Friday, August 10, 2012

Manga Review: Gate 7 (volume 2)

Well, I'm still not convinced that Clamp is 100% sure where they're going with this story (partially because in some of the more recent chapters of Gate 7 and Drug and Drop Clamp has started to crossover even more stories and have screwed up their own timeline so much it is impossible to construct one, believe me the fans on tumblr have TRIED) it's still a pretty looking story and Barnes and Noble was having a big "buy two manga from this list and get a third from said list free" so technically this volume didn't cost me anything. So, is this story starting to get more interesting as it gets off the ground or is it still on the dull, and confusing, side?

Gate 7 (volume 2) by CLAMP

Summary: Chikahito is starting to get used to the strange new world he's found himself in, a Kyoto with mysteries and magic hiding seemingly behind every temple, and his knowledge of Japanese history is finally coming in handy, but even he can guess by the way his companions are acting that things are beginning to change. The hunt for the strongest oni begins in earnest and he's gonna meet even more people all the while trying to figure out where he fits into all of this.

The Good: Once again, thank any and all creators of the world for the translation notes in the back, without them I would be forced to read this book with wikipedia nearby in order to figure out whose who and who their allies were in real life. As it stands I might still end up making my own chart to keep things straight but these notes go a long way towards helping explain what's going on. There is more stuff going on here than there was in the first volume as the story begins to pick up and the story seems to be hinting at what Chikahito's role in all of this is (or at the least the characters are suspicious that everything starts changing once he arrives which is a good thing). 

The Bad: Even for Clamp this isn't new territory, there's nothing about this work so far that I haven't seen before (well, except for the combination of Japanese generals with the  demons but that's just a detail at this point) and between that and the confusion I'm having a bit of a hard time staying interested. In a way this series represents what I consider some of the worst of Clamp's traits, characters being overly vague (and not that fleshed out at this point), a plot we've seen before, and sadly not a lot of potential. At this point there aren't many people I would recommend this series to and it really makes me wonder just how well the series is doing sales wise. 

The Art: It's interesting to compare this work to Clamp's other ongoing work, Drug and Drop, since originally I loved Clamp's more detailed and intricate works but now I prefer their stories which use simpler designs, especially since I sometimes have trouble following the flow of panels in this story. There are a lot of complicated things in this story and the art is probably the least complicated of them but occasionally it feels like too much, especially when I noticed that quite a few of their backgrounds of Kyoto are merely photographs with a filter placed over them, something I don't think they've done in any other work.

As I was writing I was thinking about just how many hurdles this series has to jump to capture a non-Japanese fan (or non-Japanese-history-buff)'s interest and I find that fascinating since Gate 7 was originally going to be part of a new project which would be released simultaneously around the world and (logically) was probably planned with a broader interest in mind (and the original pitch was quite different in fact, it's like they kept parts of it for this and other parts got hijacked by Blood-C and the rest wandered into xxxHolic somehow). At the pace this series is coming out I can afford to keep up with it but again, I still don't know how long I'll continue to do so.  


  1. I know how you feel. It's so pretty at points, but even with the notes I have no freaking clue who's who and what's what at points.

    1. At least all the characters look distinct so if I can match a name to a face then that makes it a little easier.....