Between our conscious, waking world and the subconscious state of slumber, there is a thinly veiled plane of lucid dreaming. While the conscious state belongs to individuals, the hidden plane of dreams is one shared by all human minds, past, present, and future. Yet only a few have ever possessed the power to enter this secret realm at will—where a war is being waged to control the waking world. For our earthly wishes and desires are not our own, but under the manipulation of these unseen masters of dreams. The heroine of Gate 7 is Hana, a high-school girl hailing from Kyoto, the daughter of a temple caretaker. Her peaceful ways give her the self-control to act in the hidden realm. But Hana can only reach it through the strange beast that acts as her totem in the world of dreams—and her companion on a journey to confront the puppeteers of our reality!
Alright. I'm sick of the hate this is getting from ex-Clamp fans. If you view my profile, you'll see I've already added it to my favourites after reading just 13 chapters. That's how much I love it.
The first thing that grabbed my attention about this is the incredible artwork. Clamp has truly outdone themselves. It's consistent, beautiful and I have no more to say on this matter, as it is undeniably perfect.
Now, I know the story is a little confusing. But that isn't because of bad writing. It's because of the many references to historical figures in Japan that Westerners are not familiar
with. However, it is still an interesting story, without knowing any of the background information. I read about 10 chapters without doing any research on Japanese history, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. After going to the effort of reading up on the references Clamp makes, however, I found the story even more enjoyable to read. I do have one criticism and that is the fact that the pacing is a little all over the place, but I believe that it will smooth out eventually.
I LOVE the characters. Especially Tachibana. And Hana. And Date Masamune. And Sakura. And Chikahito. No, i love them all.
Their relationships are all so believable and interesting. And I love how quickly they're developing and revealing their pasts. And I can already see the angst (coughcough Tachibana coughcough) that's coming up soon. I love angst.
It annoys me that so many people compare these characters to other Clamp characters. They have a few similarities, yes. But this manga is completely different from any other Clamp manga you've read. As are the characters. It's not meant to be read as a reincarnation of Tsubasa or XXXholic.
So, all up, I love it forever. I recommend it to anyone looking for a manga which actually has a deep storyline, which doesn't solve itself in the first chapter, but builds tension and suspense properly, like any good piece of writing should.
Takamoto Chikahito is probably one of the most relatable protagonists I've seen in the manga/anime world for one reason--when you're confused, so is he. I remember reading chapter one when Sakura, Tachibana and Hana appear and random stuff just starts exploding and thinking to myself "What's going on?!" and turning the page and to find Chikahito saying "What's going on?!" Glad to know we're on the same page....
That said this manga has a habit of throwing a lot of info at you and then going back and explaining itself. However, a lot of that is due to my (and I'd
wager most Western readers') lack of knowledge of Japanese history. Much of the story and characters are intertwined with what I guess is common knowledge history in Japan--but the rest of us are left flipping to the back of the volume looking for translator notes to explain what we're reading about.
Now many would say that is a serious drawback to the series, but personally I found it fun. I liked learning more of a subject I was completely unaware of. With a patient read, the translation notes DO bring everything into light and the story makes sense. This isn't a straightforward story--it takes a bit of effort on the reader's part, but it's by no means incomprehensible.
The characters main characters are rather enjoyable. The three "strange people" our hero, Chikahito, meets have very distinct and dynamic personalities, and I enjoyed how in depth they got in just two volumes. Hana is especially fun just becuase of the stark contrast between her wants-noodles mode and her serious mode (one being excessively adorable and the other being downright beautiful).
Which brings me to the art. This is the first thing I've ever read of Clamp's, and when I picked it up my friends all told me how amazing it was sure to be "because Clamp is god"
I see what they meant.
This artwork is AMAZING. At several points per chapter I literally just stopped and stared in awe at the page wondering "how do they do that....it's not fair..." The characters are all incredibly detailed, and as I mentioned above, Hana is simply stunning. The only drawback is perhaps the lack of clarity during the fights--it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what happened in each panel, but even that hardly takes away form the literally breathtaking visuals this manga has to offer.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this manga so far, and I cannot WAIT until July for volume 3 to come out in the US (I refuse to read this online--this art demands that it be seen in person).
The beauty about Gate 7 is that it came be summarized in just one lovely sentence. It is all art, no plot. Or rather, it is all art, and a plot that makes no sense unless you are a brilliant Japanese history major. With a Masters, Doctorate or PhD in that subject. (I think I'll go for the latter-most).
Oh Clamp, why do you do this to us?
Gate 7 is Clamp's newest and ongoing series in their 20 years of producing manga. It follows Kyoto-enthusiast and high-school goer, Chikahito Takamoto who, on a trip to Kyoto, meets the mysterious and beautiful Hana, and then several
months later, finds himself living with her and several other people all of whom have supernatural abilities. As if that wasn't a lot on his plate, he's also caught up in a centuries old struggle between a secret society and strange, paranormal creatures who attack them. Adding on a load of reincarnated figures in Japanese history and a pretty much nonexistent plot, and you've got a very annoying series. Utterly immersed in Japanese history, this series is a hard nut to swallow, and comes across as Clamp's love-letter to both Kyoto and Japanese history that makes it very one-sided and rather boring.
★ Story (5) - The story of Gate 7 seems to invoke Clamp's favorite pastime of -you guessed it- mindfuckery. This is one of those series where there is so much going on, and yet the plot never seems to move forward. A load of elements are introduced in every chapter, none of which are thoroughly explained nor fleshed out. The plot seems to have vanished somewhere under the abundance of attractive people and eye candy, and only occasionally pops up; perhaps hinting at what is going on, but never staying long enough to get a clear look. The heavy (and I mean h e a v y) amount of history in this series is really what makes this manga so difficult to understand. Unless you know the history involved like the back of your hand, you will have no idea what the hell is happening.
★ Art (9) - After 20 years of drawing manga, you'd think Clamp has the artwork down to a 'T' by now right? Well, they do. Gate 7 is just lovely to look at; it is really a snare for your senses. You will spend a lot of time devouring the pretty artwork, and spend far longer on the pages than you should. The characters are all gorgeous regardless of whether they are male or female (or something undefined), with stylish haircuts, trendy clothing and Clamp's 7 feet tall anorexic body image that their newer mangas are so fond of. If you know Clamp, you'll find that several characters bear a striking resemblance to several other Clamp characters. Here are some I'm reminded of so far -
Chikahito - Watanuki from xxxholic. A more pretty, rounder-faced example, but the resemblance is striking.
Tachibana - Looks so much like my favorite character, Subaru Sumeragi (Tokyo Babylon, X, Tsubasa R.C) that he could be Subaru's brother, or even better; his love-child with Seishirou. No, don't ask me how that is possible.
Hana - Channels a bit of Misaki from Angelic Layer with the hair and "cuteness".
You might wonder, with my praise of the artwork why I did not give it a perfect 10? Well for one thing, it is not my personal favorite style of a Clamp manga, and for another; Clamp uses real pictures of Kyoto for the backgrounds instead of drawing them in. Now, while this has become a popular technique in the modern manga world, for Clamp and their normally highly detailed art, this is shocking. Still though, Gate 7 is pretty much art porn so your eyes will be highly pleased.
★ Character (5) - The problem here is that there are far too many characters in this series that were introduced in too short a time. The characters are hardly given any development due to the sheer amount of people they story tries to focus on. Even characters who come across as being far more than the typical cardboard-cutout personalities (Hana, Sakura and Tachibana) are not given enough time to actually harness whatever interesting sides they appear to have. Overall, the characters fill in page after page of this series, but are just glossed over and seemingly exist to give this manga something pretty to look at.
★ Enjoyment (4) - Unless you either have a PhD in Japanese history, are a very bias Clamp fan, or like your stories only with pretty art and no plot, only then will you take true enjoyment from this series. For the rest of us, its not so enjoyable, and almost comes across as being a chore to read. It is no wonder why this series is getting so much annoyance and outright hate from both Clamp fans and others.
★ Overall (5) - This is really a mixed bag of a series. It is very hard to enjoy something you cannot fully grasp nor make the slightest sense of. If this was a metaphysical, symbolic, allegorical series like Revolutionary Girl Utena for example, that would be different, because then the point would be to interpret the series in whatever way you deem correct. But Gate 7 isn't like that. It certainly comes across that way for the sheer mind-boggling load of Japanese history and historical characters that flood its pretty pages. All in all, a very limited amount of people can truly enjoy and love this series. In fact, I would not be keeping up with it if I didn't intend to read all of Clamp's mangas. If you want to check this series out, brush up on Japanese history (and you still won't understand much). Or better yet, spend your time just reading another work by Clamp.
After all, they do have some excellent ones. Gate 7 just isn't one of them.
The art is gorgeous, almost jaw-dropping as CLAMP once again, flaunts off their skills as a 20-year veteran of manga. Which is where I'm confused. If I'm a historian or fanatic of history class, certainly I could enjoy this. This manga however, as engaging as it promises to be in the beginning first pages, completely speeds away from its friendly welcome, and leaves you in the dust reading paragraph-long dialogue bubbles,struggling to keep your attention, as the fast-paced story forwards months later where the story connects with chapter 1. The characters don't help to pull you in either. Hana is adorable, main character guy is
boring, and the other two men are kind of hot. But unless you want an artbook littered with words, I don't recommend something even a reader as patient as I, couldn't enjoy.