Tsubasa Chronicle season 2 is 24 episodes of… well season 2 of the broadly appealing Tsubasa Chronicle anime. Continuing on with the fantasy adventure, full of mystery and even some romance. This is a direct continuation of Tsubasa Chronicle, the first episode is labelled episode 27. And I realised I may have gotten too caught up in my excitement of finding an anime that appears to be suitable for anyone, that I overlooked the reliance of a sequel (I scored the original too high). So this is the sequel, does it neatly wrap up the story? Can I be forgiven for giving season one too much praise? Well it’s more of the same anime, so let’s find out. Please read my review of season 1 here, while keeping in that right now I feel like I gave it too high of a score.
Exactly the same as season one, please see the season 1 review for more details.
Well there’s a new intro and outro for this second season. It’s fairly decent. If I didn’t mention it before, this anime is also available in French. Otherwise please refer to the season 1 review for more details.
I’ll just elaborate on some new things in this season or things that we found out in the previous season. Of course, refer to the season 1 review to gain the full picture.
Syouran has both an eye he can’t see through and a mysterious doppelganger boy floating in a tank in the possession of the laisse-faire villain Fae Wong Reed. Kurogane is still teaching him how to swordfight with the weapons they’ve retained from Oto Country. We discover a bit more about Fay's old friend Chi.
It’s more of the same in this sequel. The protagonists travel from world to world in search of the feathers that contain Sakura’s memories and by extension, her life force. It’s still an episodic narrative, with a small story within each world over an episode or few. Some of these are linked to each other and may have more connections to the overall plot. Were it to be just that, then this anime would be a bit disappointing. We get a bit more as we further discover the background of characters like Kurogane and Fay, we even get more of an idea as to what the antagonists desire and how the journey of the 4 lead characters (and Mokona) ties in with Yuko’s own plans to keep balance in the universe. Some worlds are surprisingly returned to and we see the consequences of previous actions. As usual, people representing others from different worlds reappear being connected by sharing the same soul. Strangely enough, even though they might not have met our heroes before, a few even mention that the protagonists are familiar.
But those aspects alone won’t neatly wrap up the story. The overall plot is sometimes brought to the fore, but only very lightly and that’s an issue. There has to be a climax and conclusion to the overall plot, which wasn’t present in the first season, thus I was upset at myself for giving it too high a score. The issue is that this sequel doesn’t do any better. The overall plot is a never-ending story. It sounds almost like a spoiler but this sequel doesn’t give a satisfying conclusion to the overall story of the group looking for Sakura’s feathers.
A faithful continuation of the original 24 episode series then. While I would be inclined to say more of the same, it is just a bit better than that as we get a bit of info on some of the characters and the mysterious villains almost seem to get involved. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoyed season one and I wouldn’t recommend this sequel at all to anyone who hasn’t watched the first season (since you’ll be missing out on story and references). The biggest disappointment was that the plot is inconclusive. Even 50 episode series like FMA managed to have some decisive wrap up towards the early 40 episodes before wrapping things up nicely and that was a similar journey searching for something. There are still many unanswered questions from season one that remain unanswered here and that is my biggest gripe. Did they intend for there to be a season 3? Probably not, given a certain scene.
Family-friendliness Rating: 1/5 Nothing. I noticed nothing besides certain story aspects (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 8/10 (higher is better)
Story: RFTM is a gaming acronym that stands for “Read the Freaking Manual.” Why do I mention this? Any DVD of Tsubasa Chronicle Season 2 (a.k.a. the Second Series) should have RTFM stamped on its cover, only it would stand for “Read the Freaking Manga.”
For those who do not know, Tsubasa Chronicle the Second Series picks up where the first one left off; the five man band enters yet another parallel universe in search of one of Sakura’s feathers. They encounter multitudes of other crossover CLAMP characters and face opposition from every villain in the world who wants to exploit the feather’s magical powers. Each arc is a couple episodes long to develop the side characters and plot of that particular world before the band jumps to the next one.
On the surface, this may seem like any typical monster of the week anime. However, Tsubasa Chronicle is one of the most complex anime/manga franchises of all time, but this is not reflected at all in its second and final season. Instead, the directors decide to focus on the development of numerous side characters that we never see again as well as the main characters of the five man band (canonically or otherwise). While this may seem like a boring premise that is bound to be laden with filler, the pacing of the first half of the second series is actually surprisingly entertaining. The themes of memory and friendship are explored more deeply, and the characters’ pasts begin to catch up to them as they approach their goal.
The major issue with the plot is the ending. Firstly, the ending was non-canon, which in of itself isn’t an issue since that’s what usually happens when an anime catches up to the manga. The issue was its blatant cheesiness and lack of closure. It literally seemed like the budget ran out and the directors couldn’t pay a good writer to bring the anime to a definite close. It’s clear that at some point during the production, the attitude changed from believing that there would be a third season to realizing that there would not. This forced a rushed, disappointing, substandard ending to what otherwise could have been a top anime for fans.
Animation: While not terrible, the animation does not seem to push the envelope like some of its higher budget partners did. Overall, the animation was smooth and character designs were good. However, the animation seemed to suffer from the budget. Its clear from the TV series’ successors (the OVAs) have the potential to have groundbreaking animation. However, that was clearly not the intention of the artists of the TV series. At times, there were flashes of brilliance, but there were moments of repetition, numerous flashbacks, and instances of pure laziness that counterbalanced them.
Sound: As with the original series, the sound is where the anime absolutely sparkled. From orchestral fanfares to sweet string quartets, Yuki Kajiura composes an amazing variety of music for the soundtrack. There is absolutely no doubt that the music enhances the viewer’s experience of the anime as a whole. As for the voice acting, it was spot on in both the original and the English dub. My only issue with the sound was the OP and especially the ED, neither of which I particularly liked. However, the rest of the soundtrack more than makes up for where the OP and ED are lacking.
Characters: This is CLAMP. How could there not be well developed likable characters? The dynamic of Sakura and Syaoran’s relationship deepens in the second series, and Kurogane finally receives a background of his own. Fai remains the mysterious magician he had always been, but even he receives some development during the course of the series. Many more CLAMP characters are introduced, which will provide numerous bonuses for CLAMP fans. For those who are not, don’t worry; the characters’ roles in this series may have absolutely nothing to do with their role in their own series.
The only character that probably should have received more development was Fei Wang, but since he hadn’t really been developed in the manga yet either, one can’t really blame the makers of the anime.
Overall: Despite the solid foundation of characters, animation, and sound, Tsubasa Chronicle the second series was disappointing overall. The inconclusive ending and massive filler really killed what could have been a superb anime. My suggestion is to NOT watch the series in its entirety. If you want to truly understand the Tsubasa Chronicle franchise, you can either read the manga entirely or do the following.
It was truly a privilege to read such a heartwarming, yet exciting franchise. Unfortunately, the second series detracts from the quality of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle as a whole.
Important: Tsubasa Revervoir Chronicles is an incomplete series.
Synopsis: Sakura has lost her memories and they have been scattered throughout all of these different dimensions, so her love interest Syaoran travels through these dimensions in order to find them and retrieve them so that she'll wake up. He travels through time with the help of Mokona Modoki, a little magical rabbit-like creature. While leaving on the journey through dimensions, in other dimensions tough guy Ninja Kurogane and magician Fai D. Flowright also depart their dimensions for other reasons. They all manage to wind up in the same place and travel together.
This carries through two seasons. Albeit a bit repetitive and very hard to follow at times with the constant shift in dimensions, it has a lot of heart and it's not a bad anime by any means. The story is pretty good, the animation good, the music is amazing, and the characters are decent. A little generic and bland at times, but as you learn more about their backstory this changes.
With all of that out in the open, we can say that this is a really good anime right? Well, you're partially correct. It's a pretty good anime, and it could have been a really good anime if the anime was actually completed. The anime was ultimately cancelled after two seasons as the parties that owned the rights to the manga were displeased the the anime version of the series. This wouldn't have negatively affected the anime if they had finished the anime. The issue is that the anime had reached the most intense climax it could possibly reach and then that's it. It's done. No resolve or conclusion. All we get from forty+ episodes spanning two seasons is a climactic cliffhanger with no resolution The anime ends at the highest point of tension. There are two OVA's, but they don't complete the series by any means.
In the end, it wasn't a waste of time, and really most of the reason it has an 7.5/10 instead of a 5 or 6 is because of the music score being the highlight of the anime. My suggestion is to read the Manga instead, or at least before watching this.
Compared to the first season in which I did really like, the 2nd season was less climatic and actually more 'peaceful', yet I kept watching it till the end, probably just to see a resolution to the story or maybe just due to liking the main characters.
Animation: This is what I shall always be critical about, I have never liked BeeTrain's style which tends to drag the story and make everything slower paced than they are supposed to be. Noir and Madlax have been a snore fest for me, Tsubasa Chronicles although having a manga to backup, had almost the same pacing with characters wearing static expressions throughout the episodes with the exceptions of a few gasps and shouts... I mean... they are even lazy to make livelier expressions! And due to NHK restrictions, everything has been toned down. A little more blood and gore like the anime X or as projected in the manga would have propelled this anime to a higher rating, how they tried to make everything bloodless just seemed awkward. Don't misunderstand, CLAMPs art is still really good, its just the animation that did not live up to standards
Sound: No one has complaints here, Yuki Kajiura's music continues to excel with some great tracks like Crying Alone, Aikoi and Broken Sword of Justice, in fact, almost everyone would agree that the music is the main factor that still keeps viewers interested. For this season I preferred the ending to the opening, an uplifting, lively song full of hope and happiness, perfectly suited for Syaoran and Sakura's feelings. The seiyuus gave the same pleasing performances as before.
Story: there were some arcs that were very good, like the Ashura arc, Kurogane's past and the Piffle arc. Some fillers were quite interesting too while some others like back to ChunHyang's world were just too repetitive. It was very apparant that they were trying to save the 2nd Syaoran bit as a climax for the next season by dragging out the plot to the extent of turning it into 'finding one feather an episode'. Therefore as an intermediate bit for the Tsubasa series, this season didn't leave too strong of an impression, yet it did succeed in leaving some questions and desire for the next season, thanks to the excellent Kurogane arc and the mysterious 'Syaoran in the tube' which gave hints to the other side of Tsubasa, a darker and unpredictable plot which was to be unfolded in the future.
Character: The good point of Tsubasa is that the group of main characters are basically lovable, with different personalities and from different backgrounds, yet giving off a feel like they are one big happy family who care for each other very much. Mainly 2 obvious character developments were done in this season, including the background story of Kurogane and most importantly, Sakura does have a bit more development compared to the walking shell in the 1st season. Syaoran, Mokona and Fai were still their usual selves but I never minded that because seeing this group interacting is basically one of the fun moments of Tsubasa. Although thanks to the rigid animation, the characters still gave off a rather stony, lifeless feel. It may just be me but yes, compared to the other animated Clamp works, this seemed too obvious.
I did still enjoy this series, thanks to the excellent music and my love for the Sakura+Syaoran pairing but still I can't help thinking this could have been handled a lot better with such a strong manga to back it up. In other words, it had potential, but it just didn't live up to most expectations.
If you are fond of the first season though you might like the second season. However it would be advisable not to read the manga first or you'd get very disappointed with how this anime turned out to be
MOST UNSATISFYING ENDING EVER!
Let me rephrase this.
Most fatally toxic and unsatisfying ending ever!
I mean, it was thrilling as all out can be. The last three-episode encounter with Chaos (which is pronounced ‘cows,’ if spoken briskly and you clip the hiss of the 's'), a near-divine being stronger than Kurogane, whose magic is more powerful than Fay's, and, most importantly, more devoted to Sakura than Syaoran in seeking out her quest (ah, that poignant moment when Sakura is frantically mouthing 'I love you' while a clearly confused Syaoran cannot comply). The discovery that, although Chaos is composed of Sakura-feathers, the feathers he gives Sakura are fraudulent. The hopeless battle which Syaoran is prepared to offer. We are only inches away from uncorking the mystery boy in Fei-Wang Reed's bottle ... all this in hopes for season three?
Let me rephrase this.
I’ve often claimed the strength of the characters developed in Cardcaptor Sakura and how they transferred into Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. This gets tested in season two. The characters in TRC2 are too similar to those in CCS. We did not see Prof. Kinomoto in season one as Sakura’s royal father. But, he gets life in TSC as Syaoran’s archaeologist father. But, in season two, Prof. Kinomoto does appear as Princess Sakura’s royal dad. Confused? I was. Tomoyo takes on her camera-toting personality in the first three episodes of TSC2. Toya and Yukito pop in as royal prince and prince’s advisor in Sakura’s last memory … her wish to travel and be escorted by her AWOL friend what’s-his-name (Syaoran’s price to undergo world-hopping is his banishment from Sakura’s memories). And, what's up with Mokona and Kero battling the forces of darkness (reminds me of some off-beat struggle like Abbott and Costello battles the forces of evil ... maybe the Marx Bros vs. the sinister malevolence of the underworld?). That bizarre episode pairing Mokona and Kero ... same effect. What was that?
The character design continued to retread. Classic example: the villainous Tambal and his son Brugal. In season one, the pair terrorized the village they had taken control of with one of Sakura’s feathers. In season two: Tambal was an honest sea-captain who saved Syaoran and his gang and assisted in advancing the quest. Thank goodness Brugal played a bully-ruler powered by a Sakura-feather. Also, it seemed no new realms were being explored. Just a lot of revisiting prior realms.
The main characters, well developed as they are, have reached a point of crisis in season two. I appreciated the back-story of Kurogane. Fay takes on persona of lacheln-teufel (laughing devil). He could be humorous to a point of recklessness. Kurogane's complaint that he needs to be more serious seemed to jive with what was wrong with the plot. He needs to escape from someone, and we learn much too late how dangerous that man is … and how closely attached Kurogane is to that man in his own personal grief.
This gets us back to the ending, and the three reasons it was unsatisfying: 1) the quaint defeat of god-like Chaos and the momentary linkage with the boy in the bottle ... peculiarities much like the Sakura movies where the Cardcaptor is up against a superior opponent and yet triumphs somehow. 2) the thought that Kurogane has that the Sakura feather quest could go on endlessly, and that still pleases Kurogane’s adventuresome spirit. What about getting back to Princess Tomoyo?; 3) Mokona's faint-hearted farewell ... nothing like Mokona's salutation after season one. Then the cartoonish TRC gang gives a final see-you-soon.
No third season.
Not to worry. There will be two OVAs which will attempt to tie up the loose ends. Manga readers will have a better handle on the ins and outs of how all things proceed from this point. But this gives me this feeling that one will not be ready for TRC: Tokyo Revelations and Spring Thunder.
Most unsatisfying ending ever. A season that roared massively and imaginatively ... to a thud!