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Clamp (クランプ Kuranpu) is an all-female Japanese manga artist group that formed in the mid 1980's. Many of the group's manga series are often adapted into anime after release. It consists of their leader Nanase Ohkawa, who provides much of the storyline and screenplay for all their works and adaptations of those works, and three artists whose roles shift for each series: Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi. Almost 100 million Clamp tankōbon copies have been sold worldwide as of October 2007.
Beginning as an eleven-member dōjinshi circle in the mid 1980's, they began creating original work in 1987. By the time they debuted with RG Veda in 1989, their numbers were reduced to seven. In 1993, three more members left, leaving the four members who are currently still part of the group. In 2006, members decided to change their names; Ohkawa later changed her name back from Ageha Ohkawa to Nanase Ohkawa.
Clamp originally began in the mid 1980's as an eleven-member dōjinshi circle named Clamp Cluster. This included O-Kyon, Sei Nanao, Tamayo Akiyama, Leeza Sei, and Sōshi Hishika, Kazue Nakamori, and Shinya Ōmi. Like many dōjinshi groups, Clamp did welcome guests in their team from time to time. For example, Yuzuru Inoue is often listed as the twelfth member of the group but was only a guest. The three artists of Clamp—Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi—first began drawing manga when they were either in middle or high school, inspired by friends. The three artists were good friends in the same school. They met Nanase Ohkawa when one of her friends befriended Mokona after buying a comic that she was selling, and through that connection, the four of them became friends. The original group of twelve members began to meet at every event held in Osaka and Kobe, which usually occurred once a month. Before they began creating original work, the group produced dōjinshi of Captain Tsubasa, and yaoi dōjinshi of Saint Seiya. However in 1987, the group stopped dōjinshi and began creating original work; it was at this time they began working on RG Veda. Their first collaborative work was entitled "Clamp", which they continued to work on until shortly after their debut.
The group first decided to debut as professional comic writers when they decided to print the manga, RG Veda, that they had first began working on as a fan comic. After seeing the comic digest of the manga series that Clamp decided to publish, an editor for Shinshokan's, Wings manga magazine, asked the group to work for them. They submitted an approximately sixty-page story as a sample of their talents, however the work was rejected. Ohkawa later lauded the draft stating that "everything was bad," attributing the quality to having never before completed a story as a cohesive group and to lack of experience. The group was given another chance at publication should they submit a new story that Shinshokan liked, and they submitted RG Veda.
During this time before their official debut, the group moved to Tokyo and rented a small, two-bedroom apartment. Ohkawa stated that she thought she was "gonna die there." Nekoi stated that "the only private space [they] had was under [their] desk."
By the group's professional debut in 1989 with the manga, RG Veda, serialized in Shinshokan's Wings magazine, its members had gone down to seven. During the production of the manga RG Veda, O-Kyon had left the group. In June 1990, Sei Nanao officially left the group(last mentioned in Shōten 6), Sōshi Hishika, Kazue Nakamori, and Shinya Omi officially left in March 1993 (as mentioned in the Shōten 3). In October 1992, Tamayo Akiyama and Leeza Sei officially left the group.
RG Veda was originally planned to be a single story rather than a series, although because of good reader response and higher-than-expected sales for its first volume Shinshokan permitted the group to create more volumes, however after each chapter of the manga was released, Shinshokan threatened that it would cease serialization should its popularity fall.
In July 1989, Genki Comics began serializing Clamp's second work, Man of Many Faces. It also began serializing Duklyon: Clamp School Defenders in August 1991, which became the work that the three artists Mokona, Nekoi, and Igarashi enjoyed working on most. In March 1990, Wings began serializing Tokyo Babylon. In December 1990, Monthly Asuka ran Clamp School Detectives, and in May 1992, it began serializing X.
Clamp was serialized by many other magazines and publishers including Kobunsha publishing Shirahime-Syo: Snow Goddess Tales on June 10, 1992. In 1993, Clamp released two different manga: in March, Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, which began serializing in Newtype, and in November, Magic Knight Rayearth which was serialized in Nakayoshi. Nakayoshi also began to serialize Cardcaptor Sakura in May 1996; Ohkawa, Clamp's leader and storyboarder, particularly enjoyed working on Cardcaptor Sakura as it was not a tragedy, unlike many of her previous works. Kadokawa Shoten published The One I Love on July 17, 1995. Wish first began serializing in Asuka Comics DX in October 1996. In December 1998, Suki: A Like Story began first serializing in Asuka Comics DX, and in January 1999, Angelic Layer first began serializing in Monthly Shōnen Ace.
In 2001, Young Magazine began serializing Clamp's Chobits which completed its run in 2002. Although their previous works are targeted at a female audience, Chobits marked the first time Clamp wrote for an older teen male audience. Clamp began writing the two works that tell separate parts of the same overarching plot, xxxHolic serialized in Young Magazine beginning in 2003 followed by Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle serialized in the Weekly Shōnen Magazine beginning in 2005. Tsubasa marked the first time Clamp had ever tried writing for a younger male audience.
In 2004, Clamp's 15th anniversary as a manga artist group, the members changed their names from Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona Apapa, Mick Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi to Ageha Ohkawa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi and Satsuki Igarashi (her name is pronounced the same, but written with different characters) respectively. To celebrate Clamp's 15th anniversary, Tokyopop released a twelve-part magazine series entitled Clamp no Kiseki that contained a plethora of information for fans. The August 2004 issue of Newtype USA, a magazine specializing in events of the anime and manga subcultures, reported that the members of Clamp simply wanted to try out new names. In a later interview with Ohkawa, it was revealed that initially Mokona wanted to drop her surname because it sounded too immature for her liking, while Nekoi disliked people commenting that her name was the same as Mick Jagger's. Ohkawa and Igarashi, wanting to go with the flow of Nekoi's and Mokona's name changes, changed their names as well.
In 2006, Ohkawa made her first appearance overseas at the Taipei International Book Exhibition sponsored by Production I.G. During an interview there, she announced that Clamp would be making its first USA public debut at Anime Expo in July in Anaheim, California co-sponsored by Anime Expo, Del Rey Manga, Funimation and Tokyopop. They were well received at the convention as fans completely filled all 6,000 seats present in the auditorium of the focus panel in addition to more on the waiting list. By 2006, Clamp had reportedly sold in excess of 90 million copies of their manga internationally.
|1990||1991||Man of Many Faces||Newtype||Shōnen||Complete||2|
|1992||1993||Clamp School Detectives||Monthly Asuka||Shōjo||Complete||3|
|1992||1993||Duklyon: Clamp School Defenders||Newtype 100% Comics||Shōnen||Complete||2|
|1992||1992||Shirahime-Syo: Snow Goddess Tales||Monthly Asuka||Shōjo||Complete||1|
|1992||1994||Legend of Chun Hyang||Serie Mystery: Special||Josei||Complete||1|
|1993||1995||Magic Knight Rayearth||Nakayoshi||Shōjo||Complete||3|
|1993||1995||Miyuki-chan in Wonderland||Newtype||-||Complete||1|
|1995||1995||The One I Love||Young Rose Comics DX||Shōjo||Complete||1|
|1995||1996||Magic Knight Rayearth 2||Nakayoshi||Shōjo||Complete||3|
|1996||1998||Wish||Monthly Asuka DX||Shōjo||Complete||4|
|1999||2001||Angelic Layer||Monthly Shōnen Ace||Shōnen||Complete||5|
|1999||2000||Suki: A Like Story||Monthly Asuka||Shōjo||Complete||5|
|2000||2003||Legal Drug||Monthly Asuka||Shōjo||Complete^||3|
|2003||2011||xxxHolic|| Young Magazine|
Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine
|2003||2009||Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle||Weekly Shōnen Magazine||Shōnen||Complete||28|
|2005||2011||Kobato.||Monthly Shōnen Gene-X||Seinen||Complete||6|
|2010||—||Gate 7||Jump Square||Shōnen||Ongoing||3|
|2011||—||Drug & Drop||Young Ace||Seinen||Ongoing||-|
* - refers to it's last publication in a magazine.
^ - later continued in their series, Drug & Drop.