Review: ‘X’ Vol. 1: 3-in-1 [Manga]




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by Victoria Erica | staff writer

The world is coming to an end. Cherry blossoms whoosh by as troubled dark haired teens are haunted by what is to come. CLAMP’s classic X (or X/1999 as it was first called stateside) follows Kamui, your typical bishie basket case.  Along the way, we are also introduced to Kamui’s childhood friends, the brooding Fuuma and the very bubbly Kotori.

As it turns out, both Kamui and Fuuma are destined to secure the fate of the world. In this first set, both characters show reluctance. Both are also destined leaders of two different factions. One can either take reigns on the Dragons of Heaven or the Dragons of Earth. Each team has different goals concerning the fate of the earth. The former wants to protect the earth and keeps things as they are while the latter wants to restart the world by destruction and then create new life.

Destiny is a recurring theme in the X series. Not only do we explore Kamui and Fuma’s convictions and not-so-happy pasts, we are also introduced to each team member in Team Heaven and Team Earth. In this particular volume, we are introduced to the sword wielding tsundere Arashi, and the happy-go-lucky guy, Sorata, on Team Heaven.

What makes interesting is seeing these characters interact and their relationships develop. For example, Fuuma and Kamui have a lot of baggage in their pasts – both have lost family members in the name of the fate of the world. It’s really interesting how these two deal with each of their losses. Both are shown different fates of the world in their dreams. Fuma is seduced by Kanoe’s visions to hit the restart button on the world, whereas Hinoto wishes for Kamui to protect it despite his apathy towards the situation.

X‘s artwork is done by CLAMP and the series was produced in the 1990s as a manga. The artwork is beautifully done. Even at moments where you feel the action and the drama are over the top, it is still pretty pictures.

The character designs are distinguishable and varied. Kanoe is a fierce fatale. In contrast, her older sister Hinoto is full of grace and wisdom. The artwork alone is reason to pick this up. In this special 3-in-1 edition, fans are treated to colored artwork by CLAMP throughout the omnibus.

The first omnibus covers the first three volumes of the original manga, which comes to 18 volumes total. This is a good starter set for anyone who is remotely interested in reading up on classic manga or is just looking for a fantastic shoujo action series.

This first omnibus retails for $20; considering it’s three volumes in one, it’s a pretty solid deal. I would recommend this series to fans of CLAMP, particularly fans of the Tsubasa series. There’s a plethora of characters and subplots. It may be tough to keep up, but each volume comes with a character dossier to help you keep tabs on who’s on what team.

X was adapted into an anime series and a feature film. The manga is arguably the best medium to experience X – you get more story and more insight into the characters. The downside is that, with so much build up and tension escalating through the series, it’s a downer that this epic manga series was never finished, with publication of its final 3 volumes still up in the air.

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