Gate 7, Vol. 1 by CLAMP, Dark Horse Manga
“Is that a girl? Or… a boy…?” —Chikahito, Gate 7
Chikahito Takamoto, a high school boy from Tokyo with a fondness for history in general and Kyoto in particular, pays a visit to that city’s landmarks. At a shrine, he spots two men and a beautiful (yet confusingly androgynous) kid sitting in a tree. Shadowy serpents suddenly attack, and these mysterious strangers do battle, saving Chikahito’s life.
He faints and wakes in their company…at the Uri-Shichiken Hana Machi. The men assume he’s ordinary enough, but they can’t exclude him when they envelope an area, and they can’t erase his memory. Chikahito wants an explanation, but the pretty kid grabs his hand, drags him out front, and kisses him. Hana promises to wait for his return, and Gate 7’s prologue ends. A promising beginning to CLAMP’s new(ish) manga series.
Like all of CLAMP’s titles, the art is gorgeous in its detail, and the cast is a study in contrasts. Casually confident Sakura has a flirtatious vibe. He works as a manservant for local maiko, tying their intricate obi knots. Sakura is fair, but claims to be Shadow, unlike dark-and-brooding Tachibana, a local college student who is Light.
People…and the things that aren’t people…fall into Light or Shadow. One or the other. I’m Shadow. Tachibana is Light.” —Sakura, Gate 7
The one daunting (but fascinating) aspect to this series’ storyline is CLAMP’s incorporation of ancient Japanese generals into the cast. I’m not entirely sure if they’re meant to be descendants, reincarnations, or a bit of both, but two famed warriors crop up in Volume 1 (much to history-loving Chikahito’s delight). Appreciating this manga series to the fullest may require a short course in Japanese history! Looking forward to more.
**NOTE: While four volumes of this manga are currently available in America, they definitely don’t tell the whole story. A little poking around confirmed that CLAMP has put this serial on indefinite hiatus. Let’s hope they decide to bring it back. I’ve grown attached. ::★::
And in the forthright tradition of honoring enjoyable fiction with fanfiction, I offer a drabble:
Come to My Side
“This is my grave.”
“Hidetsugu… Toyotomi,” Chikahito read, brows puckering. “The Hidetsugu Toyotomi?”
“You’ve heard of me?”
“No, the old general. He was the shogun’s nephew, his heir up until the birth of….”
Hidetsugu slowly straightened as the boy with flyaway hair and wire-rimmed spectacles rattled off ancient history. And not the usual heap of slander. “I’m amazed. If anyone remembers me at all, it’s as the Butcher Chancellor.”
“He was framed!”
“Yes, I was.”
Chikahito’s expression faltered. “Y-you?”
Hidetsugu’s smile twisted. Fate had brought them someone capable of accepting their strange truth. But what might he take in return?