Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: X 3-IN-1 EDITION, VOL. 2


Story and Script and Book Design: Nanase Ohkawa
Art/Cover Illustration: Mokona Apapa
Art Direction: Mick Nekoi
Art Assistance: Satsuki Igarashi
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4041-2; paperback, Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
584pp, B&W with some color, $19.99 U.S. $22.99 CAN

CLAMP (or Clamp) is an all-female manga artist group and studio. The group began in the mid-1980s as a self-publishing collective of amateur artists. The group’s first professional work, RG Veda, apparently was started when the creators were still amateurs. Some of their best known titles are Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, and xxxHolic.

Originally entitled, X/1999, X is a shojo manga created by CLAMP. The series, which debuted in 1992, follows a young man who must deal with the fact that his destiny will determine the fate of humanity and the Earth. VIZ Media is currently publishing the series in their omnibus 3-in-1 editions, which collect three original Japanese volumes in one large-sized paperback volume or graphic novel.

The series centers on Kamui Shiro, a powerful young esper. Hinoto, a young blind woman, is Japan’s greatest seer, and she has foretold the end of the world. Kamui is at the center of this prophecy. There are two competing forces battling over Earth. The Dragons of Earth (The Seven Angels) believe that the conflict between man and nature cannot be resolved peaceful, so man, as destroyers, must be destroyed. The Dragons of Heaven (The Seven Seals) believe that the conflict between man and nature can be resolved peacefully. Hinoto hopes to win Kamui, who possesses tremendous arcane powers, to the side of the Dragons of Heaven. Kamui just wants to protect the two people most important to him, brother and sister, Fuma and Kotori Monou.

As X: 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2 (which reprints Japanese Vols. 4-6) begins, Sorata Arisugawa and Yuzuriha Nekoi, two of the Seven Seals, accompany Kamui to see Hinoto in her lair beneath the Diet Building in Tokyo. Hinoto has a lot to tell Kamui, but is she telling him the entire truth about his destiny? Seishiro Sakurazuka, one of the Seven Angels who previously attacked Kamui, confronts him again. The Dragons of Earth plot to protect their stolen prize, one of the Sacred Swords. Kamui is reunited with Kotori and her brother Fuma, and Fuma has something important to tell Kamui.

Once again, I am brief in my summary of this second volume of X: 3-in-1 Edition. Of course, there is so much more to the contents of this volume – subplots, flashbacks, big reveals, and new characters galore.

X is clearly an early work by CLAMP. It is not as polished as their later works, but the creators’ passion for this project is glaring and makes for a live-wire reading experience. There are times when the images, graphics, and visual storytelling just pounded my imagination. CLAMP packs pages with explosions of energy, debris, flowers, tones-upon-tones, and various effects. This is emotional and psychological in nature more than it is straight linear storytelling, but it is fun to read.


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