Here it is!! My collaboration with
LetThereBeDoodles! <3 This is something we have been working on for the last couple of weeks and it has been so much fun working together and I am so happy with what we created. We both hope that you enjoy these manips and the story that goes with them!(^-^)
We both wanted to do something new so we decided to create our own adaptation a la Disney! >:D We looked at several stories from around the world and got hooked by the story of Yuki-Onna, a mythical spirit from Japan. This is a character that has been re-imagend several times in film/TV before, so we had to take some artistic liberties in order for it to feel new and unique.
Even though this story is not historically accurate in the sense that it’s not based on real life events or people, we still did our absolute best to thoroughly research the era, culture and legends. But bare in mind that this adaptation was made by two non-Japanese creators, so errors in accuracy may be present. If this had been a real, original film project then we would naturally have hired film makers from a Japanese background to help us in it’s production. :3
DISCLAIMER: We do not own the movies which were used to created theses images. We only take credit for editing and the story.
Movies used: Brother Bear II, Fantasia 2000, Grave of the Fireflies, Lilo & Stitch, Millennium Actress, Mulan I-II, Peter Pan II, Pocahontas I-II, Princess Mononoke, Wolf Children
WINTERTIDE: The tale of Yuki Onna
(developed by TheNamlessDoll and Lettherebedoodles, written by Lettherebedoodles.)
Every Winter when the snow starts to fall, the people of Japan huddle inside their homes with their families, away from the frigid white wasteland beyond the door.
Every Winter she watches them through the frosted glass, her pale skin barely distinguished from the snow around her, her eyes glinting from behind waves of long ebony hair. It is her job to see that the snow falls, that the winter comes and resets the world, preparing for the new beginning… However, human’s don’t seem to like the cold. They dread her return, and shun her when she arrives. They fear her… she is alone.
Yuki-Onna, the snow woman.
Yuki-Onna was an ancient spirit. When she first came to be, she was the sole keeper of winter, controlling both the calm and the violence of the season. She would gently lay down snowflakes to create a beautiful frozen wonderland, then set it off in a blizzard, watching her work fly into a million pieces. She loved both the serenity and chaos of winter.
However, she began to realize that the human’s feared her. They would often get caught up in her frenzies, a dangerous situation for mortals. Yuki became increasingly lonely as the human’s drew further and further away from her frigid nature.
In a moment of anger, Yuki lashed out at the human’s who rejected her, sending an avalanche crashing down on their village. After the rage passed, the spirit was horrified by the devastation left in her wake.
Her anguish caused her to tear her soul in two, casting her dark and violent half to the earth.
Where it landed, a woman formed from the snow, coming to life to take Yuki’s place as the tumultuous nature of winter. Tsurara-Onna, the ice woman.
Yuki’s sinister half, angered by Yuki’s rejection, carried on the tasks that Yuki could not bring herself to take part in. Tsurara relished the cries of fear, she basked in the chaos. She was everything Yuki was not.
Yuki had created a monster, and she was now too timid and gentle, to combat her violent counterpart.
On stormy nights when the wind whistled through the trees, the village could hear Tsurara singing to the timid Yuki, taunting, “You are weak, but you are mine. I cannot be rid of you, so I shall keep you to myself.”
For years, Yuki and Tsurara continued their tasks, and Tsurara made sure to destroy any glimmer of hope Yuki found. Each time a human stumbled into the forest, Tsurara was there. It took all of Yuki’s remaining strength to protect the mortals, and fend off the crazed ice spirit.
Yet, no matter how Yuki tried, the humans still feared her. They saw the two women, with their pale skin and ink black hair, as one frightening being. Thus, many isolated winters passed, until one fateful day a young girl stumbled into the forest.
The child, Moriko, was a nobleman’s daughter. At just fifteen, she had been promised to a dangerous and cruel man. In her fear she fled her home, with no possessions and nothing but a shawl for warmth in the freezing mountains.
Exhausted and frozen, Moriko tumbled to the earth, where she lay motionless. Yuki, fearing for the girls safety, emerged from the shadows, seeking nervously for her violent counterpart. With Tsurara nowhere in sight, she approached the child.
Moriko was close to death. Yuki realized the only way to save her was to find warmth, which she could not provide. In a panic, the spirit struck up a fire, as she had seen hunters in the woods do. At first she was pleased with the result, having never been so close to the dancing flames. However the heat quickly became overwhelming, nearly killing the spirit. She struggled to escape but the world around her swirled and she fell into darkness.
When she awoke, she was away from the dangerous flames and the girl sat on the other side, staring calmly at her. Yuki was startled when the girl not only thanked her, but called her by name.
“You’re the spirit, Yuki-Onna aren’t you? Incredible.”
Yuki had learned the human language from years of observation, so she asked why Moriko had been running. The girl explained her situation, her eyes widening with fright at the very thought of her betrothed.
“I don’t want him! He’s cruel. He says terrible things when no one is listening. He scares me more than anything has ever scared me. No one will listen. They don’t care what he does to me or anyone else!”
Yuki was struck with an overwhelming urge to help the unfortunate young woman. She calmed the frightened girl and vowed to help her through the forest and over the mountain. On the other side lay a small village. The people were kind and quaint, and she could make a new life for herself there.
The two excitedly made there plans. Yuki, in spite of the fact that she could not approach the fire, and Moriko could not leave it, had never felt so close to another being. The human girl cast no judgement on her, and she seemed to feel no fear. Yuki felt a genuine smile cross her face, an expression she had not used in a long time.
In the distance, Tsurara watched the exchange with quiet fury. Yuki had betrayed her for a human, again.
The ice spirit, knowing she could do nothing to the mortal while Yuki was present, retreated into the shadows.
Tsurara would find a way to separate the two, and she would teach Yuki what it meant to betray her stronger half. The two spirit’s had no one in the world but each other, and Tsurara knew Yuki would soon realize that.
“You are mine…” she whispered.
Yuki and Moriko began their journey through the forest at dawn. Moriko carried a torch, hoping to keep the fire lit in order to spare Yuki from risking herself again. The human had never been out in the woods and didn’t know the first thing about survival.
In spite of the fear that had been building in her since her escape, Moriko was excited. The world was so open here, and everything was so beautiful. The snow glittered in the sun like thousands of diamonds, and it stretched on, undisturbed by human touch, for as far as the eye could see.
Yuki kept to the shadows, avoiding the sun, but she enjoyed watching the human rush around in the snow, building sculptures and throwing the powdery flakes into the air to watch them dance. It was a comedic affair… after all, the girl only had one hand to spare and would often panic over the state of her torch.
Yuki found herself smiling more and more. Smiling was beginning to feel natural to her again. She also found unparalleled joy in the actions of the human.
Moriko seemed to find everything awe inspiring. She marveled at the giant icicles hanging from the mountainside (courtesy of Yuki herself), she gasped every time a small forest animal crossed her path and delighted in the little footprints they left behind, and best of all, she couldn’t get enough of Yuki’s powers.
With a wave of her hand the spirit could create beautiful patterns of frost across the leaves. She could set off a gentle storm right over Moriko’s head, she could create cranes and foxes out of ice.
“You’re incredible!” Moriko cried, grinning from ear to ear. She then tripped, tumbling into the snow. Yuki almost rushed out to help, but stopped when she noticed that the girl, although buried beneath a pile of snow, had her arm still outstretched, the torch rising like a bizarre monument out of a hill.
Yuki doubled over, laughing so hard she knocked the snow off of the branches above her and sent it tumbling to the ground, engulfing her.
The two of them dug themselves out of the snow, laughing the entire time, and by some miracle, the torch continued to burn.
Tsurara watched the odd duo progress steadily through the forest and up the mountain, gritting her teeth at every smile that flitted across Yuki’s face. She almost revealed herself right then and there, but she knew, in spite of her superior strength, that Yuki would not succumb and the girl would escape unharmed, just as all the other human’s had. She couldn’t risk the girl escaping, she had to get her alone. She would tear the smile from Yuki’s face.
The girl was never alone though… Yuki was glued to her side day and night, for she never slept, and she was watchful. She knew Tsurara better than any other being, and she knew all of her tricks. Tsurara would have to find another method to lure the girl away…
Tsurara suddenly felt an odd sensation. She turned her head slowly, looking back into the shadowy army of trees behind her. Someone had entered her forest.
She raced away from Yuki and Moriko, temporarily distracted by the promise of new blood. In her frustration, the thought of sending a mortal into an icy grave made her mouth crack into a wicked grin.
It took her only moments to reach the source of the disturbance. A man crashed through the trees on horseback, followed by two other men on foot. One was small and timid, the other was large with a face like a boulder. With each tree the Rider disturbed, he sent icicles raining down like daggers on the two men behind him.
The Rider didn’t even seem to notice. His face was intent, his eyes sharp. He was searching for something.
“Sir, please, perhaps - try not to disturb the forest! I’ve heard tales of this place… They say Yuki-Onna walks through these trees at night, breathing down men’s necks until they freeze to death… they say-“
The Rider’s expression instantly silenced the babbling man. He suddenly seemed far more afraid of his superior than he was of the infamous Snow Woman. Tsurara decided to fix that.
She glided down until she was standing right behind the men. The timid man sensed her, and slowly turned until he was looking into her pale blue eyes. He let out a scream that pierced through the air like lightening. Tsurara quickly silenced the two lackeys, freezing them in place.
The Rider suddenly raced at her, his knife leaping into his hands and flowing expertly through the air. Tsurara was almost impressed. However the feeling didn’t last long. Her patience spent, Tsurara caught the knife in her grip. The blade froze and shattered in the blink of an eye, leaving the Rider gaping. She then rushed in, hand outstretched, to extinguish the fiery light in the foolish man’s eyes.
“You have my wife.” The man roared, darting from her grasp. “I will not let you take what is mine. I will not let the forest take what is mine. Not even death will take her unless I say so. Give the girl back to me!”
Tsurara stopped, her mind suddenly racing. The girl… Everything suddenly fell silent and the frost in the air settled. Tsurara’s face split into something resembling a pleasant expression. The man slowly straightened himself, detecting the change in her mood.
“I know where your woman is.”
The man demanded she tell him where, but she simply reminded him that she could kill him before he ever had a chance to reach his goal. He conceded, asking her what she wanted from him.
“I want you to scream for me. Either by choice, or by force.” Tsurara grinned.
Yuki and Moriko had set up camp. Yuki had created a make-shift shelter for the girl, and Moriko had kindled the fire. Now they sat, far apart, enjoying the dance of the flames.
Yuki wished she could go nearer. She wished she knew what it felt like to be warm.
“You have been kinder to me than anyone I have ever met.” Moriko said quietly from across the flames. Yuki was surprised at the sudden confession.
Moriko went on to explain how her parents had often compared her to the peasant children running rampant in the streets. Her lack of conduct was an embarrassment, and they had viewed her as a disappointment. The arrival of a promising suitor was a dream come true. They believed his presence would train her to behave like a proper lady.
“His name was Takauji…He seemed kind at first. My parents were ecstatic when he expressed his interest. He was much older than me, but he had a handsome face. I guess it was naive of me to hope for the best.” Moriko curled her legs up under her, wrapping her arms around herself as if it would protect her from some unseen force.
She went on, describing how her betrothed had smiled a lot when they first met, and he had bought her expensive gifts. But the smiles faded and the gifts began to come with a price. He began training her to smile and bow in order to receive her present. This behavior turned into absolute control, and the gifts into punishments.
She behaved better in public. She became as docile as a mouse when he stood next to her. Her parents had been thrilled.
“One day, I complied with everything he asked of me. When he told me to smile, I smiled. When he told me to sit, I sat. When he called me a fool, I agreed. He just smiled, the first smile I’d seen since we’d met, but it was a very different smile… He then told me that in order to tame a wild beast, one had to make them feel safe, and then slowly strip away their will…
So that night I drugged his tea and I ran.”
Yuki could hardly believe what she’d heard. How could anyone treat such a wonderful creature with such abuse? Silence stretched between the two until Yuki shuddered.
“Thank you Yuki.” Moriko whispered.
As the words sank in, the snow spirit felt something strange happen. She suddenly felt…
The two companions made there way steadily up the mountain, stopping every once in a while so that Moriko could marvel at something or other. Yuki couldn’t help but be amazed at the resilience of humans. The young girl seemed so genuinely happy all the time.
However there was still pain there, and a sadness and loneliness that Yuki could very much relate to. She was determined to make things right for this child, if only by helping her to a better place where she could start her life anew.
However the thought of losing her traveling companion cast a sadness over Yuki that she hadn’t yet experienced. She had never had a friend. She had never known what it felt like to lose that connection. She feared it.
Yuki came back to reality to find Moriko’s concerned face very close to her own. “Torch, Moriko.”
Moriko gasped and leapt back, flinging the torch as far back as her arm would reach so as not to hurt Yuki. Yuki laughed, pleased that Moriko cared so much. She reassured the girl that nothing was wrong, and the two continued.
It didn’t take long before they reached the peak of the mountain. Moriko caught her breath, gazing down at the land below her. It was beautiful. Yuki pointed out the village and Moriko jumped with delight and nearly lost her footing. After a brief moment of panic, the two sat down and started laughing.
It was so easy to laugh now.
Suddenly, Yuki heard a chilling sound. It echoed through the trees and around them. Someone was screaming. Yuki whirled around, scanning the trees below her frantically. It was a man, and his anguished cries for help were becoming more desperate.
“W-what is that?” Moriko whimpered, gazing past Yuki with wide eyes, her face pale.
Yuki had a furious battle in herself that felt like hours but was only a split second. She feared leaving Moriko alone, but she also feared what would happen to the man if she stayed. She reacted quickly, racing to Moriko’s side, she clutched the girl’s arm and dragged her to a small cave hidden in a line of trees. In her haste, Moriko lost her grip on the torch, and watched in dismay as the flame hit the snow and went out with a hiss. Yuki ushered her into the cave, begging her not to leave and to hide herself, then vanished, flying down the mountain with a speed she hadn’t realized she could attain.
Moriko watched her go, feeling unsettled. She could have sworn she recognized those screams.
The cries became louder, and more frantic, as Yuki soared down the hill.
She burst into a clearing and caught sight of the victim. A middle aged man lay trapped beneath a large pile of rocks and snow. His breath was beginning to force its way out of him as he struggled against the massive weight pinning him to the earth. Yuki rushed to his aid, sending the snow flying and the rocks tumbling away.
The man gasped, his eyes wild. “That monster, she said she wouldn’t hurt me! I’ll kill her!” Yuki was startled by the man’s response, but she knew who he was speaking of. She apologized on behalf of the ice woman, struggling to find words to help the man curb his energy towards helping himself escape from the forest. The man’s rage lasted only a moment, then he became inexplicably calm.
“A means to an end.” he muttered, rising and wincing as he did so. Yuki found the man utterly confusing, and slightly unsettling.
She was distracted for a moment, but the thought of Moriko came rushing back to her, and she urgently tried to usher the man up the mountain, desperate to return to the girl.
The man had a difficult time regaining his strength, and Yuki agonized over the time she was spending helping him make his way up through the trees. She almost left the man, just to check on Moriko, but the second she would begin to slip ahead he would cry out, and she’d rush back to help him. By the time they reached the place Moriko was hidden, it had been far longer then Yuki was comfortable with.
She left the man, rushing to the cave…
Her heart came crashing down through her icy ribs. Moriko was gone.
Yuki’s heart slowly began to beat again, and she followed the sound with such relief that she almost cried on the spot. “Mori-“
Moriko whimpered softly, her face white and her fingers turning blue. Tsurara had her frigid arms wrapped around the girl’s neck, and her smile was like rows of icicles. She had a black mark covering half of her face. Yuki fell very still, fearing any movement might entice the ice woman into action.
“The girl tried to run. She found your wretched torch on the ground… it was still hot. Look what she did to your better half.” Tsurara turned to give Yuki a better look at the ashen skin. Yuki’s expression did not change, she dared not even breathe.
You thought you could keep this from me? You thought this time would be different? When will you learn, you complete fool.”
“Please… “ Yuki felt the words scrape their way out of her throat. “Please don’t… Tsurara-“
The man suddenly stepped forward, his eyes ablaze. “Give me the girl. I told you death will not take her until I tell him to do so.”
Tsurara cackled, her voice echoing crazily over the mountaintop. Moriko’s eyes had begun to close, but at the sound of the man’s voice they flew open and she suddenly jerked, pushing against Tsurara, backing away from the man before her.
“Hold still wretch.” Tsurara snarled, taken aback.
“He found me! Takauji found me, Yuki please! Make him leave, don’t let him get me!” Moriko began to sob, her tears infuriating Tsurara. Yuki could see the ice spirit’s patience rapidly dissolving. She had to act now.
She could not fight, she didn’t have the power, but perhaps…
She raced for the abandoned torch. She had kept the rocks that brought life to the flames with her, in fear that the girl’s fire would go out. She smashed the rocks together, setting off a spark that quickly caught the tattered wood and seeped into it. In a moment, the flame leapt into the air, and Yuki clutched it in her hand, wailing as the flames licked her icy flesh. She raced forward, swinging the flames at Tsurara’s terrified face.
Tsurara panicked, her grip on the girl loosening. Yuki cast the flame at her counterpart and wrenched the girl from her grasp, throwing herself between them and shielding the child against the ground. Moriko was as cold as ice, and her breathing was barely audible. With the confusion settled, Tsurara descended on the cowering spirit and her human.
She began wailing on Yuki, tearing at every inch of her she could reach, but Yuki didn’t budge. Moriko lay safely covered.
Yuki was growing weaker with the relentless onslaught, she couldn’t fend off Tsurara forever. She despaired… there was no way she could fight back. Tsurara had strength and aggression and anger, Yuki had none of that. Tsurara would win.
As suddenly as the attack began, it stopped. Yuki slowly opened her eyes, her stinging, aching body suddenly relieved of tension.
Tsurara stood, her head hanging. She looked like a phantom, her eyes empty and her cheeks hollow.
“You cast me aside!” She screamed, her face taking on a new expression. Anguish. “I was your other half. You chose those creatures, those humans, over your own soul!”
Tears seeped from her eyes, turning to ice against her cheeks. She crumpled, all of her strength diminished, and all of her fury, her driving force, overcome with grief.
“You chose them over me.”
Yuki couldn’t bring herself to respond. She was in shock. “Tsurara…”
Yuki heard the crunch of footsteps in the snow behind her. Takauji stepped forward, and without a word he slipped his sword into the defeated Tsurara. The blade entered her body with a hiss, and the spirit screamed.
Yuki cried out, watching in horror as the man dragged the blade out again, red with heat. the torch, still lit, rested in his other hand. He casually dragged the blade through the flame, reheating it, his eyes on Yuki.
“She shouldn’t have broken our arrangement.” He shrugged, glancing down at the writhing spirit at his feet. “I always get what I want.”
He smiled, stepping forward. Yuki cowered, covering the girl. “Stay away.”
“She belongs to me… and now she’s mine again. But now that I have her, I’m rather tired of her. Perhaps death can have her after all.” The man’s eyes were fire, just like his blade. “I’ll be sure to tell her parents how she died from the cold, I’ll even bring back her shawl.”
Yuki was damaged, she could barely move. He was going to kill her. He was going to kill them all. Yuki had to find a way to destroy him, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. She couldn’t find the anger, she couldn’t find the strength. It wasn’t possible for her to feel those things. She had cast those feelings aside. Now Moriko was going to die.
Yuki couldn’t believe it. She had come to think of her darker half as an entirely separate entity, but Tsurara was right… She was Yuki, and Yuki was Tsurara. She just hadn’t had the courage to face it.
Without Tsurara, Yuki was too weak. She despaired… there was no way she could fight back. There was no way she could truly protect Moriko. There was no way she could protect anyone, not without…
She needed the darkness in order to be whole.
Yuki felt a soft touch. Tsurara reached out to her, her hand trembling and her eyes fading. “Yuki.”
Yuki, overwhelmed, wrapped the dying spirit in her arms, sobbing. “I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to you. I’m so sorry I left you with nothing but hatred and anger and sadness. I should have been there for you. I should have shared the burden. Please… I need you Tsurara.”
The ice spirit smiled sadly, resting her head against Yuki’s shoulder. With a deep sigh, she vanished. Yuki felt her own body grow cold. Her once grey eyes filled with ice, turning pale blue. She felt the anger, hatred and regret accumulated over centuries enter her, nearly causing her to explode with heartache. It was more than anyone should have had to bear.
And it was hers now.
Yuki turned slowly to the man standing before her. Takauji sneered at her, dangling Moriko’s life in front of her like bait.
“They shall tell tales of the man who became greater than the goddess of winter herself.” He mocked, slicing his burning blade through the air. “Who knew it would be so easy to destroy you.”
Yuki summoned her newfound strength. She felt it rush through her, a violence she hadn’t experienced in centuries. It left her feeling renewed and exhilarated. She dragged the strength forward, and with a burst that nearly tore her apart, she sent Takauji flying. The air was suddenly filled with icy razors. The wind screamed through the trees, ripping them to pieces. The sky filled with hail and fog. The mountain shook. Takauji screamed, hitting the ground with enough force to shred the earth, and there he remained.
Yuki gasped, dropping to her knees. She was shaking, and she couldn’t bring the strength back down. It kept coursing through her. She focused on breathing, willing the strength to assimilate back into her, and slowly, it finally ebbed.
“Thank you Tsurara.”
a voice from inside of her replied, Moriko!
Yuki whirled around. The girl was still where she had fallen. She wasn’t breathing.
Yuki searched desperately for the torch, for anything dry, but there was nothing in sight. She fell, helpless, next to the girl.
“M-Moriko, please. Wake up, wake up, wake up!”
Moriko remained silent. Yuki picked the girl up in her arms. With a running leap, she flew over the mountain top and began to plummet down the other side. A blizzard surrounded her, catching her, and the winds directed her descent. As her feet hit the ground, she ran.
She darted from tree to tree. She knew this forest inside and out, and she moved along the white blanket of snow beneath her as if she were gliding on the waves of the ocean.
The village was in sight, and she could feel the temperature rising as they drew closer to the lanterns set around the town. She would make it, she had to.
The villagers were shocked as a small blizzard suddenly blew through the town. Those who where there when it cleared found a girl, pale and ghostly, laying peacefully in the street. The townsfolk rushed to help her.
Yuki watched as the people carried her dearest friend inside. Once again, she could only gaze through frosted windows. She tried to see where they had taken Moriko, but she had vanished somewhere beyond Yuki’s sight. Yuki faded from the town, drawn back to the forrest, her energy spent. She would wait.
Winter faded away into memory, giving way to spring. The flowers bloomed and the sky filled with the songs of birds.
Moriko finally was released from the doctor’s care. She had suffered terribly for weeks, but had managed to pull through. Now she sat, sadly, staring at the last of the melting snow. She could barely remember what had happened on the mountain top. She had no idea where Yuki had gone, she feared she might never see her again.
Winter had passed. She would have to wait.
At first the townsfolk had voiced their suspicions that the spirits were punishing Moriko for something, and they spoke of Yuki-Onna with fear in their hearts. Moriko was quick to jump to the spirit’s defense, explaining that Yuki-Onna was wonderful, and marveled at the beauty of winter. The people listened to her outrageous tales with mixed emotions: wonder, scorn, disbelief, excitment. She may not have convinced everyone of the truth of her tales, but she felt that perhaps a few people took to her stories.
Moriko quickly found her place amongst the people, and became very happy. The village was a wonderful place, and she felt safe.
However, as the year passed, Moriko longed for the company of her snow spirit. Winter couldn’t come fast enough.
The seasons began to change. There was frost on the ground and her breath turned to white clouds as she breathed.
Moriko could hardly contain her excitement.
It was Winter.
She raced to the edge of the mountain, gazing up in to the forest. If she waited long enough, Yuki would come.
The sky was filled with clouds. Moriko watched with anticipation as flakes began to fall gently to the earth.
Moriko beamed. That hadn’t taken long at all.