Most of last volume’s themes remain in the last volume. Chiyuki is no longer searching for ways to make Toya believe his life is worth living. She’s already given him the ultimate reason – her feelings for him. Although he hasn’t returned them, she’s happy being near him. And she might be teasing him overmuch to make up for it. Chiyuki also shifts from trying to find the goodness in people to helping them recover lost memories. The volume starts off with a classic high school dilemma – deciding what to do with your life once high school is over. Chiyuki has never thought of the future before, since she’d never had the luxury of imagining any sort of future due to her illness. Toya has been hiding from his future, in a way, frightened by what it might bring. Kaede and Satsuki are back, mostly for commentary and comedy. Also a bit of rivalry, as Satsuki challenges Toya to work a real job at this family’s liquor store. Memories of Toya’s childhood resurface, as well as a figure from that past – the grandfather he long thought dead. The man who raised him isn’t dead, but has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for some time. Unfortunately, Toya believes his grandfather abandoned him, so he isn’t keen on paying the man a visit in person. Chiyuki takes the initiative and goes herself, which eventually gets Toya there, too, but he’s dismayed to find out his grandfather doesn’t recognize him. Realizing that age makes people forget, he panics thinking that he’ll one day forget Chiyuki. However, another visit with his grandfather proves that strong emotions create strong memories that are never forgotten, and he finally gives in to his feelings for Chiyuki. They can’t be happy just yet, as another vampire interferes and attempts to kill Chiyuki. This vampire has come with a warning – there is no hope or happiness for their kind. His own human lover died centuries ago, leaving him lonely and grieving for 800 years. After hearing this story, Toya disappears, and six months later Chiyuki’s health has rapidly deteriorated. Even so, she visits and watches over the slowly dying Johann, while Kaede and Satsuki research the vampire’s past. With Toya’s return comes the truth, and he also arrives with a personal revelation.
Well, that’s the end of Millennium Snow. Twelve years after it began, the story finally reaches a satisfying conclusion. Was it worth the wait? Well, if you’re like me, and found yourself incredibly disappointed years ago (seven for US readers) when the story abruptly stopped after two volumes, then yes, it’s worth it to finally see what becomes of Chiyuki and Toya. It was lucky that Hatori was allowed to finish the series once Ouran High School Host Club wrapped up. Everything wraps up nicely, and personally I’m quite satisfied. Chiyuki and Toya’s story finally gets an ending, and even Satsuki gets to go along. The one thing I felt was missing was Kaede’s future. There’s no image or mention of her in the final pages, but Hatori does mention in a side panel that her life will be sad. She doesn’t elaborate, and it’s a shame that she doesn’t get a little wrap up since she makes a showing as part of the group in this final volume. Kei pops up again, too, but he’d already decided his future in a previous volume. This volume is all about the strength of memories, specifically those most embedded into the mind. Also that it’s up to others to continue carrying memories on into the future, when the ones they started with no longer can. Any moment can become a meaningful memory. Toya in particular realizes that his thousand years of life can have meaning by carrying on his memories of others and the lessons he’s learned. He’s certainly grown a lot since the first volume, and really, the entire series has centered around Toya’s journey, and it all comes together in solid fashion. If you’ve been following the series, feel confident in picking up this final volume. If you’re new, well, it’s only four volumes, and you won’t have to wait years like those of us who jumped in early.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.