Mangaka: CLAMP/Translators: Anthony Gerard & William Flanagan
My rating: 5 of 5
Syaoran and Princess Sakura encounter a mysterious phenomenon while exploring some ancient ruins–a phenomenon that causes Sakura to lose her memories and fall into a deep sleep. Desperately, they are sent to Yuuko, the time-space witch, who tells them they must travel the worlds to find Sakura’s memory-feathers. They are joined by the enigmatically smiling wizard Fai (who’s wish is to avoid returning home) and the darkly surly samurai Kurogane (who’s wish is to return home). Yuuko provides them with a fifth traveling companion, the white fur ball Mokona, who gives them the ability to travel between different worlds. As these companions travel between worlds, pursuing their separate goals, they find their fates more and more intertwined to the point that one has to wonder if it could possibly be chance–or is it, as Yuuko would say, hitsuzen?
This is probably my favorite manga ever, for numerous reasons. The plotline is intricate and well executed; it’s a pleasure to experience each new revelation (although it might take a few reads through to grasp the finer points of the plot). Moreover, the art (as is typical of CLAMP’s work) is absolutely gorgeous. The vast variety of worlds the travelers visit allows the writers a multitude of opportunities to let their artistic imaginations go wild, with breathtaking results. There’s a great sense of wonder expressed in the art of Tsubasa. However, the thing that most attracts me to the story is the characters. (Frankly, I can’t read this manga in public for fear of scaring someone by fangirling out loud!) I love Fai’s fake whistles and pet names for Kurogane, Kuro-tan’s overblown reactions, Syaoran’s earnestness, Sakura’s determination (and drunken meowing–too funny!), and Mokona’s 108 secret techniques. I also find it fun that CLAMP draws in so many beloved (or hated) characters from their other works. Tsubasa is a wonderful manga that comes with my highest recommendations.
Note: This is a fun omake–CLAMP stuck Miyuki from Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland in practically every world the travelers visit. Can you find her?