Millennium Snow 1-2 by Bisco Hatori: B-

Millennium Snow is the first series by Bisco Hatori (of Ouran High School Host Club fame), one of those that began as a stand-alone but eventually achieved serialization. It’s been on hiatus for some time, but now that Ouran has wrapped up, some fans are hoping that Hatori will return to it. I’m not so sure that’s a worthy endeavor.

Chiyuki Matsuoka has had a weak heart since birth, and wasn’t expected to live past the age of fifteen. She’s managed to make it to seventeen, but spends most of her time in the hospital. One day, as she is gazing out the window, she spots a boy fall from a building and dashes out of the hospital to check on him. He is Toya, the very personification of the seemingly gruff hero who actually has a heart of gold. He’s also a vampire, weak from his refusal to drink blood.

Toya is exceedingly abrasive to begin with, but eventually demonstrates he’s not such a bad guy by doing things like accompanying Chiyuki on an afternoon outing (vampires have overcome their aversion to sunlight) and catching a little kid’s loose balloon. Chiyuki falls for him pretty quickly and offers to become his partner. Having a human to feed upon will cure the exhaustion he suffers from abstaining and the arrangement will also allow Chiyuki to share his 1000-year lifespan. Toya refuses, because if his partner should ever despair of their unending life, he would be the one to blame—he’s watched humans he cared for die, and wouldn’t want to wish the same on his partner.

It’s an interesting dynamic, and the first chapter—which I assume constituted the original one-shot—is quite good. Unfortunately, one the story gets serialized, Hatori seems hard-pressed to come up with plots. First, she introduces Satsuki, a werewolf boy whose transformation is limited to fangs and clawed hands and feet in order to best preserve his bishounen appearance. When the story focuses on his desperate attempts to be normal, he’s a fairly compelling character, but he quickly becomes dim-witted and entirely too glomp-happy, existing only to incite Toya’s perturbation. Their incessant squabbling means that on practically every page someone’s yelling or getting kicked in the back of the head.

To demonstrate the dearth of plot ideas, in volume two the trio is suddenly lost in the Alps in Switzerland, where they stumble upon a deserted mansion. It is incredibly random, and brings home the point that while you may have two likable leads—plus a completely adorable talking bat!—you may find yourself without sufficient material to sustain a longer story.

I’m not sure how it can be salvaged at this point, honestly. I think I’d rather see Hatori embark upon something new and leave this one unfinished. When the romantic tension between Toya and Chiyuki takes center stage, the story’s potential is obvious, but the directionless plotting and constant bickering makes for a frustrating reading experience.

Millennium Snow is published in English by VIZ. The series is currently on hiatus in Japan.

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  1. I agree with you – this manga has a few good points (ie the Bat! :-), but mostly it’s pretty humdrum. We’ve seen far better from Hatori.

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