Thursday, July 14, 2011

CLAMP's Kyoto Fantasy: Gate 7

The city of Kyoto looms large in the Japanese cultural mindset as a place of classical beauty and tradition. The capital of Japan for over a thousand years ("Kyoto" 京都 actually means "capital city"), it is still considered the heart of traditional culture today, famed for icons like its geisha, the gold-covered Kinkakuji temple, handicrafts like beautiful Kyo-Yuzen dyed kimono, and many more.

Priding itself on this reputation, Kyoto even offers a discount to some tourist spots if a visitor comes dressed in kimono.

Now CLAMP, the hugely successful circle of female manga artists behind titles like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic and RG Veda, has taken Kyoto as its backdrop for one of its latest series, Gate 7.

Focusing on a young man living and going to school in Kyoto amid very odd circumstances, the series presents the city through the trademark CLAMP lens: traditional sites become gateways to battlegrounds, characters lounge elegantly in highly-stylized and embellished ideas of kimono or swirl about in fantasy takes on traditional miko (shrine attendant) robes, and little touches of Kyoto can be found throughout the world.

Here in America, Dark Horse Comics has plans to release Gate 7 Volume 1 on October 25th, and I'll definitely be picking up a copy!

(On a related note, CLAMP artist Mokona loves kimono, and even released her own book with coordinate ideas and her own homemade kimono projects.)

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