animefringe august 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
Tsubasa RESERVior CHRoNiCLE - Not Just Cardcaptor Sakura for Boys

Move over, Leji Matsumoto, because CLAMP has just unleashed the mother of all crossovers! Nicknamed "Cardcaptor Sakura for guys," Tsubasa RESERVior CHRoNiCLE might seem like your average shonen title filled with loads of action, One Piece-esque antics, and gorgeous artwork. But Tsubasa is so much more...it's a who's who of all things CLAMP.

Tsubasa opens simply enough with a boy and a girl on the ground, their hands clasped together. The view expands outward, and a mysterious force pulls the couple apart. The girl sprouts a pair of wings and the boy screams out, "Sakura!"

Yes, this girl is Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura, albeit in her early teens and a tad shapelier. And the boy is Li Shaoron, also more grown up than the brat we once knew. But something isn't quite right. Everything seems a tad too medieval and the clothes are all different. Then we realize that this isn't Tokyo, it's someplace entirely different, namely a desert city in the country of Clow, and these characters aren't the characters we once knew, at least not the ones from present day Tokyo.

Welcome to the world of Tsubasa RESERVior CHRoNiCLE, CLAMP's latest manga phenomenon to premiere this May in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the sister magazine of Weekly Shonen Jump and home of Ken Akamatsu's latest hit series Magister Negi Magi and such series as Get Backers and Rave Master.

The maiden story arc follows Shaoron as he hops from dimension to dimension in hopes of finding a cure for his sleeping princess. Where this journey will lead our hero is anyone's guess, but so far Shaoron's found himself in present day Japan. So, at least the story isn't completely set in a fantasy dimension. Recently, his journey has led him to Japan and into direct conflict with some rather powerful magic-wielders that control spirit beasts very similar to those seen in Rayearth. Stranger still is the reaction Shaoron and company have when they meet up with Touya and Yukito...the working stiffs we know and love from Cardcaptor Sakura. You see, there's also a version of this duo in the land of Clow. Yep, things keep getting stranger.

While the cameo scorecard keeps growing each week, some of the most notable appearances include Zagato's sword and Mokona from Magic Knight Rayearth, Chii from Chobits, Yuuko (the dimensional witch) from XXXholic, the blowfish from CLAMP School Detectives, Prince Ashura of RG Veda, and Sorata and Arashi from X. And that's barely skimming the surface!

Current fan speculation seems to indicate that this new series might just be the key to bringing their other long-running series, X, to a final conclusion. The manga creators have always said they would offer a unique ending for their apocalyptic tale that hasn't been seen before. With this latest crossover extravaganza just getting underway, anything can happen, as X is no stranger to crossovers itself. However, that is mere fan speculation, as little other than Sorata and Arashi appearing as a happily married couple has been seen in Tsubasa.

While no American company has acquired the rights to this latest CLAMP offering, it's fairly likely that this series will one day find its way across Pacific. Until then, the only way to follow this off-the-wall crossover spectacular is to snag a copy of Weekly Shonen Magazine or wait for tankoubon to start being released. Trust me though; this is one series should not be missed.