X/1999 #1 - Prelude

is a manga book published by Viz Media that was released on 08/17/1992

Plot Summary

 Kamui Shiro, a fifteen-year-old teenager, decided to accomplish his mother's wish. He comes back to Tokyo to follow his destiny. Six years has passed since the last time he came to Tokyo, since the last time he saw the Monos.     
  
 Fuma and Kotori Mono are two students who live in the Shinto Shrine of Togakushi. They have the affection of everyone. Kotori tells Fuma she dreamed that a smiling fifteen-year-old Kamui are coming back.    
   
Kamui is scarcely arrived in town before he is attacked by some mysterious men in black. Kamui uses his telekinetic powers to eliminate easily his opponents who reveal to be shiki. Kamui continues his way continuously observed by two shadows. 
  
Kotori remembers her dream, looks outside and sees a Kamui identical to her dream with the exception of his smile. Fuma sees him and goes to meet him. But Kamui does not pay attention to Fuma.

Kotori understands it was not a dream when she sees Kamui integrating his class. She remembers the day where Kamui did promised to never make her cry. Sshe decides to follow him on the roof during their break time. She tries to talk to him; But Kamui argues her to talk not to him anymore. Kotori bathed in tears runs away. She has a heart attack and dies. 

 At the same moment, Kamui feels he is observed and destroys the vision spell launched by Hinoto. She is sure that Kamui is the same Kamui as the one in her vision.     
  
 Kotori has another vision. She fell under the Sea of Tears and saw Kamui playing with a ball. But it is not a ball, it is the Earth. Kamui drops it and the Earth is shattered. This visual shock wakes her up. It is already night and Kotori is in the infirmary of her school with only her brother Fuma and nurse Tokiko Magami. Tokiko tells her that was Kamui who brought her there. Moreover the nurse lets Tokiko goes home with her brother. During their route they discuss about Kamui.     
 
 At the same moment, Kamui goes home remembering two old memories which concern his mother. The first one is when his mother asked him to become strong and to survive until 1999. The second one is the death of his mother. She was burnt asking him to come back to Tokyo. Kamui lets his reveries when Daisuke Saiki argues with him. Daisuke Saiki is a shadow who observed Kamui. Daisuke does not understand why Kamui used his powers without thinking and without making a kekkai. Kamui does not appreciate this altercation and attacks Daisuke. Daisuke does not want to hurt innocent people. That is why he decides to go elsewhere where no one could be hurt. The fight is severe. Even if Daisuke succeeds to injure Kamui with a wind attack, Kamui give him a thrashing. Kamui decides to finish Daisuke but he is stopped by Arashi Kishu, the second shadow who observed him. Kamui, upset, attacks Arashi. But a saber comes through her hand and Arashi beats him off.     
  
She moves instantly herself and Daisuke to the place where Hinoto lives. Hien and Sohi, Hinoto's servants, rush at Daisuke. Hinoto asks Arashi if she believes it is the real Kamui. Arashi confirms it whereas Daisuke thinks the opposite. Hien and Sohi are offended that Daisuke does not believe in Hinoto's visions. Hinoto stops quickly this conversation asking Hien and Sohi to take care of Daisuke.     
  
Hinoto remembers her vision about the end of the world and asks Arashi to protect Kamui, the only person who can change his destiny. Arashi retires to let Hinoto does her job of clairvoyant downstairs the Diet Building. Fuma goes out to buy some stuff for his sister. He meets Kamui, severly injured. He brings back home. His father and his sister are amazed to see Kamui. They call a doctor and Kotori decides to watch over Kamui.

The events were not convenient for Sorata Arisugawa. Indeed he cannot succeed to come into contact with Kamui. But Sorata does not lose his day. He sees a man (Yuto Kigai) at the top of a tree. After few jokes, Sorata creates a kekkai to fight Yuto. Yuto understands they are both concerned with the "jour de la promesse".

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User Reviews
Not an auspicous beginning. Reviewed by Count_Zero on July 17, 2010. Count_Zero has written 23 reviews. His/her last review was for Volume 5. 27 out of 27 users recommend his reviews. 2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.

 While I'd consider Tokyo Babylon the first of CLAMP's urban fantasy series, it's certainly not the best known. That title falls upon X, known in the United States as X/1999.

The first volume of the series follows Kamui, Kotori and Fuma. Kotori and Fuma are siblings, a brother and sister respectively, who were friends with Kamui in childhood. Kamui left them after a family tragedy. Now that all three are old enough to be in High School, Kamui has returned, now more violent, and impersonal. Additionally, Fuma has been having visions of an apocalypse, one in which Kamui plays a part.

Being that this is the opening volume of a long-running series, many questions are posed, without answers. A lot of characters need to have their personalities and motivations set up. The writer also needs to get the audience behind their main characters, to keep them reading. They succeed in doing this with Kotori and Fuma. However, CLAMP fails at doing this with Kamui. He's violent. He's petulant. He's almost sociopathic. Considering Fuma's vision and his behavior, he seems like he'd be the villain of the series.

The comic spends a great deal of time on Kamui, enough to give the reader the impression he's the protagonist. Unfortunately, he's not one I feel like I could get behind. His ultimate objective is single minded, and he doesn't have the motivations of a well-intentioned extremist like Light Yagami, nor is he executing the sort of labyrinthine plans Light does – which keep you wanting to read to see what the rest of the plan is. Instead, with Kamui any desire to keep reading is based on either finding a L to be an opposing force for Kamui, or hoping that Kamui will undergo a personality change like Kamille Bidan did in Gundam Zeta, that makes him a more mature character.

That said, the art in this manga is gorgeous. While Tokyo Babylon's backgrounds couldn't keep up with their character designs, the art here is splendid across the board. It is an definite improvement over their earlier work.

Still, at this point I would not consider this a strong opening. The later volumes in the series that I've read thus far do show enough of an improvement that I'd tentatively be willing to recommend this volume, but only if you're planning on continuing to read the series.

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Date Added: Dec. 21, 2008
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