Clamp (クランプ, Kuranpu, or CLAMP) is a Japanese mangaka group. The group's manga series are often made into anime after release. Almost 100 million Clamp tankōbon copies have been sold worldwide as of October 2007.
Clamp Originally began in 1989 as a twelve-member dōjinshi circle, but by 1990, the circle had diminished from twelve to seven. Of the remaining seven, Tamayo Akiyama, Sei Nanao, and Leeza Sei left the group during the production of the RG Veda manga. Other former members of Clamp also included Soushi Hishika, O-Kyon, Kazue Nakamori, Yuzuru Inoue and Shinya Ōmi. Currently, there are four members in the group.
According to Clamp, the group's name means "a pile of potatoes". (While this explanation may seem apocryphal, a storage clamp is indeed used for temporary storage of root crops, such as potatoes.) Clamp's genres vary widely, from childish and comedic (Cardcaptor Sakura, Clamp School Detectives) to much more dramatic and teen-rated (xxxHolic, X) series.
In 2004, Clamp's 15th anniversary as a mangaka group, the members changed their names from Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona Apapa, Mick Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi to Ageha Ohkawa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi and Satsuki Igarashi (her name is pronounced the same, but written with different characters) respectively. The August 2004 issue of Newtype USA, a magazine specializing in events of the anime and manga subcultures, reported that the members of Clamp simply wanted to try out new names. In a later interview with Ohkawa, it was revealed that initially Mokona wanted to drop her surname because it sounded too immature for her liking, while Nekoi disliked people commenting that her name was the same as Mick Jagger's. Ohkawa and Igarashi, wanting to go with the flow of Nekoi's and Mokona's name changes, changed their names as well. In 2006, they made their first USA public debut at Anime Expo in Anaheim, California. They were well received at the convention, with 6,000 fans in attendance at their panel.
Their work Cardcaptor Sakura won the Seiun Award in 2001.
- Nanase Ohkawa (大川 七瀬, Ōkawa Nanase), formerly Ageha Ohkawa (|大川 緋芭, Ōkawa Ageha)
- Born May 2, 1967 in Ōsaka. Ohkawa is the leader of the group and the script writer. She negotiates with their editors and sometimes writes the screenplays for the animated version of their manga. She recently changed her name back to Nanase.
- Mokona (もこな), formerly Mokona Apapa (|あぱぱ もこな Apapa Mokona)
- Born June 16, 1968 in Kyōto. Mokona is the main artist of most stories and was also several times in charge of design. Her detailed art style is the trademark of the studio. She is also the namesake of the character Mokona (who originally appeared in Magic Knight Rayearth, and later in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic).
- Tsubaki Nekoi (猫井 椿, Nekoi Tsubaki), formerly Mick Nekoi (猫井 みっく, Nekoi Mikku)
- Born January 21, 1969 in Kyōto. Nekoi is primarily Mokona's assistant, but is the main artist for some series, including Watashi no Suki na Hito, Wish, Suki. Dakara Suki, Gōhō Drug, and xxxHolic. She is also in charge of drawing super deformed characters and mascots, and works with Mokona on character design.
- Satsuki Igarashi (いがらし 寒月, Igarashi Satsuki), formerly Satsuki Igarashi (五十嵐 さつき, Igarashi Satsuki)
- Born February 8, 1969 in Kyōto. Satsuki assists Mokona and Nekoi in their work, and is also in charge of the design of the tankōbon. She also has a monthly column in Kadokawa's Newtype magazine.
- Tamayo Akiyama (秋山 たまよ, Akiyama Tamayo)
- Born November 28, 1966 in Ōsaka. Akiyama was responsible for the script and illustrations in Derayd, a manga based on an original idea by Ohkawa, and also worked on 20 Mensō ni Onegai!! and RG Veda with the other artists. She started Cluster (original idea, script and art) with the studio and continued to work on it after leaving Clamp in October 1992. After leaving the group, Akiyama also published Hyper Rune, Mouryou Kiden, Secret Chaser, Zyword and Shade.
- Leeza Sei (聖りいざ, Sei Riiza)
- Born April 28, 1967 in Ōsaka.
- Officially left in October 1992. Sei was an assistant artist on RG Veda. She was also in charge of story and illustrations of Combination, a manga based on an original idea of Ohkawa. When Sei left Clamp, she continued this series under her "Clamp name", finishing it in 6 volumes. After leaving the group in October 1992, she changed her name to Iba Takeo and published her manga (Gilgrim in 2 volumes, Phantom Cognition in 10 volumes and Tasogare no Rakuen 7 volumes and still running) in Princess Gold magazine. She is still creating dōjinshi with Nanao Sei, another ex-Clamp member, under the L.S.N. name (Leeza Sei Nanao).
- Sei Nanao (七穂せい, Nanao Sei)
- Born October 29, 1967 in Ōsaka. Officially left Clamp in June 1990 (last mentioned in Shōten 6). Still creates dōjinshi with fellow former Clamp member Leeza Sei.
- Sōshi Hishika (日鷺総司, Hishika Sōshi)
- Officially left in March 1993 (as mentioned in the Shōten 3).
- Kazue Nakamori (中森かずえ, Nakamori Kazue)
- Officially left in March 1993 (as mentioned in the Shōten 3).
- Shinya Ōmi (大海神哉, Ohmi Shinya)
- Officially left in March 1993 (as mentioned in the Shōten 3). He was the only male member of the team, and is related to Tamayo Akiyama.
Like many dōjinshi groups, Clamp did welcome guests in their team from time to time. For example, Yuzuru Inoue is often listed as the twelfth member of the group but was only a guest.
When asked about the universal popularity of Clamp's works, John Oppliger of AnimeNation stated that although it is "not based on originality [or] their artistic skill", they possess a distinct style that "perfectly mesh[es] the conventional attributes of shōnen and shōjo manga". He also pointed out that Clamp often "recycles" characters from their own earlier works, which gave rise to "a loosely defined 'Clamp universe' that gives much of their work a unifying tone", and creates "absorbing, complex narratives that appeal to both male and female readers". All these factors result in "a cult following devoted to anything and everything the group publishes".
- Official website
- Official website maintained by Frontier Works
- CLAMP-NOW News community
- Official website for mobile phones maintained by Frontier Works
- Chibi Yuuto's CHRoNiCLEs News livejournal
- CLAMP-NET.de German fan-website
- CLAMP WonderWorld Italian fan-website
- CLAMP Focus Panel and Press Conference