I was recently reading a blog post on Drunken Anime Blog.com and Irina mentioned the lesser known manga by Clamp called Kobato. It had been so long since I had seen anyone mention this manga that I had nearly forgotten that it even existed! Which is kind of sad, because when it was first released in English in North America, it was one of my favorite Clamp stories. Of course, I went down to the comments area and expressed how happy I was that someone was bringing this little known and (heh heh, oops!) a bit forgotten series to light so maybe a whole new generation of manga readers could enjoy it too. Of course, once I became excited about Kobato again, I started wondering if Irina and other bloggers had read some of the other lesser known Clamp series like Suki or The Legend of Chun Hyang or Gate 7? Because though these manga don’t get nearly as much attention as series like Card Captor Sakura or Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, they are surprisingly good! It should be no surprise that the artwork is fantastic in these manga, they are drawn by Clamp after all. But the stories are also really unique and in many of these manga it’s clear that the artist’s group is trying to step out of their comfort zone and really experiment with new ideas and techniques. I just had so much I wanted to ask about and gush over Clamp about that I realized that I had way too much to say to put into one little comment. It needed to go into a post! So here is my post about rare and elusive Clamp manga that have been lost to time (and forgetfulness).
Suki: A Like Story is quite unique to Clamp because it doesn’t have any magic, trans-dimensional travel, or monsters in the story. It’s just a short and sweet three volume manga about a high school girl named Hinata that decides to live alone. She doesn’t have an unhappy life, in fact, she’s abundantly cheerful all the time! And she’s over joyed when some one finally moves into the empty house next door. And even better, he’s her young new teacher! One thing leads to another and it’s revealed that though Hinata came from a wealthy and powerful family, she hasn’t had a easy or very happy life up until recently. Because of the high status of her family, Hinata was kidnapped repeatedly as a child, even her close friends were hurt because of these instances. So she decided to live alone so no one else would be hurt because of her. But Hinata isn’t the only one that has secret reasons for living alone, her charming new teacher is more than he seems!
The Legend of Chun Hyang
The manga The Legend of Chun Hyang is unusual for Clamp for two reasons, first it’s unusually short at only one volume long. And second, it’s the only Clamp story I know of that is directly based off of a Korean legend. The story follows the energetic girl Chun Hyang who spends her time getting into mischief and taking down the local bullies with her amazing martial arts! Her mother is the village shaman, so Chun Hyang is actually pretty busy protecting her mother form bad guys that want to kidnap her! Not surprisingly for Clamp, a charming and roguish traveler happens through Chun Hyang’s village just as the bad guys start doing really dastardly things. Of course the traveler is more than he seems. Together Chun Hyang and the traveler take down the bad guys and save the village, but not without some very sad losses.
Gate 7 is perhaps the prettiest manga that Clamp as ever produced, and with artwork like Clamp, that’s saying a lot! In fact, the artwork on the cover of this series is so eye catching that when I was purchasing the first volume of this manga at a local book store the cashier wanted to know all about the manga, and they didn’t even read manga! They knew nothing about Clamp or manga in general, but they were an instant fan! Beyond the amazing artwork of Gate 7, the story is pretty good too. It begins with a high school boy named Chikahito who is a huge fan of the historic city of Kyoto, Japan. He knew about all the important historical figures that had lived in Kyoto. He knew about all the historic locations of Kyoto. There wasn’t anything he didn’t love about the place. And then the best thing ever happened, his class trip was to none other than his favorite city! As Chikahito was wandering about on his own, taking pictures and being a tourist, he happened upon a very strange scene of a beautiful magical girl fighting a rather terrifying monster. And though the teen girl was quite petite, she defeated the monster without too much trouble! Little did Chikahito know at the time, but he just stumbled upon a war raging between magic users in Kyoto, and his life would change forever!