Friday, August 19, 2011

Manga Review: Gate 7 by CLAMP

Title: Gate 7
Artist/Author: CLAMP
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: 10/25/2011
ISBN: 1595828060

Before I go any further with this review I have to state that I've only read the first chapter of Gate 7, the oneshot that started everything with this series. CLAMP works tend to have plots that reach far beyond one chapter, so I want to stress that all I can do is give my impressions of what I have.

Get ready for another exciting new series from best-selling manga creators, CLAMP (Chobits, Clover, Cardcaptor Sakura)! Chikahito Takamoto has always read about the beauty and mystique of Japan's ancient capital city, Kyoto. Now, two years into high school, he's finally visiting there for real. But wandering the grounds of Kyoto's legendary Shinto shrine of Kita no Tenmangu, he chances upon a mystery that his guidebooks didn't prepare him for - two handsome men and an attractive woman, all strangely-garbed, wielding powers...and fighting monsters! The two men treat poor Chikahito with suspicion - but the girl seems to like him. They aren't worried about what Chikahito's just seen, because they have the power to erase his memory...except for some reason, that power doesn't work! And why does the girl kiss him before sending him away? One thing's for sure: Chikahito is going to be seeing a lot more of these three strangers...

You can't read any CLAMP manga without admiring the gorgeous style that is their trademark. It might change as members come and go, but it's always beautiful and worth looking at on its own merit. This doesn't really change in Gate 7. I absolutely loved looking at the art in this story. It might not be their strongest work (their earliest works will always be my favorite), but this is beautiful. I can't say enough about it.

Story-wise, I can see where this will draw in a lot of readers. It's not entirely my style, but there's a decent base here to expand upon. It's a little on the vague side, but since this was just the first chapter I don't feel right giving any final judgement on the storyline of this series. (Supposedly what I read was just a oneshot but it looks like it was definitely intended to be a promo for a series.) I've done a little snooping on the internet for information and it looks like this series will get pretty interesting as the volume progresses. It just doesn't seem to be my cup of tea, but that's OK. I'll just wait for Dark Horse to release the inevitable artbook. (Hopefully they'll re-release some of the out of print artbooks TokyoPop used to carry.)

I have to say, this will definitely find an easy audience here in the states. CLAMP can rarely go wrong in my opinion and they're giving us more of what they do best. Gate 7 will definitely appeal to those who loved X and xxxHolic.

3.5 out of 5 stars

(Reader copy provided by Netgalley)

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