Monday Manga Reviews: from Chess pieces to dead chicks that won’t stay dead!

Clamp No Kiseki Volume 8
Creators: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop

If you’ve ever read manga or even heard about manga, I’m sure some time or other you have come across the work of CLAMP. CLAMP is an all female manga creator group from Japan. There are four members of this group: Mokona, Satsuki Igarashi, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Ageha Ohkawa. These ladies are responsible for such creations as Magic Knight Rayearth, Chobits, Angel Layer, Tsubasa, X/1999, xxxHolic, and Tokyo Babylon. They celebrated 15 years together in 2004 and these wonderful books with chess pieces were released in Japan for fans. Thanks to the great folks at Tokyopop these wonderful books are now available again in America. Since volume 7 the price of the collector’s item has dropped to $19.99 and they come inside of a blister card packaging. In this set you get a book about X/1999 in full color pages, interviews, 6 pages of brand new manga, and a timeline and family line of all the characters in X. Of course the grand price is really the three small chess pieces that come with this set: Shiro Kamui from X, Mokona, and Modoki. If you collect all twelve of the box sets you can have, the greatest chess pieces (in my opinion) ever made. These books are not just for fans of CLAMP, but toy collectors as well. A

I’’s Volume 15
Story & Art: Masakazu Katsura
English Adaptation: Arashi Productions
Publisher: Viz

If there is one thing that I will always remember about Katsura, it has to be those gorgeous gorgeous covers. I can’t think of a time that his covers on DNA^2, Shadow Lady, or Video Girl Ai has not blown me away. He draws the most realistic beautiful women I have ever seen. Funny enough when you flip through one of his books, you can tell it’s still the same artist, but the pictures are done in a different style. Reaching for a Dream concludes the story of Ichitaka and his obsession over his classmate Iori. It seems that Iori now has her own personal stalker. There is a confrontation that takes Ichitaka out of commission and makes Iori realize that she is in love with him and that her dream happens to be his dream as well. As Ichitaka finally wakes up he gets all his strength to tell her how he finally feels about her. There is a sweet little ending as the book closes and I will really miss these characters. The downside is that there were some chapters that just dragged on for far too long that got in the way for character development. The art, as always is phenomenal and breathtaking. I really hope to see more of Katsura’s work in the US. A-

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