Manga Review: Gate 7 Volume Two

Article first published as Manga Review: Gate 7 Volume Two by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Gate 7 Volume Two is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Dark Horse Manga in 2012. There’s no rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend this series to manga readers who are thirteen or fourteen years of age and older.

Gate 7 Volume 2
Written by: CLAMP
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Release Date: March 13, 2012

In this volume, Chikahito meets even more characters who play a role in the world of supernatural beings that he has found himself thrust into. It turns out that one of the new characters that Chikahito meets plays an integral role in a group of people who are fighting against the group that Hana, Sakura, and Tachibana are part of.

It’s made very clear in this volume that the supernatural characters are essentially reincarnations of figures from Japanese history, and that they are fighting amongst each other in order to acquire Oda Nobugana’s demon. While no one seems to truly know anything about the demon, it’s rumored that the demon is very powerful.

While the reader gets more of a sense of who the characters are and how they fit into the story, there is still one unanswered question at the end of Volume Two: how does Chikahito, the main character of the series, fit into the story? He does not have any kind of a bond with a demon, and he has not demonstrated any kind of supernatural powers. Chikahito still feels more like a bystander than an actual character in the story that’s unfolding. Hopefully, there will start to be a better understanding of how Chikahito fits into the story by the end of Volume Three.

With the introduction of all of the new characters in this volume of Gate 7, it’s become even more crucial for a reader to have some kind of an understanding of Japanese history. If you go into this series without that historical knowledge, it can make it a little difficult for the reader to truly understand what’s going on in the story and why some characters react to each other the way they do. For me, I understood the story a little better after I read William Flanagan’s translation notes at the back of the volume.

Gate 7 isn’t a bad series, but it was definitely created with the expectation that the readers in Japan would understand the historical significance of the characters. Unfortunately for many Western readers, especially casual manga readers who may not know as much about Japan and its history, this aspect of the series can potentially make it a bit more of an inaccessible read. My 14-year-old daughter basically expressed this sentiment to me after reading Volume One; while she enjoyed the premise of the series and some of the characters, she found the story to be a little confusing because she didn’t have the Japanese historical context to help her understand everything that was going on.

Gate 7 is a beautifully illustrated manga series, and CLAMP’s style definitely brings the characters of the series to life. Even if you don’t entirely understand everything that is happening within the story, the art is still very captivating to look at.

I wrote this review after reading a free digital copy of Gate 7 Volume Two that I acquired through the NetGalley.com website.

Additional post about Gate 7:

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