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Review: CLAMP School Detectives (Full series)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Volumes: 3
Rating: All Ages
Released: April 2003 – August 2003

Synopsis: “Welcome to the CLAMP School, Japan’s most prestigious place of learning – home to prodigies, wunderkinds and young geniuses of every make and model. In a world where the average student is smart than the teachers, how then can the top students challenge their intellects? Why, by creating a detective service of course!”

It’s the final review of mystery week today with CLAMP School Detectives! This set of books takes readers of CLAMP’s older works to a familiar place, back to the walls of the prestigious CLAMP School: a fully self-functioning school (and small city) for the gifted in the heart of Tokyo. This three-volume series revolves around three such gifted youths, the trio who makes up the elementary division’s council: Nokoru Imonoyama, Suoh Takamura and Akira Ijyuin. Together they’re also the CLAMP School Detectives, saving the city one damsel at a time!

With a series sitting on the shoulders of such a small group, it takes some an interesting cast to keep a story entertaining. Fortunately these three incredibly talented kids do just that and it’s a fun time learning more about them. Nokoru, the President and leader, is said to be the smartest boy in the world and has the uncanny ability to hear a woman’s cries from a mile away; Suoh, the vice President and constant necessary nag to Nokoru, comes from a prestigious clan of Ninjas, trained in the art of combat himself. Lastly there’s Akira, the Treasurer, a kind and naïve little guy whose a master cook, among other things.

The stories themselves are, for the most part, episodic and follow the same general formula: boys meet girl, boys help girl, everyone’s happy! Readers looking for some serious mystery, come no further, but for those who like it for the premise of a series that’s cute, funny and undeniably charming, then continue on! Among the mini mysteries, the trio interact, learn more about themselves and have their romantic encounters with some fellow grade-schoolers, all innocent and fluffy of course. The bulk of volume three is a flashback to the initial meeting of Suoh and Nokoru, a story that’ll be well-received by fans who’ve come to love this delightful cast and even more so by those who love the boys’ love teasing that CLAMP is renowned for.

The artwork in CLAMP School Detectives is a bit dated in comparison to today’s usual fare and you can tell right away when looking at it. There are a few anatomy issues at times but nothing too off-putting (half the time it’s probably visually due to the tiny shorts the main characters uniforms consist of!). The artwork is cute and richly detailed with a great sense of pacing throughout, something that other CLAMP series at the time struggled to maintain. As a great bonus, each volume comes with a full colour, pull out poster.

Overall, CLAMP School Detectives delivers heart-filled mysteries and charming interaction that’s great for a happy-day pick me up. As far as mysteries go, it’ll leave readers more full of warm feelings than edge of their seat suspense, so to each their own in that regard. It’s a definite must read for CLAMP fans who’ve enjoyed any others of the era, such as Man of Many Faces and Dukylon, as the pages are full of relevant character introductions and background cameos. Readers of their newer series, Tsubasa, may find interest in seeing where some of the characters there came from too. This series is one of my favourites and I was delighted to go back to it after all this time. I’ve reread it what feels like a hundred times and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face!

CLAMP School Detectives is unfortunately on Tokyopop’s Out of Print list as of January 2006. However, those looking for this energetic tale of mystery and humour can still find copies at some online retailer shops, new and used, plus at independent comic shops. I still see copies around so it’s out there and certainly worth a look!

Written May 17, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Books purchased at independant comic book store, Wilkies Wonderful World

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: All Ages
Released: April 2003

Synopsis: “Meet the CLAMP School Detectives: Nokoru Imonoyama, the world’s smartest kid, who can detect a woman in distress from two kilometers away; Suoh Takamura, a martial arts master who’s cool as ice; Akira Ijyuin, detective by day, master thief by night. Wherever there’s a young lady in distress, they’ll be there. After all, when you’re as smart as they are, you don’t have to study.”

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: All Ages
Released: June 2003

Synopsis: “The CLAMP School is famous not just for being the world’s most prestigious academy, but also for its students’ penchant for partying. Scarcely a week goes by when there isn’t a festival, dance or athletic event. With so much going on, there’s plenty of opportunity for something to go wrong – fortunately the CLAMP School Detectives are eager to protect all the school’s goings on… especially ones in which young ladies are likely to attend.”

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: All Ages
Released: August 2003

“… when Nokoru isn’t trying to replace himself with a robot to get out of his paperwork, he’s searching for the owner of a lost silk stocking (obviously a damsel of the highest class), investigating an elaborate surveillance system, and recalling the time he made his first real friend during a daring kidnapping escape.”

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of 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.

Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
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