Comic Books Magazine

Shoujo You Should Know: Wish

Posted on the 25 June 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Muse: While walking home from a long day at work, a young doctor named Shuichiro notices what he assumes to be a toy stuck on a tree being attacked by a crow. He rescues the tiny winged creature, who introduces themselves as Kohaku, an angel from heaven. As repayment for saving them from the crow, Kohaku offers to grant Shuichiro one wish. However, Shuichiro is perfectly happy with his life and doesn’t have anything that he wants to wish for (in addition to the fact that he thinks Kohaku is a hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation). Instead, Kohaku decides to live with Shuichiro until he can think of a wish. As a result, the two grow closer together as they end up caught in the middle of politics between heaven and hell.

Helen: As a quick note, the old TokyoPop translation (which Viz also uses, the releases are identical down to the sometimes questionable typesetting) refers to the angels with female pronouns and the devils with male ones; this was not the case in the Japanese version. The characters are all genderless and and some of the romantic tropes make more sense if you don’t think of them as straight relationships, but as borderline BL ones due to the tropes involved (like the poses when the characters hold each other and the relationship dynamics).

Muse: In fact, it’s possible to read the angel characters as whatever gender you prefer, due to the use of those gender-neutral pronouns. Clamp series, especially their earlier ones, put a lot of focus on “love conquering all,” so here it feels like more of a deliberate choice to make the heaven characters gender ambiguous. As a result, it’s a little disappointing that the Tokyopop version is the only one available in English even though times have changed (Kodansha’s Attack on Titan localization has kept Hanji’s character gender ambiguous as per author request). Regardless, the art style and a little bit of imagination make Tokyopop’s translation choices easy enough to ignore.

See, much raunchier than your standard shoujo!

Helen: Tsubaki Nekoi, known as Mick Nekoi at the time, was the primary artist for this series instead of Mokona so the art for the series does look a bit different, even compared to its contemporaries like Clover and Cardcaptor Sakura. I personally don’t find the many chibis that cute; the backgrounds are really sparse and there’s very little negative space, but the full page or double page spread illustrations are quite nice. There were a few scenes that definitely reminded me of another Nekoi-led later work, Legal Drug.

Muse: The drawings of the wings and the flowy clothing that the supernatural characters wear were what originally drew me in to this series, so the art is a high point in the way that it distinguishes itself from other Clamp works. After seeing the angles in their full glory though, it is a little bit of a letdown when they go back to chibi form, despite the plot reason for why they have to.

You haven't seen people this scared of a rabbit since Monty Python.

Helen: As far as the story goes, it’s a good “primer” on some of Clamp’s favorite storytelling tropes and it’s actually more successful than a lot of their later stories, even if it lacks some polish in a few places. With quick, almost snappy pacing the four volumes fly by very quickly. It’s hard to label some chapters as “filler” when almost all of them have a small nugget of plot or character advancement in them, compared to their longer works where whole arcs were pointless in retrospect.

Muse: *cough* Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles *cough*

Helen: Well I was going to be nice and not name names but yes, Wish is only four volumes long and I stand firm that Clamp’s shorter series are the stronger ones.

Muse: I agree; Wish is long enough in order to get invested in the characters and to learn about the rules of the world as well as the repercussions of their actions before moving into the finale. It also introduces some of Clamp’s favorite recurring images, which fans of their more recent series will probably recognize, since a lot of it reappears in their crossover series and other works existing in the complicated Clamp multiverse. That’s all I’ll say about that though, since discussing Clamp’s crossover series is difficult to do without mentioning spoilers for other works.

Helen: And in case anyone was wondering if you can read this work without having read any of Clamp’s other works: you completely can. The work is completely self-contained and it’s a rather cute, fluffy romance but with an undercurrent of doom building in the background. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a first work, but as an old fan of Clamp it’s interesting to go back and see what ideas they keep returning to and which ones they have or haven’t refined.

Missed it? Wish is available digitally from Viz Media.

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