The Tsubasa reviews continue with volume 3, as we go to another new universe.
Title: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle – Vol. 3
Written and Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Bill Flanagan
English Lettering by Dana Hayward
Originally Serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine
Cover Price: $10.95 US
Sakura has awakened after Syaoran and company have retrieved the first feather of memory, though she still remembers very little. Still, they most move on. In the next world they find themselves in a small region under the grip of a corrupt magistrate, who has recently gained grate magical power. Our heroes must seek seek to break his hold, and find the next feather.
This chapter really shows the potential inherent in this universe-hopping premise. By traveling from universe to universe, they can keep things fresh by doing different styles of stories each time, while still maintaining the main plot arc.
This volume kind of made me realize the problem I had with Fai giving up his magical powers in the first volume. While Sayoran’s payment (Sakura’s memories of him) was appropriate for him, it served a narrative standpoint, as he’d have to rebuild his relationship with Sakura through their journey. Kurogane’s payment (his magic sword) was appropriate for him, but didn’t hurt the character’s capabilities as he was still a skilled combatant without it. Fai giving up his powers as payment really ends up a situation that hurts the narrative here, as it paints the characters into a corner that must be overcome through a Deus Ex Machina from Yuko. It’s not a big problem, but it does hurt the story a little – and I hope they won’t have to keep depending on Yuko in the future for plot coupons.
No nudity or graphic violence.
Originality: The concept isn’t totally original – it’s an homage to a whole sub-genre of the Jidegaki Samurai Drama genre (There were a slew of live action TV series, films, and manga about wandering samurai, who might also have been undercover agents for the Shogunate, who fought corrupt bureaucrats). Still, the magical elements give this volume a nice twist. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: Still looks pretty good, though there’s one panel where Syaoran is kicking an enemy in the head where the art looks really odd, in terms of anatomy – it’s an odd little slip-up on CLAMP’s part, because they’re normally better than that. The fights were easier to keep track of though. 4 out of 6.
Story: The story, while not totally original, was very well executed in my opinion. 4 out of 6.
Characterization: So, with Sakura recovering some of her memories, we get some more development for her as well as Syaoran. Unfortunately, we don’t get much more development for Fai and Kurogane, which is unfortunate, as Fai’s surrender of his powers ends up being an important part of the plot. 4 out of 6.
Emotional Response: This volume actually did a pretty good job of provoking an emotional response for the new supporting character, in my opinion. I also really felt for Sakura’s plight even more her, now that she’s no longer comatose. 4 out of 6.
Flow: Much more improved this time, with no problems at all. 6 out of 6.
Overall: Another good installment of the series, and one that shows that this plot type will have legs. 5 out of 6.
In Total, Tsubasa Vol. 3 gets 31 out of 42.