-- Warning: There's some spoilers here. That's why this blog is named what it is. --
So recently I picked up CLAMP's "Clover". I have wanted to read "Clover" for ages, but before I ever got a chance to pick it up, it went out of print. But the wonderful people at the manga division of Dark Horse put out an omnibus edition of all four volumes and couldn't resist grabbing it last time I was in the Borders in our local mall.
It seems like that borders is where all of the Monmouth County otaku work, because everyone in there will talk to me about what I'm buying. the woman I spoke with that day was very excited that I was picking up "Clover" and warned me that it was probably the saddest thing that I would ever read. I laughed it off and replied "I've been reading CLAMP for years. I can handle it."
I should have listened to her warning.
When I finally decided to read it, I read it all in one go. It's a four volume series, but today I'm only going to cover the first two since they make up the main story.
I'd expected this, because I hate to leave a manga unfinished. It was slow to get started. They introduced a lot of things right off that I did not really understand, and it kept me from getting absorbed into the world at first. But I trust CLAMP to deliver, so I pushed on.
The first two volumes focus on the story of Sue and Kazuhiko. The retired government agent who lost his right hand, Kazuhiko, must transport the mysterious young Sue to a location that only she knows. Along the way is the repeated theme of a song about seeking happiness. This song is sung by Kazuhiko's deceased girlfriend, Ora.
They receive help from Gingetsu, Kazuhiko's former C.O., and Ran, a boy as mysterious as Sue who is living with him. They run into trouble along the way in the form of people trying to capture Sue, as she is something called a "Four Leaf Clover". The biggest adversary is some guy named Bols, who knows Kazuhiko -- but for the life of me I have never figured out how.
Bols seems to be the leader of another country/group/something's army. He's the one who cut off Kazuhiko's hand on his last mission, but there's no more about that that's ever discussed. The relationship between Bols (who really seems like he wants to molest/do bad things to Kazuhiko) and Kazuhiko, and the mission that lead to Kazuhiko losing his hand is the only thing in this story that they never really go into. You'd think since Kazuhiko is the focus of the story, they'd discuss it but apparently not.
As we go on, they arrive at the destination that Sue wanted to be taken to, a defunct amusement park called "Fairy Park". (Readers of Tsubasa may recall Fairy Park from the end of the "Oto" saga. ;D)
It is then that we learn about the "clovers". They are children sorcerers who were taken by the government to be isolated and controlled. They were labeled from one to four "Leaves" by how powerful they were. Ran is a three leaf, one of two still alive. Sue is the only Four Leaf Clover.
We also learn about the song, titled "Clover", that Sue has been listening and singing along to over the course of the manga. It was actually written by both she and Ora, and is sung by both of them. She and Ora knew each other, and Ora told her all about singing and Kazuhiko.
Sue confesses her love for Kazuhiko just before they are attacked, apparently by the people who originally locked Sue away. Sue uses her power to save Kazuhiko as they are attacked by Bols again. Gingetsu stops Bols as Sue destroys Fairy Park and herself. Ran is sad, but seems glad that Sue managed to free herself from the life she'd been living, even if it meant her death.
Kazuhiko realizes that this had been Sue's intention all along. It's easy to see on his face that he's sad, but we don't spend enough time with him to learn if he's really heartbroken about it and loved her as well.
This first part of the story was tragic, and very sad, but in the next two volumes we get into the background of "Clover" and that is where my heart really broke.