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Review: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles (Vol. 20)

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: DelRey
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: January 2009

Synopsis: “The princess has been betrayed and her body sent to Fai’s frozen home world of Seresu. In order to follow Sakura, the wrecked remains of the band of travellers must pay their price to the witch. And once they arrive, Fai will have to confront the one he’s been fleeing – and the horrific truth of his past!”

Volume twenty of Tsubasa is a big eye-opener for the series as readers learn just how layered all these overlapping foreshadowed plans really are. After the dramatic climax of the last volume, the characters have a lot to deal with, and even more to take in, when Yuuko appears before them to help explain what transpired. The series continues to delve into darker and darker territory with some disturbing revelations about Fai’s past and their climatic effect on his life now (and the lives of his companions). With a new perspective and altered task at hand, that which remains of the title crew bands together to travel to Fai’s country.

Despite so much occurring, or should I say having had occurred (much of this volume is explanation of past events), it was still pretty easy to follow  and all the pages were nicely paced so that you never felt too overwhelmed in facts or visuals. Repeated looks back on past in-story events, which then seemed so trivial, will undoubtedly leave fans flipping through old issues and noticing some key foreshadowing moments cleverly hidden from the very beginning. I was too entertained to feel ignorant about missing the subtle hints and all the more interested that it had been planned to such extent from the very start.

CLAMP’s artwork? Fantastic as usual, with some particular scenes looking a little heavier on the inks than usual to eye-popping effect. The sharp contrasting black and white style continues to serve them very well and while I’ve always enjoyed seeing the artistic style CLAMP’ll go with next, when the team begins a new series, the distinctive look and feel of Tsubasa, and its parallel running series, XXXHolic, will be truly missed should it be left behind. If ever there was an art book consisting solely of their chapter covers, I’d leap on the chance to own one.

While, to my dismay, I did find a couple instances in this volume where Del Rey’s wording seemed to trip up the otherwise near-flawless pace of the story, it did little to effect my continued adoration for this series. It really manages to grip me a little more every time I read it. Returning to Fai’s home country has already brought more than its share of painful memories and will undoubtedly bring about a lot more in the next volume. As much as I feel for the characters, as a reader all I can say is “bring it on” because no volume comes fast enough to sate my desire for more Tsubasa at this point.

Review written February 9, 2009 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased in-store from Chapters

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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