Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: MILLENNIUM SNOW Volume 4


CARTOONIST: Bisco Hatori
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7246-8; paperback (December 2014); Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Millennium Snow, the acclaimed shojo manga by Bisco Hatori, concludes with the publication of the series' fourth graphic novel.  Mixing comedy, romantic drama, and a little of the paranormal, the finale resolves the still-born romance between a human and a vampire.

Millennium Snow focuses on 17-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka.  She was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she will not live to see the next snow.  Toya Kano is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood.  He also refuses to make the traditional, symbiotic partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years.  Chiyuki has already told Toya that she likes him, but he hasn't yet agreed to make her his partner.

As Millennium Snow, Vol. 4 (Chapters 14 to 16 to Last Chapter) opens, Chiyuki, Toya, and their friends enter their last year of high school.  Now, Toya faces the prospect of supporting himself for the rest of his long life.  Satsuki Ariyoshi, the werewolf boy, may have a job for Toya at his family's shop, Ariyoshi Goods.

Meanwhile, an important figure from Toya's past returns, as we learn more about Toya's family.  Then, a stranger arrives, and his story may be giving Toya second thoughts about Chiyuki.

The Millennium Snow manga was one of the first VIZ Media titles that I reviewed, and that was a little over seven years ago (!).  This series is the creation of mangaka Bisco Hatori, who also created the hit comedy manga, Ouran High School Host Club.

Apparently, Bisco Hatori put Millennium Snow on hiatus after finishing the episodes that were collected in the second volume of the graphic novel collection.  At some point, she resumed work on the series.  VIZ reprinted Volumes 1 and 2 in a 2-in-1 mini-omnibus edition around the time it also published new material as Millennium Snow Vol. 3.

Millennium Snow Volume 4 is the final volume of the series.  Having read Vol.4, after only reading the first volume seven years ago, I thought that I might be confused by the final volume, especially considering that I had not read the second and third volumes.  I was not.  Millennium Snow is basically simple.  Vampire guy does not want to bite human girl who loves him, although that will give both of them a long, long life.  The romantic dilemmas and tension are built around him playing hard to get and her chasing him.

It works because Hatori depicts conflicts and struggles and feelings and emotions in a way that are universal to shojo manga.  I enjoyed reading it because, even as a fantasy, Millennium Snow is heartfelt and feels genuine.  I might even try to read the entire series at some later date.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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