Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Manga Review: X: 3-IN-1 EDITION Volume 5


Story and Script and Book Design: Nanase Ohkawa
Art/Cover Illustration: Mokona Apapa
Art Direction: Mick Nekoi
Art Assistance: Satsuki Igarashi
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4045-0; paperback, Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
560pp, B&W with some color, $19.99 U.S. $22.99 CAN, £12.99 UK

X, which is also known as X/1999, is a shojo manga from the manga creating collective, Clamp (or CLAMP). The series debuted in the May 1992 issue of Monthly Asuka and follows a young man who must deal with the fact that his destiny will determine the fate of humanity. VIZ Media is currently publishing the series as “X” in their omnibus 3-in-1 editions, which collect three volumes in one large-sized paperback volume.

The series focuses on Kamui Shiro, a powerful young esper (someone with powers based on extra-sensory perception). He is at the center of a prophecy foretold by Hinoto, a young blind woman. She is Japan’s greatest seer, and she has foretold the end of the world. 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 peacefully, 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, Fuma Monou and his sister, Kotori. Fuma, however, is also called “Kamui,” and he has sided with the Dragons of Earth.

X 3-in-1 Edition: Vol. 5 collects X/1999 Volumes 13 to 15. In X/1999 Volume 13, one of the Seven Angles attack a city, and Yuzuriha Kishu raises a kekkai (magical barrier) to protect the city. That Angel confronts Yuzuhira with a big question, “Why is it wrong to kill people?” Inuki’s attempt to protect Yuzuhira comes at a great cost. Also, the city of Shinjuku is attacked. Plus, the history of Karen Kasumi is revealed.

In X/1999 Volume 14, Kakyo Kuzuki, the male Dreamgazer of the Dragons of Earth, visits Kamui Shiro. Fuma attacks the cities of Ebisu and Shibuya, in the continuing bid to destroy Tokyo. Hinoto receives an unwanted visitor, and the kekkai protecting Tokyo continue to fall.

In X/1999 Volume 15, Kakyo meets Hokuto Sumeragi and develops strong romantic feelings for her. Yuzuhira declares her love for Kusanagi. Kamui battles Fuma, and an insidious plot grows inside the Dragons of Heaven.

In my earlier readings of the X 3-in-1 Edition manga, I found some things to like about X/1999. Of course, I latched onto the battle scenes, with all their displays and depictions of magical energy, either exploding on some pages or igniting across double-page spreads.

However, I found much of the graphical storytelling to be raw. The compositions were full of sound and fury, as if CLAMP were letting everything fly loose in a fury of pencil art and inking. At this point in the series, however, the story and the art are polished, and the storytelling is clear and concise. I feel the passions of the characters, and the hotter blood of conflicts and motivations come through to me. Now, X/1999 is gripping and engaging reading. I’m ready for more, which I wasn’t before now.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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