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Clover Manga (Hardcover) Review

Clover Manga (Hardcover) Review

-Written by: Olivia

I’m slowly working my way through CLAMP’s catalog, and so far I’ve had pretty good luck finding series I enjoy. I was excited to give Clover a try, but I have to say it was a bit of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, Clover is a manga that is full of potential but there were many things that were left to be desired. Like a middle and a conclusion.

Clover is a dystopian science fiction manga that places the reader in the middle of the action and you have to put the pieces together as you go along. This isn’t something I’m fond of to begin with, but I was able to figure out the basics. In this world, there are a small group of people with psychic powers called “clovers”. One-leaf clovers have limited abilities, three-leaf clovers are more powerful but some can still be a part of society. Su is the only four-leaf clover and has been locked away from the rest of the world to prevent her abilities from getting in the wrong hands. She is being transferred to a new location by Kazuhiko, a former military official brought back for one final mission. We get some more details about the world and our two main characters on their journey, but then the story takes a turn. The story shifts to a lengthy flashback that continues for the rest of the manga. The extra character information is nice, but I still can’t tell you much about Su other than that she is lonely and think’s Kazuhiko’s girlfriend Ora is a great singer, which we already knew from the first half of the manga. The flashback instead focuses more on the side characters, Ran and Ora. I liked these characters so I enjoyed learning more about them and the different types of clovers. I was interested in seeing where this information would be useful later but this is where the story stops. We don’t go back to the present day, we don’t get anything else from the story.

Kazuhiko discovering Su is a four-leaf clover. (Clover Manga (Hardcover), pg. 138).

One of CLAMP’s frustrating...quirks is that they have a tendency to start stories that they will either put on hiatus indefinitely or completely drop. I did some research after finishing the manga and found out that one of the members of CLAMP said that Clover was supposed to have at least two more volumes. I’m not sure if the story could be wrapped up in just two volumes, but it definitely would have helped.

Frustrations aside, there’s a lot in Clover that works. The characters designs are interesting (even if some of them look a little too similar to existing CLAMP characters and the guys have Dorito torsos) and the world is beautiful. I like the idea of music being an underlying motif in the story, but the lyrics tend to break up the manga panels in an awkward and confusing way. CLAMP also made some unique choices with their panel layouts. They chose to play with empty space to emphasize the feeling of isolation Su feels. It works sometimes, but other times it just feels like a waste of space.

Su and Ora (Clover Manga (Hardcover), pg. 336 & 337).

This collector’s edition is perfect for diehard CLAMP fans and the story leaves plenty for interpretation. It’s not the strongest manga, but I think it has the makings for a pretty cool anime. A music video was made for the series in 1999 by Madhouse and I’m honestly surprised it was never picked up for a full series. Maybe someday the series will get animated or the manga will get completed, but in the meantime Clover is still an enjoyable read.

Clover Manga (Hardcover)

Clover manga collects the entire series, volumes 1-4, presented in this hardcover edition and features story and art by CLAMP.

Sue was born into a bleak future, where the military keeps tight control over the few children born with psychic abilities—known as “clovers.” The clovers are forcibly tattooed with a symbol that indicates their potential power, and Sue is the only four-leaf clover in the world. Kept locked away in isolation her whole life, Sue longs to escape and get a taste of normal life. A voice in her mind guides her to the answer: an agent named Kazuhiko. Neither of them realize it, but Sue and Kazuhiko share a bond that spans decades…

CLAMP’s most daring science-fiction work, CLOVER’s art-deco cyberpunk aesthetic is just as fresh and exciting today as it was twenty years ago. Featuring the entire story in a newly-revised translation; remastered art and lettering; and a striking, embossed cover, this is a great collectible for CLAMP fans, and the perfect way to get to know CLOVER for the first time.

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