Thursday, December 19, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *Shirahime-Syo

CLAMP has had its share of manga anthologies with Miyuki-chan In Wonderland and The One I Love, so in 1992 they decided to tackle the Japanese tale of Yuki-onna about a ghostlike beautiful woman who appears only when its snowing. They took their own spin on it and made the central figure a goddess who slightly has an influence over several short stories.

The manga starts out a woodsman encountering a woman in the snow that claims she is waiting for something, and he mentions the legend of the Snow Goddess. This leads into the first story, On Wolf Mountain, where a young swordswoman named Fubuki goes out to hunt for the large lone wolf that she thinks killed her father. After she is attacked by a pack of mountain dogs, she finds refuge in a cave which is the den of the wolf she is hunting. He takes care of Fubuki, and she starts to believe it was the wild dogs that killed her father instead, but her older brother shows up to kill it, and he claims that the snow put a spell on her making her think the wolf cared for her. The next chapter The Ice Flower is about a young man who leaves to take place in a war to get the approval of his love's father so he can marry her, and she pledges to keep herself as she is until he comes back. The war however keeps him from coming back for thirty years, and he returns to her home to find that she has been buried under the ice looking the same as she did when she was young. The final story is Hiyoku No Tori is slightly similar about a soldier travelling through the snow returning to his true love, but his encounter with a passing heron bird changes his destiny. The anthology closes coming back to the opening story where the woodsman discovers the woman he was talking to was the Snow Goddess as she rides off into the sky with her wolf spirits.

This makes for a pretty good anthology, although the artwork is what really sells it. Clamp did an amazing job with the details, especially with some of the pages that appear to be done completely in ink with no pencil work. Storywise its pretty good, although the individual stories work better on their own without the arcing Snow Goddess plot. The manga has been released in a single paperback and hardcover through Tokyo Pop, even though its currently out of print, so you might wanna look for a copy while they're still around somewhere at least used.

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