“White World Around Us” – Shirahime-Syo (manga) – 6/10 Pumpkin Pies


Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Genre: Drama/Fantasy/Historical

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Volume)

Licensed: No, this manga was formerly licensed by Tokyopop.

Art: This is pretty early CLAMP, with a familiar art style, but this looks like it was done all in ink paintings, which is very fitting for the setting of the story and adds an elegance to it that is quite enchanting.

Summary: Legends say that when it snows, it is because the snow princess is crying. From CLAMP, creators of Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura, comes a collection of five tragic tales, all connected by the bond of snow. (back cover)

Review: This is where CLAMP decides to depart from their usual stories, and delves into a tribute to Japanese legends, giving them the traditional look and feel of folk tales you would hear growing up. The description is slightly misleading. There aren’t five tales- there are three, which are bookended by one story that isn’t really a story- it’s just some exposition and a moral. The exposition is nice, giving the introduction into tales of the Snow Princess and those who live in her domain.

The three tales start off with the weakest and end with the strongest. The first story- about a girl who sets out for revenge against a wolf- has some good atmosphere and character development, but fails to be that gripping or sorrowful. There is only a tenuous connection to the Snow Princess, which gives the last line a very out-of-place feeling that does nothing for the mood that it had built until then. The second, telling of two lovers who meet thirty years later- is definitely stronger and more tragic. A promise to never change is taken to quite an extreme, and makes it more poignant. The connection of the Snow Princess flows far better in this one. The third and best story of the three is where a man witnesses great love and is the instigator of great tragedy. This one does far better in connecting with the Snow Princess than the other two, and it’s downright tragic and beautiful. It’s unfortunate that the moralizing statement at the end of it has no bearing on what was happening in those stories and ruins the mood of the last tale.

With such a fuss made over the snow and the Snow Princess, I had expected more of this to be about her- instead, she acts as a side character in less than half of the volume. Even with that, the tales are still decent and have some deeply moving parts. When taken as it is, it’s a decent anthology of short stories.

Overall, while this would not be worth buying just to read it, this made a slightly better-than-average tragedy.

Recommended:
13+. This deals with themes of suicide and death. A few animals are shot, but there is only blood and no gore. Other than that, this is clean.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan (manga)
Nobody Can Hear Me But You (manga)
Solanin (manga)

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