S o r y u d e n
The Super Dragon Brothers
Chinese Novel Covers
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The Chinese version of Soryuden is also known as "The Dragons of Genesis", and the summaries on the back covers are slightly different from the Japanese version. No interviews with the author at the end, but the "tea meetings" of the four brothers can still be found. The following images are taken from the covers of the official Chinese version published by Sharp Point (Taiwan). Credits are due to that company and the original artists. I am showing them here because I think these pictures are showing another perspectives of the Dragon brothers which Soryuden fans should not miss! Hope these may give you some non-CLAMP inspiration for drawing your own fanarts. By the way, please note that some of the Chinese volume titles are slightly different from the Japanese original. Therefore, I include them here to let you know what the theme of each drawing is about. Don't forget to click on the thumbnail for a clearer view of them!

95KB Volume 1 : The Four Dragon Brothers with Super Powers
Artist : T.T.Maya
The first few covers are all done by T.T.Maya, and I just love them all! As you shall see, although drawn by the same person, each of them is given a different taste by a different technique. This picture shows the four brothers in a charming Western style. Some say that Hajime (front) and Tsuzuku (left) look like Hollywood stars, but Owaru's (left) hair looks a little bit too messy. As a matter of fact, the hair of the boys DO GROW in the story, as described by the author in the later volumes. And Owaru is that kind of guy who can't stay put... and tidy too, perhaps? Therefore, this picture is truly "realistic".
109KB Volume 2 : The Fire Dragon on the Skyscraper
Artist : T.T.Maya
I won't be surprised if this were to be a cover for an anime video. Yet, this version by T.T.Maya is much better than that in that The Legend of the Four Kings anime. Did anyone watch that anime? If you did without first reading the novel or seeing CLAMP's illustrations, I think you wouldn't probably know how irresistably attractive Tsuzuku should be, as emphasized by the author again and again in each and every volume. (Doesn't he get tired of it?) CLAMP's illustrations, though very beautiful, are somehow too feminine. This picture picks up that element and expresses Tsuzuku's "icy eyes" quite well. But just what is Hajime's right arm doing?
104KB Volume 3: The Counterattack of the Four Brothers
Artist : T.T.Maya
This one looks like a doujinshi work or some early shoujo depiction. Though we are pretty sure that the person at the back is Tsuzuku (he is the one characterized in the story with fair or lighter hair), the one in front can be either Hajime or Owaru. The blue colour belongs to Hajime, all right, but if you read Volume 3, then you will notice that Owaru takes the lead in this story. At this point, I would like to say that CLAMP's drawings for the pocket size covers seldom have connection with the story. The Chinese publisher might be wiser to choose such an ambiguious picture for the cover of Volume 3 because in Volume 2 it hasn't been decided which of the above two brothers should transform into a dragon this time. And, of course, the winner goes to Owaru.
96KB Volume 4: The Awakening of the Dragon Kings of the Four Seas
Artist : T.T.Maya
Fashionable or unconventional, it's a nice drawing of a man not at all bad looking, but I would rather prefer it to be Lambert Clark of the Bull Clan. However, it isn't his turn to show up yet. Therefore, this guy must be the unlikely Hajime. As the four brothers have once discussed it in one of their "tea meetings" (those held at the end of each volume), the author never describes how the four dragon brothers convert back to humans. All we read every time is their clumsy, funny appearance as four naked male homo sapiens. Good thing Motsuri can't transform... No! I mean so that she can prepare clothing for the four brothers. What were you thinking?
116KB Volume 5: Mirage City
Artist : T.T.Maya
An impressionist style that looks a lot like a painting I have seen before. Anyway, Volume 5 is a "special" volume where the brothers finally have to go back where they never go purposefully before or after, namely "school". Only CLAMP give us the pleasure of seeing Owaru and Amaru in school uniform, whereas in here we see three persons stand side by side in a mystic aura. Smell the fishy smell yet? It seems like when the brothers aren't busy busting the military bases and struggling with the bull, they become heroes in protecting the schools of their grandfather's friends from sinisterness and corruption. This theme will surge up again later in Volume 11.
91KB Volume 6: Bloody Dream
Artist : T.T.Maya
While some people are pondering whether the red lingerie was there originally or not, I just don't see the point to show a girl on the cover in such form any how. Perhaps because the special Volume 5 hit bottom and the publisher wants to attract more attention this time? The truth is neither Matsuri nor any other female characters got stripped or threatened to do so. Matsuri is brave and determined even when she is confronting Lambert Clark, the would-be tycoon then but a coward himself. Like our colloquial use of "beauty and the beast", Hajime often seems too stern and boring for the lively Matsuri. No wonder her father would think Tsuzuku would be a better choice of a son-in-law than the eldest dragon brother in Volume 2.
97KB Volume 7: Dragons in China
Artist : T.T.Maya
The current saying of "China Wind" in Cantonese (it starts in Hong Kong, anyway) comes from the directy reading of Japanese kanji. This phrase is used a great deal in this volume, particularly when Tsuzuku and Owaru went to the residence of their ultimate foe Kobayakawa where too much of the good Chinese stuff becomes suffocating. Back to the picture, Hajime (this time I'm pretty sure) is wearing the long Chinese robe (the kind which is still worn by kong-fu masters and Chinese men in New Year). And to my surprise, this face looks dramatically like a friend of mine who prefers reading over other activities, despite he is quite tall and strongly built, just like Hajime.
141KB Volume 8: Dragons in Fairyland
Artist : T.T.Maya
I almost screamed out "Taishaku-ten?!" when I first saw this. Yet, of course, this theme is based on the Hindu deities as in Rg Veda rather than the "real" deities of Chinese mythology. Ancient texts and artifacts may provide much examples for the depictions of beautiful Chinese fairies and gods, but I can understand the hardship the artists might have when they have to draw illustrations for Soryuden. Heroic and warlike ladies like Mulan is not common, and the only depictions I can think of are from those old black-and-white Cantonsese movies and heroic fictions of the recent generations. Now, while CLAMP have already drawn the dragon brothers in august armour, T.T.Maya goes for a more subtle way of presentation. "They look like women" is just another perspective.
79KB Volume 9: Dragons in Monstrous Era
Artist : N2
Cool eyes and colour! The number of heads reminds me of Gundam Wing. Clockwise from top are Hajime, Tsuzuku, Owaru, Amaru and Matsuri. Notice the artist has been changed from this volume onwards. I don't know the reason, but I will sure miss the old drawings by the previous artist. Once-a-while simplicity like CLAMP's Clover isn't bad at all, but it sure cannot be repetitious. As a result, the coming volumes are done in a yet newer way of art, namely 3D simulation.
93KB Volume 10: The Last Day of Great Britain
Artist : "Common" (Ping Fan)
Not so surprisingly, the original Japanese title also means the same. However, the author bears no enmity against the British. Rather, he has reasoned in the story that if it wasn't the British Museum, many of the artifacts would have been gone and disorderly scattered. Now, I don't know whose faces the artist has done the distortions, but two of them looks like two female TV stars in Hong Kong, Hajime (top right) looks too young, and Owaru will sure come to bite off the cover when he sees his "white-face boy" look on it. Frankly speaking, I HATE this kind of smooth-faced android figures, and I HATE FF7, FF8 and the rest of PC games with this kind of graphics. None of the boys looks "handsome" instead of "beautiful", like eunuchs! Yuck!
91KB Volume 11: The Last Day of Great Britain
Artist : "Common" (Ping Fan)
Better, but still... (Sorry, but I wish to see more artistic talents than cheap alterations.) Hajime on upper right corner looks like "Chinese Hero" comics in Hong Kong. Amaru in the middle looks good enough, but his Adam's apple is too big. And who are Tsuzuku and Owaru? Lower right and upper left respectively? Or the latter a girl actually? (Owaru has to bite again.) Any how, these four faces do not look like brothers to me. The shapes of their mouths betray them, unless the four brothers were having different parentage. It is amazing how much one can learn from the art school, from anatomy to geneaology, even palmistry. Of course I'm just joking here, but at least the temple-like building in the background does make sense with a story about a performing art institute.This is another "special" in which the brothers do the rescue in the academy.

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