Millennium Snow Vols. 1-3
Story and Art by Bisco Hatori
After a seven years hiatus, Ouran High School Host Club creator Bisco Hatori returns to the paranormal romance series Millennium Snow from VIZ’s imprint Shojo Beat. In this return to a series, we see something unique: the drive to finish a story despite the embarrassment of earlier work. Anybody who engages in a creative endeavor can relate – revisiting older work can be painful. Some artists and writers refuse to acknowledge older pieces, and others hold a nostalgic view akin to a person looking at their own scribblings from age 5.
Hatori reveals these feelings in her latest volume of Millennium Snow. In the margins of the third volume, she describes the pain of going back and reading the first two volumes originally published in 2001 and 2002. Since then, she has written Ouran, a classic gender-bending story. Her skills as a writer and illustrator have improved during the hiatus thanks to her work on Ouran, and Millennium Snow will definitely benefit from her growth in talent. Even with this growth, Hatori reports that she is striving to keep the same feel as the earlier volumes of the manga to give a sense of continuity to the series despite a large gap in the publication.
Millennium Snow features a young woman named Chiyuki (who’s name means “thousand snow”) and a vampire named Toya. Chiyuki suffers from a heart condition and was given a death sentence at a young age. Due to the care of her family and doctors and her own will to live, Chiyuki has survived to the age of 17. She knows that each day brings her closer to the end of her young life. Each heart attack she endures reminds her that she has little time left to live. She relishes in each day she continues to breath, and she is willing to fight for a chance to fully enjoy life.
Toya, on the other, is a vampire who will live to be a thousand years old. In Hatori’s vampiric lore, vampires bond with a human before their eighteenth year. The human acts as a source for blood and is given an extended life to match the vampire partner. Toya has not chosen a human partner yet. He cites that he believes humans are disgusting creatures, but there is a deeper, sadder reason for his lack of committing to a human.
The first volume of Millennium Snow wastes no time throwing these two characters together. It is unsettling how quickly Chiyuki promises to never leave Toya’s side, but her history of hospitalizations and limited social contact may have left her with no filter when it comes to interacting with other people. Combine that with the precious gift of life that Toya represents and you have a heroine who blindly falls in love with a tortured soul.
This particular plot device it not uncommon in paranormal romance. There is an adrenaline rush that accompanies loving a monster, and Millennium Snow cashes in on that element. Chiyuki’s love and concern for Toya would be far more believable if Hatori explicitly stated that Chiyuki is initially attracted to Toya because he holds the key to life. Regardless, Chiyuki and Toya are an unlikely pair that somehow decide that being friends (and frustrated more-than-friends) is a good idea.
The majority of Millennium Snow is a collection of Chiyuki and Toya growing closer together. Beside Chiyuki’s health condition, there is no major overarching plot device working in this series. It isn’t until midway through volume 3 that we see the shadows of something darker working its way into Chiyuki and Toya’s relationship. Rather, we have a loose love triangle with a werewolf classmate and a male cousin who is disappointed about being friendzoned after the handsome Toya shows up.
Overall, Millennium Snow is a fun shojo title that has a young heroine who is kind and compassionate towards the various monsters who appear in her life. She doesn’t come across as selfish or vapid, and she tends to roll well with the punches thrown in her life. Regardless of Toya’s choice, Chiyuki will likely still look forward to each snowfall and live each day as fully as she possibly can.
Volumes 1 and 2 of Millennium Snow are republished in an omnibus format from VIZ’s imprint Shojo Beat and will be available June 3rd. The omnibus also contains Hatori’s first story, A Moment of Romance, and well as bonus content from her concerning working on the series. The long-awaited volume 3 will hit digital and print shelves June 3rd.