Sunday, February 13, 2011

Favorite Manga #14: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle

An accident at a strange archaeological site causes Princess Sakura to lose her powers and her memories.  Her childhood friend, Syaoran, vows to help her and the pair are sent to the time witch, Yuko.  There, they meet up with Fai and Kurogane, who both arrive at the Time Witch's for their own reasons.  The four agree to travel through worlds together in search of Sakura's memories, each giving up something that they hold dear as payment for the witch's help.  With Mokona they travel to various worlds finding Sakura's memories and a deeper quest that involves Syaoran's past.

Syaoran (Li): Adopted as a child having no memories of his past, he worked alongside his adopted father until his passing, during which time he befriended Princess Sakura.  When her memories were lost he would stop at nothing to help her get them back because he loved her, even though he knows she'll never remember him.  He's a hero-type; protective, friendly, loyal, the kind of guy you want to root for.  His mysterious past and the presence of another Syaoran leave one wondering, though.

Sakura: A kind-hearted princess, she loved Syaoran from a young age.  After her memories were lost, she slept a lot and was confused, but thankfully this lasts a short time.  After that she's a friendly, likeable character, which unusually good luck (which comes in handy at times). Even though she doesn't regain her memories of  Syaoran, she grows very fond of him.

Fai: Fai is a magician, who left his own world after sealing someone away.  He will rarely fight to protect himself, but lets go when those he cares about, like He's Sakura & Syaoran, are in trouble.  He's a light-hearted character who takes great pleasure in teasing Kurogane, though this carefree attitude appears to be a facade. 

Kurogane: A gruff, fighter who faithfully served his Princess, even when she sent him away to find 'real strength' because she thinks he doesn't know how to show mercy.  He's blunt and sometimes appears distant, but cares deeply about his travel companions.  Often his behavior comes across as cute.

***While this series is 28 Volumes long, I have only read 16 (I own 22 & all are available to buy in the US).  This was more than enough to fall in love with this great series***

Perhaps one of the most important things one has to note about Tsubasa is that many of the characters that you encounter, including Syaoran and Sakura, come from various Clamp titles.  These Characters are not depicted in their own worlds, though their behavior often (though not always) resemble these characters.  It is not necessary to be familiar with these works, but its and added reward if you are.  

Since the only goal at the beginning is to find Sakura's feathers, the story is at first broken into mini-arcs that have little connectivity.  For this series, this method works well as darker, heavier arcs are often followed by lighter, funnier ones to keep you on your toes and prevent the story from being too much. You can also see Sakura coming to herself a bit more as they go from one world to the next.  Eventually a second Syoaran appears and another plot begins to appear as well, though I haven't read enough of this part to attest to how, it at all, this changes the plot's formula.
Tsubasa and its counterpart xxxHolic (which deals with events at the time witch's shop) are drawn in a new art style for Clamp.  At first I wasn't sure how I felt about it, It was beautiful, but I wasn't sure how it compared to Clamp's previous style.  Now I believe that it is as beautiful if not more so than their previous work (excluding Suki from this, because its not hard to be better than Suki).  Its also amazing how they manage to take their old characters into the new style and keep them recognizable.  This art style is an easy 5 out of 5.

1 comment:

  1. I love Clamp! Cardcaptors was one of my favorites as a child. I've so been meaning to read this series, glad to hear it's fantastic. I'm definitely going to give it a try soon, their art is just pure eye candy. :D