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Review: CLAMP Paranormal Investigators (Complete Series)

Author:Tomiyuki Matsumoto
Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: September 2004 – March 2005

Synopsis: “Five students run a study group to explore mysterious and unexplained phenomenon: Takayuki is a genius with a ghost sidekick; Mifuyu is a master swordsman; Rion communicates with spirits and lost souls; Koji has famous ninja blood and remarkable skills to match; Yuki has the ability to teleport and likes to cross-dress. Filled with action, mystery, twists, turns and clues up the yin-yang, this new novel series will have you saying, ‘Elementary, my dear detective…the truth is out there!”

CLAMP Paranormal Investigators is a three part series of light novels written by Tomiyuki Matsumoto and illustrated by CLAMP. Though CLAMP has illustrated numerous light novels (none others released in English), this one takes place within the walls of CLAMP’s own CLAMP School, a main location for a variety of their series. It follows a mix-matched team of students as they solve one mystery after another, from monsters to ghosts, nothing goes unnoticed by the CLAMP Paranormal Investigators!

An interesting cast of characters is brought together for these episodic adventures. Biggest thing worth noting is that the enthusiastic and confident Yuki Ajidaou (also known as the pretty blond one of the cover of volume one) is in fact a guy! It’s easy to forget it while reading with his/her being female in everywhere past being told otherwise, and it’s pointed out on numerous occasions from the get-go as reminder. Also gets to be a convenient plot point for some boys’ love teasing for those who love getting surprised by little add-ins like that. The rest of the lead cast includes Takayuki Usagiya, master of a ghost maid; Mifuyu Mizukagami, airhead who’s also a master swordswoman; Rion Ibuki, the shy priestess in training; and lastly, Koji Takamura, the youngest in the group and a skilled ninja.

The stories range from a variety of things. Being the Paranormal Investigators, ghosts and spirits own centre stage most of the time. Occasionally, though, the ghouls share the spotlight with mysterious creatures, ninjas, robots and government spies. They all range from suspenseful to absurd, interesting to not so much, but are overall entertaining and good backdrops for the contrasting character (and those story arcs that aren’t as fun can be flipped through to unrelated events with relative ease). The characters, Mifiyu in particular in my case, irked me sometimes with the way they were written but it was only at a few choice spots, and usually in a way I thought could’ve been helped by better wording by the English adaptor

What makes these light novels really fun to go through, is how easy it is to see it as a manga in your head. Sure if you’re reading a light novel, you might think ‘why would you imagine it as a manga?’ but it’s the descriptive choices, pacing and character actions that make these light novels so appealing to manga fans, especially those who may not otherwise find interest in books like these. The characters are unique and brought to visual life by CLAMP’s interior illustrations, making the mental images all the clearer.

Being a light novel there’s not a lot in terms of artwork but still enough to make for good eye candy. Each book contains about eight full-page black and white illustrations plus short bonus mangas at the end. I’m a huge CLAMP fan so any chance to see more of their art is fun to me. Their style in these books has the stylistic attributes of their older works involving CLAMP School but, having been drawn a few years later, has the polished look of Cardcaptor Sakura and an inking style more reminiscent of Angelic Layer.

As for how Tokyopop treated these books, I’d say it’s an overall successful translation. The writing is a little choppy at times and I had trouble getting into the stories each time I opened a new book. However once the stories got started, and I readjusted myself to their pacing, it was a pretty smooth ride. I love their cover designs for these books and I think they suit them perfectly, both front and back. One minor annoyance was the coloured CLAMP artwork on volumes two and three, which seemed a little blurry to me. The paper the interior was printed on was nice and the font and pictures looked good with sharp black printing. After a few years on my shelf, there’s no noticeable yellowing of the paper. They maintained the extras included in the originals, such as the short mangas and Author’s note (which are well worth the read for explaining the premise for this series and the characters).

In the end, CLAMP Paranormal Investigators is recommended mostly to fans of CLAMP. It takes place within the walls of the CLAMP school, has a bunch of pretty artwork to stare at and has a lot of the same charm that makes CLAMP’s books such worthwhile reads. With the style the translation was written in, and the PG material, it’s also a trio of books that I think young children could really enjoy. I keep finding myself wishing this was a manga when I finish reading it but for a light novel, it works pretty well and was an enjoyable read the first and second time through.

Note: CLAMP Paranormal Investigators is another series on Tokyopop’s Out of Print list. Copies can still be found online, both new and used for base cost.

Written May 24, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Books bought from independant comic book store, Wilkies Wonderful World



Author:Tomiyuki Matsumoto
Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: September 2004

Synopsis: “Welcome to the prestigious CLAMP school, where things aren’t always what they seem! Born and bred to rule the CLAMP campus, the Paranormal Investigators solve one unexplained phenomenon after the next. From subway monsters and pet dragons to the kookiest cast of characters imaginable, you’re sure to enjoy this wild ride filled with action, mystery and twists and turns up the ying-yang.”



Author:Tomiyuki Matsumoto
Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: December 2004

Synopsis: “After solving the haunted tree mystery and uncovering the scoop on the killer ice cream, the Paranormal Investigators part ways only to stumble into more mischief and mayhem. During the first annual CLAMP School treasure hunt, Mifuyu and Rion discover a long-list machine with the power to trap souls… while Takayuki finds himself caught in a never space-time continuum loop!”



Author:Tomiyuki Matsumoto
Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: March 2005

Synopsis: “The Paranormal Investigators are struggling to have their achievements officially recognized by the school, and the head of the Lifestyle Monitoring Committee is determined to thwart their plans. She sends a spy to infiltrate the group, hoping to shut them down for good! But when the student body is plagued by a series of vampire attacks, it’s suddenly clear that a dark force is behind the violence – and they’ve got their bite marks on bigger and better things!”

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



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3 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    Hey,

    I like your site, it's very helpful. I was wondering if you wanted to exchange links. If yes, you can find my information below. Be sure to also send me your information whether by email or by a comment on my website so that we can properly swap links. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

    Paranormal Knowledge
    http://www.paranormalknowledge.com

    Sincerely,

    Jason

    President, Paranormalknowledge.com

  2. Jade says:

    oh do you know where i can read this it makes me sooo excided!>.< plz tell me!

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