Wish Manga Omnibus Review

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Ah CLAMP, just reading any of their series brings me back to my early teen years of reading Cardcaptors and Chobits. Over the years, they have wound up becoming one of my all time favorite manga creators. Their wide breadth of titles and stories make it easy to find something entertaining for almost every reader, and their ability to create meaningful stories for both younger readers and older ones is hard to match. Wish is one of the few series from them that I actually never had the chance to pick up and read, so I was excited to learn that Dark Horse had started to publish the entire 4-volume series in one collected omnibus. It’s a challenge to read with it being at least two inches thick and pretty heavy, but the series itself is definitely worth it especially if you like cute and innocent love stories.

The story of Wish follows a young doctor Shuichiro who notices an adorable flying thing trapped in a tree on his way home from work one day. It just so happens to be the angel, Kohaku, who offers to grant Shuichiro any wish he desires in gratitude. The only problem is that Shuichiro has everything he could ever want, a good job, enough money to be comfortable, and a nice house. But that doesn’t dissuade Kohaku, and Shuichiro soon finds himself with a new roommate who just so happens to draw more angels and even devils to their home, becoming a sanctuary for those looking to escape both hell and heaven. Continue reading

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The Philosophy and Psychology of XXXHolic

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CLAMP has always told great stories. Cardcaptor Sakura has captured the imagination of a generation of young girls and remains one of my all-time favorite animes to date. It weaves magic, heroism, and romance in a way that keeps you coming back to see what new card or what new mystery Sakura will have to solve this time. Chobits offered an interesting look into the problems of human and android relationships. It commented on the meaning of love and of existence in general. Tsubasa took some of CLAMPS most famous characters and turned them upside down to discuss the nature of relationships, of memories, and the interconnectedness of the universe. And now, one of my other favorite CLAMP series seems to go a step further, offering a peek into the human psyche and the universe itself, XXXHolic.

There are a few universal truths to this series that each story arc builds off of, and then some smaller commentary on different phenomena and human nature within those general rules. I’d like to take a look at a few of those today and begin to build a picture of what exactly the philosophy and psychology of this series is. To start, there are two main rules the universe and characters of XXXHolic follow: equivalent exchange and hitsuzen (or fate). Continue reading

How Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Managed to Disappoint One of its Biggest Fans

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The title of this blog post makes it sound like I’m feeling a bit betrayed right now, and in a way that is true. Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my all-time favorite series. It’s one that’s been a favorite of mine since early childhood and, because of this series, I was introduced to many more brilliant CLAMP series like xxxHolic and Kobato. It was one of the first magical girl series to really break the mold of what it meant to be a magical girl, doing away with transformation sequences, actually adding characterization to the male leads/love interest, and promoting positive views of single parenthood and same-sex relationships. To say that I was looking forward to this series when it was announced would be an understatement. I knew there was a chance it would turn out to be a sub-par remake, but I honestly had faith that CLAMP wouldn’t let one of their most popular series fail like that.

Back at the end of last season, the middle of the series, I wrote a blog post talking about Clear Card as it stood then and my hopes for where the story may go from there. There were a ton of questions circling around at that time about where the story would go, what kind of reveals we would see later on, and predictions on where the story around Akiho might go. Now, I can definitively say after watching the last episode that I honestly have more questions now than I did then. This review is probably going to end up being pretty spoilery, so if you haven’t caught up on the new series, I suggest you go watch it before reading further. Continue reading

Why Clear Card Will Never Surpass the Original Cardcaptors: A Mid-Season Review

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As you can probably tell by now, Cardcaptors is one of my top favorite animes of all time. I can honestly say that’s probably one of, if not the, best magical girl anime out there. It was one of my first animes as a child and one of the first mangas I picked up, so I’m sure you can understand how intensely excited I was for the new Clear Card arc. After almost 20 years, Sakura Kinomoto and all her friends and magic cards were going to come back for a new, modern story made for both nostalgic fans and a new generation of young girls. I’ve tried to keep my hype in check because I know how things things go most of the time. You get super hyped over something and then it just kind of lets you down, that’s just how new anime/media releases are. I knew already from the manga that it probably wouldn’t meet my nostalgia expectations, but when the anime started I was surprisingly confused on whether or not I liked where CLAMP was going with the series.

If you don’t know already, the Clear Card arc follows Sakura Kinomoto as she transitions into middle school. It picks up where the last movie left off, with Li returning from Hong Kong to join everyone for a new school year. All of our favorite characters are back with minimal changes. In the beginning, the magic front has been pretty quiet to the point where Sakura is considering putting away her key. But things quickly change when she begins to have weird dreams about a hooded figure trying to steal her magical key. Her Sakura Cards then become unusable, her key changes into something new, and new cards begin appearing around town. Sakura, Tomoyo, and Li must once again collect all the new Clear Cards. Continue reading

A New Cardcaptor Sakura Means Some Changes for Better or Worse

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Cardcaptors has been a series that I have returned to again and again, whether it was trying to learn to read Japanese through its original manga or watching and rewatching the 70 episode anime and two movies. Now, after almost 17 years, CLAMP is bringing back one of their most popular and beloved IPs for a new — and old — generation of readers. Cardcaptor Sakura: The Clear Card Arc is both a continuation and a modern retelling of the original story. I say modern retelling in the sense that the content and world are updated to match our current culture and technology while also following the same storytelling formula of the previous series. As someone who is an avid fan of the series, I have both reservations and hope that CLAMP will be able to make good on their past success with both the new manga and the anime coming out in January.

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