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volume 3 issue 12

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Animefringe Coverage:
CLAMP's Wish: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Adam Arnold

Shuichiro has to be the luckiest man in the world. He's a doctor with flexible hours, he's got a nice house with a gorgeous garden in the back, and he's got enough money to keep him debt-free for years to come. Yes, Shuichiro has it made in the shade.

Even though he always has a stoic expression on his face (considered by a small minority to be the 'who farted' look), Shuichiro is great with kids and incredibly handsome. It's just that he looks like he isn't the easiest guy to strike up a conversation with and thus some girls seem to think he's kind of scary. Think the Japanese equivalent of Bruce Wayne (i.e.: Batman) minus the whole playboy part and you'll get the picture.

Then one night, he was on his way home from a shift at the hospital when he heard something crying along the side of the road. He looked up to see a peculiar little child hanging from a tree branch. Its head looked too large to be any child he had seen before. So, he thought it might be a toy for a moment, but toys don't cry. Then suddenly, a nasty black crow started pecking and clawing at the poor little thing. Without hesitation, he shooed the creature away and rescued the little girl.

The little girl thanked the kind man and revealed to him that she was in fact an angel. He thought to himself that obviously work must have been getting to him and he was starting to see things. It was then that the angel, grateful for the help, offered to repay the nice man's generosity by granting him a single wish. Knowing how set he is, Shuichiro simply replied, "I need no wish, I can get what I want on my own."

Not taking no for an answer, the chubby little angel followed Shuichiro, in the hope that maybe, just maybe in the morning, he would have decided what he would like to ask for. Yet, even in the morning she is left with the same answer and decides to 'hang around' at Shuichiro's house to see if he'll ever change his mind. And thus begins CLAMP's most touching comedy series otherwise known as Wish.

The angel Shuichiro saved that night is named Kohaku and she is an angel on a mission from God to find out what happened to the missing Earth Angel of Wind, Madam Hisui. Knowing that Hisui isn't in heaven, and that angels are forbidden to enter hell, the only place left for her to be would be on Earth. Strangely though, the missing angel's presence can't be sensed at all, and with the upcoming bridge meeting between heaven and hell (a sort of neutral meeting where both parties hash out grievances to ensure peace) about to take place, a missing elemental angel, is something to be concerned about.

Kohaku isn't always a chubby little angel though. You see, due to her rank in the heaven, she hasn't learned to master the spell to keep her big all the time. So during the day, the sun fills her body and keeps her in full grown form to make her look like a full-sized human, but by night she is forced to turn into a super-deformed little angel with none of her powers. It's during this period that she is the most vulnerable to devilish attacks.

Kohaku is a bit of a bubblehead, she's the most naive and pure of all the angels and for that reason she is one of the lord's most beloved angels. It was due her own desire to help her mentor that she took the job to find Madam Hisui, but with it came an unexpected side effect. In hell, Kohaku has a bit of a fan club in the form of Master Koryu and his twin cat-demons, Ruri and Hari. Koryu enjoys nothing more than to sleep late and cause Kohaku trouble. Ah, the life of a devil, such fun.

When Koryu learns of Kohaku's new living arrangements, you can just imagine the trouble the little bastard can cook up. Oh, and let's not forget to mention that as with Kohaku's limitations, Koryu has a similar problem. By night, Koryu is full grown, but by day he's a pudgy little devil. Trust me, it looks as cute as it sounds.

As the old saying goes, if you stay around in one place long enough, you're bound to see tons of people you once knew. And true enough, who would Kohaku happen to find, but none other than Madam Hisui... And her lover, the son of Satan himself, "Fireball" Kokuyo. Yep, you read that one right; an angel got it on with a devil. Okay, so maybe the 'he' and 'she' are a bit misleading since angels don't technically have a gender, but you get the picture.

So if word gets out that not only is Madam Hisui missing, but she's missing along with the son of Satan, then there is going to be an all out war between heaven and hell. At the same time, Kohaku is being summoned back to heaven and doesn't want to leave her friend, Shuichiro, without being able to repay his kindness. Oh, this could be a problem.

Wish is a four volume manga series from CLAMP, the all-woman team behind such hits as Card Captor Sakura, X, Angelic Layer, and Chobits to name a few. Along with Clover it is one of the few CLAMP titles that don't directly tie into any of the other titles. TOKYOPOP's release of Angelic Layer does have a special bonus newspaper that has tied the title into the core universe that Sakura, Chi, Hikaru, Umi, Fuu, and Misaki all inhabit.

As a special bonus, each volume of Wish includes a series of color pages at the beginning of the book, as well as bonus pages featuring CLAMP getting to meet the characters. Volume 3 also features two side-stories that help flesh out events that took place before the series began. And for those lucky enough to find a copy now, the first printing of Volume 1 comes complete with a special dust jacket which is guaranteed to become a sought after collectible a few years down the line. Remember, only the first printing has this dust jacket, so grab it while you can.

Don't forget that there is an anime version of Wish floating out there as well. Though it's not a series, there is a short music video for Wish, which stands as the third of CLAMP's four fully animated music videos. The others are Double X (1993's X music video), CLAMP in Wonderland from 1996, and the unreleased Clover music video (it was meant to be shown with the first Sakura movie, but pulled at the last minute). So far the only way to get this nifty two and a half minute music video is to find a copy of the long out of print Wish Gift Box. Hopefully one day the domestic market will see a release of this and the other CLAMP music videos - there's no harm in wishing, is there?

Just as DC Comics has it's own take on all the biblical bodies out there, so does CLAMP's heartwarming manga series. Though I don't expect religious bookstores to jump right out and start carrying this title alongside their copies of the Left Behind series, it would be cool to see. Beneath it all, Wish has a unique story, snappy dialogue, and fun set of characters that'll keep you enthralled reading to the very end. Heck, it might even crack that stoic expression you've got going all the time.

Further Resources:

TOKYOPOP's Official Wish Site - The official English site for the series complete with character dossiers.
Clouds Up - The place to go for the music videos, mp3s, and tons of info and pictures.
Usyagi's Wish Site - Image gallery, character pages, and lots of goodies like wallpapers.
The CLAMP Warehouse - A giant site dedicated to wallpapers of CLAMP works.

Images Copyright CLAMP/TOKYOPOP. All rights reserved.

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