Thanks to VIZ Media tirelessly working on bringing Snow White with the Red Hair to the English market, we’re now almost halfway through the series so far. We’re also now ten volumes in, which is certainly a notable milestone.
This instalment opens with the cast celebrating solving the problematic illness in Lilias. As Zen reunites with Shirayuki and Ryu in the city, he lectures them both for putting themselves in danger, but ultimately is happy to find them in good health.
After bidding goodbye to the new friends they’ve made, the cast return home and Zen has his heart set on spending some quality time with Shirayuki. For the first time, he invites her out on a date with him! With nothing to worry about, the two finally have a moment to relax and enjoy one another’s company.
Elsewhere in this volume, we’re treated to the story of how Kiki came into Zen’s service, as well as learning a secret she’s been keeping from Mitsuhide. Since these chapters make up the second half of the volume, I won’t spoil what that secret is, but it does significantly change the relationship dynamic between Misuhide and Kiki.
We’ve known the story behind Mitsuhide joining Zen for quite a while now, but despite the fact, Kiki is such a prominent character we’ve known next to nothing about her. Diving into her history left me satisfied and also appreciating Kiki as a character so much more than I did previously, although I wish it hadn’t taken ten volumes to get to this point.
If nothing else, it’s always a real treat to see these characters when they were younger, compared to their more put-together present-day selves. Their personalities haven’t changed all that much, but Zen and Mitsuhide certainly acted more like excited teenage boys than they did as adults, befitting their status as a prince and his retainer. Kiki has changed less in personality, but she was more of a tomboy which led to a funny misunderstanding with Mitsuhide, who thought she actually was a boy for quite some time…
Volume 10 of Snow White with the Red Hair offers readers a chance to catch their breath and indulge in some light-hearted fun before we jump into whatever the next arc brings. It does make this one of the weaker instalments (particularly if you don’t care for Kiki), but as someone significantly invested in Shirayuki and Zen’s romance I had a great time watching their date unfold.
I feel that ten volumes is a good time to revisit the subject of mangaka Sorata Akiduki’s artwork. While initially her work was quite inconsistent and characters sometimes looked off-model, that is now firmly under control. On top of that, Akiduki has grown in terms of choosing when to offer close-ups of the characters and emphasize their feelings. This is especially obvious in the chapter centred on the date, where conveying how Shirayuki and Zen feel is particularly important.
The series as a whole feels more put-together than it did in the beginning. There were never any real problems to speak of, but it certainly gives off the feeling of being more polished now and that’s important after such a long run. I find myself excited to see how Akiduki’s talents develop when we get to the more recent volumes!
Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 10 comes to the West thanks to VIZ Media and has been translated by Caleb Cook. As always, the translation reads well with no issues to speak of. VIZ currently have Volume 11 of the series scheduled for release in January 2021.
Overall, Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 10 provides some important character development for Kiki and gives Shirayuki and Zen the chance to go on a date. However, if you’re not invested in Kiki’s character then there isn’t a great deal of substance this time around.