Tag Archives: syaoran

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Volume 2) Manga | My Reviews 30 MAY 2008

Tsubasa Volume 2Syaoran, Fai, Kurogane and Mokona venture to the Hanshin Republic to find one of the missing pieces of Sakura’s memory, transformed into magically powerful feathers. There, Syaoran meets his ‘Kudan’: a fierce wolf-spirit whose fiery power mirrors Syaoran’s personal strength. But with foes like a pop idol who sings words of pain, Syaoran’s hunt for feathers is no child’s game! And even if he finds the feathers, will Sakura ever wake up from her magical sleep? And since Syaoran bargained away their relationship in a pact with a witch, can their love ever return to the way it was?

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNICLE tells the story of Syaoran a young, focused warrior that witnesses his beloved Sakura’s soul and memories get literally pulled out from her body and dispersed in the form of magical feathers across the different planes of existence, rendering her unconscious and lost to this world. Joined by the enigmatic Fai D. Flowright and powerful Kugane, and with the help of the trans-dimensional witch Yuko and her pet Mokona, Syaoran sets out on his quest to cross into the various dimensions that exist in search of Sakura’s feathers in the hopes of one day restoring her back to the way she was. But to complicate matters, each dimension has its own set of rules and the people (and creatures) have their own set of abilities, making this anything but a walk in the park. And then of course there is the question of the sacrifices that the trio needed to make in order get Yuko to agree to help them in the first place…

Volume 2 sees our group in the Hanshin Republic where everyone has their own familiar spirit, called a ‘Kudan’ and of course, bored as always, certain groups of youngsters have started to organise turf wars using their Kudan as living weapons. The problem that Syaoran and the group face however is far more perplexing: Mokona can’t quite seem to get a fix on Sakura’s feather at the moment! It can sense it appearing sporadically but then it disappears again, making the search even more difficult than what it already is. Luckily the group has met some helpful locals to help out, but to be honest, the search for the first feather is looking more than a little bleak at the moment!

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNICLE is the work of legendary ,mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles out here in the West. Previous credits include Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) but soon word of their work caught on and because it was of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world. As it is, they are currently publishing three ongoing titles in Japan, namely Tsubasa, xxxHOLIC and Gohou Drug.

As with all their other writing, Tsubasa finds that perfect mix of drama and comedy but as an extra bonus, it comes with a more than generous smattering of action scenes as we get to see Fai, Syaoran and Kurogane put through their paces, even if it is with the aid of their Kugan familiars. The writing is pretty simple to follow but does a great job in dragging you in and capturing your imagination. Dramatic and more than a little heart sore in places, there is a clever little twist lying in wait for you as well, so look out for that!

On the artistic front, CLAMP have left their highly detailed style from their earlier works behind and instead gone for a slightly rougher with heavier outlines look, putting a lot of attention in extending their characters’ basic proportions, going for a distinctive ‘lanky’ look which has now become a trademark of their new style. A lot of background detail are also present and to sum it all up, Tsubasa can only be described as a visual treat. Detailed, beautiful and flowing, it is quite difficult to take your eyes for even a second off the work that the girls have come up with here.

In short, Tsubasa is well written, contains loads of action, drama and comedic moments to satisfy any manga reader and to top it all off, looks simply fantastic as well! A great piece of escapist fantasy and easily recommendable to anyone, be it your avid manga fan or a total newcomer to this fantastic genre.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsubasa_Reservoir_Chronicle

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Volume 4) Manga | My Reviews 25 APR 2008

Tsubasa Volume 4A fairy tale turned nightmare! Young Syaoran embarks on a worlds-spanning adventure to restore the memory of the most important person in his life, the princess Sakura – even though he knows that she’ll never remember her love for him. The trail leads to a small town reminiscent of Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century, a place where the ghostly image of a golden-haired woman comes in the night to steal the town’s children. Syaoran and his band of outrageous friends – affable Fai D. Flowright, loose cannon Kurogane, the odd creature Mokona, and Sakura herself – mount their horses and venture into forbidding, barren woods to solve a mystery, rescue the children, and retrieve one more piece of Sakura’s missing memories.

Volume 4 of RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE puts us back squarely into Syaron’s tragic quest of regaining the memories of his most beloved person at the cost of her memory of him. So far Tsubasa has been an epic quest that draws together virtually every character ever created by super mangaka group CLAMP, and certainly has been anything but a disappointment.

With the emergence of the released Kiishim and the subsequent disposal of the corrupt Ryanban, the groups adventure in Koryo draws to a close and they have to say yet another farewell to the people who they have just helped out. After a short unsuccessful trip to a rather misty world which Syaoran has to explore from the bottom of a lake, the new territory that Mokona transports them to seems to be a place and era that is very much based on middle Europe during the beginning of the 19th century.

Fitting into the era is an easy enough task thanks to the amazing luck Sakura inadvertently has at gambling, but finding a trace of Sakura’s feather is proving to be not quite so simple. The only problem is that as wandering travelers, Syaoran and the group aren’t exactly welcome thanks to the current disappearing children phenomenon. Already suspicious and in the throes of grief for the missing children, the villagers aren’t exactly welcoming the group with open arms – particularly when it is Sakura who claims to have seen this ‘golden-haired princess’ that is said to be abducting the children…

The notoriously media shy, four women strong CLAMP group is responsible for Tsubasa and to date this is probably their most ambitious piece of work ever. Already famous across the globe for their titles such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer, X/1999 and xxxHolic, CLAMP needs little introduction to the legions of manga fans the world over.

This fourth installment in the Tsubasa quest wraps up Syaoran and the gang’s Koryo adventure and immediately shifts its attention to the new location and as such the majority of writing for this volume is used to set the tone, mood and story for this new area. As it is, the story is told in heavier overtones that is befitting of the overall tone of the Tsubasa series and despite the frequent insertions of random comedic moments usually featuring the overactive Mokan terrorizing poor old Kurogane, Tsubasa comes across as a rather heavy drama with a lot of angst experienced by the various characters.

Because there are almost no action sequences the story tends to move a little slowly and by the end of the book you can’t help but feel a little cheated that you were forced to read for so long without getting a decent conclusion or anything along those lines by the end of the story. Still, the dialogue is all well written and the character dynamics are well-worked and the little comedic moments are more than sufficient to break the tension and get you to smile every now and then.

As always CLAMP’s signature level of detail in the character designs and their strange, elongated proportions dominate the visual aspect of this book, but it must be said that the art for this volume is certainly not as strong as a person would like to see. Backgrounds are very scant as always and the strange proportions look really poor on certain characters in certain frames, serving only to highlight the shortcomings of the artist on that particular shot. The linework employed is bold and solid, but sometimes this works against CLAMP as the artword feels a little oversimplified in places. Funnily enough though, thanks to the actual lack of action sequences this is one of the clearer CLAMP releases to actually follow and there is little in the way of art that forces you to turn the book upside down to try and see what is going on, a problem that is often apparent in their work where heavy action sequences interact with their particular take on physical proportions.

And as gorgeous as the usual character models (and backgrounds when they are actually present) are, the departure to the deformed and simplified sketches used for the comedic background bits are just as masterfully done and so fun that you will often find yourself sniggering at those little touches going on in the background of the main scene.

Volume 4 is an essential part of setting the scene for the story arc to come, but as it is, the problematic straddling of both the previous and upcoming story arcs means that this volume is a little devoid of action and as such moves at a rather slow and uninteresting pace. Sure all the usual trademark CLAMP is here, but because of all the story elements being outlined, this volume really comes across as nothing more than a gap filler, designed to try and hook you so that you will buy the next volume just to see what is going to happen next. If you are already in the middle of the Tsubasa saga then it is a must read, but it certainly is not the best jumping on point for anyone new to the series.

A little slow and devoid of action, volume 4 is still a solid piece of work, only it is probably best suited to those people already well stuck into the unfolding epic storyline.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsubasa_Reservoir_Chronicle

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Volume 3) Manga | My Reviews 03 APR 2008

Tsubasa Volume 3Can pure determination defeat a master magician? Sakura is awake, but she remembers almost nothing – certainly not Syaoran, who has sacrificed everything to help her. Accompanied by the happy-go-lucky Fai, the intense Kurogane, and the strikingly odd creature Mokona Modoki, Sakura and Syaoran make their way into a new universe where a traveling magician has suddenly become frighteningly powerful and is terrorizing an entire town. Only a few independent-minded stragglers remain to battle for control of their own lives. Fai, the lone magician in the group, traded his magical powers to the dimension witch, xxxHOLiC’s Yuko, before the journey started. Without a weapon with which to fight, can the extraordinary group of friends defeat a master magician who can control the Earth’s elements?

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is the longest running manga serialization from the super popular CLAMP ladies whom basically anyway who calls themselves a manga fan should know about. Volume 3 of Tsubasa continues the adventures of the unlucky Syaoran who is continuing on his heartbreaking quest to try and help retrieve Sakura’s feathers, the embodiment of her soul and memories that have been scattered across countless dimensions. Their latest dimension jump lands them thick in the middle of trouble and before long Syaoran and the rest of the team get dragged into that’s world’s politics as they befriend a young woman and end up taking on the corrupt self-imposed leader who may or may not have one of Sakura’s feathers at his disposal.

As per usual, the writing style for CLAMP constantly switches from high drama, to heady romance, to action, to quirky one-liners, to all out humour. The storytelling is as touching as what it is humorous and still manages to switch up gears into all out action mode. Volume 3 ends up being a thoroughly enjoyable volume that covers all the bases and pushes Syaoran and the gang headfirst into yet another trans-dimensional action adventure and leaves you waiting in anticipation for the next volume thanks to the cliffhanger at the end.

Visually, Tsubasa carries the trademark elongated character models and it is a style that marks it distinctively as being a CLAMP creation, even if it takes a little while to begin appreciating their unique take on proportion. That said, the line work is as fluid and detailed as always and the entire manga oozes skill and hard work. The fighting scenes in particular are rather well done, and the artists go to great lengths to depict fairly accurate stances and techniques – which is particularly nice if you consider the story is taking place in a fantasy realm.

As always, the highly detailed “normal” artwork gets injected with a lot of deformed characters for the humour sake, but the meld between story and art is so good that the deformed sequences feel completely as if they were meant to be there in the first place.

Tsubasa continues the great work laid out in the first two volumes and seeing as it still continues today, you know it is going to continue growing and evolving into something special from this point onwards. It is a touching, action packed story that contains more than enough humour to prevent it from being dragged down to being just a plain, emotional action drama story and instead gives you something light and fluffy but at the same time substantial enough that you will fall in love with the characters and enjoy a thoroughly entertaining escape from reality.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsubasa_Reservoir_Chronicle