Direction: Right to Left
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Type: Series (originally released as 4 volumes)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Shojo
Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future-pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met . . . yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her only human contact two distant voices: that of her elderly "grandma," General Ko, and of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, Ora. And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is, and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be — a military top secret, and the most dangerous person in the world.
This is by far the weirdest of the CLAMP titles I’ve read, so much so I’ve re-started writing this post ten times and re-read the volume four times. And truth be told, I’m still confused on some points in it.
This admittedly isn’t a bad thing, since it means I have a desire to keep reading the volume again and again until I figure everything out.
CLAMP brought their usual art to the series, and like Adachi, re-used character designs from other titles in this one.
There are several unique elements in this series, that I haven’t seen used in other manga (or not to this extent at least). One of the main ones is the lack or art. Quite frequently the art panels reduce and become little more than buttons, with vast white or black space surrounding it. Initially I thought this was a bad waste of space, but I’m not so sure now.
The story flow is a bit weird as well, the first part being the present, and then the last part jumping to the past, which explains the first part more. While I understand the reasoning behind this, and I can even agree that it works, it still feels a bit weird.
The one aspect of the series I hate is that there’s no end, not really. The ‘end’ if we can call it that, comes in the middle of the book, and the end we get at the end of the series feels like it should be in the middle, this ties in with my previous comment really.
The other thing I found a bit weird, is that there is no real story, it’s more a journey through art than through story. And frankly the art CLAMP came up with this series is mind blowing perfect. I’ve read a lot of manga that try to tell the story through the art, none of them do it as well as this one does.
I was reluctant to buy this volume, since I figured it would be just another generic omnibus, and given it’s price tag I wasn’t sure it was worth it. How glad I am I actually did buy it. Dark Horse have done an excellent job on this release and published something that’s worth every penny.
Like a lot of omnibus releases it’s larger than average, which means the art has a lot of space to spread it’s wings. This is the first time that Clover has been released in it’s original right to left format, it was previously released by Tokyopop in a flipped, left to right, format. That version has since gone out of print and is now hard to find.
Where this release excels is in the paper used for the volume. It’s high grade glossy paper, giving the pages a silky sexy feel. On the down side this does mean they get dirty a bit more easily, but who cares!! the art looks all the more superb on this paper.
The frequent full colour pages are exceptional as well, and frankly I felt I was reading a double release, the Clover manga and a Clover Art Book.
I don’t really want to get into recommending books for people, but this is one I have to recommend because it has everything an excellent manga needs. Not to mention that Dark Horse went all out with it’s production, even including promotional art that was not included in the original releases from either the original japanese or original Tokyopop versions.