I absolutely love the story of Snow White with the Red Hair. Its plot has a natural progression, filled with likeable characters who are timeless yet still feel fresh, and the stereotypical story of a prince falling in love with a commoner gains new ground as Zen is the Second Prince of the kingdom of Clarines. While playing his part for the kingdom, Zen is granted certain freedoms he wouldn’t have had if he was tied to inheriting the throne. This also means he’s actually allowed to form a bond with Shirayuki from the start. Shirayuki isn’t just a damsel with doe eyes either. She’s a strong female lead. With no ties to the nobility, but the intelligence to oppose them, Shirayuki is tested over and over in a battle field of words and moral character. She’s an uncommon commoner, really, and I adore how she’s so up front with Zen right from the moment they meet. You can tell that Zen, plus his retainers, appreciate her genuine down-to-earth nature. Meanwhile Zen is more of a carefree spirit who shoulders his responsibilities with a humbleness rooted in service for the kingdom’s people. The two of them play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly, and the desire to see them live happily ever after only builds with each new chapter!
However, the story isn’t just about Zen and Shirayuki. There are lots of well thought-out supporting cast members too. First off, Mitsuhide and Kiki, Zen’s aides, play a big part in keeping their liege in line plus cheering him on with their support. Their playful banter is always amusing and once Obi the Rouge gets thrown into the mix things only get better! (Poor Obi, he hasn’t even been given a name yet in this first manga volume, but I digress.) Court Herbalists Garack and Ryu turn into Shirayuki’s second family, the two side-gate guards provide some great comic relief, and other notable characters like Prince Raj all have a part to play in strengthening Zen and Shirayuki’s bond.
Full disclaimer: I was already a huge fan of Snow White with the Red Hair due to the anime’s release prior to the manga, so you can only imagine how excited I was when I found out Viz was publishing the series stateside. Needless to say I can’t help but compare the two.
Amazingly, I find that the anime is more fleshed out than the manga. This is author Sorata Akiduki’s first published work and it shows. Though I think it’s only more obvious because of the extra steps taken in the anime. There’s a definite need to develop the characters a bit more in the manga. However, the manga’s first chapter was actually intended as a one-shot so it’s understandable that there had to have been space constraints which limited how much character development could be squeezed in. Thankfully, the anime version created more character interactions within established scenes so everything in the anime is cemented in the manga. The additions were integrated so well actually that I never even noticed until I realized my favorite scenes from the anime were missing as I was reading! I especially liked the extended anime scene of Mitsuhide and Kiki playing chess when they first met Shirayuki and that entire scene is derived from just one single panel from the manga!
Another noticeable change stems from Shirayuki’s kidnapping by Mihaya. How she escapes is technically different between the anime and manga, but at the same time the anime is still very true to the source. I think the anime adaptation deserves a great amount of credit for expanding on these and other aspects while still staying true to the manga’s source material.
Overall I was expecting more from the manga, but at the same time I love the fact that I can now own it. I’m really interested to see if the anime and Akiduki’s writing eventually become more part and parcel for the course or if these deviations continue. Either way I’m a big fan of Snow White with the Red Hair and I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on future volumes so I can finally read past where the anime leaves off!
Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom, where she gains an unlikely ally—the prince of that kingdom! He rescues her from her plight, and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.Add to CartLearn More