Title: Ludwig Revolution (original title Ludwig Kakumei)
Author: Kaori Yuki
Date of Publication: Nov. 1998 to July 2007
Number of Pages: 192 each volume
The story is about Prince Ludwig who is ordered by his father to find himself a wife more suitable than the women he often brings into the castle. Along with his servant Wilhelm, they travel across the land in search of fair maidens from classic stories in hopes of finding Ludwig a wife.
One thing that really recommends a book to me is some relation to fairy tales. Ludwig Revolution is a manga which has many such retellings, such as Snow White, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel and Red Riding Hood. In the past, I had read another manga, called Grimms Manga, attempting the same thing but I was rather disappointed. Luckily, this wasn't the case here, although I have to admit that I didn't expect what I got to read.
Prince Ludwig along with his loyal servant Wilhelm go on a journey, in order to find a suitable wife for the prince. Naturally, most of those maids happen to be the well-known characters from the fairy tales. Each princess/character has at least a chapter that develops her story. But like the originals the stories take dark and twisted turns. Nothing is like it seems and no-one is as virtuous as was expected. Indeed, Ludwig himself has a tendency towards necrophilia, Snow White sleeps with her father, Red Riding Hood killed her parents and Hansel and Gretel are assassins.
If you can get over these things, the story is pretty enjoyable and the characters are well-built. Ludwig, although he pretends not to care about the people around him, he ends up on helping most of them. Of course, he is not always that sympathetic and honest, as a basic criterion for him is the cup size of the women he meets. Wilhelm puts up with all the whims the prince might have, as well as his cold remarks. The villains (and this is crucially important for me) aren't one-sided, have a complex past and multiple motives.
The art style of Ludwig Revolution is amazing! It's one of the most impressive ones I've come across and it suits perfectly the story. I like very much the way Ludwig is dressed, with all the exaggerations and the leopard prints. He's truly a glam prince. The action scenes are also well-drawn, a fact that makes them very vivid. Chapters such as that of Hansel and Gretel, which was probably my favourite, gained a lot from the way Kaori Yuki draws.
To summarize, Ludwig Revolution came as a surprise to me. My love for the fairy tales makes me read almost anything related I come across. I was glad that I found out about this because I enjoyed it immensely. I would recommend it to those who like retellings and don't mind this dark style. There is only one drawback: this manga is only officially translated in French and German. So, if you know any of these languages don't hesitate to pick it up.
So, my advice is....
Dig into the dark side of the fairy tales!