Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: Novmeber 2009
Synopsis: “Syaoran, Fai, Kurogane and Mokona are returning to the Kingdom of Clow – and toward an ultimate showdown with the ruthless Fei-Wang Reed. But entering a world the is cut off from time endangers ther very existence of the once happy villagers, as the final story arc of the Tsubasa epic beings!”
There’s plenty to get excited about in this volume, though perhaps a little more so if it was a little more coherent. It’s not that the events are difficult to follow individually but try to mentally fit them into the woven web of CLAMP’s Tsubasa and you may find some of your enthusiasm dampened. Still, with plenty of gorgeous artwork and moments that strike déjà vu in all the right ways, there’s a still lot of good to be said for Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles as it climbs towards the finale.
Syaoran is the star of the show in this twenty-forth volume, filling in a much anticipated gap in his life story – more specifically, the true beginning of his quest for the Princess Sakura’s benefit. With its start in the world that XXXholic presumably takes place, a young Syaoran appears at Yuko’s shop. He doesn’t have a wish to be granted however but rather a pre-destined path that his Mother saw in a dream. Focused, unwavering and undeniably adorable, the then-still-a-child Syaoran is sent to the Kindgom of Clow for the first time where he meets Sakura.
The most notable, and likely entertaining, moments of this volume come from the familiarity of the items to CLAMP fans. Many of the books most intentionally significant moments may be a bit lost on those who haven’t read the manga-team’s older series though, such as the increasingly relevant – and still wonderfully charming in its own right – Cardcaptor Sakura. Not only are there some faces not seen for quite some time in the CLAMP-verse but also some key items, much like scenes earlier in the series when readers were given brief glimpses into Yuko’s storage room of odds and ends.
But keeping up with habits, as many things the events in this book tells us, it also leaves just as many things to ponder. Syaoran meets Sakura, who looks just like his Mother and shares the same name – their true relationship is? – Syaoran is given a time limit of his time in Clow and must make a decision plus both Syaoran and the young Sakura he meets in Clow are withholding their true names from readers and eachother.
Vaguely speaking of existence-related exposition, keen-eyed readers will also notice some cleverly similar scenes in the first chapter that continue to tie together the significance of Tsubasa’s Syaoran and XXXholic’s Watanuki, and for those not up-keeping with XXXholic to the point it is now, this could bring up its own potential musings.
Though the black-framed flashbacks of Syaoran’s youth stands out, they’re still only half the book – the other (and initial) portion of the book returns us to present-day Syaoran, Kurogane, Fai and Mokona who’ve all made the decision to travel to the Kingdom of Clow to confront Fei-Wang Reed. Yuko takes a literal hit while providing the magic necessary for such a trip but even that isn’t enough to ensure what they’ll find when they get there. Greeted with familiar landscapes and smiling faces, the trio knows better than to drop their guard and thankfully so when things suddenly take a bleak turn.
It’s still too soon to say all the pieces have fallen into place, but it certainly feels like they’re hovering at the ready. Fans of the series, and CLAMP-fans in particular, will still find lots to page-turn for in this twenty-fourth volume, though perhaps the most consideration at this point still lies on how satisfying an explanatory conclusion the next few volumes will be able to provide before hitting the final book at volume twenty-eight.