Genre: Fantasy / Historical Drama
Volume Count: 1
Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 19 Dec 2005
One of the most beautiful manga I have read to date.
It is said that when the snow falls, it is the tears of the crying Snow Princess. Shirahime-Syo is a collection of three tragic tales linked by the element of snow, bookended by a fourth.
Shirahime-Syo is a pure work of art. Open up to any page, and you can’t help but just look at the illustrations; reading the story almost becomes an afterthought. When you do start to read this collection, it transports you a few hundred years into the past in remote Japan. Describing the stories in too much detail would ruin the experience, but the basic ideas of the three main stories are as follows:
In the first story, “On Wolf Mountain”, we meet a young woman who has gone to seek vengeance on a wolf which has killed her father. The second story, “The Ice Flower”, is the tale of a young couple’s promise. The final story, “Hiyoku no Tori”, tells of a warrior who has gone off to battle to prove his worth to his lover’s father, only to become lost on a snowy mountain.
The prologue to Shirahime-Syo is a seven page full-color feast for the eyes using some spectacular watercolor drawings. This sets the theme for the three main stories, and then picks up where it left off (in regular black and white this time) as the epilogue to the volume.
That this came from the same minds that would create Chobits and Magic Knight Rayearth speaks highly of CLAMP’s versatility. Shirahime-Syo is a great example of traditional storytelling in a visual medium where less is more.