Manga: Tsubasa –Reservoir Chronicle– by CLAMP

Tsubasa, Volume 1

Title: Tsubasa –Reservoir Chronicle–
Author: CLAMP
Publisher: Del Ray
Volumes: 28 (completed)
Publication: 2003-2009
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Crossover
Anime: 2 seasons, 52 episodes (completed)

[Forgive the long review, dear blogee—the following paragraphs encompass several works, and take some time to explain!]

I’ll tell you something about myself: I hate starting a series with no end in sight. So when the last volume of Tsubasa came out recently, there was finally an end to the six-month+ long cliffhangers (imagine the happy dance, if you will). Of course, I didn’t learn about my extreme aversion to cliffhangers until after I had already started in on the series many a year ago. Frankly, even if I had, I probably would have started reading it anyway; after all, it’s CLAMP!

CLAMP self-portrait, manga-styleI trust you’re familiar with the Japanese power-quad mangaka (comic artist) group? No? Run, don’t walk, to the library and grab any of their previous series: Chobits, X/1999, Tokyo Babylon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Clover, Magic Knight Rayearth, RG Veda—just to name a few. Each series offers gorgeous art, compelling storylines and characters you’ll never forget.

In fact, the characters are so memorable, almost all of them show up in Tsubasa! The two main characters, Sakura and Syaoran, star in—as you may have guessed—Cardcaptor Sakura; one of CLAMP’s most popular series, and a steadfast member of the magical girl genre. Although this Sakura and Syaoran look exactly the same as in CLAMP’s previous series, it soon becomes apparent they do not occupy the world we’re used to seeing them in.

Tsubasa Main Cast: (back) Fai, Sakura, Kurogane, (front) SyaoranHowever, their attachment to each other has reached across universes; something you’ll find is a common theme with characters from other series. When Sakura loses her memories and is put into a catatonic state, Syaoran visits the Dimensional Witch, Yūko (from CLAMP’s parallel series, xXxHolic), and pleads with her to save Sakura. Two other original characters, under varying circumstances, show up at the same time and place to make a request of their own. However, no wish can be granted without giving up what they cherish most. In order to fulfill the trio’s wishes, they must journey to various dimensions, in order to regain Sakura’s memories and restore her to her former self.

Confused? Don’t worry, CLAMP tells the story much better than I do. If you’re apprehensive about reading Tsubasa without first going through all their previous material—don’t be. It’s definitely not essential to be a guru in all things CLAMP in order to enjoy the series. Although you’ll miss out on all your fangirl/boy squeals when your would-be favorite characters show up in the group’s travels (X/1999’s Sorata and Arashi? I don’t normally partake of the fangirl colloquialisms, but *squee*!!—read the series; you’ll understand why it’s a big deal). My only complaint with the series was that it was a bit hard to follow at times. Likely reading it all at once would remedy this—yet another reason to love finished series!

xXxHolic characters: Watanuki, Dōmeki, Mokona, Yūko

As you’re reading through Tsubasa, don’t forget to keep up with its sister series, xXxHolic. It follows Watanuki Kimihiro, who, despite his somber appearance, is typically quite energetic, though not in a happy-go-lucky way. Possessing the unwanted ability to see spirits, Watanuki stumbles upon Yūko’s wish-granting shop, where he promptly finds himself employed in order to work off his wish of one day being normal. The art has a very dark and smoky vibe, which I absolutely adored. The spastic Watanuki and the life-loving, sagely Yūko make a great team for a great read. So far 16 volumes are out in English. It’s unknown when the series will be completed, but I’ll keep gobbling it up anyway!

tl;dr (too long; didn’t read): Everything CLAMP makes is awesome, so by Transitive Property, Tsubasa is awesome!

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