Shiritsu Horitsuba Gakuen

Manga/Audio Drama Written by: CLAMP

Audio Drama starring: Sayaka Ohara, Jun Fukuyama, Kazuya Nakai, Shizuka Itō, Miyu Irino, Daisuke Namikawa, Tetsu Inada, Yui Makino, Mika Kikuchi

In one reality, Sakura and Syaoran traverse universes seeking memory feathers; in another, they are normal students attending Horitsuba Private Academy. Along with their classmates (Watanuki, Doumeki, Himawari, and the Mokona duo), Sakura and Syaoran enjoy (mostly) peaceful days together–going to class, making Valentines Day chocolate, playing games, and generally having fun. Except that the headmistress Yuuko likes to have fun at their expense . . . and typically drags the other teachers, Fai and Kurogane (and later Yui), into the mess!

I absolutely love Shiritsu Horitsuba Gakuen! I’ve loved the characters from both Tsubasa and xxxHOLiC ever since I first read these manga, and it’s always made me sad that they had such tragic situations to deal with. So getting to see them having fun in a “normal” school setting is really fun. The plots are sillier than most of CLAMP’s work and almost entirely character driven (read “Yuuko driven”). The story is episodic, with four audio drama episodes and four (plus an omake) manga shorts (for now). Both audio & manga were originally released in Shonen Magazine and Young Magazine in Japan, and to my knowledge, there is no official English release of either. The manga are in classic, beautiful CLAMP style, and decent fan translations can be found online. The audio dramas are wonderful, starring the original cast from the respective anime; however, they’re a bit less accessible if your Japanese isn’t fluent. Still, the stories and acting are great, and it’s a good chance to boost language skills, right? (Plot summaries are available here if you’re interested.) In any case, I highly recommend both the manga and the audio dramas of Shiritsu Horitsuba Gakuen to anyone in the mood for some goofy fun, and especially to those who like Tsubasa and/or xxxHOLiC.

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