Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: August 2008
“In the world of Infinity, Princess Sakura has become a Chess Master and the other travelers are her pieces. But the Mafia is running the game, and they don’t care if Sakura’s opponents break the rules or murder Sakura’s companions! Why is Sakura so determined to risk everything?”
After the drama in the previous volume, Yuko feels its time for the band of travellers to finally know what’s going on. The results of previous events still affect everyone harshly, including the world around them, before Mokona transports them all to a new dimension for more trials ahead.
This is the big explanatory issue so prepare for lots of answered questions! Yuko explains Fei Wong’s plans to the quartet, paving the way for some less than uplifting future prospects. But the cast shall not be deterred! Emotions run deep in this volume, though remain pretty internal giving it all a low-key feel, as everyone weighs in on the new developments.
I loved finally having the plot laid out for us and as usual Yuko made for a good form of delivery for the information. Too bad I didn’t think the same of some later exposition. A trio (cameos from Magic Knight Rayearth) take the time to needlessly narrate the battle tournament Sakura and co. become engaged in within the next world. While useful, it seemed a bit silly to me. Does he know we’re reading? Well it’s CLAMP so who knows, right?
Lots of verbal explanation aside, there’s some hefty visual work as usual also. Black is used with much love and care to give a dark atmosphere and even darker clothes (cool ones I may add!). There are a few fight scenes also, which continue to be pretty impressive throughout the series.
And speaking of impressive, Del Rey’s work returns to its glory here with a simple but elegant release job. CLAMP certainly didn’t make it easy for them either as the interesting, and informative, translation notes explain to us.
Overall, volume eighteen really gives the series another kick forward with the exposition and the eye-candy continues to please. Sure, some parts are a little weak in their delivery but I forgive them for entertaining results none the less. Thanks to a cliff-hanger ending, volume nineteen also promises a pinnacle moment for Fai, so grab this book and cling to the cliff’s end desperately with the rest of us!