At a Glance: 'X/1999'

Updated on March 29, 2018

Intro and Summary

In the year 1999, Tokyo is on the brink of the apocalypse. Magical beings and prophesies, blah blah blah. A central figure emerges, Kamui. The interesting thing is that the local Exposition Fairy can't read his future. He could be evil and implement the destruction of the world, or he could become the hero needed to save it.

So begins CLAMP's take on the genre of apocalyptic fiction. Will our magical, waif-like bishie save humanity from destruction? Will I be moved to care about literally any of the other characters? Whose incoming death, as predictable as a bullet train, will I feel anything about?


Info

Clamp's X appears to defy the conventions of "boys' manga" and "girls' manga". Intended for a female audience, the series is drawn in the ornate style characteristic of shōjo manga; but the emphasis on moral conflict and gruesome violence expected of seinen works attracts male readers as well. The story develops the group's ideas on Man's responsibility to itself, its family and the planet; and is influenced by the works of Go Nagai and Kyokutei Bakin.

— Wikipedia: X(manga)
Title:
X/1999 aka X
Souce Material:
Manga by CLAMP
Studio:
Madhouse
Year:
2001-2002
Episodes:
24
Additional Material:
Anime Film, OVA

Review

The plot is a little complicated, involving lots of characters. Usually in anime, when a lot of characters are introduced right away, it's because they will end up fighting and many of them are going to die. So I expect that, even without having seen the whole show. It seems like it will become just a series of magical duels leading up to some kind of apocalypse.

The characters look pretty, but they're all a bit stiff and boring. The main draw is Kamui's dilemma and the fact that his future is unclear, because he could almost equally choose good or evil, choosing to destroy or save the world. He has that ahead of him, and the tension built up by that initial pronouncement creates interest and drama in the show.

However, I never really got into any of the main characters. They were OK, but they don't have any super interesting personalities, and nothing particularly cool sticks out as cool by anyone other than Kamui. So what you have is the setup for what looks like yet another magical battle royale, but I don't really care about all the personal battles and fights between minor characters that will inevitably lead to an epic ending. I would watch to get to the epic ending, but I don't think I'd really care about what happens along the way. And that's faulty writing.

Rating for X/1999: 5/10

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