We continue on with CLAMP’s more apocalyptic series, after the last volume started getting the plot into motion.
Title: X/1999 Volume 3 – Sonata
Written & Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Fred Burke
Retouch & Lettering by Wayne Truman
Originally Serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s Monthly Asuka
After Kotori and Fuma’s father, protector of the sword that was supposed to be given to Kamui is murdered, the seers Hinoto and Kanoe get dark visions about the role Kamui will play in the destruction of the world. Additionally, Kamui gets some surprising revelations about his family history, and the Seven Seals and Seven Harbingers begin to set their plans into motion.
While we get our fair share of expository dialog in this volume, it doesn’t grind the story to a halt as badly it did in the last volume. Instead we get the introduction of several new interesting powers in this volume, as well as a lot of interesting little bits of foreshadowing through flashbacks and visions of the future.
To clarify a bit – while it doesn’t grind the story to a halt as badly as it did last volume, it did briefly grind to a halt explaining Satsuki’s magic-hacking powers. I realize they wanted some dialog going on while Satsuki was hacking, but there had to have been something better.
As with the last volume, there is some pretty grotesque blood and gore in this volume, along with some near-nudity – both in the pages and on the cover.
Originality: The hacking power is something I’d never seen before, but the rest of the volume starts borrowing more heavily from the biblical stuff, along with some Kabbalah, and the old I’m your Mom’s near-twin sister gag. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: The artwork in this volume is still rock solid. 5 out of 6.
Story: We still don’t quite know who is on whose side yet. Though, the reveal at the end that Kanoe wants Kamui dead does help clear things up some, as does the fact that 2 of the 8 seals (at least) are working for Hinoto. 5 out of 6.
Characterization: Some of the supporting cast finally gets fleshed out this time as well. While Kanoe’s long term plans are still in the dark, we get some more information on what her short term plans are. We also know the identity of two of the eight Seals, and who they’re working for – which in turn makes some of Kanoe and Hinoto’s allegiances more clear. 4 out of 6.
Emotional Response: This volume didn’t quite play with my emotions as much as earlier volumes did. That said, if you ever got an emotional reaction from an episode of X-Files, or some other conspiracy-filled series when you realized who was working for who (either because of a formal reveal, or because you put the pieces together yourself). 4 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: Good continuation of the series, and with some very interesting plot developments. 4 out of 6.
In Total, X/1999 Vol. 3 gets 32 out of 42