Cover of the first manga volume of Clover
|English publisher||Dark Horse Comics|
|Original run||1997 – 1999|
|Directed by||Kitarō Kōsaka|
|Released||August 21, 1999|
Clover (クローバー Kurōbā?) is a manga series created by Clamp, a creative team made up by Satsuki Igarashi, Ageha Ohkawa, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Mokona. The manga takes place in a dystopian future, where the government is out to control the "Clovers", a race of children with special powers.
Clover is primarily about a young girl called Sue (スウ Sū?), whose name was stated to be derived from the Chinese word for four (sì) since she is a "4-leaf Clover". In the futuristic world that she inhabits, the military conducted a search for gifted children nicknamed "Clovers", who seemingly have the magical ability to manipulate technology. Demonstrations of their powers include teleportation and summoning weapons from thin air.
Classified according to how powerful they are, the children were then tattooed with a symbol of the Clover Project, with the number of leaves on the Clover indicating their power. To date, Sue is the only "4-leaf Clover" discovered. Along with other "Clovers", Sue was imprisoned to prevent her contact with other humans, as the government feared that she might develop feelings and be used as a weapon to jeopardize the country's national security.
Being isolated from the rest of mankind, Sue craves for company, and as for her only wish, she asks to visit "Fairy Park." Her escort is Kazuhiko, an ex-military soldier who has been forced to undertake the task. It is later revealed that Kazuhiko and Sue are connected through Kazuhiko's deceased lover, Ora (織葉 Oruha?).
The manga was conceived as a four-part story. The first two volumes comprise part I and trace the main story in the present. The following two volumes are parts II and III, and are flashbacks which explain the history behind certain incidents. According to series head writer Nanase Ohkawa, two further books are needed to complete the story.
Clover was serialized in Kodansha's Amie from 1997 until the magazine's demise in 1999, and remains unfinished. Kodansha collected the chapters into four volumes. The first was published on June 6, 1997; the final was released on August 9, 1999. Kodansha re-released the series in two volumes on July 17, 2008.
Clover was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Tokyopop. It published the series from May 15, 2001, to March 20, 2002, but let the series go out of print on May 2, 2005. Dark Horse Manga picked up the license, combining the series into one volume (ISBN 1-59582-196-1) in its original right-to-left format and releasing it on May 13, 2009. The series is also licensed in French by Pika Édition, and in German by Carlsen Comics.
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN||North American release date||North American ISBN|
|01||June 6, 1997||ISBN 978-4063400014||May 15, 2001||ISBN 978-1-892213-66-2|
|02||August 22, 1997||ISBN 978-4063400021||September 11, 2001||ISBN 978-1-892213-94-5|
|03||May 13, 1998||ISBN 978-4063400182||November 20, 2001||ISBN 978-1-892213-95-2|
|04||August 9, 1999||ISBN 978-4063400342||March 20, 2002||ISBN 978-1-892213-96-9|
A Clover animated music video directed by Kitarō Kōsaka and animated by Madhouse Studios was shown in Japanese theaters before the Cardcaptor Sakura film in 1999. The short film was released to DVD as part of the Clamp in Wonderland collection on October 26, 2007.
Dark Horse Comics, who holds the license for the distribution of the English North American edition of the manga, is currently in negotiations with Universal Studios for the rights to develop a movie based upon the manga; however, no deal has been made just yet.
Rika Takahashi, from EX: The Online World of Manga, noted the work's stark contrast with other, more positive CLAMP works such as Cardcaptor Sakura and Wish. She stated that it was a fast-pace drama similar to works such X and Tokyo Babylon. She commented on CLAMP's choice of presenting the story in short sequences and in a style "where the frames break out of the typical 'grid'" and to produce an experience of watching a movie on paper. She also commented that the typesetting of the sound effects helped create the overall cold mood unlike other CLAMP works. Furthermore, she praised the work for retaining a high detail of the art without being too dense.
Kisei from Tokidoki Journal praised Clover for having a sense of beauty due to its empty space and simplicity, which help give the manga and characters a mood of "chilling isolation," a stark contrast from CLAMP's previous works which Kisei said feature highly detailed pages that make reading difficult and "cheerful bubbly" female protagonists. Kisei further praised the work for, instead of defining the characters, using art to express their personalities and traits. Further praising it as a work that would draw both female and male audiences with its romance and military aspects, Kisei stated that the only flaw with the work was its high price.
Casey Brienza of Anime News Network remarks that the series is "arguably the best artwork of CLAMP's career" and has "gorgeous production values" but that "pretentious poetry conceals a thin plot and even thinner characterization."
A Publishers Weekly review claims that reading the series is like, "looking into a dystopic future through one tiny, perfectly square frame." The same reviewer said that the character designs were "magnificent" and that, "the tiny details on the clockwork birds and imaginative effects are stunning." The reviewer felt that though it was obviously an experimental work for CLAMP, that the series would be widely liked.
- "Interview with Clamp: Clover" in Clamp no Kiseki, Volume 2. Tokyopop, 2005. ISBN 978-1-59532-606-5.
- "CLAMP公式ウェブサイト" (in Japanese). Clamp. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- "Manga+Comics: Book Catalog". Tokyopop. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- "Corporate : Biz Dev - Tokyopop". Tokyopop. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "Clover Omnibus Edition (Trade Paperback Collection)". Dark Horse Manga. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "Trèffle / Clover Double 2". Pika Édition. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- "Clover". Carlsen Comics. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- "Dark Horse, Universal Negotiating on Clover Movie". Anime News Network. 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- Takahashi, Rika (1997). "clover.". EX 2 (6). Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Kisei (22 October 2003). "Clover Manga Review". Tokidoki Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- "Fiction Book Reviews: 7/6/2009". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-29.[dead link]
- Clover (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Nakayoshi's CLAMP Page
- "Shojo Manga Pick of the Month"