Welcome to another OWLS tour post of mine, but this one is special!! This post marks one year of OWLS posts for me! It’s been a great year, and I’ve been able to participate in every tour so far, fortunately.
This is a very special month as well, one that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate last year. June is deemed “pride month” for the recognition of the LGBT+ community and spreading positivity surrounding it. Last year, I wasn’t well-versed in this topic, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been proudly celebrating as I can. I’ll be writing more on the topic this month, at least two posts are what I have planned.
Our topic this month is “pride,”
In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society.
I really love this topic, and it allows me to talk about one of my favorite anime, and one I’ve been itching to write an OWLS post on!
This post will be on Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, or Snow White with the Red Hair. I’ve mentioned this anime before, but I’ve never written a whole post on it. I really love this anime, mostly for the two main characters, who will be my focus.
As I know this anime isn’t overly popular, but not unknown either, I’ll give a brief explanation before diving in. I won’t be spoiling major pieces of the anime in this post, this will give basic beginning details.
Shirayuki lived with her grandparents in the kingdom of Tanbarun working as an herbalist alongside them in their shop. Due to her bright red hair, the prince, Raj, attempts to make her his concubine, but she flees directly after the encounter. She ends up in the kingdom, Clarines, where she meets Zen, Kiki, and Mitsuhide in the forest. They appeared to only be travelers in the forest, but it was soon revealed that Zen is the second prince of Clarines, and Kiki and Mitsuhide are his bodyguards. Shirayuki is invited to live in Clarines to train to become a court herbalist for the castle.
The way Shirayuki carries herself is very certain, and mature. She knows her goals, and she is always willing to put in the work to reach that goal no matter what. She loves her work as an herbalist, and is always willing to grow. Though, this sense of determined pride can become troublesome for her if she’s overdoes it. She has a tendency to continue working even if she’s hungry or tired.
Those living and working in the castle see this determination, and respect Shirayuki highly. The other herbalists look up to her, and are very supportive of her work and her growth. They watch as she continues to work and grow consistently, and are impressed with her constant motivation. She carries so much pride in her work that it shows to the others around her and she inspired them as well.
As I established, Zen is a prince, but he doesn’t initially seem like one. He enjoys adventuring in the forest and sneaking around outside castle grounds when he gets the chance. He doesn’t seem like the typical princely-type character at all, and I think that’s what make him an interesting and likeable character.
He begrudgingly attends to his princely duties, and he sticks out like a sore thumb among the other royals. He doesn’t have a lot of the close-minded ideals, and he doesn’t like sticking to traditions.
Zen’s pride in his individualism, and looking closer at the real world instead of the walls of his lush castle, is what actually makes him the perfect prince. He’s genuinely caring, and he seeks knowledge of events that he would otherwise be unaware of. He’s accepting of people no matter their social status, and just wants to see other people happy.
Their Pride in Each Other
This shouldn’t come as a shock to those who haven’t watched this anime that these two characters are love interests, and they eventually engage in a romantic relationship. While most of the points don’t necessarily need to be in the sense of romance, it helps to explain that aspect a bit as well.
Zen was born a prince, and Shirayuki was born a commoner, living in an inn and tending to customers. They’re nowhere near the same social standing. Those living in the castle have mixed opinions on their friendship, and this ends up causing a lot of rumors and trouble to spread around the castle. It’s a common trope in these fairy tail-esque stories that there’s a love between a royal and a commoner, but the way this one does it is one of the best I’ve seen.
Even when they were only friends, it was risky for them to be acquainted with each other. And even with knowing that fact, they both agreed to remain friends and ignore what the people of the castle had to say about it. When their relationship developed, with the risk of more discrimination and hurdles to get through, they were aware of it and continued doing what they could to live in a way where they could be together.
Zen’s brother, the first prince Izana, has been one of their biggest discriminators. He’s never approved of their relationship, even in the beginning, and always attempted to break them apart. When Zen told Izana about his relationship with her becoming romantic, Izana didn’t take it well at all. He told Zen he was being stupid, and that this won’t get him anywhere, since her social standing is lower. Izana is stuck in the notion that wealth and status is more important than love in a relationship. He wants Zen to marry someone on the list of nobles, even if he doesn’t like her, but Zen remains solid in his decision to marry someone whom he loves.
Shirayuki knows as well that her relationship with the prince has a chance of failing because of this gap, but she’s willing to try to make it work. She improved her herbalist skills until she was able to land a spot in the court herbalist workplace, so she could live inside the castle walls to see him more often. She knows she can’t bring any honor to Zen’s family if they get married, and they both know they’ll likely be shamed if they decide this as well.
Their determination to see each other and build their relationship further despite what others say is what makes them a great focus for this month’s topic.
Relating to Real Life
“Pride Month” was created as a way to celebrate the individuals who show pride in themselves. Those participating in it are aware that society has a tendency to look down on them, and they know the risks involved with being open with themselves. The LGBT+ community unites together during this month to show that we aren’t scared to be ourselves, even in the face of the ridiculing and violence.
I identify with this community. And it’s come to my attention recently that even some of the people in the community won’t accept me.
I’m in a weird gray area to some people. I want to be a part of the community, and I am, and even if some people don’t think I am, I don’t care. I’ve been open about it on my blog, and online, and I haven’t had any direct criticism. I surround myself with people I care about, and who care about me. I’ve met some awesome people who either are a part of the community too, or are accepting of it, and that’s what’s kept me proud of myself.
I identify as asexual, and though I’m still working everything out, I have become very comfortable with this label. I gave it to myself in August of last year, and I’ve been slowly working on coming out to more people, even though it’s scary. Some people just don’t understand it. That’s okay, as long as they respect me and don’t say things like “you’re sad” or “oh, you say that now,” I’ve heard those coming out of the mouths of people I’m close to in my real life. They strike me hard. If the people who aren’t in the community say these things, I don’t need it in the community too.
Pride Month is supposed to be about positivity! Everyone who falls into any sexuality or gender that is one of those many letters belongs.
Yes, I chose to talk about a straight pairing for this month, I’m aware. Why was that? I thought about doing something different, but this one struck me.
What Shirayuki and Zen deal with is in a sense similar to the modern-day LGBT+ community. The negativity about relationships, the denial to allow a family member to marry the one they love, the standing out among “normal” relationships. In the time period that this anime takes place in, people were treated horribly for not marrying in their class. Same can be said for “not marrying the right gender” now. They have a small amount of people who do accept them: a couple of guards and Zen’s personal bodyguards, Kiki and Mitsuhide; and for present day: some of those in the community and allies. It’s not a perfect comparison at all, but just the fact that discrimination against people being with the person they love is not a new concept is what makes it work.
People have been facing criticism and violence for who they are for all of humanity’s existence. This Pride Month, I ask that you help make it seem less overbearing for anyone who identifies in the community. And, to just be nice to everybody, regardless of their partner’s gender, whether they have a partner, whether they want one, whether they identify as this or that gender, whether they like this or that thing, I can go on.
Be nice to everyone!! And thank you for reading my post.
Long time no see to my followers, haha. I’ve been absorbed in talking to online friends for the past couple weeks and it’s so hard to pull away. I also had a con at the beginning of the month, and cosplays to make before that, so I just haven’t had time.
Happy Pride Month to everyone, and I hope to write something else for you all soon! I’ll be busy next week with a tumblr project, but I’ll try to get something out this week or next week!! I’m just busy with things, I haven’t totally abandoned this, I promise!
Make sure you check out the stops before and after me as well!
Before: Mel from Mel in Anime Land