Title: Those Snow White Notes Vol. 2
Author: Marimo Ragawa
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
In my review of Those Snow White Notes Vol. 1, I mentioned how it was entertaining but had some peculiar story choices that made me unsure of its direction. Those Snow White Notes Vol. 2 fixes that, showing a clearer path and building an engaging and consistent story all around.
After the events of the first volume, Setsu now lives in Tokyo and studies in Umezoko Private School. A girl called Shuri Maeda has been trying to create a Tsugaru Shamisen Club there, but nobody is interested.
At first, the main character also ignores her as he doesn’t see much value in it. However, an incident makes him change his mind, as Setsu finds out she has a specific reason to get the club going.
Through the chapters, four characters particularly get the spotlight. Besides Setsu and Shuri, their classmates Yui and Kaito also seem like they’ll be important in the stories of the upcoming volumes.
One interesting aspect of the volume is how it’s much more consistent than the previous one. The story doesn’t have big outbursts of weird shenanigans this time, which allows it to focus on its moody endeavors and character building.
There’s also a clear sense of progression with its story arc. The volume introduces a big problem that motivates Setsu, makes it so the other characters also get involved and then try to help her. By the end of the volume, there’s a sense of conclusion, which is also used as a new start, bringing them together.
Though the comedy isn’t diminished, the story feels more tight and thoughtful as it focuses more on the drama. It’s well planned, organized and the plot development is entertaining throughout the whole volume. I even felt very emotional when a certain person’s backstory showed up thanks to Setsu’s playing, reconnecting her with her past.
I’d also like to highlight the shamisen performances that happen during this volume. Music manga, in particular, often works around its restrictive representation by showing a world of atmosphere and wonder. This volume is no different, doing a good job of using light and shadows to cast feelings on unheard music.
Besides that, there are also a few technical conversations explaining a little of the shamisen terminology and workings. Not done in an overbearing way, it’s a helpful introduction to some movements that seem to be basic for the instrument.
Those Snow White Notes Vol. 2 was an unexpectedly great turn for the series. Displaying refined planning through an interesting and emotional story that works with the theme of music power and connections between people and their memories. This makes for a strong volume with a lasting impression, and the story should still have a lot to show in the future.
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