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Anime / The Legend of Snow White

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The Legend of Snow White (白雪姫の伝説 Shirayuki Hime no Densetsu in Japanese, La leggenda di Biancaneve in Italian) is a 1994-1995 Japanese-Italian co-production anime based on the Grimm Brothers' most famous fairy tale, Snow White. It considerably expands Snow White's story over its 52 episodes, adding Fantasy elements much beyond the basic Fairy Tale scope. While the series never came to home release in the USA, it can be viewed for free on YouTube.

It's a lovely day in the kingdom of the Emerald Valley, a beautiful princess is born. Her parents, King Conrad and Queen Isabelle, name her Snow White. The little girl grows loved, happy and healthy, and she is offered three pets on her fourth birthday: a puppy, a cat and a dove. Soon, however, Queen Isabelle falls ill and dies.

King Conrad marries Lady Chrystal and makes her the new Queen. Queen Chrystal turns out to be not only an evil, selfish, ambitious step-mother, she also practices the black arts of witchcraft. After the King departs for war, she makes Snow White's life a hell as she is jealous of her famed beauty after her magic mirror told her Snow White is the most beautiful woman in the whole kingdom.

Thanks to Queen Chrystal's huntsman being unable to follow the order to kill Snow White, the princess flees in the forest and ends up in a cosy little cottage, which is home to seven dwarves. She befriends them and eventually makes their life happier, gaining trusted allies to protect her from Queen Chrystal's wrath.

The Legend of Snow White provides examples of:

  • The Ageless: The dwarves are immortal.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The introduction of Gobby the Goblin Prince sees him imprison Snow White to force her to marry him. But by the end of the episode he sets her free and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ascended Extra: The series gives the Prince Charming (named Richard here) much more to do.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Besides their shared love of nature and fun, Snow White and Prince Richard also bond over the fact that they both lost their mothers as children.
  • Cowardly Lion: Vet the dwarf.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Snow White during her initial attempts at housekeeping for the dwarves - justified, since she's a princess - and later when she's distracted by thoughts of Prince Richard.
  • Character Development:
    • Snow White grows from a naive, timid abused stepdaughter into a wiser, more courageous young woman, who outsmarts the queen in a Heroic Sacrifice Dying Moment of Awesome (see below) and then works with Prince Richard in spirit form to defeat her once and for all.
    • Prince Richard comes into his own as a brave knight and makes the most of his Chosen One destiny.
    • Jolly the dwarf becomes more mature, while still retaining his goofy childlike innocence. He even goes on an educational quest for this very purpose.
  • The Chosen One: Prince Richard is the legendary "Blue Hawk" (blue is his family's color of knighthood, while a hawk is their crest), destined to pull Mylarka's sword from the cave floor and wield it to defeat evil.
  • Dead Person Conversation: When Snow White succumbs to the wicked queen's poisoned comb, she briefly finds herself in the afterlife and reunites with her mother Queen Isabelle.
  • Death Is a Sad Thing: Unlike in most versions of the tale, Snow White's mother dies when she's four years old instead of in childbirth, leaving little Snow White to learn what death means. Her father and nurse find her packing a suitcase one day to go visit her mother and are forced to explain that she can't be visited and is never coming back.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Woody the carpenter dwarf toward Snow White, in a similar vein to Disney's Grumpy – even though Goldie is the main grump of the dwarves, he warms up to Snow White more quickly.
  • Dub Name Change: In the English dub, the dwarf who can talk to animals has his Meaningful Name changed from Pet to Vet, and the name of Snow White's Missing Mom is changed from Queen Isabelle to Queen Rosebud.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Childlike dwarf Jolly is prone to wetting the bed. We later find out that wise old Boss had the same problem at Jolly's age.
  • Evil Laugh: Queen Chrystal has at least one per episode she appears in.
  • Expy: The little people family Cathy belongs to are clearly based on The Borrowers, as they live by "borrowing" stuff to the humans (dwarves here) without permission. They give it back to them when it's of no use anymore.
  • Forced Transformation: In one episode, Snow White's pets accidentally turn her into a rabbit with magic dew that they think will just make her understand their speech.
  • For the Evulz: When Queen Chrystal manages to convince Jack he's actually an evil spirit, she gets him to reluctantly help her because that's what an evil spirit would do. He can't go through with killing Snow White, but still desperate to commit an evil act, he breaks the wards protecting the forest.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!:
    • Queen Chrystal is both a Wicked Stepmother and Evil Sorceress.
    • The Ice Queen to some extent, though she's considerably nicer once she turns into a cloud and a rainbow.
  • The Good King: King Conrad is the respected ruler of his kingdom, and he and Queen Isabelle are genuinely Good Parents.
  • Grand Theft Me: Several times.
    • The genie Mylarka takes control of Snow White's body to try to reach her lover Speck, the spirit of the magic mirror.
    • The evil fog spirit Ronny takes control of all the goblins except Gobby to try to destroy the dwarves and bring Snow White to Queen Chrystal.
    • Queen Chrystal isn't actually Queen Chrystal, but someone who stole her body. And now wants Snow White's.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Seen with Jolly the dwarf and Jack the forest imp, who both have unrequited crushes on Snow White. By the end they both shift to I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Except for the fog monster Ronny and the Big Bad demon, all the characters who start out as antagonists end up becoming friends to Snow White and the dwarfs. Even Queen Chrystal.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • When Snow White falls victim to Queen Chrystal's first attempt to poison her, the dwarf Boss sacrifices his own life to save her by cutting down his Tree of Life - the only way a dwarf can bring a loved one back to life. Fortunately, the other dwarves use the tree's wood to make a new binding for the Book of Knowledge, and this gives the wood "new life" and lets Boss live again.
    • When the forest is petrified (see below), the dwarves use what little time they have for a ritual that will protect Snow White from the curse, even though finishing the ritual keeps them from escaping the spreading magic.
    • When Queen Chrystal comes in disguise to finish the job by way of poisoned apple, Snow White is tipped-off about it, as well as the information that she's carrying the petrifying staff. To get the Queen to lower her guard, Snow White sacrifices herself by biting into the apple, and uses the last of her strength to go for the staff while the Queen is celebrating her victory, which turns the kingdom and her friends back to life.
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Queen, of course. She reigns over an ice-made kingdom, commands winged lions that are made of ice and summons blizzards.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Jack, a crafty, mischievous boy (actually a fey prince from the forest) who masks his affection for Snow White by teasing and annoying her. Snow White's old nurse Molly is a Shipper on Deck for them, but of course Snow White's heart belongs to Prince Richard. Still, apart from a temporary Face–Heel Turn due to Queen Chrystal's magic, Jack is an invaluable friend who repeatedly saves Snow White's life.
    • Gobby the Goblin Prince starts out as a villain, but becomes this trope after his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Among the dwarfs, Goldie, Woody and Jolly all fall into this trope at times.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The mirror demon was possessing Queen Chrystal and intends to possess Snow White near the end of the series.
  • More than Mind Control: Queen Chrystal uses Jack's forest imp instincts, and his frustrated love for Snow White and jealousy of Prince Richard, to bring him under her power and turn him against Snow White. Eventually seeing Snow White almost die because of his actions snaps him out of it.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different:
    • The Seven Dwarves have a personality range that is quite similar to Disney's version of the story: the oldest is The Smart Guy who wears glasses, there's a shy one, a grouchy one and another one who's the youngest. The latter is clumsy, beardless and quite naïve (though he speaks and never comes close to Dopey's Cloudcuckooland and regularly throws tantrums). Also, his name is Jolly, which evokes Happy.
    • As a species, dwarves are the spirits of happiness in the forest, whose lives are tied to trees that grow in a secret place, and who can be killed but are naturally immortal. They don't seem to have any parents or females either, and every dwarf needs to go on an educational quest when he comes of age.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Elves are tiny winged beings, like fairies but smaller, who hatch from big rainbow-colored eggs, live near water and have water-based powers.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies are child-sized winged females, sometimes with with insect-like antennae, who each have a specific power that they need to discover for themselves. Snow White and friends meet two: Mylfee the Wind Fairy and Flora the Flower Fairy.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Goblins are fire spirits, who look similar to dwarves only beardless and with reddish triangular noses. Also unlike dwarves, they have both males and females, and a more hierarchical power structure too, with Prince Gobby at the top.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Samson the huntsman spares Snow White's life and becomes her ally because she reminds him of his daughter Louisa, who was killed by a bear long ago.
  • Out Of Body Experience: Snow White has three. When poisoned by Queen Chrystal's comb, she goes to a Mundane Afterlife that looks like the Emerald Valley, where she finds her mother. A later spell of Chrystal's sends her soul through other dimensions: first the World of Illusions, then the World of Darkness. This adventure she shares with Prince Richard, who has an injury-induced Near-Death Experience at the same time. Finally, when she succumbs to the poisoned apple, her spirit is sent to the realm inside the magic mirror and trapped in a crystal statue of herself.
  • Please Wake Up:
    • Snow White's father does this when her mother dies in the first episode. His shouting his wife's name in anguish from offscreen confirms that the queen is dead.
    • Jolly does this after Snow White succumbs to Queen Chrystal's poisoned ribbon. Fortunately, she does wake up by the end of the episode.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Snow White's nurse Molly is her loving mother figure through her childhood. Unfortunately, her attempts to defend her from Queen Chrystal's abuse get her banished from the castle. Snow White eventually finds her, though, and she, Samson the huntsman and two of the dwarves spend a few episodes living with her while hiding from the queen.
    • Boss for all the other dwarves, but especially for Jolly, whom he raised from infancy.
    • Jolly becomes foster father to an elf baby named Poppy in one episode. It only lasts a short while because elves grow up quickly, but in that time Jolly learns to be a good parent and gains new maturity.
  • Parting-Words Regret: In one episode Jolly and Snow White have an argument because Jolly is jealous of her love for Prince Richard. Both regret it afterwards, but before they can apologize, Snow White falls victim to a poisoned ribbon sent by Queen Chrystal. In the next episode, Jolly is the most distraught of all the dwarves and desperate to revive her. Boss's Heroic Sacrifice to save her makes his guilt even worse, since his last words to Boss were angry too.
  • Prince Charming: Prince Richard is a classic example, who gets to do many more heroic deeds than in the original tale.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Ice Queen doesn't even let Snow White and the dwarves explain why they have come to her kingdom by accident, which leads to the destruction of her kingdom once they invoke The Power of the Sun to counter the blizzard she threw at them.
  • Rapid Aging:
    • Poppy the elf, like all elves, grows from a toddler to an adult within seconds, Evolution Power-Up style.
    • Queen Chrystal's time in the shape of the little girl Mary drains her vitality and makes her start to age prematurely. This is when her goal changes/reverts note  from just wanting to get rid of Snow White to wanting to take over her body so she can be the fairest in the land.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The dwarves are immortal and even the childlike Jolly is already 50.
  • Solid Clouds:
    • The Ice Queen's kingdom turns into clouds after its collapse, and Snow White and the dwarves stand on them without falling.
    • After the dwarves' magic ribbons enhance its powers, the Fog with Seven Colors becomes like a hard wall to any outsider with bad intentions.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: The "Magic Filter of the Fog with Seven Colors" prevents curses and malefic beings from entering the forest where the dwarves and Snow White live. It prevents Queen Chrystal's Magic Mirror from seeing Snow White, but her pet bat still finds a way to get through it.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Vet the dwarf.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Queen Chrystal doesn't die. The being that possessed her dies, while she lives on as the good person she was before.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Even after Snow White is saved from the queen's poisoned comb, the lingering magic poison in her body makes her turn into a marble statue every night. This lasts for several episodes until the dwarves and goblins find a way to cure her.
    • Jonas the magician can turn anything to stone with his Magic Staff. Queen Chrystal has her bat pet steal the staff, and uses it as one of her ultimate attempts to get rid of Snow White, and to one of the scariest extents of the trope ever. She turns the forest and half of the kingdom into stone, and not just living beings, but everything from ground to trees. Only flying beings that have no contact with the ground can escape the curse.
  • Team Chef: Gourmet the dwarf. He gives cooking lessons to Snow White, who, being a princess raised in a castle with cooks and servants, starts out as a Lethal Chef, but soon gets the hang of it.
  • Team Pets: Milk the dog, Pocket the cat and Cucu the dove, Snow White's pets who join her at the dwarves' cottage after they escape from the queen's castle.
  • That Poor Plant: Queen Chrystal convinces Jack he's actually evil and tasks him with delivering a bouquet of poisoned flowers to Snow White. When he can't go through with it and drops the bouquet on the forest floor, all plant life within a few feet of it withers and dies.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Averted with this version of Snow White, whose four Disney Deaths don't involve her repeatedly taking gifts from strange old women. The poisoned ribbon is simply left for her to find and she assumes it's a gift from the dwarves. The poisoned comb is given to her by Mary, a sweet little orphan girl who had been her friend throughout the past four episodes, but who was really Queen Chrystal in disguise all along. The third incident, which has no basis in the Grimms' tale, has her soul forced out of her body by remote magic. Finally, with the poisoned apple, she sees straight through the queen's disguise, but makes the conscious choice to eat the apple as a Heroic Sacrifice to free the forest from petrification.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Goldie the dwarf loves honey.
  • True Love's Kiss: As in the classic Disney version, this is how Prince Richard revives Snow White in the end. More specifically, it's how he transfers her spirit, which has been with him through the climatic battle, back into her body.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Some of the situations Snow White and the dwarves find themselves confronted to fall in this category, adding nothing much to the main plot.