The One I Love

November 16, 2004

This is a collection of short stories and essays by two of CLAMP’s members, Nanase Ohkawa and Mick Nekoi. I don’t want to flame on this too badly since I have both the English and Japanese versions, but then again I’m obsessive-compulsive so I guess it doesn’t reflect too badly on me.

For some reason, CLAMP doesn’t do short stories well. At all. Take the disappointment that was Shirahime Sho. Those stories were somewhat lengthy, but only one was passable at best and the others were terrible. That book’s saving grace was its amazing presentation. Also, as much as I loved Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you it was good, or that it was anything except eye candy. Even that one may have had longer stories than Watashi no Suki na Hito, which gives you an idea of what I’m about to say.

It’s not that they’re bad stories, necessarily. I like the abbreviated seven page format, and I really liked the essay that sort of explains the story’s genesis afterwards. However, since they are all love-driven, you can sort of relate to the scenarios, but generally those scenarios are stronger when you have a relation to the characters, which you can’t and don’t have with seven pages. As a result, they’re just sort of lukewarm and over with quickly. So you get a collection of twelve mediocre stories that are over with too quickly, basically. That’s not to say they’re all bad, some are actually quite enjoyable. There’s one with a girl who think’s she’s too old that’s probably my favorite, and another with a girl who’s liked a boy since kindergarden, and a really good one about a girl who tries too hard to look nice when meeting her boyfriend. Stories like those really stand out as touching, but the length restrictions still really hurt them.

The artwork and presentation are all really nice in Tokyopop’s version. They kept all the color artwork, including the really nicely painted first story and the table of contents with portraits of all the girls. They even used the bright peach endpapers used in the original (a detail I like, but always feels a bit strange in English volumes since they’ll have ads and that “STOP!” page in the back, which most of the Japanese volumes I own do not have and the decorative last page feels more like part of the volume).

So, this is pretty scattered and general. Pros include the wonderful presentation, unique format, and some touching stories. Cons include stories being too short (and the format working against it, consequently), and the stories just not being all that interesting due to their length. That’s a BIG con, since it is, you know, the content.

Even hardcore CLAMP and/or shoujo fans might have a hard time with this. Approach with caution, but do flip through it to see the presentation.