Cover Image: Snow White with the Red Hair, Vol. 14

Snow White with the Red Hair, Vol. 14

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Member Reviews

This was a lot of exposition, longing glances and thoughts, intricate plans for far in the future, and preparation for action where nothing much happens.  The biggest action was when the group when to find a noble scientist and.....he wasn't home.  I have the feeling this series wants to be full of court and interpersonal intrigue, but the stakes, characters, and narrative style just don't connect with me.
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This latest installment sees Shirayuki on the hunt for a mysterious academic noble in Lilias in search of answers around. the mysterious flower that caused so many to become sick.  Zen and Shirayuki are also reunited for the first time since Shirayuki's assignment to the academic research facilities in Lilias.
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Love Me Love Me Not from mangaka Io Sakisaka started with miscommunication, messy crushes, love quadrangles, and confusion. But over the course of the series, we’ve seen our characters grow, embrace their feelings, and begin to open up. Now, Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 continues the course by showcasing the two couples we’ve been following on a romantic holiday.

Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 is written and illustrated by Sakisaka, localized and published in English by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint, and features an adaptation by Nancy Thistlethwaite, translation by JN Productions, with lettering and touch-up art by Sara Linsley. In this volume, love and friendship have become a little more complicated for Yuna, Akari, Rio, and Kazuomi. While Yuna and Rio are now officially dating and have been communicating, Yuna’s insecurities begin to resurface as she spends her first Valentine’s day with Rio. On the other side of things, having grown closer over the last two volumes, Akari plans to give Kazuomi chocolates, but a series of unfortunate events thwart her plans.

When I read the description of Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9, I was worried. The strongest part of the series has been how much care Sakisaka has put into Yuna and Akari as characters. Sakisaka has developed them beyond the tropes they represented at the beginning of the series –the hopeless romantic and the cynic – and has done so at a natural pace. So when I read that Yuna’s insecurities that she has fought hard to overcome and that Akari’s budding romance with Kazoumi hits a rough patch, I was worried that the two girls had regressed in their character journeys.

Thankfully though, Sakisaka introduces new conflict in this high school romance in a way that makes sense. For starters, Yuna’s rising insecurities come from her relationship progressing with Rio. She goes into his room for the first time, they spend more time alone together, celebrate his birthday, and have their first Valentine’s Day. But with a world of firsts also comes the rising pressure of being a good girlfriend. While old insecurities like being “good enough” rise when the girls around her very vocally share that she isn’t good enough for Rio.


 
While Yuna is very much back in the mindset she was at the beginning of the series; it’s not because she naturally lost faith in herself or trust in Rio. In fact, her fears and insecurities are pushed on her by others around her. From mean girls to friends, having to continually tell yourself your insecurities are just in your head while those around you confirm them is difficult. This leads to an emotional confrontation between Rio and Yuna that allows them both to open up to each other more and helps Yuna realize that her insecurities impact others and not just herself.

The only frustrating element to Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 is the lack of communication between Akari and Kazuomi. Having bonded and opened up to each other in the last volumes, their relationship seems to have regressed, with the two of them refusing to vocalize their crush on one another. In standard shojo romance form, the lack of communication leads both of them to make assumptions that stunt their growth and hinders their romantic progress.

That said, Kazuomi gets more than a push from Akari’s ex to finally start moving, while Akari does what she can to support those around her instead of dealing with emotions about what is happening in her life.

Overall, Yuna and Rio’s chapters of Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 are great. We see conflict and resolution that is more than relatable if you weren’t a popular kid in high school. Rio’s commitment to assuring Yuna is not only adorable but shows that he is dedicated to putting her first while also taking into consideration that because she was his confidant in his last crush, his words may take a different meaning. That said, with Akari, who has been a standout character in the last couple of volumes, there is so much more to be desired from the storytelling – well, mainly, I don’t need her and Kazuomi to kiss. I just need them to talk.
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Continuing in the vein of previous Snow White with the Red Hair volumes, volume 14 follows protagonist Shirayuki in her work as a herbalist and as the great love of Zen, Prince of Clarines. This volume is heavier on the former as Shirayuki and her mentor Ryu travel outside the palace to improve their craft. I'd recommend this for readers interested in a wholesome romance driven by ensemble character development.
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Shirayuki and Ryu arrive in Lilias to help with their medical wing looking to continue studying and working with that flower that glows – I cannot remember the name. They are looking for a wonderstone now, which is a stone that glows. They cannot find the mineralogist to help them. 

I really enjoy this series, even though the relationships between characters (especially Shirayuki and Zen) seem unbelievable – it doesn’t seem like they really like each other. The story is fun and I look forward to the next volume. 

Thank you Netgalley and VIZ Media for this ARC. Have been collecting this manga for my library and will continue to do so. Will also get a copy for myself.
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Another lovely addition to the series. This one has a little less action but is just as lovely. Give this to those exploring manga and new to the format.
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