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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogCLAMP Anime and Manga: A Magical, Mysterious Universe

CLAMP Anime and Manga: A Magical, Mysterious Universe

By Linh
March 05, 2022

If you’re a fan of Cardcaptor Sakura, it’s impossible not to know about CLAMP – a famous all-female manga authors group with many lifelong works. But do you know about the other outstanding works of CLAMP? Today we’ll introduce to you everything you need to know about CLAMP and the CLAMP manga and anime universe!

CLAMP: The Queen of Shojo

CLAMP was born in 1989 as a group of 12 female manga artists specializing in drawing doujinshi, which means creating stories based on the plots and characters of famous manga works (like fan-fiction for manga).

It wasn’t until 1990 that they started creating manga on their own when some members left the group to pursue their own plans. Their earlier works include: Man of Many Faces, Tokyo Babylon, and Clamp School Defenders

The manga magazine Wolf with a One Piece cover, next to two copies of One Piece, on a blue background
Much like every big piece Japanese anime and manga, CLAMP got started by publishing their manga in manga magazines like this one! Image via Shutterstock

At this point, there are only four official members of CLAMP: Ohkawa Nanase (leader, script & content writer), Mokona (lead artist, colorist, art designer), Tsubaki Nekoi (illustrator), and Satsuki Igarashi (designer).

CLAMP’s manga doesn’t just have fascinating storylines. They also vary in genres from childish and comedic to tragic, dramatic stories giving deep lessons that are more for teenagers and adults.

In terms of art design and brush strokes, CLAMP is very meticulous in its works, from creating character costumes to shading with characteristic drawings. If you are a fan of CLAMP comics, you’ll immediately recognize their comic works by just skimming a few frames!

Want to learn all about CLAMP? Check out our other blogs!

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The CLAMP Universe’s Most Popular Works

With many well-known manga works, most CLAMP manga series are adapted into anime, turning the manga lovers into CLAMP anime lovers too.

Cardcaptor Sakura

This is probably CLAMP’s most famous manga series, widely loved by women, both children and adults all over the world. Of course, there are plenty of guys who like the series too.

The story follows a 10-year-old girl in 4th grade named Sakura Kinomoto who accidentally discovers a set of magical cards called Clow Cards in a book, accidentally releasing them into the world. 

She is then tasked with collecting the cards to prevent dangerous catastrophes that threaten to destroy the world. Sakura has a close friend named Tomoyo, who was also the first to know Sakura as a cardcaptor. Later, the young boy Syaoran appeared, becoming Sakura’s “rival”.

A figure of Cardcaptor Sakura, a CLAMP original anime and manga, on display next to a special edition sakura Hatsune Miku figure.
Who could ever bring themselves to be Sakura’s rival when she’s this cute? Certainly not Hatsune Miku! Image via Shutterstock

And we can’t forget one of the cutest Cardcaptor Sakura characters, Kero-chan. He is Sakura’s guide along this whole adventure.

Cardcaptor Sakura was made into an anime series, first making its appearance in Japan in 1998. It was widely recognized for its unique storyline and creative drawing style. In 2001, Cardcaptor Sakura was awarded the Seiun Award for the Best Comic Series.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is a manga that reuses characters that are familiar to the audience from several of CLAMP’s popular manga.

The story is about Sakura, the princess of Clow Kingdom, who has the ability to see mysterious objects. One day, she visits her childhood friend Syaoran at the excavation site where he works. There, she sees a strange symbol and gets sucked into it when a pair of wings appear behind her back. 

Syaoran tries to pull her back from the strange symbol but suddenly her wings fly away, making Sakura lose consciousness. A mage named Yukito (another Cardcaptor Sakura character) appears, saying that the wings are the princess’s memory, and without them, Sakura will die soon. 

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronice’s Combined Universe

So, Yukito sends Syaoran to get help from Yuuko (xxxHolic) – “the witch of space” – to find the feathers of Sakura’s memory that have been lost in another dimension. Joining their journey are Fai, a wizard who left his world to escape the evil king; Kurogane, a ninja banished from his world by Princess Tomoyo (Cardcaptor Sakura); and Mokona (Magic Knight Rayearth & xxxHolic).

The series is highly praised by both Japanese and foreigners audiences, but this can be confusing for young readers.

Actually, the Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle hasn’t ended yet. Although a completed part 2 was released, it left many big questions for readers of this series.

xxxHolic

A woman cosplays as Yuuko, a character from the popular CLAMP anime and manga xxxHolic, holding a black fan and cherry blossom branch.
Anyone who’s read xxxHolic or Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles knows about the iconic character, Yuuko. Image via Shutterstock

xxxHolic is a story about Watanuki Kimihiro, a high school boy with a special ability to see spirits. The story begins with a chase that pushes Watanuki away from the ghosts, stepping into a strange shop that specializes in granting people’s wishes. Wantanuki wants to get rid of his supernatural vision so he agreed to pay for his wish by working for Yuuko Hajiwara, the owner of the shop.

xxxHolic is an important series in the CLAMP universe because it contains many mysteries and explanations for other series as well. This manga series blends the humor from Carcaptor Sakura and the mystery from Tsubasa while still managing to keep its very own color.

This is a series worth reading whether you are a fan of CLAMP or not. It’s also one of the series geared towards young men, as opposed to shoujo anime for young women. However, it’s a pity that xxxHolic also has never made a comeback for a long time like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

Magic Knight Rayearth

In this classic magical girl anime, Fate has tied up 3 high school girls – Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu. On a day when the three are at Tokyo Tower, a light flashed, and they all disappeared. When they opened their eyes, they realized they had been transported to the world of Cephiro. 

There they met Clef, Cephiro’s mage, who told them they were the magical knights of legend – prophesied to protect Cephiro’s pillar, Princess Emeraude. To return to their own world, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu must become “miracle knights” to save Princess Emeraude who is being held by Zagato. But behind this story there is a hidden truth.

Although there might be some emotional intensity and violent scenes, in general, this series is an easy-to-follow and standard series that even young children can enjoy.

A woman cosplays as Umi, a character from the CLAMP anime and manga Magic Knight Rayearth, with a Japanese plushie of another character from the same show
Do you recognize this costume? It’s Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth along with CLAMP veteran Mokona. Image via Shutterstock

Kobato

Kobato is a story about a strange girl named Kobato, who has an extremely innocent view of the world. She has a secret “mission” to fill the glass vase with the suffering hearts of other people. In order to collect these hearts, she will have to heal their wounds first.

Kobata is one of the most loved series of CLAMP because of its well-established and healing story plot. Like many other CLAMP manga series, Kobato, composed of sad stories of many different fates, helps to deliver a positive message about life: at the end of every pain, there is always a warm and bright light watching over us.

Clover

The story revolves around Clover‘s world, governed by 5 spells. The government here seeks to control people who have special powers, with a “clover” tattoo marking these people. The 1-pointed leaf is the weakest level and the strongest is the 4-pointed leaf. 

Being a 4-leaf clover with unusual strength, Sue was imprisoned by the government to prevent her from contacting other people. The story follows Kazuhiko, who is assigned to escort Sue to a place she needs to go. On the escort road, various dangers arise. With the help of Ran, another clover, Kazuhiko tries to help Sue achieve her wish.

Clover published in Amie magazine between 1997-1999 but had to stop due to many objective reasons. In 2014, the official website’s introduction to the work put Clover on the list of completed manga, even though the series was only halfway through 4 volumes, causing controversy in the international CLAMP fandom.

CLAMP’s Legacy

Two people cosplaying as Code Geass characters, who were designed by CLAMP anime and manga designers, outside of a cosplay convention
CLAMP’s legacy is one that even leans into iconic shows like Code Geass. Image via Shutterstock

CLAMP is still considered to be a monument in the magical manga and anime world with unlimited creativity and epic series, taking us to mysterious and strange new worlds. That’s why they were even asked to provide character designs for the show Code Geass

If you ever read a CLAMP manga, you’ll find yourself wishing you were one of their characters with the same amazing power, exploring these magical worlds.

Which manga or anime from CLAMP is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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