Snow’s Turn: Shirayuki-hime in Anime and Manga

Early last year, Alice in Wonderland was the hot source material for American media, and I wrote about the animated Japanese works that the story inspired.  Recently the Grimm fairy tales have become popular, with Shirayuki-hime—better known in English as Snow White—coming to the forefront.  Once Upon a Time is already airing, and 2012 promises three films: Grimm’s Snow White, Mirror Mirror, and Snow White and the Huntsman.  As my friend SciFiHun said, now it’s Snow’s turn.  Although there aren’t any new “Snow White” adaptations in anime, manga, and video games, there are still several series for fans (as well as non-fans) of the princess to check out.

Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics (1987) – Nippon Animation, which is known for adapting popular children’s stories, covers “Snow White” over four episodes of this series.

Super Mario Shirayuki-hime (1989) – Super Mario had three OAVs based on fairy tales.  This was the only Western one, and it’s easy to guess who played the starring role.  The more amusing casting is the seven Toads and Bowser as the evil “queen”.

Shirayuki-hime no Densetsu (1994-95) – With a whopping 52 episodes, this anime is more detailed than the original fairy tale or the Disney version.  There are goblins and fairies, and the evil queen is much more persistent in becoming “fairest of them all”.
snow white1

Prétear (2000-01) – Sailor Moon director Junichi Satou came up with the concept for Prétear after wondering what the story would be like if the seven dwarves were seven bishounen and Snow White was a magical girl.  The result was a shoujo manga and anime series that features an immature but assertive heroine whose powers come from the bishounen literally becoming her outfits.

Atrocious Fairy Tales for Adults (2002) – This adult manga contains a dark and erotic modern-day rendition of “Snow White”.  The evil queen, a model named Sayako, seduces a man named Seiji who becomes drawn to her strange daughter.  This version is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Ludwig Revolution (2004-07) – This is another twisted fairy tale manga, but it has a bit more humor.  Kaori Yuki’s Snow White is a sinister character that fans of Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” will appreciate, and the end of this arc is a shocker.
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Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (2006)Instead of having hair as black as ebony, this Shirayuki is a redhead, and the prince of her kingdom is anything but charming.  Refusing to be just a concubine, she runs away to another kingdom and meets a boy.

Snow in the Dark (2007) – The last of the dark retellings of “Snow White”, this one-shot manga is from the perspective of Larry, a boy-turned-knight who remains faithful to the princess even when things get very bloody.

There aren’t too many Japanese video games featuring Snow White.  Her most well-known gaming appearance is in Kingdom Hearts.  Titles that are based on the fairy tale include Kagami no Naka no Orgel: Futatsume no Monogatari—Snow White and Snow White: the Veil of My Heart.

Listening to: “Love So Sweet” by Arashi

Leave a comment


  1. Sam

     /  December 15, 2011

    I had no idea there were so many Snow White adaptations!!! I think I will have to look into some of the selections you pointed out.

    On another note, I am excited to see the movie adaptations. The trailer for the Charlize one looks grittily amazing minus… you know… SNOW WHITE. Hahaha… can’t wait to see the Robert’s and Collin’s one.

    • Many of these were never licensed in the U.S. so that’s probably why they’re not very popular. Let me know what you think of the titles. Atrocious Fairy Tales for the Adults was the only one that thoroughly disturbed me, but I really enjoy Ludwig Revolution despite the creepy elements (which really disturbed my classmates when we were discussing modern adaptations of fairy tales).

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