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Anime Expo - CLAMP Panel Report

By Sakura Eries     July 02, 2006

On July 2nd, 2006 CLAMP made an appearance at Anime Expo in Anaheim as part of their first tour of the United States. CLAMP, the four person team consisting of Igarashi Satsuki, Mokona (who looked very cute in her flowery kimono), Nekoi Tsubaki, and Ohkawa Ageha, made two appearances, one at a packed fan panel and a second at a press panel at the anime convention.

The afternoon fan panel, which actually started about an hour later than scheduled because of the sheer volume of attendees, was mediated by representatives of FUNimation. FUNimation is handling the American release of Tsubasa Chronicles, the Tsubasa Chronicles movie, and xxxHOLiC movie, and they mentioned that auditions for the English sub are in progress and will be cast by this Friday, July 7. After showing a 20 minute video that documented CLAMP's history and works, the artists were introduced to the wildly enthusiastic crowd. CLAMP then proceeded to give a presentation of how they produce their work. They showed some slides of their actual work spaces including pictures of the Sony Vaio computer that Ohkawa uses for writing her scripts and Mokona and Nekoi's collection of Copic markers. While some manga-ka use assistants, CLAMP does all their work themselves. Nekoi mentioned that a xxxHOLiC novel is coming out soon in Japan, and the slide show showed a glimpse of them working on a sketch for that project. While all four artists spoke at certain points of the panel, Ohkawa did most of the presentation narration and fielded most questions in the following question and answer session.

Questions for the panel were selected from approximately 1000 questions submitted online. One of the questions asked, which was also asked during the press panel later that day, was how the team met. They explained that all of them, with the exception of Ohkawa, were high school classmates. Ohkawa was then introduced to the others through a mutual friend, and they began working together on doujinshi. Also during the Q&A session, they mentioned that they intend to continue the Kobato series in the Japanese animation magazine Newtype. After the question and answer session, CLAMP took their leave, and trailers for the xxxHOLiC movie, Tsubasa Chronicles movie, and Tsubasa Chronicles series were shown.

At 5:30pm that same day, CLAMP held a press panel. They expressed that their impressions of the United States and American fans were positive. They've really enjoyed seeing the cosplays of their work at AX and have been enjoying the California sunshine. Ohkawa mentioned that she has even had a chance to enjoy the great California champagne. In answer to questions about how they produce their work, they stated that Ohkawa chooses which projects they work on but scheduling is decided by Igarashi, although that is mainly dictated by which deadlines are coming up first. When asked which of their titles they would like to see turned into live action, CLAMP seemed to be in favor of Chobits, and Ohkawa stated if such a production were made in the United States she would have a strong preference as to who the lead actress would be. During the panel, they also mentioned that they will be resuming Legal Drug in the near future and that they will be completing the X series in Japan with a total of 21 volumes to match the 21 Tarot cards. However, they did not state any firm timeline for either title.

This report was submitted by Sakura Q. Eries on July 2, 2006.

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