Product:  CLAMP All Character CLAMP Trump

Product Type:  Playing Cards

Manufacturer:  Unknown

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  Free with NewType Nov 09

Purchased from:  Comics Toranoana, Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Rarity:  Uncommon

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)


When I see an issue of the Japanese NewType magazine, I realise how much I miss the sadly defunct NewType USA.  The magazine was far more focused on Japan than any of the manga and anime mags available in the west nowadays, and did a great job of keeping you up to speed with the latest Japanese releases.  It also frequently had pull outs and extras that no other anime magazine could rival.

These CLAMP Trumps are a perfect example of the kinds of freebies we can look enviously at Japan for.  They are included with (at the time of writing) the current Japanese issue of NewType (2009 issue 11), and are CLAMP themed playing cards produced seemingly to coincide with a feature on the anime adaptation of CLAMP's manga series Kobato

As with any normal playing cards the deck consists of the standard four suits and two Jokers, with CLAMP characters featuring prominently throughout.  Often with playing cards themed around a particular artist or series you will find a screenshot or image on each card which are in no particular order.  However, for these cards this is not the case.  Instead the standard

spades, hearts, clubs and diamond designs for the number cards are retained with some of the symbols replaced by the Mokona creatures from Tsubasa and xxxHolic.  The royal cards feature manga artwork from CLAMP's most famous series, including Angelic Layer, Tsubasa, Cardcaptor Sakura, X and Chobits, whilst the Jokers feature two different Kobato designs.

What really impresses me about these cards is that there appears to have been a lot of thought put into them.  Often with these kinds of cards the materials can be cheap, the printing below par and the choice of images baffling.  In this case the quality is high and the printing is excellent, plus the card design is spot on.  I love the way they have stuck to the standard card design for the number cards and discreetly added the Mokonas, it's not only refreshingly subtle but also damn cute.  The choice of images for the royal cards is also impressive, covering pretty much all of CLAMP's major works and using their artwork rather than anime stills.  It even includes promotional art from the CLAMP designed anime series Code Geass for the King of Spades.

To be honest the CLAMP All Character Trumps are probably the best anime playing cards I have come across, and to find them as a freebie with a magazine is hugely impressive.  They are well made, well designed and features artwork from across CLAMP's lengthy career.  I was particularly impressed to see different images on the two Jokers, and the only surprise is that the royal cards generally feature couples and groups of people.  You would expect the King cards to feature male characters and the Queens to feature female characters, but to be honest the artwork used is excellent quality and impossible to really fault.  At the time of writing the issue of NewType with these cards in is still available from specialist retailers and even with the rubbish exchange rate inflating prices CLAMP fans really should not miss out on it.


Err, as I am reviewing the promotional freebie I suppose in this context NewType 2009 issue 11 itself is technically an extra!  In that case the magazine features information on the latest Japanese anime including a feature on CLAMP's new series Kobato, as well as a chapter of the Kobato manga.  Also included is an segment showing design info for the series Sora no Otoshimono, Macross Frontier postcards, a small pull out Code Geass poster and the final part of a pull out 2010 calendar.  There's also features on numerous series and films, from Fullmetal Alchemist and Darker Than Black to Tales of Vesperia and Astro Boy.  The only downside is that it's all in Japanese, so apart from the pictures and the postcards/posters you won't glean a huge amount from the articles unless you can read Japanese fluently...


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