Tokyo Babylon

Mangaka: CLAMP

Onmyouji and youthful head of the Sumeragi clan, Subaru Sumeragi has moved to Tokyo along with his twin sister Hokuto to help the people of that great city deal with their paranormal and occult problems. The two live a happy, if hectic, daily life–sharing meals together, performing exorcisms and other work (Subaru), preparing cute outfits and generally being flighty and adorable (Hokuto), and attending school when time allows. And of course, they must make time for the attentive veterinarian Seishiro Sakurazuka who has openly declared his affection for Subaru–against which Subaru protests, but the truth is, he’s falling for Seishiro-san. If only there weren’t that niggling dream with the faceless individual and the wind-muted promise to leave Subaru unsettled . . . .

Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with Tokyo Babylon. I’ll tell you up front: this story is a tragedy, not the sweet shounen ai romance it appears to be. The sweet part just makes the tragedy a thousand times worse! But seriously, the storytelling in this manga is very well executed. And the characters are excellent, even the ones I don’t like (or love to hate, you might say). And I really love sweet, responsible, straightforward Subaru–which also just serves to make the tragedy even worse. Seriously, this whole plot is a setup to break your heart! Of course, this is a CLAMP manga, so the art is gorgeous, if a bit old-school–this is one of their older works. If you’re up for dealing with the tragedy, and if the shounen-ai factor doesn’t bug you too much, I really would recommend Tokyo Babylon though; it’s a manga I keep coming back to even through it breaks my heart every time.

Note: This story is a prequel to CLAMP’s X manga, just FYI. And the events here really have a huge impact on what happens in X, so if you’re at all interested in reading X, read Tokyo Babylon first.

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