to the next story arc – get the main characters back together, resolve the whole Raj/Shirayuki issue, reassure Obi, move on. There are some cute moments, most notably the slight evolution in Kiki and Mitsuhide's relationship with hints about how they may feel for each other (and Obi's attempt to tease them about it), but none of that is quite substantial enough to make this feel like a fully satisfactory episode. Luckily the art is back to looking good, especially the backgrounds – the Lions' village is like a kid's treehouse fantasy made real, with all of the houses on stilts and blending in with the slopes and trees around them, almost like an elf village from a high fantasy novel. Shirayuki also finally loses the weird fringey thing in her hair as well as the torn ball gown, and she really looks much more comfortable, both physically and emotionally, in her Lion outfit. She does get a new gown for the rescheduled Tanbarun ball, and it's only worth remarking on because it is clearly of a totally different style than all the other dresses seen – a narrower skirt and more Grecian fantasy style than the 1860s look the other women are wearing. If you're not a period costume buff it probably won't bother you and is likely an easy way to make her stand out, but if you think too much about it, it really does look strange.

The goal of this week appears to have been to reassure us that there is no lasting damage from the whole kidnapping fiasco. Zen is still a little jealous of Raj (who is a little jealous of him), but everyone is forgiven, Obi's feeling like less of a failure, and Zen's intentions have been made abundantly clear to Shirayuki's dad. All's well that ends well, essentially, so next week can get back to the business of focusing on a character-driven plot rather than a contrived adventure. That feels distinctly promising, because while this last arc had its moments, the real charm of the show is in how Zen and Shirayuki work together and relate to each other, and that has been sadly lacking in this second season.

Rating: B

Snow White with the Red Hair is currently streaming on Funimation.

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