Monday, July 23, 2012

MMF: Clover

Summary (from amazon):  Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future. Kaz is 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. 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!

Details: Originally 4 volumes long, the first 2 volumes cover Suu's journey, volume 3 covers Kazuhiko's shared past with Suu (through his lover Oruha) and volume 4 covers Ran's (or Lan, depending on which translation you prefer) past.

In America TokyoPop published the individual volumes (now out of print) after publishing the first two volumes in their print magazine SMILE, and Dark Horse published the omnibus currently available to purchase ().

In Japan Kodansha published all four volumes in their now defunct magazine AMIE, before publishing the individual volumes.  They also re-released the series in 2-volume omnibuses.

The series is considered 'on indefinite hiatus' and remains unfinished since 1999.

Music Video: Much like some of CLAMP's other works, there is an animated music video that vocalizes the 'Four Leaf Clover' poem/song that Oruha and Suu sing.  It was produced by Madhouse and can be seen below with subtitles:

Why I Love It: The 'chapters' (more like vignettes) are short and can take a bit of getting used to (especially in the latter volumes).  Less like a transitioning story, many of the chapters feel like pieces of a story (sometimes told out of context and time) being told.  The artwork is different enough from what I was reading of CLAMP's back then (mainly Magic Knight RayEarth and Cardcaptor Sakura) that I found it gorgeous and captivating.  There's a lot of 'negative' space, only one or two panels per a page with very little frenetic energy even in fight scenes.

I own this four different ways--the individual America releases, individual Japanese, the Japanese omnibus release and the Dark Horse omnibus release, as well as the music video DVD.  Its by far my favorite of CLAMP's titles and one I hope they finish.  As a sidenote, I read the Four-Leaf Clover poem in my college Speech class for a presentation on something that moves you both out loud and on paper.

Don't Believe Me? Here's some reviews from around the webs from people not at all related to me:

Technology Tell: Important Importables
Ex.org Review
About.com Manga Review (Deb Aoki)
Anime News Network Review
Minitokyo Review

Alternate View: And to be fair, here's a review that wasn't as in love with it as me
Anime Princess