Thoughts on CLAMP


I’ve read about as much of CLAMP work as most average readers, maybe less. I still haven’t read X/1999, Clamp School Detectives and a lot of their other work. But I have read quite a bit.

CLAMP was one of the first mangaka I started reading. Initially, I had watching the North American version of Cardcaptor Sakura (which was….not so good), but I managed to find the manga and read it, and there was SUCH a difference! I still look back on Cardcaptor Sakura fondly.

On another note, I actually own the Tokyopop release of Legend of Chun Hyang, and it was quite enjoyable (despite the fact that it remains incomplete, and I REALLY think CLAMP should expand on it a little more since I really enjoyed it…. *___*)

Basically, I’ve read most of CLAMP’s newer works, and I REALLY need to take a closer look at the stuff they made in the ’90s….srsly.

CLAMP’s works that I have finished reading/read at some point (I tried to make this in chronological order, as published in Japan):

Legend of Chun Hyang:

I initially bought this because I saw the reference they made to it in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (which I enjoyed), and I thought Chun Hyang was an interesting character. The series (or should I say volume, since it’s only one book long right now), was excellent. Although I think it lacks some of the finesse that their current work has, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Cardcaptor Sakura:

This is the shoujo series EVERYONE should read. It’s one of the titles that CREATED the magical girl genre. Screw Sailor Moon. THIS IS BETTER >:D (I’m going to get so many flames for saying that. I was joking. Really. I love Sailor Saturn.)

Anyway…

I swear, fanfiction writers went nuts over this stuff back in the day when fanfiction.net was teeming with Shaoran x Sakura and Tooya x Yukito shippers (and when I was still young enough to have patience for such things…). I still really love the idea of the Clow Cards, and still wish I had bought a set. And I still wish Clow Cards really existed. I really want some…. ;_;
Ahh, if CLAMP was the stuff of reality. If only.

Anyway, highly recommend.

Angelic Layer:

I read this a long, looong time ago. I vaguely remember enjoying it? It’s somewhat similar in structure to Megaman, in a way, but I really need to reread this….after I finish my backlog of a hundred something titles. Anyway, don’t expect any groundbreaking existential themes in this of course, but I think it’s worth checking out for manga history’s sake (since this relates so closely to Chobits).

On another note, I have no idea why this was serialized in Shonen Ace. Really? Putting the most harmless manga ever in the magazine that serialized Mirai Nikki and….Girl’s Bravo. Japan, sometimes I just don’t understand.

Legal Drug:

This series is technically still on hiatus….and it’s been on hiatus for more than 10 years. SIGH. I enjoyed reading it, but the series’ lack of completion kind of takes away from the plot a little. Oh well. Let’s hope CLAMP takes this up again before they retire, LOL.

Chobits:

There’s a reason why there is so much fan-made wallpaper for this series – because it’s so pretty. I think this is the series where CLAMP’s style evolution becomes the most apparent. This series marks where CLAMP’s artistic style is headed in the 2000s. The amount of detail that goes into the Chobit’s clothes is AMAZING. You thought CCS was pretty? This only goes further AND it’s a bit more applicable in reality.

Despite having some reservations about the series when I started reading it, I actually really enjoyed it. It does raise a few interesting points, and I did find myself cheering for Hideki and Chii at the end, hehehe. 🙂

Please note that while the anime features a great cast, the plot structure and fillers of the anime kind of make watching it not worth it, so I recommend the manga much more than the anime. But Rie Tanaka makes a lot of great ending themes, and the opening theme for this is very iconic, not to mention EXCELLENT, so go track it down!

xxxHOLiC:

My favourite CLAMP series by far, ’nuff said. The art is amazingly gorgeous, the story is AMAZING (I waited with BATED BREATH for every update in the series) and the crossovers with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and other CLAMP series are amazingly well done.

And Yuko Ichihara? Best manga heroine ever. There is a very good reason why my Youtube account name is Yuuko41, and it’s because of CLAMP’s Yuko Ichihara. YES. Yuko always has something interesting to say while she’s making Watanuki buy her liquor, hehe. Plus, the references to Japanese folklore are excellent. There’s a lot of social commentary about society and interpersonal relationships in this too, which makes this even better 😀

In short, I loved this series, and I was heartbroken (READ: HEARTBROKEN) when it ended. Wish there was more, but CLAMP gave it a good ending.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle:

And no, I am NOT bothering with the messed up capitalization.
Now, don’t be fooled. This is by no means a sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura! Everything takes place in an alternate universe! :O

This series was so promising. And it is good. I can generally read CLAMP’s action manga because the action is rendered in a (for me) coherent way and it’s so artfully done. And Tsubasa is no exception.

…Until the plot became so weird and messed up I kind of got annoyed with it. And Tsubasa’s general weirdness DOES transfer into xxxHOLiC to a certain extent (which wasn’t too bad) which kind of makes things REALLY messed up. I really should do a rant on Tsubasa someday. =_=Although some of the plot twists were so shocking and mind boggling that they were actually kind of awesome, I’m REALLY not buying some of the major ones. Like the ones about Shaoran and Sakura? NOPE. I really think CLAMP was grasping at straws so that the whole going-to-other-worlds bit wouldn’t become redundant, but then they just messed the plot up so much =______=

Anyway, like xxxHOLiC, Tsubasa is incredibly beautiful. This series actually formed some of the basis for my current drawing style, so I am immensely grateful to CLAMP for their inspiration. 😀

This series is quite long, but I recommend you at least try a few chapters, because the worlds CLAMP has created are absolutely breathtaking. Plus, Fay and Kurogane’s interactions are pretty cute, along with all of the in-jokes only the CLAMP fans will get ^.^

And we’re DONE! I sort of started to read Gate 7 today, and it seems somewhat promising, so I’ll get back to you on that and tell you guys what I think sometime in the future!

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