The four women who make up the manga group CLAMP
(Ohkawa Nanase, the scriptwriter; Mokona Apapa, the lead artist; Igarashi Satsuki, the layout designer; and Nekoi Tsubaki, the character artist) are to manga (and manga turned into anime) what Megumi Hayashibara
is to voice acting. They began as doujinshi artists but went pro in 1989 with RG Veda
. The original doujinka group was actually ten
members (one of whom was a guy), but six of them left (one in 1990, two in 1992, and three in 1993), resulting in the four-woman team we know today. That Other Wiki
has a little more information on their contributions and accomplishments since in CLAMP's article
Since RG Veda
, nearly all of their work has been animated, a list which includes many of the staple series of anime.
A theme that runs through CLAMP
's works is that love transcends everything, particularly that pesky little thing called gender
. Note that this is not a "love conquers all
" kind of thing, as gender/age/being a robot/being a ruthless assassin/etc can be insurmountable barriers to having a functional relationship. No barrier can stop people from falling in love but it may very well prevent that love from reaching a happy resolution. (See the relationship between Tomoyo and Sakura in Cardcaptor Sakura
, or the one between Sakurazuka Seishirou and Sumeragi Subaru in Tokyo Babylon
, or between Kazuhiko and Suu (or Ora) in Clover
as prime examples.)
Their manga work is characterized by a highly-detailed Shōjo (Demographic)
art style, though for budget reasons the designs are often simplified for animation. Their style underwent a noticeable change in the late 1990s when Mokona starting ceding more design responsibility to Igarashi and Nekoi. Nekoi's distinctive character designs are responsible for the "noodle people
" description common in fandom. CLAMP also errs on the shojo side thematically (despite being published in an unusually wide range of magazines, including Shounen and Seinen), and thus are very prone to drama
and painful family unfriendly
or broken aesops
. Their work also runs the spectrum with some being extraordinarily cutesy
, others being horrifically gory
, and others still being a mix of the two or everything in between. Being former doujinka, their work is also notable for a deliberately high degree of Fanservice
and Fetish Fuel
A quick note about the members of CLAMP
: In July of 2004, they all changed their pen names slightly. Mokona Apapa became simply Mokona, Ohkawa Nanase became Ohkawa Ageha, Nekoi Mikku became Nekoi Tsubaki. Igarashi Satsuki simply switched her family name into hiragana, and her given name into kanji. Nekoi and Mokona had been wanting to change their pen names for awhile; Ohkawa and Igarashi just went along for the hell of it. Ohkawa has since reverted to Ohkawa Nanase for attributions. At least three of them have used their names (partially or entirely) for characters in series
: Satsuki as Yatouji Satsuki in X
, Nekoi as Nekoi Yuzuriha in X
, and Mokona as Mokona in Magic Knight Rayearth
, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
, and xxxHolic
Some of their works:
Tropes common across most of their works:
- All Deaths Final: By Word Of God, there is no way to bring back the dead. Ever. That being said though, reincarnation is possible and has occurred in a few of their works, with stress on the fact that even if the soul is the same, they aren't the same exact people as who they were in a previous life. However, in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, if a certain Evil Plan is successfully carried out, apparently it will become possible to negate this trope... Even if it costs the stability of the whole of space-time.
- Arc Welding: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle combined the Plot of xxxHOLiC, Cardcaptor Sakura, X1999 and numerous other CLAMP works into one huge Gambit Pileup.
- The Beautiful Elite
- Because Destiny Says So
- Bishounen and Bishoujo
- Costume Porn: With long, lacy ribbons being a particular hallmark in their promotional art. Oddly, it only occasionally shows up in the actual stories themselves (and almost never in animated versions due to the cost of animating all that billowing ribbon properly).
- Chastity Couple: Only a very small minority of Official Couple's have ever been given a kiss scene, much less anything beyond that. Affection between individuals tends to instead be expressed through gentle gazes, hand-holding, hugging, and kisses given in places that aren't the lips (such as the forehead or cheek).
- Cultural Cross Reference: When you see terms such as RG Veda, Ashura and even Samsaara, you know they've been studying Hinduism.
- Everyone Is Bi
- Eye Scream
- Because it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Not universal, but fairly common.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes
- Maybe Ever After: Their favorite ending...even in Denouements.
- Mind Screw: Deserves a special award! Their latest works have taken it Up to Eleven frying brain cells across their fandom and leaving a probable legacy of several decades worth of forum discussions, all of which add to the confusion even more. Trying to trace the law of causality after a case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero would cause more brain damage than the combined screws of Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, and Superstring Theory put together!
- Just one of the results was a situation where thanks to incorporating every single type of Time Travel, you can't say if it is Always Identical Twins, Alternate Self, Identical Grandson, Generation Xerox, Cloning Blues, My Own Grampa, Summers Family Tree, Everyone Is Related or a blow your brain combo of all of these put together simultaneously!
- And now look what's happened! After overdosing on this trope, things have reached a point where, now that both Tsubasa & Holic have ended, even Word Of God has admitted that they too are rather confused over how everything turned out and want to re-read it.
- With xxxHOLiC starting up again, who knows if it will bring some sense of coherency to this mess, or just further add to it.
- No Ending: Quite well known (and well critcised too) for open ended and unresolved closures.
- Noodle People
- Only Six Faces: They are masters of this trope.
- Pimped-Out Dress Especially in the omake art.
- Recurring Element: Mokona.
- Reincarnation Romance
- Rule of Glamorous
- Screw Destiny
- Shōjo (Demographic)
- Shout Out
- Side Story Bonus Art: Enough to fill whole libraries.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Even in elementary school. Where it is treated as wholesome.
- Unlimited Wardrobe