Legal Drug Vol. 1

192 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

It’s strange to be reading a CLAMP series that’s actually “new”, but in the case of Tsubasa, xxxHOLiC, and Legal Drug, we’re getting translations of current-running series in Japan. Now that I’ve sampled all three of them, I think that the best was being saved for last, because Legal Drug is easily the one “must buy” series CLAMP’s producing.

Kudo’s an employee at the Green Drug Pharmacy, stocking shelves and helping customers. He gets to live above the store in exchange for his services, along with his hated co-worker and rival Rikuo. Kudo has a gift, though, in the form of psychic abilities which are triggered by touch. Now Kudo is making a little extra money thanks to this power as his boss sends him in search of strange and unusual objects. What Kudo and Rikuo are going to quickly discover, though, is that not one of these missions is exactly what it seems.

At a glance, it’s easy to compare Legal Drug to xxxHOLiC, both series having people running mysterious errands for someone with a greater purpose in mind. What makes Legal Drug stand out in my mind, then, is the strong character interactions in Legal Drug. Kudo and Rikuo’s relationship is a real joy to watch, the ultimate love-hate relationship. Even as both of them rail against the other, there’s a magnetic attraction between the two that keeps them connected. Both of them function better when the other’s around, and as Kudo begins to get glimpses into Rikuo’s past, he’s intrigued despite himself, unable to tear himself away. Some of CLAMP’s series have had homoerotic undertones that run through the book (most notably Cardcaptor Sakura, although by the end I don’t think “undertone” qualifies, since the characters become more and more overt in their feelings for each other), but Legal Drug takes it to the most intriguing level that I’ve seen CLAMP take it; for me, the question isn’t so much “does it exist?” but “do the characters even know it exists?” Kudo, Rikuo, and the rest of the cast of Legal Drug are all so guarded in their emotions and thoughts that it makes their interactions all the more intriguing. That, to me, is how Legal Drug ultimately trumps xxxHOLiC; the characters here are just that much more interesting.

The art in Legal Drug is also the nicest of the three new CLAMP series, by a long shot. Legal Drug‘s characters have a beautiful grace to them, with gentle lines forming their features. Mick Nekoi’s work as a lead artist for this book results in Legal Drug having simple but effective page layouts, not needing to resort to tricky or intricate layouts to get the reader’s attention. Instead the art keeps the viewer’s eyes firmly affixed by being able to show emotion as a blistering heat that radiates off the page. When Saiga enters Kudo’s personal space, you can feel his hulking presence hovering over Kudo, unable to be ignored. I’ve felt that Nekoi is the most talented artist of the CLAMP quartet, and Legal Drug continues to confirm that belief.

Legal Drug has a perfect balance of short-term and long-term story goals that are accomplished in its pages; each of Kudo’s missions on its own is interesting, but as the pieces begin to drop into place on just what Rikuo is doing at the Green Drug Pharmacy, it’s going to keep your attention for as long as the series progresses. CLAMP’s other new series are enjoyable, but Legal Drug is the one of the three for which I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens next. More, please.

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10 comments to Legal Drug Vol. 1

  • well, I cant wait it to become an anime! Oh please, someone, please make it an anime, FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jessica Ng

    I’d like it if it became an anime first, but I’m not even sure if CLAMP is going to continue the series or not. Legal Drug has a much more interesting atmosphere than xxxHolic, and there seems like a deeper plot to it than just the ongoing adventures that always seem to have the same endings.

  • foofy

    Greatest Manga book that I’ve ever read. I would love too read the second book. Never should-of just bought the first book.

  • WingedSerpent

    ‘Legal Drug’ has great potential. The way Nekoi keeps it fairly simple in stylization is a great breather from the darker, supernatural style of ‘xxxHOLiC’ and the grandoise, colorful shonen style of ‘Tsubasa’. It interesting that there are some aspects reminencent of some of CLAMP’s earlier works, such as ‘Yumegari’ and ‘Clover’.

    Unfortunately, it is on hiatus right now because of the issues surrounding ‘X’; which is primarily due to social problems (see Great Hanshin Earthquake and Sakakibara Incident), the large amount of violence within ‘X’, and other problems with the former publisher, Asuka.

    Hopefully, CLAMP will be able to pick up ‘Legal Drug’ again when they’ve finished ‘xxxHOLiC’ and ‘Tsubasa’.

  • angelica

    a mi la verdad me gustan los chavos k salen en esta serie me gustaria casarme kn uno asi….. pero kreo k ya lo conoci y se llama christian y lo amoooooooo

    mi correo es

  • Elizabeth

    I want to see the end of XXX Holic (and Tsubasa, I suppose, but that seems to go on forever and a day), but I really want to see this continue. Male sexual tension is lovely, and XXX Holic has hardly any. Sigh. More than that, though, is that I like the art better in Legal Drug; they use tones while they don’t in Tsubasa or XXX. Completely pen drawings drive me batty, so I love the greyscale drawings in Legal Drug. I want to read moooooore!!! Sobsobsob.

  • topete

    i swore i heard that LD was being continued. hmm

    and am i the only one who can find similarities in the unique (?) style of xxxHOLiC and Legal Drug? it just hit me as i read LD one day, but i can’t really put my finger on it… it’s great though!!

  • Rena

    Legal Drug has to be my favorite CLAMP series, and one of my favorite series period. It was because of LD that I got into holic(Wata and Dou remind me of Kazahaya and Rikuo vaguely), which in turn got me into TRC.

    I’m very happy there is a english version now, and I look very much forward to when they continue the series.

    ………Mmmm, I think I’ll go re-read what’s out. Here’s to LG continuing very soon!

  • KJacket

    Legal Drug appeals more to me than xxxHolic. Tsubasa wasn’t bad but Legal drug seems to have more interesting points that draw you to want more (like drugs haha)The artwork is simple but enough to make the story flow. I really hope CLAMP picks it up. Yes I can see the similarities between Tsubasa, X, xxxHolic, n legal drug. I don’t think LG will be turned into an anime anytime soon even if the manga is continued, not even close to enough plotline to have an anime. Tsubasa NEEDs an ending … i heard it’s soon.

  • […] X ever return? Well, CLAMP did just announce that their series Legal Drug (which came to a halt after the publication it ran in shut down; ironically, the same publication […]