is a manga
by Shin Takahashi
that is focused on a thirteen-year-old girl by the name of Icoro. She is the princess
of the "Upper World", a world where snow
is always falling and even princesses like her are forced to wake up at 4 a.m. and go to bed at midnight, learning and working the rest of the day. The Upper World is a "country of night", surrounded on four sides by towering walls and with perpetual below-freezing temperatures.
Icoro lives with her "Gramma", or Shah, her servant
and her blind young brother Mataku. Her parents have left them for an unknown fate. Apparently, her parents are seeking out the legend
of a "sun
", a mystical bright heat source that can keep the Upper World from being buried beneath the ever-falling snow. Icoro also has another servant: Kuro, a monkey-like little chibi
. Icoro's status, aside from Kuro and Shah, has not been recognized. This is because of Icoro's mystical illness: Hitogata; "...a word that has been used in this world for years and years, the origins long lost in the mists of time."
Hitogata can mean several things. For instance, it can simply be a doll
in the form of a human, or an ornament or decoration that is missing a piece of itself. However, it is especially used in secret to disdain a child that is missing one of the core human emotions: joy
." Since birth, Icoro has never once smiled
Then one day, Icoro's dinner with her brother is... Read More