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branchandroot: butterfly on a desk with a world in a bottle (butterfly glass desk)
This post dedicated to the idiot fanbrats who really seem to think I'm making this all up.

The point: While CLAMP writes plenty of girls with power, agency, and romance, adult women characters who possess or approach those things, most especially ones with adult sexuality, are frequently killed off. In the rare cases they live past the ending, or for that matter the beginning, their agency and sexuality are foreclosed in some other way.

Listing of all manga, the women, their fates, and the resulting statistics )

Nutshell: The only mature woman shown on-page to have a current, sexual romance who does not subsequently die is in the series with a heroine that is explicitly and permanently incapable of sex. Think about that. It is slightly more common for a mature woman to have agency or power of some kind, but only slightly, and it is directly accompanied more often than not by angst or tragedy in their relationships. It is about that common for a mature woman to have, in the past, had a romantic and sexual relationship and to be bereft in-canon. It's over three times as likely that they have neither agency nor adult romance, however broken, ended, or angst-stricken.

Thumbnail: CLAMP: Girl Power! (Adult women need not apply.)
branchandroot: butterfly on a desk with a world in a bottle (butterfly glass desk)
Okay, I think I may have a rationalization for Card Captor Sakura that does not make Clow Reed an utter bastard.

Because when you think about what he did to Yue, in particular, well... utter bastard, yes.

Incidentally, spoilers will ensue. )

...of course, now I'm actually wondering a little about that whole "binding equals love" theme, and just how it would apply to Touya and Yue. Hmmmm.
branchandroot: Havoc totally blitzed (Havoc apathy)
Three Weeks: Qem mentioned I haven't gone off on Clamp recently, and I've certainly been saving up for it.

Anyone who follows Clamp knows that they really cannot end a story to save their souls. This does not just extend to "eternally on hiatus" but to "we don't actually know what to do now" as well. First witness: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

Endings, Women, and other things Clamp frequently fails at. )

All in all, TRC and Holic together managed to showcase almost every failing Clamp has. I really don't wonder that they've reverted, for their next try, to the proven formula of girl-power fluff with mouthy stuffed animals. Maybe they'll actually manage to finish that one.
branchandroot: empty veranda at dawn (veranda)
Naruto: Still unenthused. Nice to have more back history, but the zing just isn't there.

TRC: Just hurry up already, will you?

Holic )

Bleach: *laughing a lot* Soi Fong holds a grudge, doesn't she?

KHR )
branchandroot: fractal in blue and gray spheres (fractal round)

My response to TRC/Holic is pretty steady these days, and consists of something along the lines of: WTF Clamp?! I mean, the mother named the same thing as the soulmate was bad enough, but now we’re way into the weird spiritual incest and/or masturbation realm. And still no ending in sight. *sighs*

Naruto, on the other hand, is looking interesting, despite the continuing obliteration of the moral and psychological dynamics from the first two-thirds (ie teamwork). It looks like we may be shaping up for a round of “You use that word a lot…”. I am still wondering where the hell Sasuke et al are and how exactly he and/or Madara are going to play into this. I mean, the most emotionally satisfying thing would be for the current trio to break the pattern of the past trios and actually redeem the poor guy, but I’m becoming increasingly unconvinced of Kishimoto’s dedication to satisfying endings.

Bleach… well, now, I have mixed feelings this week. The Ulquiorra-Inoue dynamic got some halfway decent continuation, but little closure. He remains rather a mystery. I don’t actually object to that, but the way that dynamic crossed with the Ulquiorra-Ichigo was… distracting. There’s a lot of development happening, but it all seems to be subterranean. I’m hoping that soon we will get some greater in-action explication.

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

I finally went and hunted up those last five uncollected chapters of X. Dear me, it really does end on a cliff-hanger, doesn’t it?

It also, however, prompted me to come back around to my occasional speculation about how X might end and what, exactly, Kamui’s true wish is supposed to be. After all, in the last panel he seems right on the edge of maybe, finally, articulating it, though in all likelihood this is just another CLAMP tease.

Spoilers ahead, obviously, supposing you can say that of something that’s six years old and no new material in sight.

The last few issues emphasize, repeatedly, Fuuma’s words to Karen: if it’s wrong to kill people because of the pain it causes, why do people so easily forget the most important thing? He even thinks that the Seals themselves have forgotten it. Now, using CLAMP-logic, which is always a dicey proposition but still, and taking into account what Fuuma says to Kamui about his belief being his truth, it seems that we should turn this around. The question is the answer. If life is precious, then the most important thing should be… life. The life that no one seems to be paying much attention to. One’s own life. If life is precious, and the pain of those left behind is critical, then it is everyone’s first duty to guard their own lives.

This would certainly march with the statement that Kamui can never defeat Fuuma until he realizes what his true wish is: not to save Fuuma, but to live, to save himself. You notice that, even just before the major battle, Kamui is still hesitant to fight for his own wishes, on his own behalf. It’s belabored over and over. If Fuuma is trying to make Kamui realize this, it also makes sense of why Fuuma constantly threatens Kamui’s life but never actually kills him.

This does not actually clarify the ending in any way. It suggests that Kamui will realize his wish, and that Fuuma will grant it, because that’s what he does. But it leaves Fuuma’s own wish up in the air, and we still don’t know what form granting Kamui’s wish may take in a world where the apocalypse is merrily under way. In particular, it still leaves up in the air the question of exactly what the “icy cold” influence on Fuuma is. Kakyou speaks of doubled selves and the Dragon of Earth being undefeatable and eternal for as long as there is a Dragon of Heaven, and this may hint that the influence is, in fact, Kamui’s shadow self. If so, then part of the ending will almost certainly be Kamui reclaiming that part of himself. It also seems possible that he will, maybe even as part of his true wish, repudiate his role as “kamui”, thereby freeing Fuuma also. This might even be the one thing that will alter the foretold future. It does seem likely, given the various statements about the killing sorrow of the one who loves left after a death, that Fuuma’s wish is for Kamui to bloody well wake up and want to live so Fuuma can let him, which would point them toward breaking out of the foreordained Heaven-Earth dichotomy.

Given that the series is on hold due to fears that the direness of the ending will, in the current climate, affect readers badly, I suspect there is no reset button to be had, here, either way. I expect they will, however, stop short of actual apocalypse, while leaving ruins and lots of dead people; it’s the CLAMP thing to do. For similar reasons I also suspect the responsibility for actually fixing or destroying the world will fall to all of humanity, rather than the single savior/destroyer.

For some further ruminations, which I pretty much agree with, visit As You Wish.

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

Back from the holidays, and all I can say about most of these is “well finally!”.

Naruto )

Bleach )

TRC )
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

Having caught up on TRC and Holic, I think I have discovered why Clamp has made such liberal use of separate time streams and repeating time loops in those two manga.

It’s because they can’t actually plot coherently, and time-knots make the plot so monumentally confused that they can hope their readers won’t notice.

Also, they should have left Holic on hiatus until they figured out what the hell they’re doing with TRC and got around to the denouement. As it is, Holic reached a nice peak of dramatic tension and then fell all in a heap, and is now bumbling around with mini arcs that would have been worthy and interesting half a series ago but now just annoy me.

I am, however, increasingly sure that I was right all along and that Watanuki is Shaoran’s child. Or, just possibly, his father, but most likely his child. I’m keeping a saver on him being Fei Wong’s child, but that’s an outside chance.

*settles back to wait for the next issue to reveal that there was yet another time back-loop that happened, because that’s Clamp’s version of pricking her finger on a needle*

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Some ruminations on magic in CCS. This will likely eventually become a page on a CCS website, because a brief look around the web shows that all the extant pages, including Wikipedia, are focused exclusively on the anime. Other pages may well include "Why Clow Reed is a right selfish bastard".

It's good to stretch the intellectual claws )
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
*trips over a discontinuity*

All right, so in Card Captor Sakura, Sakura's mother dies at age twenty-five. At this point, Sakura is three and Touya is ten (1.5.11).

Let me say that again: Touya is ten when Nadeshiko is twenty-five.

Even if we go by the grades, Touya must be at least six years older than Sakura, being a second year in high school while she is a fourth year in elementary school. The youngest he could possibly be when Nadeshiko dies is nine, even if CLAMP mistyped in volume one.

Nadeshiko married at sixteen. By the numbers, Touya would have been born either the year she married or possibly the year before.

Now, I'm willing enough to entertain CLAMP's taste for cross-generational love, and the notion that Nadeshiko fell in love and married at sixteen. But for her to have had her first child at that age, possibly at fifteen? To possibly be having sex with her high school teacher and get pregnant and have a child at fifteen?

CLAMP, you nasty, skeevy people. I sincerely hope that was a stupid, thoughtless mistake and not a deliberate choice. The elementary school girl engaged to her teacher makes me twitch enough.

ETA: 2.1.22 Nadeshiko 27 when she dies. Definite continuity problems.

TRC

Apr. 7th, 2007 02:17 pm
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Catching up on TRC manga.

So I'm guessing... )

Having caught up: ...the fuckity fucking fuck? Can't anyone in here stay singular for five issues at a time?
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
So it seems to me that Yasha and Ashura are a sort of ur-couple for CLAMP. And ur-male-couple, anyway. They aren't the only pattern CLAMP uses, of course, there's also the Freaking Scary Couple, a la Subaru and Seishirou, but Yasha and Ashura are, if I'm not mistaken, the first example of CLAMP's most common male-couple pattern.

We have the delicate-looking, pretty one with phenomenal cosmic power, who comes with pre-filled buckets of angst and a certain amount of identity issues. Other examples of this include Yukito, Kamui, Watanuki, Fay and, to an extent, Eagle Vision.

We also have the strong, silent, possibly grumpy type, who guards and protects the first one and is supernally devoted to him. Other examples include Touya, Fuuma (normal Fuuma, not Dark Kamui, he's a Freaking Scary type and gives CLAMP two for the price of one), Doumeki, Kurogane (only just lately, of course, and rather by deus ex machina) and, to an extent, Lantis.

And, if you take out the angst and Issues, then you have Nokoru and Suoh.

Ashura and Yasha are also the most extreme examples of this pattern I can think of. While Kamui and Fay may have much the same levels of power as Ashura, I can't think of anyone but Doumeki who even comes close to Yasha's unswerving, unquestioning devotion, no matter what and really... Yasha wins hands down. Yasha goes beyond "devotion" into some other realm, the name of which may include "psychotic". *loves on Yasha*

All of which suggests two things to me. One, CLAMP really likes semes who are sub. And two, the reason RG Veda was so far and away the best thing CLAMP wrote for so very long was that it's their One Story and they'd already told it as best they could. With bells on. *pets RGV*
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
You know, the magnitude of Fai's shock in 125 makes me think that the offer to kill was somehow between him and Ashura-ou. Knowing RG Veda, I'm inclined to suspect that Fai was supposed to kill his king, not just seal him, or something like that. It would be in keeping with CLAMP's taste for parallels. It would also help explain why he finally stops protesting.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
... because you know they tell the same story every time.

1. The villain probably isn't. No matter how many horrible, cruel things he does, it always turns out that he's acting for higher neccessity or love (occassionally twisted) or some such. Female villains, however, are more likely to actually be villains and, in fact, incarnations of evil and darkness.

2. If it's small and cute, it's probably an avatar of chaos and destruction.

3. At least two thirds of the love affairs will be tragic, involving the partners eternally parted or only requited in death or some such. The primary love affair has about a three quarters chance of succeeding, but only after buckets of angst.

4. There will be at least one, and more likely two or three, cross-generational love affairs. These have the best chance of succeeding, even outweighting the primary love affairs. If the primary affair is cross-generational, you can be pretty well assured it will prosper.

5. The world will be destroyed, or nearly. The likelyhood of an eleventh-hour save with a TON of mess to clean up and emotional scarring all around is about three quarters.

6. The only way to deal with a shadow-self is to accept it, rather than fight it.

7. Pure-heartedness conquers all. Though it usually gets severely trodden on in the process.


Based on the above, I'm expecting that Fuuma wants to be killed by Kamui and is trying to provoke him into it, but that the overshadowing dark Kamui will be reabsorbed just in time for the sun to rise over a world in ruins, running with the blood of absolutely everyone else, probably including Fuuma himself, but not actually ended because Kamui managed at the last minute to save it. Not that it will do him any good to have done so.

Remind me again why I read these people?

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