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Wish
Synopsis | Review

Until I read this manga, I wasn't aware that angels and demons don't have genders. Hmm. Interesting. At first, that sort of took away the element of romance for me. A totally female angel falling for a rich, stoic, and attractive male doctor could've been a more swoonworthy concept for a hopeless shoujo sap like me. However, a gender-less angel is something a reader can immediately get used to. At least, I got used to it. Kohaku's feminine for the most part. Oh yeah, and since Kohaku's gender is open to interpretation, shounen-ai fans can appreciate this as well :D In my case, I read the English tankoubon, and the translators used "she" when pertaining to Kohaku, so I'm happy :D

Wish is by CLAMP, an all-female manga team composed of Apapa Mokona, Igarashi Satsuki, Ohkawa Nanase, and Nekoi Mick. They started out as doujinshi creators, but their work was so good, they soon attracted several publishers. They're known for high-profile anime and manga series such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Chobits.

Wish is one of CLAMP's lesser-known work, but it has a solid following. It has four volumes and a music video that's approximately two minutes, 27 seconds long :D Nekoi Mick is the lead artist for Wish. Oh yeah, notably, it also has a Memorial Illustrations Collection, which includes the story after the fourth volume's last chapter. I thought I would never get to have my grimy paws on it, but I did. Bwahahahaha.

Synopsis
After an eight-hour surgery, all Kudo Shuichiro wanted was a good night's sleep. As he was walking home (he had the sense not to drive in such a tired condition), he found something that looks like a baby doll, stuck in a tree. She was whimpering. Then a crow swooped down from the sky and made a bunch of tree branches snap, sending the whimpering thing plummeting down. Shuichiro immediately caught her before she hit the ground. The crow, pissed, flew off.

Then the whimpering thing (it wasn't whimpering anymore) started talking and thanked Shuichiro. She offered to grant him one wish in exchange for saving her. Then Shuichiro noticed wings growing out of her back. She merrily explained that it's because she's an angel.

Shuichiro figured he's just too tired and starting to have hallucinations, so he went on home. The angel followed him. She decided to wait outside until he's rested enough to make a wish ^_^

The following morning, Shuichiro woke up to find that the angel's still outside and that he's not dreaming at all. She transformed to her full size and introduced herself as Kohaku (meaning amber). Being an angel in training, she turns into her chibi form at night, sort of going into energy-save mode :P Then she prodded him again to make a wish. After giving it some thought, Shuichiro decided that he really doesn't have anything to wish for because his life's pretty good :D Then he pointed out, "Isn't it up to me to fulfill my own dreams?"

Kohaku decided that she'll stay as long as she had to, until Shuichiro finds something to wish for. In the meantime, she tried to make herself useful around the house by watering plants and cleaning up after Shuichiro (who really doesn't care because he's used to doing those things by himself). She also tried to cook for him, but it turned out that she's a terrible cook because the only thing angels consume are sunlight and milk (sometimes with honey). They couldn't consume anything that used to have life, so Kohaku's clueless at preparing any type of food :D

After settling in Shuichiro's place (they set up the laundry basket for her bed, since she's chibi at night), Kohaku had to attend to business. The whole thing with Shuichiro's wish was postponed indefinitely because he refused to make a wish :P Kohaku was sent to Earth to locate the angel master of wind, Hisui. In addition, she's harassed every step of the way by Satan's nephew, a demon named Koryu (meaning garnet. Whee). Apparently, Koryu got his kicks from bullying Kohaku because she's ridiculously simple-minded. He even recruited his two catgirl minions, Ruri and Hari, so he could be more effective :P

Then, unexpectedly, Shuichiro and Kohaku (with Koryu in tow) found Hisui. Much to everybody's surprise, the reason why Hisui went MIA is because she fell in love with Satan's son, a demon named Kokuyo. The two of them decided to elope because heaven and hell would not allow them to be together, and Earth is the only place they could go to. When Shuichiro found that they had no place on Earth to live in, he invited them to stay at his house (he inherited a huge house :D). So now the Kudo household contains two angels and a demon, and another demon with his two minions would regularly visit ^_^

Pretty soon, heaven's master angels of water, earth, and fire went looking for Hisui. Kohaku soon got into trouble as well; as God's favorite and as the angel with the purest heart in heaven, she's entrusted with the important task of helping newborn angels hatch from their eggs (yeah, I didn't know angels came from eggs either :D). But she couldn't bring herself to leave Shuichiro because she's starting to have feelings for him, which is yet another taboo relationship for angels. As things slowly began to unravel, both Shuichiro and Kohaku realized that there are some wishes that couldn't be fulfilled alone. Uh, yeah, that's probably kind of mushy, but it's something that's repeated throughout the story :P

Review
Hmm. Yet another story about heaven and hell. Not surprisingly, this manga has a unconventional twist on things. For instance, at the end of every season, angels and demons get to meet in a neutral territory they call bridge. There they can address grievances and maintain a somewhat harmonious relationship (not sure if that's the right adjective...). When I was researching Wish before buying the tankoubon, I came across "bridge meetings" and thought it involved angels and demons getting together to play cards. Whee.

For the most part, this is a wholesome story. Of course, there's some adult content about Kokuyo and Hisui's relationship, but Nekoi and CLAMP carefully wove their way around those parts ;) Wish shows how Kohaku slowly learned what it is to love another being (she's really incredibly simple-minded). At first, I'm just distracted at how Kohaku really looks genderless, despite having a feminine face. But by the time I got to the second volume, it wasn't as distracting anymore. Actually, like I mentioned before, I even got used to the thought of her being genderless instead of being female. Shuichiro remained stoic for the most part, but it's nice to see how he's gradually getting closer to Kohaku too. He's not really a total bishounen, but Nekoi and CLAMP did a great job portraying him as a strong, quiet, smart, and kindhearted guy. Maybe the artwook just takes some getting used to (but he's a total bishounen in his subsequent form, I must admit ^_^). I was kind of surprised at first because the ads for Wish made it seem like Shuichiro's cold and calculating and wanted Kohaku to satisy his earthly desires :D

Wish's other characters are pretty kawaii. Kokuyo and Hisui essentially served as voices of reason. Although it looks like other characters viewed Hisui as gorgeous, I really didn't think she's that pretty :P But like Shuichiro, it's her personality that made her appealing. Actually, the same goes for Kokuyo. He's pretty intriguing, because he knew a lot of stuff (and can invoke some cool spells) but isn't the type who would act hastily. He would rather sit back and see what happens. Koryu, however, is a total bishounen when he's not in his chibi form (yeah, demons initially have energy-saving forms too :D). He's delightfully corrupted and it's not so hard to imagine that he really has the hots for Kohaku :P His minions Ruri and Hari, as well as the birds that always hung around Kohaku, provided comic relief.

There were some loose ends with the storyline, such as the whole deal with Shuichiro's mother and his true origins. At some point in the story, it was revealed that he was adopted. Oh yeah, and he looks a lot like Kokuyo. It seemed like CLAMP planted those things and then later decided not to use them. In the same vein, it seemed like the story's kind of slow-moving at first and appeared to go in one direction (the whole deal with Kokuyo and Hisui), and then at the last minute, it switched to a different direction. Nevertheless, the ending's pretty good. It's all heartwarming and can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside :P If I have to give it a rating, I'll probably give it like four out of five stars, just because it's too short and the story's not something that'll make you go "Wow!" In other words, this manga is worth buying if there's a manga sale or something. It's something worth checking out, but it's probably not such a must-read to pay full price ^_^

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