Posted by psgels on 23 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

So while I was flying and waiting in busses and stuff during my holidays, I had the Manga Wish to read and finish. It really ended up being the first multi-volumed manga that I ever finished, and with only four volumes it’s a very concise story. This week I’want to have a stab at reviewing a full fledged manga.

So as the people who watched Kobato might know, that series is a bit of a combination between Wish and Kobato. The story for Wish is completely different, though. It takes place in the same setting, and there are some concepts that are also important here, but the story of Wish happens much more around the core of the setting, while the characters in Kobato have no idea about the inner workings of how their world and ideas work. So yeah, if you’re a fan of Kobato this is a great read for the extra background information that the Wish manga gives.

And really, this was such an incredibly adorable manga. Clamp are masters of creating diverse, versatile and likable characters, and they did it again here. The thing that sets Wish apart from other manga that try to be as cute as possible is this diverse cast. We have the lovable angel Kohaku who spends half of her time in chibi-form and the elegant angel Hisui, who are always drawn with lots of frills and stuff, and yet on the other hand the series is also full of devils, the lead character is very stoic and plain (not to mention 28 years old), and his grandfather is also a very prominent character. The cast consists out of idiots and smart people, brash ones and calm ones. The personality of everyone here is completely different, very balanced out and the contrast worked really well.

As for the plot progression, four volumes turned out to be a great length for this series. It’s short and very easy to just pick up, especially for someone who is new to manga like myself, but it does have enough time to flesh out its cast. There is a lot of slice of life in this series, as it likes to toy with the “I’m going to live with you”-trope. Seriously, like half the cast of this series ends up living with the male lead at some point; male or female, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, this build-up is great for showing off the different characters. And then that ending comes. Let’s just say… that this is Clamp. Rather than ending with something conventional, the ending definitely surprised me and I quite liked that.

The short length and relatively large cast does have its disadvantage: there are a bunch of one-dimensional side-characters, and some side-characters depend on their gimmick a bit too much. There also is this side-story about this schizophrenic cat that doesn’t really go anywhere. Oh, and it also has singing. I’m not sure whether this is because I’m new to manga, perhaps I’m just too much of a fan of multimedia, but drawing someone who sings just does not work for me. It looks awkward, even though the singing panels are often drawn with a lot of detail in this manga.

Anyway, Wish. Great read, although I think that I do prefer the Kobato anime. It had more time to develop its cast and I do prefer Kobato over Kohaku: Kobato’s story has this tragic side to it. Wish is definitely more concise and doesn’t have a first half of random episodes to wade through. If I’d rate this as an anime, it’d probably get somewhere like 84/100. I still haven’t quite figured out how I should review and rate manga, but that’s something for later.

14 Responses

  1. Mi-Mi-Mikuru says:

    Wish is really lovely!
    One mistake correction: Kohaku and Hisui are not women but genderless.

  2. Anca says:

    Then use ‘him’.

    It’s only recently that I keep seeing Kohaku being referred to as a female. When I read Wish it was labeled as shonen-ai, although that had to have been ten years ago already. Is it a licensing translation censor kind of thing? It’s so stupid. Are we going to start using ‘her’ for Ashura as well now, who is in exactly the same boat? What about Yue?

    I mean, come on. Yes, Kohaku looks girly, but not more so than half of CLAMP’s males – and Hisui is drawn in a clearly masculine fashion (as far as CLAMP are concerned). They also wear masculine clothes as humans.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Well, I also think that it’s wrong to just label this as a shounen ai series. Labelling everyone as male also seems a bit wrong in this context.

    • Juno says:

      CLAMP have said that a big theme in their series is love that transcends… well, everything. And especially gender. They considered making the angels and devils gender-based, but they decided that the theme would have a lot more meaning if they were genderless. Adding in any shounen-ai elements may ruin the chance to support this theme in a new context. CLAMP already has plenty of shounen-ai stuff anyway.

      • Anca says:

        The point is that they did make them gendered this way, since every other genderless character in their work (except Hana in the very recent Gate 7, but including Ruby Moon and Ashura) get male pronouns.

        You’re right that it’s not a shonen-ai series, and that it shouldn’t be – I mentioned the genre tag because I wanted to say that ‘he’ used to be the commonly accepted variant.

    • Ebod says:

      Actually, CLAMP has stated that it’s easier to think of the demons as male and angels as female even though both are genderless.

      Also, the idea of defaulting to male gender pronouns when met with something genderless is out of date, and kind of sexist.

  3. Juno says:

    I can’t tell if you actually got the part where Kobato。 takes place in the same world as WISH, but some time after the story of WISH. It might be mentioned in the anime, but the Kobato。 manga says it is Shuiichirou’s 5th reincarnation. This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in CLAMP’s stuff, either. CLAMP School Detective and CLAMP School Defenders, as well as some other stuff at the time, take place in the same world. Angelic Layer and Chobits take place in the same world. Legal Drug/DRUG&DROP and Holic take place in the same world, as does Cardcaptor Sakura, I… think.

  4. Firechick says:

    Glad you liked Wish, Psgels! Wish has a lot of sentimental value for me as it’s one of the first CLAMP manga I ever got. I own all four volumes and have since 2006!

  5. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    Ah so you covered wish, a fine choice, its been so very long since I read it. It was one of the earlier manga I read, I can hardly remember much about given its been so long but I recall enjoying it, glad you did also.

  6. Bunny says:

    Read the sailor moon mangas so your ready for the new anime next year.

  7. Steelman says:

    If I can offer a suggestion, try to read Clover next. Given your tastes, I bet you should like it. It’s one of the most artistic manga ever drawn, and my second favorite among Clamp’s vast production. It is also very short, with the main story being contained in the first 120-pages volumes. It might even change your perspective of songs in manga :).

    • Ebod says:

      I second the suggestion to read Clover! It’s my second favourite CLAMP manga too.

      My favourite, which I heavily recommend you read, is Tokyo Babylon, which’ll give a deeper back story to the X anime that you’ve watched, and is not too long (standing at only 7 volumes). It contains possibly one of the most tragic and iconic CLAMP romance couples ever, after Sakura and Syaoran.

      • Chan says:

        I third that suggestion to read Clover, it is one of the most beautiful manga that CLAMP has created to date. It will be right up your alley. You can also try reading RG Veda.

        Also if you pay attention you realize that Kobato doesn’t just share its world with Wish, but also with xxxHolic, Drug&Drop/Legal Drug, Cardcaptor Sakura. Meanwhile, CLAMP School Detectives, CLAMP School Defenders, Tokyo Bablyon, and X also share a world (yes the light-hearted action series and comedy shares a world with the apocalypse series.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    What would they use electricity for, if they’ll even accept it?
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam I’ve been thinking about that as well. Their irrigation was already a masterpiece, so I think hydraulic piping would only perfect their skill at city planning. Now, energy is what I’ve been stuck on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:02 AM)
    @Friend: you’re on the right track with the modernization of the culture, but I need to ponder a little bit about what would’ve happened in that scenario. Metals, medicine, energy and irrigation would be the significant advances that they could use without serious industrialization, but I need time to think what these would’ve all meant to them and where they could’ve taken their society with it.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 05:56 AM)
    @Bam Yes, it’s very bright and sentimental. It is a morning prayer/celebration. \.0/

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