Millennium Snow, Vols. 1-3

By Bisco Hatori. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialized in the magazine LaLa DX. Released in North America by Viz Media.

This release of the third volume of Millennium Snow, along with an omnibus re-release of the first two volumes, gives us a unique glimpse into the world of manga publishing. Here we have a small series by an author which, halfway through, stopped for 10 years as suddenly a one-shot by the author blew up into a much MORE popular series (Ouran High School Host Club). After Ouran finished, the author returned to Millennium Snow, but brought with her ten extra years of talent and experience. What’s more, Viz has a similar arc – the first two volumes of this series came out seven years ago, but that was all there was until just last year, and it’s been long enough that they can’t rely on the buyer having the old volumes. So how does the older half of this supernatural shoujo series match up with the new volume?


Hatori admitted that she had a great deal of difficulty re-reading the old volumes to refamiliarize herself with the plot and characters, as she was taken aback by how poor it seemed to her now. I can see her point, though it’s certainly readable enough. The differences between the first chapter and one of the chapters in the third volume are startling. This can even be seen on the omnibus covers, as the three leads are drawn in a very sharp, angular style with wide mouths that is also typical of early Ouran, but which she gradually softened over the years. The cover to the third volume, with Toya lying on the ground being tortured and gorgeous, is far more mature – and also far prettier.

The changes don’t just limit themselves to the art, though. The first two volumes of this series are pretty good – I really love the heroine, Chiyuki, particularly after she recovers and starts to act like the energetic, snarky girl she’s always wanted to be. but you get the sense that Hatori wasn’t quite sure where she wanted to go with this series. Clearly it will end next volume with Toya and Chiyuki together for the next thousand years, as is fairly blatantly signposted from the start. However, the first half reads like a shoujo romance, with various young men coming into (or returning to) Chiyuki’s life to make things difficult for her and Toya. It’s told fairly well, but it’s pretty standard.

The third volumes switches gears, turning more towards an examination of Toya himself, as well as the supernatural world around him. Instead of potential boyfriends swarming around Chiyuki, we how have almost a yokai series, as Toya and Chiyuki investigate various supernatural events. Toya is also opening up his worldview, not just to Chiyuki but in general, and becoming less lonely as a result. It’s no coincidence that Satsuki, the werewolf boy who’s introduced as the main rival for Chiyuki in the early parts of the series, has a much smaller role in the third volume – there’s no real need for him to be there anymore.

Millennium Snow is a good read if you’re a fan of Hatori’s Host Club series, or like supernatural romances. But it’s also a great read because you see an artist return to a work she had to abandon for so long and not only pick up seamlessly where she left off, but raise it to a higher level. It’s not perfect (I just didn’t care for Yamimaru, whose cutesy accent didn’t help things), but it’s still above-average shoujo.

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