Top 5 CLAMP Anime
by Jacki Jing & Lynzee Loveridge,
While maybe not as well known today, manga creator group CLAMP was a powerhouse, creating hit after hit series during the 90s and 00s. Before we dive into The List this week, let's start with a quick history lesson.
CLAMP is collectively four women who have worked together since the late 1980s. Their manga is known for two distinct styles, the intricate designs of Mokona known for her characters with dark eyelashes and Tsubaki Nekoi whose character designs are streamlined but equally beautiful. Together with Ageha Ohkawa and Satsuki Igarashi, they make up CLAMP. Many of CLAMP's manga series were also adapted into anime and looking over their roster of hits, there's a little bit of something for everybody, whether you like your anime spooky, apocalyptic, full of giant robots, or magical girls.
Chobits wasn't CLAMP's first hit but it was decidedly more adult than some of their earlier shows. The sci-fi romantic comedy stars college student Hideki whose life changes when he finds an abandoned robot girl in a trash heap. When he boots her up, he discovers her memories are wiped and all she says is “Chii”. Robot helpers called Persocoms aren't unusual in Hideki's world but Chii might be more advanced than she looks.
Chobits is both a little sweet and a little spicy. It's remembered more strongly for Chii's beautiful dresses than its plot, really. The show inspired a whole wave of cosplay go-to outfits and Persocom “ears” definitely had a fandom moment for awhile.
4. X TV Series
The year is 1992 and the next millennium is hanging on the horizon. It's hard to describe if you weren't there, but there was a not small contingent of people who were very nervous that the upcoming change from 1999 to 2000 spelled worldwide disaster. The series X is about just such an occurrence. Two opposing factions, each filled with supernaturally powered teens and adults, are set to decide the fate of the world by facing off in Tokyo. One boy, Kamui will have to choose a side between saving humanity or letting it be destroyed in favor of nature regaining control. There's back-stabbing, death, trauma, and you might find yourself aligning with the “villains” by the time the story is over. Each character feels important in their own right, with their own interesting powers and emotional stakes that leads them down their respective path. We may never know the TRUE ending of X since the manga was put on ice almost 20 years ago. Thankfully the TV series didn't have the same problem and has a mostly satisfying original ending.
One of the OG magical girls, Sakura starts her fantastic journey after opening a magic book in her dad's library and releasing Kero, a spunky creature that was sealed in the book. She ALSO releases all the magical cards inside and, despite insisting that she's just a normal grade school girl, must reclaim them before they wreck havoc throughout her town. Cardccaptor Sakura combines a little bit of Pokémon with enviable battle costumes, romance, and lots of syrupy sweetness.
Getting transported to another world is a pretty common set-up in anime today but back in the 90s this premise was usually reserved for female heroes, like Miaka in Fushigi Yuugi. CLAMP's take on isekai was Magic Knight Rayearth where three school girls are brought to the world of Cephiro, receive magical armor from a horned mage, and are tasked with rescuing the world's princess. The story plays out a lot like an RPG from the Super Nintendo days: magical power ups, evolving weapons, and eventually GIANT MAGIC ROBOTS. This series felt special when it debuted, taking a video game and series setting reserved for brave male heroes and letting equally capable and cool girls take the lead. The three main characters, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu each have their own magic element and fighting style. IMO Umi was especially cool with her long blue hair and undefeatable fencing skills!
So far we've seen CLAMP dabble in magical girl series, post-apocalyptic fiction, sci-fi romance, and fantasy. xxxHOLiC is the group's foray into supernatural horror. It looks pretty different than their earlier works; Watanuki is an impossibly lanky guy who has the unenviable ability to see spirits and the spirits seem pretty interested in Watanuki too. One day, a shop appears in what used to be a vacant lot. He goes inside and meets a mysterious woman named Yuuko who says she can cure Watanuki, but he'll have to work for her in the shop first. Yuuko takes clients that are all plagued by different types of curses and they come to her for advice but sometimes the “cure” isn't so easy.
Holic intially seems like a “monster of the day” type of series, but later arcs focus more on Watanuki himself and his two friends Doumeki and Himawari. The three of them get mixed up in the complicated and sometimes terrifying world of Japanese spirits and monsters. The arc where Watanuki has to face the spiderwoman Jorougumo is the stuff of absolutely nightmares.
Last time we wanted to know which Crunchyroll anime series you recommend for a binge-watch section. Here's your guys' top 5!
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
- The Ancient Magus' Bride
- Mob Psycho 100
This week we want to know what your favorite CLAMP series is! Let us know in the poll!
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