Tempest’s Downpour – Clover Review

Posted on Feb 05 2012

Clover is the tale of a psychic girl and a former black ops soldier who embark on a journey together through a Steampunk setting. They both carry heavy burdens of love and loss that bisect in an unexpected way as they outrun armed forces that want them stopped by any means necessary.

Sue and Kazuhiko


Kazuhiko Fay Ryu – a former black ops agent who was dragged back into the force to complete one final mission.
Sue – the world’s only four-leaf clover, making her the most powerful psychic. Grew up solitary in a room with mechanical animals as friends until she made contact with Ora.
Ora – a singer and Kazuhiko’s girlfriend, now deceased. Has strange ties with Sue.
Gingetsu – a black ops soldier and former two-leaf clover.
Ran – one of two remaining three-leaf clovers. Lives with Gingetsu (take that as you will).

Ran (left) and Gingetsu (right) are separated by a wall with ornate windows


Like with any CLAMP story, the setting deserves some exploration. This is a world where teleportation is equivalent to a taxi service and a strange shadow government works to control and contain psychics.

The Steampunk setting is bleak and fantastical: full of dark contrasts and fascinating machinery. Even the armed robots that guard Sue look like cute, fluffy animals in clown suits. The world works in its own manner and is unforgiving of readers who have trouble keeping up.

Ora doing what she loves most: singing

Strongest Character

Taken as I was with Ran, Ora is undeniably the strongest character. She has the most powerful effect on the other characters and acts as silent motivation for Sue’s journey. She evokes the most sympathy as the story unfolds: the story works backwards, first showing her as dead and terribly missed and then working back to a compassionate mentorship towards Sue and absolutely in love with Kazuhiko.

Twin three-leaf clovers: Ran (C) and A

Strongest Scene

This one is a toss-up between Ora’s death and Ran’s final meeting with his creepy twin brother. From the beginning of the story, we know Ora is dead. So when the tale works backwards, we are prepared for the fact that she is not long for this world. She even reveals to the reader that she is a one-leaf clover: a psychic whose only ability is to know the exact day she will die.

That day approaches and she is tense. Her love for Sue and Kazuhiko gets expressed so strongly that the recipients begin to worry for her. Despite all this, she still gets on stage to perform and accept her fate.

Meanwhile, in his own story, Ran is revealed as a three-leaf clover: one of two in this world. The other remaining is his twin brother as the death of the third three-leaf hangs over their heads. It’s no secret that A, Ran’s twin brother, killed off the third clover and Ran escapes his glass prison to avoid a similar fate.

Walls don’t keep a powerful psychic back for long as A ventures into the world to capture Ran. And in typical CLAMP fashion, A is the creepy-maybe-in-love with-his-brother type who wants to keep Ran forever. Their confrontation is a bloody one sprinkled with plenty of psycho as Ran tries to talk his brother down from a fit of titanic proportions.

CLAMP’s art style remains the same with Sue, but changes with Ora


It’s CLAMP: the girls are skinny and wispy and the men have tiny heads and huge shoulders, and yet it all still looks so beautiful. Although, Ora is definitely all lady: she has a curvy figure, powerful facial expressions and huge lips.

The pretty art is made even more beautiful by the full-color, glossy, gallery pictures sprinkled throughout the book. The artist obviously loves her own work and is aware that fans want to see more.

The cover of the omnibus, as published by Dark Horse

Cover Art

Everything on the cover is fitting: a full-color picture of Sue surrounded by clovers of different leaf-varieties. Sue looks rather sweet and mild as she sits there without boots on. However, the picture isn’t as stunning or evocative as the full-color gallery pictures inside the book.

I’d like to just make a mention here about paper quality: the gallery pictures are printed on glossy paper, which in the publishing industry is a very expensive commodity. The paper for the actual comic is the highest quality I’ve ever seen: it’s thick, smooth photo paper that will maintain its bright white color indefinitely. A lot of love went into this omnibus, and no expense was spared for the materials.

If more manga publishers went this route, these books would last forever, but publishers would quickly run themselves bankrupt with the unnecessary expenses. So thank you, Dark Horse, for publishing this at top-quality and proving that you really care about the quality of your manga.

Back Cover Summary

The summary tries its best to make sense of the puzzle that is Clover. Guys, I’ve read this story three times over and I’m still not sure I get it. The summary explains things in plainer terms while using brilliant, descriptive words. They call this world “baroque” and “retro-tech,” which are always nice terms to see being used.

Dark Horse goes so far as to explain that this story was republished as an omnibus in celebration of CLAMP’s 20th anniversary and that they included lots of never-before-seen extras. It gives the impression that Dark Horse really admires the stories it publishes.

An example of the bizarre architecture

Who Will Enjoy This?

Fans of obscure and confusing Sci-fi should adore this story. It’s like a giant riddle that only ever reveals little pieces at a time. The story expects you to keep up and if you get left behind, well, that’s your own fault.

Limited character attachment is built and though many characters are explored they’re never explored quite deeply enough on an emotional level for me.

Also, this story is adult. Ora sits on Kazuhiko’s lap often and sexual references are batted around with ease. This isn’t naughty like Chobits: it’s just like hearing adults speak.

I think this story is meant to appeal more to men because of the strong action aspects and slightly raunchy dialog. However, CLAMP remains purely CLAMP in its themes and characterization. Also, “Kazuhiko Fay Ryu”? Fay? Did you run out of names, CLAMP?


CLAMP, although I commend your effort with these roses, I can no longer imagine a working relationship between us. I’m grateful you still find it in your heart to care by presenting me with something so lovingly packaged.

However, this story shows me that you still think you’re too good for me. We have different interests, different loves, and no amount of pleading will change that.

It was wonderful to see this side of yourself once again. It has opened me to consider that maybe we can be friends. But it will be many years before I can bring myself to trust you again.


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  • Kanashimi February 9, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    I’ve always wanted to read this, but never found to chance really. It sounds interesting though so I might give it a try.

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