Published by Dark Horse Manga on September 30th 2014
Kudo Kazehaya's name evokes the wind; given to warn him that one day he, too, might disappear. He almost thought his time had come, lying in the snow--until he was rescued by the dark, handsome and equally mysterious Himura Rikuo. Now they both reside where Rikuo works, the Green Drugstore, a place that dispenses not only medicine but the secret powers of both Rikuo and Kazehaya, as the pair embark on missions into the paranoramal at the bidding of its strange proprietor, Kakei. All three of the original Legal Drug manga are collected into one beautiful Dark Horse omnibus edition!
Author/Artist: CLAMP (story by Nanase Ohkawa, art by Tsubaki Nekoi and art assistants Satsuki Igarashi and Mokona)
The manga series Legal Drug is produced by CLAMP, an all female manga artist group that was founded in the 1980s, and originally ran in Monthly Asuka from 2000 to 2003. WhenMonthly Asuka ceased to be published the series was put on a long break. However, in 2011 the series continued again as it was picked up by Young Ace. The series is now published under the name Drug & Drop. Dark Horse Comics will be publishing the English translation of Drug & Drop in 2015, but in the meantime they have republished the first three volumes of Legal Drugin omnibus form..
Legal Drug has four main characters: Kazahaya and Rikuo (employees of Green Drugstore), Kakei (the owner of Green Drugstore) and Saiga (Kakei’s lover) . The story opens with Kazahaya Kudo, who is on the brink of death. He’s lying in the snow when he’s found by Rikuo and carried to Green Drugstore. Since then Kazahaya has been sharing a room with Rikuo and working in the Drugstore. On the side Kazahaya does a number of jobs for the owner of the drugstore, Kakei. Kazahaya is generally up for doing anything Kakei asks him to do because he desperately needs the extra money so he can eventually live by himself. This means that he usually agrees to tasks before he knows anything about what it involves or what the point of it is.
The nature of the story is very episodic. Kazahaya and Rikuo are often partnered together and sent to carry out multiple tasks throughout the three volumes included in this omnibus, with just a few underlying plot threads to link things together such as ‘who is the lady from Rikuo’s past and what has happened to her’. The tasks are entertaining to follow and almost inevitably end with Kazahaya having to be saved by Rikuo.
On the surface their partnership is a reluctant one. Rikuo is always being sarcastic and calling Kazahaya stupid while Kazahaya is always trying to avoid working with him. Beneath their snarky dialogue lies the foundations of a growing relationship as their personalities compliment each other well. Rikuo is the tall brooding member of the duo whilst Kazahaya is the lighter half of the pair. Although Kazahaya’s past is just as mysterious as Rikuo’s he rarely seems overcome by it. He’s working towards a better future for himself, while Rikuo is stuck routing through his past. It’s interesting when you consider Kazahaya is the one with the power to see the past and visualise the memories of people and objects.
Both teens have supernatural powers which they use to complete their tasks. Rikuo’s power is telekinetic. Kakei, meanwhile, has precognition powers. Rikuo and Kazahaya’s powers are often vital to their success in completing their quests, which vary from dealing with invisible fireflys to going through time slips to reconstruct the past. The boys rarely get to meet their clients, their job is purely to do as Kakei asks without question.
There are a lot of mysteries within this series but the lack of answers in this omnibus doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of following these fun characters and the sizzling way they interact with each other. Nevertheless, I’m very much looking forward to learning much more about them in Drug & Drop next year.