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CLAMP in Context: A Critical Study of the Manga and Anime

2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786469543
ISBN-10: 0786469544
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dani Cavallaro has written widely about literature, cultural theory, and anime. She lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (January 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786469544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786469543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,548,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me first say this: I have read every work by CLAMP, I own all of their art books, compilations, interviews, etc., so I am familiar with all of the same material Cavallaro was pulling from. I was a fan of her work with Miyazaki (and even built off some of her scholarship to publish my own work on Miyazaki) but this was a major disappointment.

Cavarallo chooses to focus on certain themes throughout CLAMP's work, but instead of a thoughtful, in-depth look at how those themes develop through their work, we get instead a strange mish-mash of 'big series' to focus on; much space is devoted to Tsubasa...and not just the manga. In fact, much space is devoted to a lot of material outside of CLAMP's manga, including Code Geass, which CLAMP designed the characters for and then largely had little to do with.

The themes Cavarllo chooses to explore are largely uninteresting in comparison to the rich material she has to work with; interdemiensional travel is discussed, as is a more successful chapter that delves into humans' relationship with technology, and a less successful chapter regarding CLAMP's "core philsophy," as she reads it, is kicked around, but the whole task (which is done in a superfluously wordy way, almost as if the work is satirizing academic writing instead of actually participating in the scholarship) comes off as superficial: long tracks of her book merely recap events in certain series, and a whole page is devoted to just listing characters from Tsubasa that appear in other works (why? to what end or purpose?), giving the reader the sense that desperate space filler was needed.

This book gives you the impression that we're going to get an interesting discussion of much of CLAMP's work; you won't.
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Format: Paperback
My main complaint with this book is that certain passages were obviously copied from Wikipedia without credit and then rewritten.

Here's an example.

From the Wikipedia article on Magic Knight Rayearth [page visited 5/29/2012]

[Differences in the anime adaptation] --- The first season remains mostly faithful to the first arc of the manga aside from the inclusion of the original character Inouva and a multitude of subplots, but the second season shows a rapid departure. Most notable differences are the creation of two anime only antagonists, Nova and Lady Debonair, who were born from the intense despair of Hikaru and the people of Cephiro respectively after the death of Princess Emeraude.

CLAMP in Context, p.67:

It is worth pointing out in considering the story's migration from the manga world to the screen, that the first season remains by and large loyal to the first arc of the manga, except for the inclusion of the original character Inouva and a chain of subplots, whereas the second season departs more radically from the parent text. The most remarkable difference, in this respect, consists of the ideation of two new personae indigenous solely to the world of the anime, Nova and Lady Debonair, who are said to have emanated from the deep grief experienced by Hikaru and the people of Cephiro respectively in the aftermath of Princess Emeraude's demise.

See how Cavallaro rephrases the Wikipedia text in order to make it sound more scholarly (ideation instead of creation, addition of filler phrases like "in this respect"), but the content and basic sentence structure remain the same?

I don't know if Cavallaro's other books feature similar plagiarized passages, but I won't be finding out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Or if you're going to insist on buying it just because you're a CLAMP fan like I am, consider saving yourself 20 dollars by going for the kindle edition if it's available to you (that $35 price point is just insulting).

But seriously, just don't buy this book.
It's a very difficult read, but the ideas are simple enough that the writing itself feels like it serves little purpose, and that simpler words and sentences would have communicated the same ideas while putting off less people. The book groups all of CLAMP's works into 4 major chapters that comprise the entire book, with very little or nothing to indicate where to find the discussions of your favorite works.

Perhaps the biggest injustice of all is that the book focuses mainly on anime adaptations (including, for some reason, Code Geas, a show they were minimally involved with, contributing only character designs). If this doesn't drive home the point I'm trying to make, I don't know what I could say that would.

Honestly, I was very excited to see a book had come out with some kind of deep study of CLAMP the way I always thought they deserved, but it seems to me as though the author probably isn't a CLAMP fan. It seems like they don't have much experience reading (not watching!) their works and like they didn't know the first thing about CLAMP until they sat down to write a book on the subject.

And then they only did minimal research.

Trust me, this is not the book you've been waiting for.
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Format: Paperback
Written in the very worst sort of academic prose, this study of CLAMP's work is disappointing. Despite its attractive cover, I could not in good conscience recommend this book to anyone. A particularly laughable moment is the author's reference to David Lodge's excellent novel _Small World_: Cavallaro seems to have taken at face value what is clearly a parody in a work of fiction. I greatly admire CLAMP, and I think they deserve critical attention, but this effort, like Cavallaro's books on anime, falls far short. Do not spend $35 on this.
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