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Shirahime Syo

Shirahime Syo is a book of short stories detailing the encounters various people have with an enigmatic snow goddess on separate occasions. The snow is said to come from tears of humans and a Snow Goddess is said to live deep within the mountains.

The chapters of the stories are very emotionally driven. The first chapter in the book is actually the epilogue to the final chapter of the book. Each chapter focuses on a different encounter someone has with the Snow Queen and each individual views the experience differently.

The emotions of the individuals are deeply felt because of the way the writer immerses the reader into the stories. You can almost read the characters thoughts and sense their feelings. The snow goddess is shown to be a guardian of those who are lost and she guides them to their destination or goals.

There is no set time period in which the stories occur and the setting varies from one chapter to the next. The art design is the highlight of the manga. In comparison to the typical anime art style, this manga uses a more traditional Japanese art style along with the use of waterbrush. All of the background design on each chapter was so nicely drawn and immersive. The drawings were very detailed and elegant and the character designs were really authentic and look flawless. The design of the snow goddess is based off post card from Clamp newsletters. The atmosphere feels mysterious and cold and it feels very mystical.

This is more visual storytelling with sparse dialogue. The story lore was lacking and it should have been more established. Except the Snow Godddess, the characters are not the most memorable. Each one has a simple goal that is easy to understand and doesn’t follow a convoluted structure.

One chapter was about a young girl who leaves her home to kill a wolf that killed her father. When she finally finds the wolf, she is unable to kill it because the wolf was merely trying to survive. The girl contemplates about her vengeance and it’s up to reader to decide if the girl killed the wolf or let it live. Every story was unique and every conclusion felt satisfying and surprising. For something experimental this was quite a success.

It would give it 4 stars out of 5.

This would be perfect as a one shot movie but not as a media franchise considering the sparse nature.

This is the first time I have read something from the all women Mangaka group CLAMP. You don’t have to be fan of CLAMP to like this manga.

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