Monday, November 14, 2011

[Reviews] X 3-in-1 and GATE 7 Volume 1


The most popular question that CLAMP fans like to bring up in any CLAMP-oriented setting is, "When will X be finished?" Well, they've dangled Gohou Drug (now Drug & Drop) at us, so if and when they decide to finish X, they'll most likely announce it in an official manner. As for Viz's X in their 3-in-1 format? It's brilliant.

Techs/Specs - It is printed in a fairly large format; larger than Dark Horse's Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus and about the size of the Japanese Tsubasa hardcover. It's printed in China (which is actually a good thing since the paper/ink quality is better when printed in China or Hong Kong). Unlike Viz's original release, the original right-to-left format is maintained. There are many, many colored pages separating each of the three volumes including colored splashes and tarot card illustrations. Viz also keeps the illustrated spines, so you can line all future installments up for one long horizontal art piece on your bookshelf.

Translations - From a comment at the community, there is definitely a difference in translation and/or editing. This volume is translated and edited by Lillian Olsen (Viz's original translator) and Leyla Aker, respectively. There's one page of translation notes, character pages, and interestingly, a couple pages of illustration notes explaining where the colored pages came from and comments from, I think, Mokona. The font choices are easy to read and unobstrusive. Sound effects are translated.

Summary - I won't give a story summary here since anyone can easily google it or read about it on Amazon, but it's great to reread this in this must-have format. I think Kamui and Fuuma's fan appeal come in much later in the story, but you gotta love old school CLAMP where they embrace a little gore and evil in a straightforward manner.


I suppose the worldwide simultaneous project is long gone, but 5-months-after-Japan isn't too long a wait. Dark Horse has released CLAMP's newest title, GATE 7, in a format that is usual for most US manga releases

Tech/Specs - No super extras like their Omnibus releases, no colored pages, standard paper quality (printed in the USA), standard size, and all that yields a competitive price.

Translation - The first volume contains the prologue, 3 chapters, and about 8 pages of very helpful and useful end notes. Popular & respected translator, William Flanagan, is on this job, so CLAMP fans can be assured that all of CLAMP's signature story elements are respected and understandable through his translation or through the end notes. It is edited by Philip Simon, and the font choice is normal. Comparing the font to Viz's...I really like the font Viz chose for X. Sound effects are translated on the side of the Japanese characters.

Summary - Again, no summary, use google. Since GATE 7's first peep on the internet, fan reaction has been rather lukewarm. After the inconclusive ending of Tsubasa and xxxHOLiC (and more recently the so-so ending of Kobato.), not too many people want to jump into another seemingly lengthy CLAMP story. 2ch has also been pretty meh about this series, and online bloggers have not been particularly raving about this yet. While they love the artwork, it seems like CLAMP's habit of withholding important plot points keeps readers wary nowadays. Some writers can give revelation after revelation which keep readers hooked with their complexity. Or a writer revolves their story around a simple idea which makes it easy to understand. CLAMP's strong points include building beautiful and intriguing settings filled with beautiful and equally intriguing characters. They tend to evolve their stories with mysterious dialogue which isn't always the most inviting of stories. GATE 7 does not stray from that model. One can however be certain that wherever CLAMP is heading, it will be a fairly great story once it gets moving.

X 3-in-1 Volume 1 @Amazon
GATE 7 Volume 1 @Amazon

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