Meet my latest obsession, 20 Mensou Ni Onegai!
20 Mensou ni Onegai also known as The Man of Many Faces, is one of CLAMP’s earliest manga series, having started in 1990. It’s two volumes long and has been released in Japanese, English, French and Italian.
The main character of 20 Mensou ni Onegai! is Ijyuin Akira, a third grade student at the pretigious CLAMP school and part-time Mysterious Thief by the name of 20 Masks. In my earlier post, Akira is introduced as one of the three Clamp School Detectives (ironic huh?) who helps women solve their problems.
Now in the manga, on one of his thieving missions, Akira ends up hiding out on the balcony of Ogawa Utako, a fiesty kindergartener who’s just had her heart broken by her teacher. (This scene was also featured in the Clamp School Detectives anime on episodes 11 & 12)
Over the course of their discussion, he gives her some advice on what it means to love someone, and she decides that they’re going to go steady. Although their relationship isn’t perfect, they truly grow to care about each other and learn about about love and relationships along the way.
Along with Akira and Utako, there’s a great cast of characters in 20 Mensou ni Onegai! Akira has two mothers who are both loved by his mysterious father, the first 20 Masks. Although his mothers are rather childish and demanding, they both love their son and husband dearly. Akira’s next-door neighbour, Kobayashi Ryuusuke, has some connection to the local police force and is intent on catching 20 Masks, completely unaware that the kid next door is actually his “nemesis”. The school doctor, Akechi Shigetaka, often gives Akira advice on his life and appears to know more about Akira’s life than he lets on.
Even though 20 Mensou ni Onegai! often comes across as an adventure-comedy at first, it’s actually one of CLAMP’s best romances. Rather than just telling the reader about the relationship, it goes deeper into the emotions and reasoning of the characters, and even spends time pondering what it really means to be in love with someone.
As part of the CLAMP school universe, 20 Mensou ni Onegai! ties in to many of CLAMP’s other manga, including CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan, Gakuen Tokkei Duklyon, X and Tsubasa Reveroir Chronicles.