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An Ode to CLAMP Men

"If You want it buy it!" Shouted the disgruntled woman who owned the China-town style assorted posters/assorted gifts/assorted stationary shop me and my friend frequented after school, just to stare at this poster. The poster features two men. One tall, one short. Both devastatingly handsome. Both dressed in black, holding really long, really intricate swords, and are surrounded by flower pedals and feathers. This was freaking spell-binding to me as a fifteen year old. It made me think they'd take me to a magical place, get me flowers, and also die for me. The tall one has what I like to call “triangle shoulders” because they're so wide and his hips are so small it literally looks like a triangle from far away. No boy in my school had those shoulders. Actually, no human would, period. It is anatomically impossible. It's as if the artists figured that shoulders are attractive on a man, so they went and made them 7 foot wide. They also gave them vampire eyes and a jaw line so sharp that it could cut grass, while they're at it, just to seal the deal.

Was it CLAMP's goal to make the most attractive men ever? Was it their plan to make it so that teenage girls would stop dead in their tracks to look at a drawing, and just stare at it for like 30 minutes straight? They must have engineered this. As if men in manga are not dreamy enough already, they had to go and distill it down to a formula. A formula that worked too well, BTW. Judging from the amount of JPEGs I collected in a folder on my computer unabashedly named “Hot CLAMP Dudes”.

If you took everything that made men attractive, and took away any negative qualities, then you'd get CLAMP men. CLAMP men would never fart, smell bad, have a pimple, or do anything embarrassing or say anything embarrassing and they'd always protect you with their giant triangle shoulders. CLAMP women are like this too, minus the shoulders part. They're perfect stand-ins for any teen girl who wishes to experience the soul-changing romance of being the ultimate love interest.

I learned about the story of X from scouring the internet. It's a doomsday type story about young people who got super powers and are predestined to fight each-other for the sake of Tokyo, and or the world. I can never be sure.

My favourite character is a guy who wears a backward baseball cap and street clothes. I can't remember his name. I only looked at a few manga panels that some generous fans had scanned and put on the internet. Never read the full story. But I know enough to know that he is a funny womanizer who does everything to protect the girl he likes. This is perfect! It still gives me the feels when I look at the JPEGs. He is super handsome and he's all injured and covered in bandages, and his love interest is just sitting on the hospital bed, basking in the glory of him injuring himself for her. What a lucky woman! Ugh! My teenage self wished she'd died right there and reincarnated as her.

I eventually got obsessed enough to download the movie. Which has an amazing atmosphere. I can't remember the plot very well, I think it is about the two hot guys from the poster, who love each-other but are fighting now because of some predestined fate crap. Who cares, honestly? We were never here for the plot. We're here for the poetry, the beauty, the romance of it all! My favourite character, Baseball Cap Guy dies for his girlfriend. They have a Romeo and Juliet thing going on and he dies right in front of her. He utters something like “I'm so glad I met you” as he takes his dying breadth. Just when he is done dying, she is killed immediately. Stabbed in the back by either Tall Hot Guy or Short Hot Guy. The movie is brutal. Everyone is killed. A hot guy with glasses is killed. His lover is killed. A girl is killed. Another girl is killed. Gosh, so many girls are killed, I don't know how I feel about that. There is even a scene where a girl's head is chopped off and floats down a river of blood. I suppose that is the sacrifice, if you are the ultimate love interest... Short Hot Guy chops off Tall Hot Guy's head, for chopping off the girl's head, I think. Then, in the final scene, Short Hot Guy is sitting on the floor, overcome with sadness, holding the head of Tall Hot Guy, crying out into space. The background music is a melodramatic ballad called “Forever Love”, performed by 90s Japanese rock band X Japan.

Looking back, I am not quite sure what I saw in this movie. But as a teenager, I freaking adored it! And I loved everyone in it, even the guy that killed everyone. It was tragic how he couldn't help himself, I'd thought. I am not exactly sure what “female gaze” means in anime, but I have a feeling the artists of CLAMP are masters at it. At least, they're masters of making unrealistic, romantic men and the most unrealistic, romantic scenarios that go right to the heart of a teenage girl. Even if she's never buying a poster.


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