Subaru Sumeragi is a 16 year old, cheerful and extremely caring Onmyou medium (the head of his family, the Sumeragi clan) who confronts and helps take care of ghosts and spirits with the help of his twin sister, Hokuto, and his gentleman friend, Seishiro. Subaru does his best to help anyone he meets, but the entire atmosphere of the polluted city of Tokyo in the 90s, brings about a feeling of desperation that threatens to drag Subaru’s spirit.
Cal’s Rating: 8/10
Cal Notes: When I browsed through this wonderful little blog it is only natural for me to say that I was immediately swept of my feet and into a realm of a shoujo bliss, but there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that not everything was right with this realm. There was something amiss in this shrine to sexy bishes and passionate love and I think I have figured out what it was that was amiss. There seems to be a distinct lack of CLAMP. Fear not for I shall correct this, by telling you all about my first and perhaps my most beloved CLAMP work as well as one of their very first manga series; I am of course referring to Tokyo Babylon.
The story of Tokyo Babylon is told in a series of vignettes, which all hold up well as fantastic stand alone stories with plenty of depth to them, and eventually the story culminates into something far more substantial. Tokyo Babylon follows the young Subaru Sumeragi as he works in the never sleeping city of Tokyo as an exorcist (or onmyouji) guiding misguided and often malevolent spirits on their proper paths. He does this by helping people both past and present to deal with the emotional baggage and psychological turmoil so that they can come to terms with that which they have lost. You will soon realise when reading that Subaru is a truly selfless young man who puts the needs of others before his own and it really is quite impossible not to fall in love with his heart of pure gold. Once Subaru parts ways with a character they are not seen again. The only characters that accompany Subaru throughout are his sister Hokuto, who happens to be the one responsible for picking out Subaru’s fabulous outfits, and Seishiro Sakurazuka who is a friendly vet and mutual friend of the Sumeragi siblings, but in spite of what one would expect of such a mild mannered man he is a descendant of a clan of assassins and more importantly he is the love interest of Subaru. Yes this series is a shounen-ai and as a (supposedly) straight male I didn’t feel at all awkward reading this because the bl-ness is not overplayed and it’s usually just part of an on going joke where Hokuto is trying to set the two up, which personally I found a little strange because you’d think Hokuto would want to get her hands on the hunk that is Seishiro herself (it is explained within the manga why this is but at face value it seems strange). While on the surface the story appears episodic you can definitely see relationships changing and developing in a fascinating manner. Each one of these three characters have more than enough personality to make them understandable characters and it is the little scraps of information and discovering the mysteries that each character holds secret that is going to keep you enthralled and reading on right until the climax where the mysteries reach their boiling point. But before I forget I should talk about the art right? Well it’s CLAMP, that should be more than enough detail right? Well if you don’t know what that means then I will just have to spell it out for you. The artwork is delightful, in fact it’s downright delicious is what it is. This happens to be an older work of CLAMP which is when their artwork was at its best in my personal opinion and Tokyo Babylon is a real visual treat with enough bishounen goodness to satisfy all. I have plenty of good to say about this manga, it’s artwork, it’s themes and especially about Subaru (who is top class husbando material if I do say so myself) but unfortunately I feel that I have to say that this series is let down by its ending which I won’t discuss here, but I will just say that it will leave you needing more which is fine because it has X which serves as a sequel of sorts…but then X went and got itself cancelled -__-