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Review: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles (Vol. 27)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo
Tsubasa (Vol. 27)

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: DelRey
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.

Review written September 19, 2010 by Lissa Pattillo
Book bought from Strange Adventures

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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3 Responses

  1. […] & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation (Manga Maniac Cafe) Lissa Pattillo on vol. 27 of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles […]

  2. Aaron says:

    I think the reason for the confusion can be summed up in two words "It's Clamp". After all these are the same women who combined magical girl manga tropes with Mecha combat (Magic Knight Rayearth) used a children's story book to explore concepts of love and what it means to be human (Chobits) created a relationship between a genderless angel and a human (Wish) and so on and so forth. I wouldn't have it any other way but asking for "normal" in a Clamp manga is like asking Kazuo Umezu to "tone it down" it's not gonna happen (LOL)

    • Lissa says:

      CLAMP certainly loves to try new and unique combinations of ideas and characters, that's for sure. And I think it works most of the time for them. It still works well in Tsubasa in concept but the execution is so confusing! At least in all their other series, even the character-heavy, death-heavier plot of X/1999 everything pretty straight forward and clearly laid out. Tsubasa's climax feels like a big mess – which is a shame, really. Ah well, CLAMP can't hit the nail on the head every time!

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