The Art of CLAMP

BY CHRIS WILSON // OCT. 22, 2012 //

Manga has flowed strongly from its native Japan to all over the world, and many are surely read on campus. Most manga readers will agree that there are few manga like that of CLAMP.

Magic Knight Rayearth is one of CLAMP’s Japanese mange series. // WW.WIKIPEDIA.COM

CLAMP is the name for one of the most popular and renowned group of manga artists. The group’s four members, all female, consist of director Nanase Ohkawa and the three artists: Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi and Satsuki Igarashi. Originally part of a circle of amateur manga artists, the four began working on their debut work, RG Vega, in 1987.

It was later submitted to the Shinshokan publishing company’s Wings magazine, where it first appeared in 1989. Following RG Vega’s successful run, CLAMP continues to write manga to this day. Readers have praised the group for its wide range of genres and richly detailed art. This is a remarkable achievement, considering that these ladies were mostly self-taught.

Their premier work, RG Vega, is an epic fantasy series heavily influenced by Vedic mythology. In 1990, CLAMP released their second work, Man of Many Faces, following the exploits of 9-year-old Akira Ijyuin, who is also known as the daring thief Man of 20 Faces.

Akira also appears in two later works, the episodic detective manga Clamp School Detectives and the Power Ranger parody series Duklyon: Clamp School Defenders. In 1992, they began the apocalyptic urban fantasy series X. Unfortunately, the series was placed in indefinite hiatus in 2003 due to publisher concerns with the violent content of the story.

Two of the group’s biggest hits are Magic Knight Rayearth and Cardcaptor Sakura. Rayearth follows three high school girls who are summoned to the sword-and-sorcery world of Cephiro, where magic is tied to strong will, in order to save it from disaster. Cardcaptor Sakura is CLAMP’s magical girl classic about an elementary school girl chosen to inherit the magic of the powerful sorcerer Clow Reed.

Perhaps CLAMP’s biggest achievement in recent years is the story told in two parallel manga series: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle  and xxxHolic (pronounced “holic”). Tsubasa is an adventure story featuring many alternate versions of CLAMP’s previous characters.

In the story, young archeologist Syaoran embarks on a quest across different dimensions in order to recover the memories of his childhood friend and love Princess Sakura. Granted the power to travel between worlds by the Space-Time Witch Yuko Ichihara, he is accompanied by the gruff ninja Kurogane and the seemingly chipper magician Fai D. Flowright. xxxHolic follows Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school boy working for Yuko in exchange for removing his ability to see and attraction of spirits.

The works of CLAMP has enthralled many readers worldwide. As they continue to write, they will also inspire others to create their own stories.

CAPTION: Magic Knight Rayearth is one of CLAMP’s Japanese mange series.

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