It is no secret to anyone who knows me how much I love Sorata Akiduki’s Snow White with the Red Hair, and volume nine provides a fantastic installment to the series that is sure to please anyone who has been following the characters. The ninth volume from Viz Media’s imprint, Shojo Beat, is translated by Caleb Cook and has touch-up art and lettering by Brandon Bovia.
In Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 9, Shirayuki and Ryu have discovered a mysterious illness while on a trip to Lilias, and they must rely on Wirant’s researchers and Prince Izana for assistance to find a cure before the illness spreads throughout the city. Meanwhile, Zen, Kiki, Mitsuhide, and Obi catch word and race to help.
The nature of this situation requires minor reckonings between certain characters. Shirayuki and Izana (Zen’s older brother and next in line for the throne) finally have a long-overdue conversation. It is subtle, and maybe doesn’t go the way readers will expect, but these characters are jumping through social hoops and every line hides another meaning. This tough navigation proves to be the main challenge for Zen this volume, because his desire to prove himself an effective prince to his brother means he can’t impulsively abandon his post and run to Shirayuki.
Akiduki deftly presents a turning point for the characters while they confront this new challenge. Both Shirayuki and Obi are still perceived as outsiders by some, and this volume helps both of them solidify their places among the group. They both are granted moments to shine here. Something this series does especially well is not overly relying on a love triangle. It is clear Obi is developing feelings for Shirayuki, but he also is discovering a respect and attachment to Zen. They are presented less as rivals, and more as Obi resolving to watch over two people he dearly cares for.
Kiki and Mitsuhide take more of a backseat this volume, but that is okay. As two of the elder members of the group, they sit back and provide moral support to Zen. As much as Obi and Shirayuki want to be pillars of support for their prince, Zen is realizing he just as much has to be a pillar for them to earn Izana’s approval. Instead of shirking responsibilities like he did as a teenager, he must become a prince whose decision making carries weight. It is lovely to see so many characters have independent growth, and all in the middle of solving the overarching conflict in the volume.
Akiduki’s detailed art is sublime. It is the stunning two-page scenery spreads that remind readers that this is a fantasy. Her thin, detailed lines on costumes and formal dress in the kingdom will make you want to read slow and take everything in. Bovia’s lettering matches this style as well when sound effects are present.
Overall, Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 9 is a fantastic installment in the series. Multiple characters get to shine independently and grow in the midst of a tense situation. This should be a must-read for any fan of more subtle fantasy.
Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 9 is available now wherever books are sold and online.
Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 9
Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 9 is a fantastic installment in the series. Multiple characters get to shine independently and grow in the midst of a tense situation. This should be a must-read for any fan of more subtle fantasy.