Manga Review: X/1999 Prelude by Clamp

It’s pretty bad when you look at the cover of a manga a week after reading it and can’t for the life of you remember what it was about. It’s even worse when you flip through it and still can’t remember. That’s how it was with X/1999 Prelude.

For those of you mesmerized by words like Voom, Woosh, SKRTCH, and Shaaaa… you will find pages upon pages of them with the confusing swirl of vortex art that denotes quick fighting sequences. Unfortunately, Dragon Ball Z-like action scenes overshadow this plot. Zombies are supposed to be attacking the main character, but you can't really see anything but glimpses.

What is X/1999 about?


I am still not sure. It seems the lead character has been away and returns to Tokyo to get attacked a lot. It is not clear what his goal is or if he even has one.

Highlights?


Well, there are a couple. First, a cool sword forms from a girl's hand. Second, there is an awesomely drawn princess with white eyes and an elaborate costume.

You might ask why I purchased X/1999 Prelude in the first place. Well, this was definitely a case of cover misleading. I saw the moon and the red splotches (which I assumed blood), along with what looked like bridge girders in the background and an ebony-haired hero. This is a good example of me not following my own advice. As I said in a preview post titled, How To Choose A Manga, I missed step #5, which is:
5. Flip through the book and check out the art. Is the detail inside as good as the cover art? Is it appealing to you? Is the printing bad, or is it crisp and clean? Do you stop every so often to let a “wow” or a “ooooohhhh” slip from your lips? If you realize it’s a steampunk fantasy once you get inside and you don’t like that sort of tale, please don’t buy it just because you like the cover. You will be disappointed.

Luckily, I bought this one early in my manga-buying days and hopefully have learned my lesson. I wouldn’t recommend buying this series unless you are a big DBZ fan or enjoy constant action with little plot.