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For their twentieth anniversary, the Japanese mangaka group CLAMP were the guests of honor at Japan Expo 2009.
It was necessary then to expect at their conference, taking place on the main stage, that they made a quite a splash.
What moments of your careers have moved you the most?
CLAMP: When we were staring, we went up to Tokyo. But we were only students, and our parents were very worried about us. What touched us very much was when we were published, then they were reassured. It's very moving to see one of your creations on sale for the very first time. Finally, it's truly a joy to come to France together for the first time.
What are your sources of inspiration?
CLAMP: There isn't anything in particular, if it's not only our dreams that sometimes inspire us.
When Mokona was a child, she wasn't very interested in manga, she loved to go to the museum instead.
In fact, we love all art in general.
CLAMP interrupted the interview to make a large drawing especially for Japan Expo. Despite the vibrations emanating from the concert next door, and markers that dried out quickly, they succeeded in making a magnificent illustration of xxxHolic.
Why choose this series?
CLAMP: Because we all work together to design it, and because [xxxHolic] contains many characters from earlier works.
If that was your intention, isn't it complicated reusing characters from other works?
CLAMP: Yes, it's not obvious, that so many of them have a tragic story.
There's also a certain pressure when it's been a while since that character was last drawn, as our style changes little by little.
Regardless, it's always very interesting to make connections with our other manga.
Sakura and Syaoran are among your recurring and most symbolic characters. Many fans wonder why, at the end of Card Captor Sakura, Syaoran leaves for Hong Kong?
CLAMP: You'll have to wait a bit, and you'll know why, perhaps in one of our series to come...
But don't say that on the internet.
The public is shocked at this announcement, but then laugh at the joke.
Then a surprise for CLAMP.
Makino Yui, who sang theme songs [OP/ED's] of Clamp works, and the Japanese voice of Sakura, joins them on the stage.
She is very content, then thanks CLAMP, expecially Mokona who lent her the kimono she is wearing.
Makino Yui, could you say something for us in Sakura's voice?
Makino: What shall I say?
CLAMP: Something that Sakura has never really said yet, something special. "Syaoran, I love you so much!"
Makino: That's embarrassing...
Makino walks to the stage.
Sakura: Syaoran-kun daisuki!!
The crowd is moved, won over, and, after thanking everyone, Makino Yui leaves again.
One last thing, could you show us your projects, current or future?
CLAMP: There's a little, we just did, for the first time, the character for a video game, Tekken 6. What the developers don't know is that the creature on his shoulder breathes champagne. (laughs)
There's an exhibition in Paris of our works, with many originals, from July 3 to September 27. It's called "Clamp, the Queens of Manga", at 22 rue Meller, and we would be very glad if you went there.
Thank you for coming to France! One last word to close?
CLAMP: Thanks to Japan Expo for organizing such an event in Paris, for which our publishing houses/editors allowed us to attend.
We'd like to thank our fans for their great support as well. Your kindness has moved us and we hope to continue making the stories that please you for many years to come.
Also, we were very impressed with the architecture of Paris, and although it is difficult to draw, you will find perhaps very soon, a city that that resembles your capital in one of our series.
Applause as CLAMP leaves.
[Translation by Aurelia]
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