Japanese Title: Ludwig Kakumei
Related: Ludwig Fantasia (sequel)
Similar: Count Cain
Genre: Parody Gothic Horror Adventure
Length: 4 volumes
- Interesting take on fairy tale classics.
- Doesn’t hold back.
- Good art.
- Inconsistent tone.
- Dichotomous humour.
- Mouths look terrible when talking, surrounded by otherwise detailed art.
Some stories get adapted repeatedly, and with each new version, writers must find a way to hook the reader beyond the ‘same old story,’ drawing the passing customer’s eye. Few stories have seen more adaptations than the Brothers Grimm fairy tales (most famously by Disney). Ludwig Kakumei takes the inverse approach, turning the females evil – Little Red Riding Hood as an axe murderer, for instance. Flipping a famous character’s alignment always caches my eye, but sadly, this manga is quite rubbish, and yet, not boring.
Prince Ludwig, deemed a lazy disgrace to the kingdom by his father, must find a suitable bride, so he explores nearby kingdoms for the fairest maiden. (Not quite how medieval royal marriages work, but let’s go with it.) The structure is a simple series of short stories, each focusing on one of many famous fairy tale women. The first and most interesting is Snow White, who uses her ‘fairest of them all’ beauty to fornicate her way to power, including with her own father, the king, in her teen years to spite the Evil Queen (Snow’s mother in this version). Rather twisted.
Twisted also describes Ludwig, for he is a necrophiliac and keeps his dead lovers in glass boxes around his room. So far, it sounds interesting. However, after the first story, Ludwig Kakumei is no longer the same manga. Each subsequent fairy tale woman gets less and less interesting and the necrophilia vice is largely irrelevant, which makes me believe the first story was purely for shock value to hook the reader. The tone isn’t consistent either. The seriousness of the sex and brutality doesn’t match at all with the pervy comedy of the prince and his sidekick. Modern colloquialisms were a bad idea as well.
In all, Ludwig Kakumei isn’t a good manga, though the concept and nonsensical execution stave off boredom. Here’s to hoping the next manga brings satisfaction.
Art – High
The art is surprisingly good – nice environments, detailed characters (I like the outfits) – but the expressions at the mouth look awful.
Story – Low
A twisted prince seeks a bride in twisted versions of classic fairy tale princesses. An interesting idea, for sure, but Ludwig Kakumei needed better execution. The inconsistent tone between stories and jarring humour doesn’t help.
Recommendation: Try it. Ludwig Kakumei is not great, not even good, but it’s certainly not boring, so you may find some enjoyment. Not for kids – at all.
(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)