Book Review: Gate 7 Vol. 1-4

This is actually a manga by the fabulous CLAMP. A quick lesson: Manga is Japanese comics. They are generally serialized in little weekly magazines and then put together into graphic novels. Most book stores have an entire manga section (here in the USA). Manga is different from American comics in art style and in storytelling. Where as most well known comics in America are from Marvel or DC and are about super heroes, manga covers every genre imaginable and is good for every age range. The Japanese do not view comics or cartoons as childish like we seem to here in the West. Whatever you like to read, there’s a manga out there for you.

4 STARS

Gate_7_vol1_cover

I have been a huge fan of CLAMP for over 10 years. CLAMP is not a single person, but a group of four women who work to write the story and draw the pictures. Their work is extensive and they’ve covered most popular genres, but they work mostly with fantasy, science fiction and the paranormal.

Gate 7 is a prime example of their amazing art work. CLAMP is always pretty, lots of big shining eyes, great hair and fabulous clothes. The female characters are elegant and the males are pretty and drool worthy. The art work in this series is worth 10 stars.

So why did I give it 4 out of 5? The story is a little hard to understand unless you are very familiar with Japanese history. Every character (minus the main 4) are fictionalized representations of some famous leader or general from the Warring States Period (about mid 1400’s to mid 1500’s). Gate 7 takes place in “near future Japan”, but there’s still a lot of references to old battles and such.

The way I have gotten around this is: A. Dark Horse Comics (the publishers who translated and brought this series to America) does a good job of explaining things in the back of each novel. And B. I just try to take the characters at face value.

So far I am enjoying the series and can’t wait to see where it is heading. It promises to have some fun fight scenes and I’m hoping for some big character reveals, which CLAMP is good at.

One note though: If you are new to manga and/or CLAMP, I do NOT suggest this because of the heavy Japanese history angle. If you’re interested in reading manga and/or CLAMP I can make suggestions. Just leave a comment on what kind of stories you like and I can, hopefully, point you in the right direction.

Also, I’m always open for new manga/anime suggestions (for the uninitiated, anime=cartoons).

Thanks, as always, for reading and have a Wonderful Wednesday!

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