Millenium Snow Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, April 26, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Bisco Hatori
Translated by:RyoRca
Adapted by:John Werry

What They Say
Seventeen-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won't live to see the next snow. Touya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years.

Chiyuki should be in high school having the time of her life, but her health is failing, and she's spending her last days living in the hospital. She makes the most of the time she has left, even though things aren't that exciting - until she runs across a reluctant vampire late one chilly night. Can Chiyuki teach Touya to feel a passion for life, even as her own is ending?

The Review
What is it like to feel the weight of centuries, when you're not even eighteen years old?

Packaging:

The cover uses the typical Shojo Beat layout, with a beautiful shot of Toya sitting and holding a sleeping Chiyuki all dolled up in lolita frills. After the main story there is a bonus story titled "A Romance of One Moment," an afterward, and a glossary, along with several one page ads for other Shojo Beat titles. The art reproduction is good, and I noticed no serious page alignment problems.

Art:

Bisco Hatori's art is all long, angular limbs and expressive eyes. Readers familiar with her work from Ouran High Host Club know what to expect here. The amount of detail she puts into everything - page layout, screen tone, outfits, background, you name it - is impressive. Action scenes are dynamic and fluid, and she's not afraid to try out experimental angles and transitions to liven things up. Her linework is very clean without being sketchy, and as noted before, she manages to draw some beauifully expressive eyes to convey her character's thoughts and emotions.

Text/SFX:

Sound effects are replaced by English equivalents, which for the most part look good. The translation flows well with no notable rough spots. Yamimaru's dialect overall seems to be a good choice, although it didn't always read quite the way I expected it to.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

She's a seventeen-year-old girl with a fatal heart disease. He's a misanthropic vampire doomed to live a thousand years who hates drinking blood. They fight crime!

Chiyuki Matsuoka is a seventeen year old girl who was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease at a young age. She wasn't expected to live to reach fifteen years, but somehow she's managed to live to see each year's first snowfall. But she's back in the hospital for what looks like it might be for the last time, as her disease has entered it's final stages. Toya is a seventeen year old vampire who's doomed, in his own eyes, to live for a thousand years. He hates humans, and he hates drinking blood, even though he has to compensate by eating large amounts of food almost constantly (delivered by his faithful and long-suffering flying servant Yamimaru). But he's almost eighteen, the age by which he is supposed to have picked out a human companion to gift with long life, to stay with for his full thousand years.

The two meet after a chance encounter one night at the hospital, and despite his bad attitude, Chiyuki is quite taken with Toya. She somehow manages to see past his brash exterior to the tenderhearted and vulnerable side he hides deep inside. When she has what is supposed to be her final, fatal heart attack, he uses his own blood to save her life and gets rid of her disease in the process. But she's not finished with him yet - Chiyuki is determined to become his human partner, and live with him for a thousand years. He's determined to have nothing more to do with her - but somehow is tricked by Yamimaru into becoming a student at her school. Despite his words, he doesn't seem to be entirely against the idea, as he's worried about Chiyuki developing her disease again. As it turns out, his blood is only a temporary treatment, and her symptoms may come back at any time.

Being in school really draws out Toya's awkwardness and lack of socialization. He has no idea how to relate to other people, or how to hide his own otherworldliness. An incident with a battered tomcat draws out his hidden insecurities, and gives Chiyuki a chance to demonstrate her inner strength.

Toya's sometimes superhuman demonstrations of sports ability draw the attention of Satsuki, a flirt who turns his attentions to Chiyuki - and seems to know something about Toya's true identity. Chiyuki manages to see right through the front he projects at school to the real Satsuki, a boy who genuinely cares about others and is very proud of his grandmother. He desperately wants to be percieved as normal, and when his secret comes to light, it becomes apparent why. The next day at school he tries desperately to pretend that nothing unusual happened, but Toya's example, Chiyuki's words, and a crisis teach him how to be truer to himself.

In A Romance of One Moment, Shiki and Midori are childhood friends. Midori is the only one who knows Shiki's secret - she actually has a boy living inside her. When Shiki's parents decide to get divorced and neither wants to take Shiki, the pain becomes too much for her, and she closes herself off from reality. The boy inside her takes over her body while she rests, and a most unusual romance unfolds.

Comments
What you get out of this story is going to depend on how much you like the characters. The story is nothing new or groundbreaking, and is even somewhat predictable at points. For some, the characters with their vulnerabilities and hidden depths are well worth the price of admission, especially prickly Toya. If there is any real complaint about the characters, it's that Chiyuki comes off as a little too good to be true at certain points. Her insight is hard to credit at times, although her oddball sense of humor is worth quite a few laughs.

The biggest flaw that Millennium Snow has is that there's nothing that really helps it stand out from the shoujo crowd. Oddball romances, atypical vampire stories, and bizzaro comedies with a touch of drama are all a dime a dozen. But the combination does create something unique that has its own appeal. I see this as being something of a guilty pleasure title, something to look forward to for the sheer enjoyment of it.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 8.99
Pages: 208
ISBN: 1-4215-1202-5
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left