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8 home / october 2002 / feature Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Animefringe Coverage:
X: The TV Series
By Adam Arnold

Did you remember to pack some clean underwear? It looks like you're about to need it. It's the end of the world, and giant dragons can be seen rampaging through the sky. The buildings begin to crumble all around you. The only thing left standing is a lone tower. You see a flash of two people dueling it out with massive swords. For a split second you can almost make out their faces, and then everything goes dark.

Welcome to a dark future, where the end of the world can be seen around every corner and familiar faces come and go in a heartbeat. X, or if you prefer X/1999, is the insanely popular shoujo title from CLAMP that acts as the nexus universe for virtually all of CLAMP's trademark titles. In this dark future, Subaru from Tokyo Babylon and the CLAMP School Detectives fight for their very lives in the face of shear destruction. Yes my friends, somewhere in this dark future may very well reside some other familiar faces such as a happy-go-lucky little girl named Sakura Kimomoto, you might not ever see her, but just knowing that she could be right around the corner is what makes the series even more grizzly.

All right, enough with the dramatics. There are three distinct series of X. First and foremost is the manga series that is still chugging along in Japan. The manga spawned a music video that proved that CLAMP's trademark style could be transferred successfully onto the big screen for a feature-length X feature film. The X motion picture at the time was a visual tour de force that unfortunately lacked any sign of character development. Characters were rushed into battle and killed off almost as soon as they were introduced, making their appearance in the movie virtually pointless. Thankfully, Pioneer jumped on the licensee for the recent X TV series and now fans of the movie can finally figure out just who the heck all those people in the movie were.

The inner plot of X revolves around two former friends, Kamui and Fuma, who have been forced to take different paths in their lives. Kamui is the heart of everyone's problems. If it weren't for him and his decision then none of the heartache or destruction would be called for. You see, Kamui is destined to either be a Dragon of Heaven or a Dragon of Earth. He can either save the earth or destroy it, but whatever his choice, his twin star will be forced to choose the other path. Herein lies the problem - both sides want Kamui but only one side can have him.

Representatives of each order are all out to try and enlist Kamui, but he doesn't want to have any part in the unfolding events. Fate is a force to be reckoned with and like it or not, Kamui will be forced to choose or have his choice made for him.

On the side of heaven is the dreamseer known as Hinoto, a blind woman who resides in an underground portion of Japan's "Diet" building. On the side of the Earth is Hinoto's younger sister, Kanoe, a less gifted but even more cunning woman to deal with. Both groups have six warriors that are all blessed with a unique power such as an element based attack or the ability to sprout a sword or even control electronic devices.

Though the groups oppose each other, they aren't oblivious to causing mass destruction. Before a dual, one of the fighters constructs massive barrier that shifts the entire battlefield into another dimension that is uninhabited. It is only then that both rival dragons are free to completely let loose on one another. In many ways, some of the dragons think it's almost a game and often enjoy being able to fully test themselves in live combat. Unfortunately, the fights are often to the death and if the person who created the barrier falls in combat, then all the devastation caused inside the barrier will occur in the real world when the barrier dissipates.

With all that in mind, the series officially begins with a rather unique OVA episode zero entitled "An Omen" that acts as a primer for the events to come. Told entirely from the point of view of a comatose patient that has unwittingly become a harbinger of death that ushers the newly dead into the hereafter. The episode acts as the perfect introduction to the complex cast of the series by helping to identify everyone beforehand.

The actual series opens with Kamui returning to Tokyo after a six-year absence. He unwittingly runs into his childhood friend, Kotori, a kind-hearted girl who is unfortunately afflicted with poor health. Kotori eager to be reunited with her friend tries to make Kamui feel at home, but he does nothing but brush her off. Kamui soon comes face-to-face with Kotori's older brother, Fuma, the very man who promised he'd protect Kamui at any cost.

Unfortunately, Kamui's return has set the gears of fate in motion and from here on out Kamui's strong will and brash attitude may not be enough to keep him safe. The apocalypse is coming and Kamui may be powerless to prevent it.

What remains an interesting plot point for X, is that the prophecies foretold in the series all point towards a preordained future. Knowing how the show will ultimately end is unimportant, because the whole point of the series isn't that you already know how it will all end, but rather figuring out how the characters will get there. So forget it if you've already seen the movie or been reading the manga, X's TV series will draw you in like no other and give a completely different experience.

Images Copyright CLAMP and Pioneer Entertainment. All rights reserved.

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