Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2010
Synopsis: “The restart of time! Cut off by time, the travelers have arrived in Fei-Wang Reed’s dimension to get Sakura back. But Fei-Wang has been waiting for them, and they’re in for the ultimate fight. The witch Yûko finally brings into play that odd cylinder she’s had in her keeping, and what’s inside gives Syaoran the shock of his life!”
It’s time for another new volume of Tsubasa, and the penultimate chapter at that. It’s exciting, it’s dramatic, it’s mostly one giant magical showdown and… it’s downright confusing. It’s tough having a story so artistically engaging and brimming with emotion when it’s also one hampered irrefutably by a story that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at times.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be so much a bother if the characters in the story didn’t take every new explanation in relative strive – yes they stand in shock and awe at the revelations but they also never have trouble understanding it all in the grand scheme of things. One could also wager it’s easier for them as participants instead of third-party spectators but I digress.
Maybe it’s just me? I’ve reread the entire series more than once, flipped back to previous volumes and I still can’t seem to get it all straight in my head. Just when I think I get it, the story throws in another alternate universe, skewed timeline or clone of the lead characters. Maybe this is the real reason why I’ve gotten so attached to the secondary characters, Fai and Kurogane (though the fujoshi-baiting still probably wins for reasoning) – they are who they are and had only linear back story to divulge. Syaroan and Sakura have clones of themselves, which are shuffled across time and space with their original selves who also happen to be the children of… themselves, and the alternate dimension parents of Watanuki (from XXXHolic) who is actually a soul place-holder for Syaoran… junior. Oh and the clones separate and fuse with each other at points across the series as well. Good thing they don’t look alike or this would be really… oh, right.
But there is still lots here for the faithful fans. CLAMP’s ability to render a dramatic magical battle is at top form, every page littered in well place details, magical circles and fly-everywhere bursts and speed lines. Lives and worlds are on the line and the emotional out cries of the characters make sure you feel it. Artistically, it’s as pretty as ever including the eye-catching chapter cover illustrations.
As far as plot goes, this is the big explanation book as Fei-Wang takes this time to exposition his way through his confrontation with the leads. We learn what lead Sakura to the beginning of the series and why exactly Fei-Wang orchestrated all this in the first place. Well, we learn what he hoped to accomplish anyway – the exact ‘why’ still feels a little hazy. Everything eventually ties back to the Space Time Witch, Yuko (lead character in the parallel series, XXXHolic) and it offers some more explanation to those currently reading XXXHolic where she’s vanished.
As the second last volume of the series, Tsubasa definitely feels like it’s ready to end. Everything is high-climax and high-strung, a great dramatic finish to a series that’s always at least delivered on the action and eye-candy. The loose ends may’ve all tied themselves into a giant knot but they still manage to remain compelling all the same – as long as there’re no new clones in the final volume anyway.