Gate 7 Volume One is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Dark Horse Manga in 2011. I don’t see a rating printed on this volume, but I would personally recommend this series to manga readers who are thirteen or fourteen years of age and older.
In the prologue, a young man named Chikahito Takamoto is coming to Kyoto for a visit, and the place he wants to visit the most is the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. While he’s there, he encounters three mysterious people. These are Hana, Tachibana, and Sakura, and they have magical powers which help them fight supernatural enemies. It turns out Chikahito has stumbled into a realm that he should not be able to enter.
After the battle, Chikahito is taken back to the place where the three supernatural fighters live. An attempt is made to erase Chikahito’s memory, but it doesn’t work. Hana suddenly grabs Chikahito and leads him outside, where she gives him a kiss.
Three months later, Chikahito finds himself being sent as a transfer student to a school in Kyoto, and he runs into Hana, Tachibana, and Sakura. Chikahito discovers that the kiss Hana gave him was actually a spell that forces the one it’s cast on to return to the caster. Chikahito finds himself living with the three of them and being thrust into a world of supernatural beings with connections to Japanese history.
Gate 7 has a very interesting concept going for it, although it does help if the reader has some knowledge about Japanese history before delving into this series. Luckily, William Flanagan, the translator for this volume, compiled translation notes that are included in the back of the book. After reading these notes, I was better able to understand the historical references that were made in the dialogue.
When it comes to the art in this series, I was glad to see that CLAMP didn’t simply recycle designs from other series; at the very least, they didn’t recycle designs from any of their other series that I have familiarity with (Chobits and Magic Knight Rayearth). The character designs, as well as the overall art style used in this series, work really well with the concept of the series. Thanks to the art, I felt like I really was in this version of Japan where there are people with supernatural abilities and have connections with supernatural beings,
After reading this volume of Gate 7, I was left with the impression that there is a lot of potential for this series as the story continues. Hopefully, the series will deliver on this promise in future manga volumes. The only drawback to this series is the fact that a reader does need to have at least a little bit of knowledge of Japanese history in order to truly understand some of the concepts introduced in this volume.