Legal Drug

Hallucinogenic Fable

Bridging the gap between reality and visions. Legal Drug questions our perception.

by Patrick King

Enough with the drug jokes already - despite the happy little cannabis leaf on the cover (an image propagated throughout the series), Legal Drug appears to have nothing to do with marijuana.

I'm no fan of the stuff - I've found that I'm plenty weird without the aid of mood-altering substances - and if you've tracked down this article looking for information on your favorite smokeable plant, perhaps you should try some of the other magazines out there.

On the other hand, if you like the pretty colors you find within our pages, go wild, you wacky person you.

Legal Drug

Now, onto the subject at hand: a new story from CLAMP. True, the past month has seen a number of new manga releases from CLAMP. With Tsubasa, xxxHolic, Tokyo Babylon, and even the books we're getting by former CLAMP member Tamayo Akiyama, such as Hyper Rune and Mouryou Kiden, you'd think we'd have enough CLAMP.

Any person who has ever encountered a good CLAMP storyline knows that you can NEVER have enough CLAMP. Even if it's CLAMP School Detectives.

If you haven't yet experienced something from CLAMP (shock!), then you've missed out on the exciting fantasy to be found in Magic Knight Rayearth, the nail-biting drama from X/1999, the heartwarmingly romantic tale of Chobits, and a slew of other joy-inducing, thought-provoking tales that tend to blend genres into a Picasso of a plot.

Also similar to Picasso's paintings, CLAMP productions reliably contain some beautiful artwork, along with their delightfully convoluted storylines.

Legal Drug

Art criticisms aside, Legal Drug is vintage CLAMP - easy on the eyes, laced with an undercurrent of illicit love, and set in a realistic world with just enough magic in it to keep things interesting - and dangerous.

Our two primary protagonists are Kazahaya Kudo and Himura Rikuo. The former is a thin and somewhat wan young man with light hair - it might be brown or blonde, depending on whether he's depicted in color or in black and white. He exhibits a sensitivity not often found in men, though it's possible that his empathy for others comes from his special power.

For reasons unknown, Kazahaya is able to sense residual memories where they were formed or by touching an object associated with them. It is due to his possession of this talent that Kakei-san, the owner of Kazahaya's place of employment, as well as his landlord, sends him on jobs that only he could handle.

Legal Drug

Himura, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of Kazahaya. The black-haired large-framed teenager remains stoic most of the time. If he does decide to display an emotion, it's typically some variation of anger, disgust or annoyance in response to Kazahaya's na´vetÚ. Yet his interaction with Kazahaya is more brotherly than it is antagonistic, and he proves time and again that he is genuinely concerned for his smaller companion's safety.

In the beginning of the story, not much is revealed about the relationship between Himura and Kazahaya. They share an apartment and both work at the Green Drug Store, a pharmacy run by the aforementioned Kakei. They've only known each other for about a month, and their introduction was by no means typical.

In truth, Himura didn't meet Kazahaya so much as stumble over him. On Christmas, Kazahaya was lying prone in the snow on the verge of death when Himura discovered his future roommate. Himura brought the ailing youth in from the cold, and most likely saved Kazahaya's life.

We aren't told exactly why Kazahaya lacks a home, but whatever the reason, it seems as if Himura is in a similar situation.

Legal Drug

The two protagonists' mutual homelessness aside, there are more fundamental traits connecting them. Himura is also endowed with supernatural powers, though the extent of his abilities has not yet been revealed. Readers quickly discover that there is much more to Kakei than meets the eye, for the mysterious druggist appears to have precognitive abilities that enable him to understand the boys like no other person can.

In addition to providing Himura and Kazahaya with housing and employment at Green Drug, Kakei also sends the two on less mundane missions that typically fall into the realm of the surreal. One job has Kazahaya seeking out invisible fireflies, while another sends the two in search of a strangely powerful book with a passionate history.

It's honestly quite hard to see where the series is going, or even where it's coming from, but that's not uncommon in a typical CLAMP production. One doesn't need to possess Kakei's psychic powers to know that Legal Drug is destined to be as enthralling as it is skillfully rendered. I can't help but predict that this series will be as popular as the other worthy tales that those lovable writers have bestowed upon us.

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