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Legal Drug, Volume 1 by CLAMP
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Legal Drug, Volume 1 (2001)

by CLAMP

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I found a used copy of this at my local entertainment store and bought it because series by CLAMP are always worth a try.

So far, this has a very episodic feel. At the beginning of the volume, Rikuo finds an unconscious Kazahaya in the snow and takes him back to Kakei, his boss at the Green Drugstore. Fast-forward a month, and Kazahaya and Rikuo are both working for Kakei. Sometimes the jobs he asks them to do are fairly ordinary, but sometimes they have a supernatural component.

This volume covers three of Kakei's special jobs. First, he asks Rikuo and Kazahaya to find a mysterious book. Then, he sends Kazahaya out alone to catch invisible fireflies. The third job requires that Kazahaya watch a black-and-white movie in order to determine what color jewel a woman is wearing in a certain scene. The characters have special abilities that help them do these jobs. Kakei can see the future, Kazahaya has visions of other people's memories, and Rikuo can break anything. Presumably, Saiga, Kakei's partner/lover/whatever, also has a special ability.

Kazahaya and Rikuo seem somewhat like an earlier incarnation of Watanuki and Domeki (characters in CLAMP's Xxxholic), only with more fanservice. Kazahaya constantly complains about Rikuo and hates being assigned to work with him. Rikuo is the cool guy who enjoys pushing Kazahaya's buttons.

The “fangirl squee” moments are everywhere. Rikuo frequently has to save Kazahaya: catching him when he faints, rescuing him when he almost drowns, helping him do a job he might otherwise have been too sick to do, etc. Then there were the other things, like Kazahaya's over-the-top reactions to Rikuo touching his hand or to realizing that Rikuo was looming behind him.

It's hard to tell, at this point, if the two of them will end up in a romantic relationship or if CLAMP is just having fun with readers. Knowing CLAMP, either one is possible, but I'm going to guess that the latter is more likely. Saiga and Kakei's relationship is another thing entirely. Those two are totally sleeping together.

The jobs were okay, but not really anything special. I enjoyed the visual of the fish swimming in the sky during the first job. My favorite job was probably the one involving the fireflies, although I swear CLAMP included something similar in their later series, Xxxholic. An invisible bird, I think?

If I continue on with this series, it'll probably be because the hints of an overarching storyline made me curious. All the characters and their pasts are a mystery. Who's the woman Kazahaya keeps remembering? What drove him to leave home and almost die in the snow? Who is this Tsukiko woman that Rikuo asked Kakei and Saiga to find? What does Kakei do with the things Kazahaya and Rikuo find for him?

I like the artwork, I'm somewhat interested in the characters, and I think it would be nice to see what other jobs Kakei sends Rikuo and Kazahaya to do. Chances are good that I'll read the rest of this series – the whole thing is only three volumes long. The one thing I'm nervous about is the ending. Since Legal Drug is continued by another series, Drug & Drop, I'm a little worried that Legal Drug will have a frustrating non-ending.

Extras:

Three full-color pages and a four-page extra story. The extra story is a silly re-imagining of Legal Drug's characters in which Kakei is Kazahaya's dad and Saiga is Rikuo's dad. Kakei announces to Kazahaya that he's remarrying and that Kazahaya should consider Kakei to be his mom and Saiga to be his new father ("It's too complicated if we're both fathers.").

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Jan 26, 2014 |
Legal Drug is a pretty manga with an interesting storyline. It begins with poor Kazahaya collapsing in the snow at Christmas, like the little match girl, but with a happier ending since the handsome Rikuo finds him and takes him in. Thus begins the saga of Kazahaya and Rikuo living and working at the Green Drug Pharmacy. But the owner, Kakei, and, his boyfriend, Saiga, frequently send them on strange assignments that have a supernatural angle. Kazahaya sees visions and memories from objects he touches. There is a bit of a mystery involving a girl from Rikuo's past who has gone missing, and a lot of romantic tension between Kazahaya and Rikuo. Even though Kazahaya claims not to like the moody and aloof Rikuo, that's probably his pride talking since Rikuo ends up saving him all the time. ;) ( )
  catfantastic | Apr 1, 2012 |
This turned out to be more of a series review than just the first volume, but it doesn't really contain any spoilers for the second and third volumes.

I read this one again last night for the fourth, or maybe it is the fifth, time and figured that I should probably do a review. Here we are introduced to Kazahaya and Rikuo who work at an unusual store, The Green Drug Pharmacy. Along with the usual duties of working at the store these two teens are periodically offered more dangerous jobs by the store owner, jobs where they have to use their "special" talents to locate lost objects or find out information that cannot be obtained by just any normal person. Despite their antagonism to each other the two are bound together by circumstance and potentially destiny, each looking for someone they have lost.

This is a short lived, unfinished but complex and appealing story that Clamp set aside when they began to develop the Tsubasa/xxxHolic series. With the end of those two in sight I am ever hopeful that they will pick this series up again. This three volume manga set are all very artistically stylish. From the green and black covers, color glossies and unusual onion skin inserts to the "drug" theme (located throughout the artwork, but not actually part of the story itself, this is not really a story about smoking pot!) it is aimed at being both tantalizing and naughty. Unlike some of Clamp's work where the homosexual undertones are more subtle, this one is a bit more upfront. Especially in the way the rather sadistic drug store owner and his "partner" are together. The plot itself is highly interesting and episodic although one still gets the impression they are leading towards an overall central theme. I love the main characters! You can certainly see similarities between these two and Watanuki and Domeki from xxxHolic but they still retain their own personalities.

I have many theories about the unanswered questions of this series and I really hope that the opportunity to see if I'm right or not will present itself in the future. ( )
3 vote Jenson_AKA_DL | Apr 25, 2009 |
"Summary (from OPAC)
By day, Kazahaya and Rikuou are two ordinary pharmacists; by night, their boss has them filling special prescriptions for clients with ailments that can't be cured using ordinary elixirs. With cameos from the cast of "Suki," this CLAMP series is a perfect dose of mystery, psychic powers, and those ornately drawn characters the femme-four creators are famous for."

The cover made this look interesting, but it really wasn't. I didn't get it, at all. ( )
  angellreads | Feb 5, 2008 |
A very cute manga that was reccomended to me when I asked for non infuriating comics.

It's not bad, it has the beginings of an interesting romance and some lovely art. I just had so much trouble following it in places. ( )
  babydraco | Jun 30, 2007 |
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Hnnn..my hands are shivering...I must be...cold..I can't move.
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