Gate 7 Volume 2 Manga Review

ゲート セブン Volume 02
Gate 7 Volume 2

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*SPOILERS!*

Gate 7 Volume 2Highlights for this volume begin with Hana battling Mitsuhide to a draw, demanding to know why he wants Nobunaga’s corpse. She rejects his reason as a young male named DATE Masamune steps in, forcing Mitsuhide and his oni to retreat. Masamune is distressed to learn that Chikahito is living with his beloved Hana at the Urashichiken. Returning to the residence, the group sends Chikahito to buy food so they can discuss how TOKUGAWA Iemitsu is on the move. Unbeknownst to Chikahito, he is encountered by Iemitsu, who looks like a sickly, young teen male. Iemitsu’s oni, Mitsuha, then feasts on some humans.

Later at a restaurant, Chikahito reveals to Hana, Tachibana, and Sakura of his encounter with the beautiful teen boy, whom they recognize as Iemitsu. It is learned that Tachibana has a sister apparently in Iemitsu’s clutches, so he vows to save her and recover her oni as well as Iemitsu’s.  Later, the foursome head to a nursery school where a timid, effeminate-looking person that the kids address as “sensei” sees the kids off. The person is SANADA Yukimura, whom they deliver a message to regarding Iemitsu. Yukimura understands the message, but will not submit to anyone just on words alone, and so summons “Sanada’s Braves,” whom are also historical figures in the present. However, Yukimura decides to fight personally, but won’t fight Hana, whom Yukimura seems to know.  Sakura volunteers to fight, and in the process, Yukimura summons their contracted oni in order to get series with Sakura, whom also decides to get serious with Yukimura.

One of the reasons I stopped chapter-blogging this series is that this manga is chatty and confusing enough without an amateur translator (and no offense to them) adding to the confusion. Since William Flanagan has a ton of experience dealing with CLAMP’s ambiguous writing style (such as characters with no assigned sex, such as Hana in this series) and penchant for oddness, combined with his years of professional translation experience, I just decided to stick with the official version only.

Anyway, the constant introduction of historical characters from Japan’s warring period time is going to leave almost all Western fans in the dark. These are names with no meaning, whereas the Japanese people will have at least some knowledge of the people from a historical perspective. More than that, CLAMP has added so many characters to the mix in such a short time that it is somewhat difficult to keep track of who is who, more so when the past and the present mix together as it does here.

I’m not sure where CLAMP wants to take this story.  At some level, I am intrigued by things here, but there also seems to be a lot of rambling going on. Even though Japanese audiences may be aware of the historical characters being presented here, CLAMP is pumping out a ton of exposition to try to set up things and explain other things. Of all the CLAMP titles I’ve read, this is certainly the wordiest series yet.

As to speculation on things, being that this is CLAMP, combined with my own inability to see what story they are ultimately trying to tell (their manga titles usually have some theme, whether it is about love or the like), I am not going to even attempt to guess what might happen.

I will say that I’m tired of CLAMP’s androgynous characters, or characters that look female but never have a sex assigned to them.  For the later, there’s Hana, whom I actually like as a character, but I don’t like that CLAMP is trying to be clever by half and not let us know if Hana is a dude or a chick.  I figure that Hana is probably a girl now, but probably was something else at some time in the past, based on Hana’s encounter with Yukimura.

As to Yukimura, the character was a male samurai in history.  However in this manga, Yukimura looks like a flat-chested, petite, befrazzled but kind, female preschool teacher. It appears that once again, CLAMP is orgasming over the idea of yet another character with no established sexuality.  However, considering Yukimura’s known identity as a male, CLAMP must really be getting off by making Yukimura really look female save for a flat chest.  Frankly, I’m just sick of it.

On the Dark Horse side of things, the translations are good and readable, which is a must.  There are a lot of Japanese terms left, which is required considering the deeply-rooted nature of the series, based in Japanese history.  There are nice translator notes, going into more of the historic figures introduced.

So, I am interested enough to press on with this manga, if for no other reason that to see what the heck CLAMP was thinking.

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