Cloth Road (クロスロオド?) is a manga by mangaka Hideyuki Kurata, author of various manga such as Read or Die, and illustrator Okama. Cloth Road is 6 volumes in length in Japan (as of December 19, 2008) and is serialized in the monthly manga magazine Ultra Jump.
The premise of Cloth Road is that with the increased miniaturization of computer technology, it becomes possible to integrate computers into clothing, creating clothes which are manipulatable by their wearers. Among other effects on society, this greatly increases the influence of clothing brands, and leads to the development of "War King", an event which mixes elements of a fashion show and a duel, with the models using clothes to fight one another.
Fergus is an orphan raised by clothes designer Gustav. For most part of his life, he has lived in the impoverished slum in the city of Colonet. Longing to leave this state of despair, he teams up with second-class model "8823" and competes in fashion tournaments known as "War King" to save money as well as hone his skill as a designer. His dream is shattered when 8823 is defeated in the tournament, resulting in his firing, as well as Gustav falling ill because of out-dated nanomachines.
In frustration, Fergus starts to throw things around Gustav's workshop, and a ball of red yarn strikes a girl who just walked in the store. This is when Fergus meets his twin sister, Jennifer, for the first time.
- Fergus, one of the twin protagonists of the story, is a clothes designer from Colonet. He was raised by and studied under the master clothes designer Gustav. After the death of Gustav, he begins to journey from city to city in search of his and Jennifer's parents. Their only clue is a piece of special fabric wrapped around the both of them when they were found abandoned.
- Currently, Fergus is unwillingly under the employment of Royal Castrato, the number one top-brand in the world. This is where he discovers the identity of his parents. He is now attempting to duplicate (or even improve) the special fabric invented by his father, Garment, in an effort to save his mother, Argence.
- Jennifer, a naive, carefree, and determined girl, is the second protagonist of the story. Fergus' twin sister, she often disputes which one of them is older. Brought up by Cloche, she studied mostly in church, and is therefore lacking in knowledge about the Textile Revolution.
- After Cloche's death, Snood helped her to become reunited with Fergus in Colonet. There she learned basic knowledge of modeling from Perline, and triumphed in the Colonet War King against Bibisuke. She and Fergus journey on to see the world and find their parents.
- Currently Jennifer is training under June May, the top model of Royal Castrato.
- Cloche was the one who took in and raised Jennifer after she and Fergus were found abandoned. He died in the beginning of the story.
- A worker of "Life Improvement Organization" who found the twins abandoned in front of the Organization's building. After the death of Jennifer's guardian, Cloche, Snood told Jennifer about her twin brother Fergus, and the two set off for a reunion.
- A second-class model in Colonet who used to hire Fergus as his designer for War King. 8823 managed to win several tournaments until he came face to face with a real model, Bibisuke. After his devastating defeat, he blamed his own incompetence on Fergus. When Fergus snapped, 8823 had his bodyguard beat him up, and fired him.
- Tall and dark-skinned Perline is a former model. While under the employment of Royal Castrato, she used illegal drugs to possibly enhance her performance. When discovered, she was fired from the company. She currently resides in Colonet, where she engages in prostitution.
- As a former model, Perline has a great deal of knowledge about modeling. She owns an official dress from Royal Castrato, which she later gives to Fergus as a template for Jennifer's dress. She also helps with Jennifer's training for the Colonet War King.
- She is Fergus's first love.
- Former cloth designer of Royal Castrato who was one of the group of designers/scientists chosen to create the cloth for the world. He left Royal Castrato following Garment's plan to use Argence to "wear" the cloth, which would allow her to protect the world but at the same time be imprisoned by the cloth until her death.
- Scout for upcoming models. He discovered Juliet and brought her to Royal Castrato, and was also the first opponent that the twins had faced.
- Naturally-talented model discovered by Vivian and originally recruited by Royal Castrato replacing May. She is able to manipulate her hair freely, often using it as an improvised blade. Even June May recognized Juliet's genius during their battle in the Clothroad tournament. After Royal Castrato fell, she wandered with Vivian and by chance met Garment, who found her to be the perfect test subject for a way to save Argence. Juliet found him interesting and started working for him. With no actual sense of right and wrong, Juliet does what she wants with little thought for consequences- although she does once mention that she'd like to have a friend.
- Pacatello Mouliné
- Quentin Mouliné
- June May
- As the top model of the top brand Royal Castrato, June May has every right to be proud of herself. She is seen as selfish, manipulative, and even narcissistic. While famously kind and attractive to the commoners, her demeanor changes completely in private.
- Having already won 3 consecutive Cloth Road tournaments against the other top brands, she looks forward to competing in the upcoming tournament. Unfortunately, Royal Castrato has other hidden agendas in mind: by conveniently "forgetting" to renew their contract, Royal Castrato replaces June May with a new star of their own- Juliet.
- To counter Royal Castrato's plot, she decides to train Jennifer (whom she believes to have great potential), and later interrupts the on-going Cloth Road tournament.
- June May's personal assistant.