CLAMP Interview – CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 1&2 1989~2006 〈PRECIOUS EDITION〉booklet (CLAMP IN WONDERLAND) (October/2007)


In 1994, CLAMP IN WONDERLAND was completed as a video for an event.[1] From the production to the work and life of the time… Many interesting memories of CLAMP.

■An idea that the four of us came up with.

Why did you decide to make CLAMP IN WONDERLAND?

Ohkawa: When we were planning the event, we wanted to have a video shown there. We decided to make a video that would please the fans and feature all our characters.

Who came up with the ideas for the characters and composition?

Ohkawa: The four of us discussed and decided. We narrowed down the list of characters from each work, giving our opinions on which characters to include.

Nekoi: After that, we exchanged ideas about what scenes each character should appear in. For example, let’s make the characters of RG Veda play mahjong (laughs).

Igarashi: In the scene where Nokoru Imonoyama, Suoh Takamura, and Akira Ijuin from CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan appear, we were thinking of creating a scene where they catch Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji from Magic Knight Rayearth who are falling from above. I remember very well us saying, “Nokoru, Suoh, and Akira would definitely do something like that for a girl’s sake.” (laughs).

What happened after the characters and general composition were decided?

Mokona: I drew the storyboard while listening to everyone’s opinions. The main song was completed first, so I was thinking about which character should appear at which timing in accordance with the flow of the lyrics and the song.

Nekoi-san was in charge of the storyboard for the ending where Princess Mokona appears.

Nekoi: In the initial stages, Ohkawa suggested a setting in which Princess Mokona would be walking along the street, and the screen would slide horizontally from left to right. Based on this concept, I drew a storyboard to match the ending music that had already been completed.

It seems like a lot of work to draw storyboards for both the main video and the ending to match the timing of the songs.

Mokona: After CLAMP IN WONDERLAND, I had storyboarded the opening and ending songs for the TV anime of Magic Knight Rayearth. At that time, Toshihiro Hirano, the director, taught me how to write the lyrics next to the picture, but I could not get used to that way of drawing. In the end, it took me longer than storyboarding a manga.

Nekoi: Like Mokona, I had a hard time because I was not used to this method.

Mokona: Also, since the overall time was short, I had a hard time putting in all the characters and scenes that the four of us had decided in our discussions. I had to adjust the number of animation cels[2] we had for the entire production to determine how many of them could be used for the scenes in which the characters would appear. If I concentrated only on matching the timing of the music, we would quickly run out of cels.

Igarashi: At that time, we were still in a state of exploration, trying to figure out how many cels would be needed for each movement, and what kind of movements would be the most difficult to be animated.

■A fresh surprise that makes you say, “Wow, they are moving!”

How did you feel when you saw CLAMP IN WONDERLAND in video for the first time?

Igarashi: Many of the characters were animated for the first time, so I felt a fresh surprise of “Wow, they are moving!” (laughs).

Nekoi: I was impressed by the fact that the characters from Magic Knight Rayearth, who had already been animated for TV anime at the time, were different from the TV version.[3]

Ohkawa: I agree with you, the characters in the TV anime of Magic Knight Rayearth look a little different from those in the manga.[4] However, Kumiko Takahashi, who worked on the character design for CLAMP IN WONDERLAND, drew the characters with an image closer to the manga, so I think the impression was different.

Mokona-san, how did you feel when you saw your own storyboards turned into an animation?

Mokona: I simply thought it was amazing (laughs). Madhouse did a great job of organizing and adjusting the storyboards I drew, and the modifications were just the right amount. I also reflected on a few things when I saw the actual video. For example, I wondered if the scenes of RG Veda could have been shorter.

What is your favorite character or scene in CLAMP IN WONDERLAND?

Ohkawa: All the scenes are beautiful. I especially like the scene of the Mashin from Magic Knight Rayearth and the transformation scene from Gakuen Tokkei Duklyon, which was animated for the first time in CLAMP IN WONDERLAND. I think that scene would have been done with computer graphics today, but in CLAMP IN WONDERLAND, it was done with animation cels, and special effects were added later.[5]

Mokona: My favorite character is the balloonfish (laughs). I have been drawing this character since I was an amateur, and it is a familiar one to us. When I saw it bouncing around, I was happy and thought, “As expected of a balloon!”.

Igarashi: I like the green character that appears toward the end. I was impressed by its translucent color and fluffy movement.

Mokona: I also like the cherry blossom petals dancing at the beginning in the X scene.[6] Maybe it’s just my own opinion, but when I think of Madhouse, I think of cherry blossoms, so I think that Madhouse’s cherry blossoms are great (laughs).

■Memories of those days revived by CLAMP IN WONDERLAND.

Do you have any new impressions after watching CLAMP IN WONDERLAND again?

Igarashi: Now that I have watched it again, It is nostalgic. It reminds me of my life and work at that time, such as the late-night drives with all the members, even though I was busy with work. (laughs).

Mokona: Memories of traveling around Japan with CLAMP IN WONDERLAND (laughs).[7]

Nekoi: We also went to Kyushu, didn’t we?[8]

Ohkawa: And it was a day trip! (laughs). That’s nostalgic.

Igarashi: I think that some of the people who have brought this DVD have seen CLAMP IN WONDERLAND on VHS or LD in the past. For those people, it might be interesting to watch it with nostalgia, remembering the events of those days.

Ohkawa: That’s right. Also, at that time, I was trying to include as much information as possible, but when I rewatch it now, I feel that the tempo has slowed down a bit. After 13 years the rhythm of visual works in general has changed, and it may be because our sense of rhythm has changed accordingly. If you are watching CLAMP IN WONDERLAND for the first time, I think you can enjoy it by comparing it with CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 and feeling the difference in tempo.[9]


[1] CLAMP IN WONDERLAND was an event held from July 31st to August 28th of 1994 in different cities of Japan (Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagoya).

[2] A cel, short for celluloid, is a transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted for traditional, hand-drawn animation.

Picture by Kasumi Cels

[3] Despite the fact that the anime of Magic Knight Rayearth was aired after the video of CLAMP IN WONDERLAND, Nekoi is actually talking about the pilot episode of Magic Knight Rayearth, which was shown at the Tokyo Toy Show, held on June 4 – 5 of 1994, a month before the event of CLAMP IN WONDERLAND took place. Therefore, she was impressed to see the differences between the character design for the anime (pilot episode) and the video of CLAMP IN WONDERLAND.

[4] Atsuko Ishida, in charge of the character design of the Magic Knight Rayearth anime, tried her best to copy CLAMP art style, but in the end, she couldn’t avoid be influenced by her own art style.

[5] Computer graphics were not used in CLAMP IN WONDERLAND, everything was hand-drawn and special effects were added later.

[6] Mokona is talking about the first scene of the video in which Kamui is walking.

[7] The event in which CLAMP IN WONDERLAND was shown was held in several cities of Japan. It was not only to show the video, it was also a mean for CLAMP and their fans to interact with each other.

[8] Kyushu is the most southerly island in Japan.

[9] If you pay attention, you will notice the difference in tempo (speed) in the videos of CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 1 & 2. CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 is faster, has more movement, and lots of illustrations were used for the animation.

Translated from Japanese by shidouhikaru15.


Interview originally published in CLAMP Interview – CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 1&2 1989~2006 〈PRECIOUS EDITION〉booklet (Bandai Visual), released on October 26, 2007. Original text available upon request.

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