The long-awaited release of Snow White with the Red Hair’s manga finally began in June. Today I return with Volume 2 to find out if the series is still worth your time and to see if Shirayuki and Zen are any closer to becoming a couple.
This volume of Snow White with the Red Hair opens with Shirayuki beginning her role as an apprentice court herbalist. Her job is a dream come true because not only does it grant her access to the castle (which means she is close to Zen), becoming a better herbalist is what she strives for. It’s not long before Shirayuki’s skills are put to the test when the soldiers of a nearby fort come down with a mysterious illness! It’s a race against time to save them but if anyone can figure out the cause, surely it’ll be Shirayuki.
The fort incident aside, most of this volume is spent with Shirayuki getting used to her new job. She’s placed in the care of 12-year-old Ryu, a mentor who’s known for being moody, quiet and is disliked by those around the castle for his abrasive personality. Undeterred by the rumours, Shirayuki does her best to break through to Ryu and become friends with the young boy.
Elsewhere we also get to see more of Mitsuhide and Kiki, with a chapter exploring their relationship with Zen. As they were mostly sidelined in Volume 1, it was about time we got to see more of the two entrusted with protecting Zen’s life. Comments from mangaka Sorata Akiduki in the sidebar of this volume reveal that many readers thought Mitsuhide and Kiki were like an old married couple already (and some mistakenly thought Kiki was male). Having watched the anime, I was already aware that those two weren’t together but had I come to the manga with no prior knowledge, I’d probably have felt the same as those readers. I can see why Akiduki made sure we spent more time with them in this volume, due to the feedback.
Overall, I think that Volume 2 does a good job of warming us up to and developing Ryu, Mitsuhide and Kiki. All three characters have varied personalities that bounce off of Shirayuki and Zen very well. By the second half of this volume Ryu has begun to open up to the point where the sullen, downcast child he was before is all but a memory. Likewise for Mitsuhide and Kiki, the two open up in this volume to the point where we understand how much they care not for only Zen but also each other. They’re all one happy family, which is heartwarming to see.
This volume also succeeds in being more consistent with the artwork from page to page. In the first volume, characters were often off-model but this time around that doesn’t happen nearly as much. I can’t wait to see how Akiduki’s artwork continues to improve in the volumes to come now!
Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Viz Media and continues to be translated by Caleb Cook. The translation reads well and is problem-free. As with the first volume, another of Akiduki’s one-shots is included, this time being Connect Us. This story was their first one-shot after their debut and while it can be a little hard to follow what’s going on, it’s still a nice extra to have.
Overall, the second volume of Snow White with the Red Hair shifts the focus away from romance and onto our growing cast of characters. This move delivers some excellent character development, which will no doubt increase our enjoyment of the series moving forward. This shojo series is slowly shaping up to be a must-have for fans of the genre.