Filed under: Manga, Series Introduction | Tags: Author: SheWhoSnacks, Ludwig Kakumei, Shoujo
Ludwig Kakumei follows the journey of a vain, pretty/handsome looking prince who was given an ultimatum by his father the King to find a bride or never return to the castle. Accompanied by his much abused loyal servant Willhem, the eccentric prince meets an assortment of equally as eccentric women, including a S&M fetish witch, crafty princesses, cursed individuals, and ghosts. The manga gives a twist on fairy tales, and paints a “darker side” of the timeless tales, among them Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Bluebeard. This is a shoujo without typical shoujo drama tail chasing!
Prince Ludwig, or Lui, is a cold-hearted, self-centered, narcassistic, extremely confident and vain, refined pervert. And to add the proverbial chocolate to the cake(because I hate cherries and too much icing destroys a cake)? He’s a necrophiliac. He loves dead women, which later turns out to be ironically fitting. Lui is an eccentric prince, but under that belies a highly intelligent individual, and one not devoid of a heart. He is an extraordinary prince, and you’ve got to appreciate his ways (he takes after his mother).
Under the humour, most lead characters are well rounded, though there are exaggerations as befits the use of humour in this manga. At the first impression, they may seem to be stereotypical manga characters, but as each of their individual stories are expanded upon, you will get to see a difference through their stories. The set distinction between villians and the “good guys” as they are in the tales, are blurred in these tragedies and twists, and characters are more often than not, victims of their circumstances. The depravity of humans are well weaved into the story with enough a splatter of twisted humour and a degree of randomness to keep the manga away from an angst on the undesirable side of human nature, though at certain parts, the story does have a tang of bittersweet-ness. That said, it doesn’t mean that this manga is one that is overly serious. It’s one of those mangas that when they get serious to a certain level, a humourous situation or development pops in. Throughout the manga, nonetheless, the serious undertones are never forgotten, and the characters will show surprising depths.
It should be noted that there is a romance factor in this series that isn’t limited to a single chapter/arc and one-sided, even if it seems like Ludwig never ends with a clearly defined heroine. Like I said, it is bittersweet. Revealing anything more will be a spoiler for those who have not read this series.
The first several chapters of this manga are made up of loosely connected one-shots, but later developes onto the plot’s origins, delving into the prince’s situation with his kingdom, and draws upon a few of the previous encounters. The character thought processes and plot developements are logical within magical boundaries, and doesn’t disappoint at all.
The art is easy on the eyes and well organised. My only complaint would be some of the clothes design for Ludwig, which can turn out to be quite..feminine (not that it’s an entirely bad thing *winkwink*). The clothes however, do accentuate his attitude and distinct character, and for that, I can accept it, except one particular outfit that made him looked positively like a girl. It’s…cute. It is somewhat very japanese of the mangaka to draw those outfits. Think visual kei.
The development rating for this particular manga is in slight conflict. Certain plot developments, I believed, could be more well handled instead of skimming briefly over certain parts, reasoning and character. Other than that, it would not do justice to the manga by further lowering development ratings. The balance between seriousness and humour is well done and kept for this type of manga where comedy is one of the main focus. Nice usage of comedic relief, though at certain parts, I found them overbearing and overly convenient. Otherwise, on the whole, I enjoyed them.
The length of the series (4 volumes) is sufficient for this particular plot. Any longer and it would have gotten repetitive, even if the individual stories did have nice twists. It is better to end the story with people thinking “aww, I wanted a little more” than having them think “this is getting boring”. Those familiar with Kaori Yuki’s works will find this particular piece more light-hearted. As typical of her works, there is a recurring theme of “The world has hurt me. The world is cruel. I hate the world, thus I will hide myself.”, but fortunately, she doesn’t overdo it.
Read this is you like your horror/mystery mixed in with comedic reliefs. If not, I would recommend certain more serious fairy tale twisters. :)
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