Bisco Hatori – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes

Woah, I never thought I’d see this one again!  I drug my feet about buying the last two volumes last year, and was rewarded with this nice omnibus.  I was rather fond of the first pair of volumes, and my opinion of Bisco Hatori rose steadily with each volume of Ouran High School Host Club, so I was somewhat curious to jump back in.

I was also happy the first chapter basically filled you in on what was happening.  Admittedly, I did not re-read the first two volumes.  I did take a quick peek though, just to see how the art had changed.

Unlike volume 2, the plot moves forward here.  Toya is still a quiet loner who has trouble interacting with people, but with each chapter, Chiyuki manages to push him further and further out into befriending regular humans.  She’s cheery, optimistic, and undaunted by his grumpiness.  She apparently has a fatal heart condition, but this doesn’t appear again until the end of volume 4.  I liked watching the sunny/grumpy pair interact.

After making some friends, the story focuses on Toya and Chiyuki’s relationship, and the final story arc introduces (sort of, he’s been hanging around) a vampire who’s an even bigger sad sack than Toya.  And if that’s not depressing enough, we also get to learn about Toya’s grandfather, which is another sad story about the pros and cons of memory and living a long time.

It’s a simple shoujo story, full of simple shoujo thrills.  There’s a very Tamaki-like werewolf, who I had also forgotten about.  The chapters about Toya and Chiyuki falling in love are adorable.  Toya is the most un-vampire-like vampire in shoujo manga, which is a shame because that puts butts in seats these days.  But I still thought it was a cute series, and it makes me happy that I have one less unfinished one languishing on my shelves.

Should you read it?  Well, if you like dark characters, and shoujo romance, and kind of liked Ouran High School Host Club, it might be worth giving a try.  The first two volumes are rather scattered, like early Ouran, but the last ones reminded me a lot of the quirky humor in that series.  It’s not a huge stand-out among short shoujo series, but there will be plenty of people who will enjoy it.

Millennium Snow 2

July 31, 2007

I was actually kind of disappointed with the second volume of this series. Instead of the development we got in the last volume, things kind of stall as we go on wacky adventures with all three (or four, if you count the bat) main characters. We learn new things, and a character from someone’s past is introduced, but it turns into an Ouran one-shot kind of volume with no conclusion. Needless to say I was pissed, because I was expecting this volume to resolve the series with the… consummation of the relationship between the vampire and Chiyuki.

Bah. It was still pretty cute, just not what I expected. Hatori mentioned in the author’s section that she may continue this one day, but wanted to work on other things. Which makes this an unfinished title. I did not realize, and I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I’d known. On the other hand, I’m totally buying Time Stranger Kyoko, which ended prematurely, so who’s to say what I will and will not buy.

Millennium Snow 1

May 5, 2007

I decided to start this and Backstage Prince based solely on their length (two volumes each), then immediately got buyer’s remorse for whatever reason… probably because I don’t need to be reading new series.  I drug my feet about reading them both, but I took only them to LA with me recently, so they got read.  Or at least, this one did.

I was really pleasantly surprised.  It’s got some of the stiffness and kinks that you would expect from a rookie story (I don’t know if this was her first collection or not, but I would bet it was among her first), but the plot is actually really good.  A girl with a heart condition tries to be friends with a vampire who doesn’t like humans or drinking blood.  Ideally, she would like him to make her his partner so that they can live 1,000 years together, he only needing her blood to survive.  She says this was a wish for her parents, for her to see 1,000 first snowfalls (her name is Chiyuki, you see) when she wasn’t meant to see more than 15 with her heart condition.  The rest of the story is about the two befriending each other.

Though the vampire kind of screams emo stereotype and does not let even Chiyuki break his dismal cover, there are scenes where he really comes through for her.  Chiyuki herself is a pretty cheery, bouncy girl for someone who could be moments away from dying.  There is another character introduced at the end, a werewolf (which is called werewoof, for some reason) and the theme of fitting in is introduced… it was touched on briefly at the beginning when Chiyuki has to go back to school, but it doesn’t stick to her since she’s so cheerful.

Flawed, but I’m looking forward to a hopefully happy ending next volume.