Gate 7, Vol. 1
Story and Art by CLAMP
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2011
Cover Price: $10.99
Manga titles are not typically on my reading list, but I am an old school anime fan and open minded to new comics, so this release from Dark Horse seemed to be a good bet. Gate 7 is the opening act of a new story from the creators of the wildly popular Cardcapture Sakura and it’s been brought to the States by Dark Horse. Sounds good so far…
In this fantastical story a high school boy investigates the beautiful temples of Kyoto. He has long been fascinated with these temples and in this opening act he finds even more than he ever could have hoped for. He stumbles on two men and a woman using magical powers to do battle with monsters. They have many special abilities, but are shocked when their power to make people forget doesn’t work on this odd young man.
In a lot of ways Gate 7 is by-the-numbers modern anime storytelling with overly familiar atmosphere and style and expectedly vague storytelling. For fans of this sort of manga that’s not the most terrible thing in the world especially considering that this book features the typically beautiful artwork that CLAMP is known for. The problem is the execution of this formula is a little messy this time around. At times the story is just so vague it’s tough to care and the adventure is also broken by excessive exposition and history lessons. It seems weird to have tons of exposition and a vague story, but that’s just what we have with this one.
This is just the first part of the story and CLAMP is known for setting up their plots to extend far into the future, but each book should still be able to stand on its own and this one doesn’t, at least as a story book. Gate 7 is an excellent art book though.
I do appreciate the sort of monster battling vagary of some anime stories. I loved Gantz for example. This one is just poorly paced and features way too much history. Once other volumes are out and the whole thing is tacked together it may be fine but as a standalone book it’s just not that fantastical.