• Tokyopop (2001–2002)
• Kodansha (Amie, 1997–1999)
• Shôjo, Science Fiction, Romance
• 16+ (mild language, violence, mild sexual situations)
Clover was the flagship title of Kodansha’s short-lived anthology Amie, which was intended to showcase edgy and genre-bending shôjo manga. Clover certainly challenges the people’s perception of what shôjo manga should be, with its gritty cyberpunk setting, violent action scenes, and bold, high-contrast artwork. In a distant dystopian future, powerful psychics are both coveted and feared by clandestine government agencies. These psychics are called Clovers and are ranked according to their power. One-Leaf Clovers are the lowest, on up to Four-Leaf. There is only one Four-Leaf Clover known to exist—Suu—and she has lived her entire young life in compliant captivity. After bargaining with the government wizards who want her contained, Suu sets forth on a pilgrimage to Fairy Park with Kazuhiko, a former military agent, as her bodyguard. It wasn’t chance that pulled him out of retirement for this job; while in her cage, Suu struck up a long-distance friendship with Ora, a torch singer who was Kazuhiko’s lover, and through Ora, Suu fell in love with this older man she had never seen. While the plot might echo Akira or Battle Angel Alita, the execution is distinctively CLAMP. Lead artist Mokona outdoes herself with art deco stylings and fashions that defy gravity in eye-catching ways. The romantic pairings highlight many forms of romantic love, smashing barriers of age and gender. The first two volumes tell one stand-alone story, while volumes 3 and 4 are prequels. On their Web site CLAMP puts Clover on its “in-progress” list, although after eight years with no new work, a continuation seems increasingly unlikely. Don’t let that dissuade you—the series more than stands up as a completed work.