Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle - Reviews

Alt title: Tsubasa Chronicles

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mahius's avatar
Mar 17, 2015

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is 26 episodes of the a first season of a fantasy adventure anime, with romance bubbling beneath the surface. The main cast hops between alternate worlds in order to complete their goal. It reminds me of other great anime like FMA, Dragonball, Code Geass and even Mai Hime. The story seems confusing and unexplained at first, but picks up the pace and feels slightly episodic due to the constantly changing settings and supporting cast. I get a feeling of nostalgia from this anime somehow, even though I don't recall ever having watched it before. I would definitely say give this anime a try, this seems to be one that a wide range of people can enjoy.

Animation

The animation quality is excellent. Despite that, I watched it in 480p since I couldn't find dual audio in better quality, it is available in 1080p in Japanese for sure though. Otherwise it seemed to be just right for a 2005 anime. The animation style seems generic and a bit aged, yet this felt good somehow. I got a feeling of nostalgia, which won't come to everyone and characters did remind me of characters in other anime. Syouran reminded me of Suzaku from Code Geass and Kurogane seemed a mix between Scar and Greed from FMA. Even the little furry thing Modoki seemed familiar and somehow not that annoying as it should seem. The movement is fluid and works well for the most part, there was one flying scene that seemed a bit off however. No ecchi or fanservice here too, a good thing. Overall, the animation didn't exactly stun me and I felt like there was a little something missing. Or maybe I'm too harsh on these anime for not having an original animation style back in 2005/6.

Sound

Oh my the music is stunning. The intro music was good, but the outro just filled me with warmth. After my first run of 6 episodes I felt like I wanted to get the soundtrack. The background music in the anime itself was just as beautiful. At times the music was choral and there were many moments when I just forgot I was watching the anime, I was so immersed in the beautiful soundtrack. Heck it made me want to cry. I was too busy enjoying it that I didn't notice too much of a break from background music. I also noticed that it played epic music when the on screen action wasn't suitably epic. Minor blemishes though, since the sound quality is excellent.

This anime is available in both English, Japanese and even French. They have some great voice actors for the dub including Vic Mignogna as Fay, who also did Yukito Kunisaki in Air, Edward Elric from FMA, Shigeru Aoba from NGE and Ryouta from Yumekui Merry. Syouran is voiced by Jason Liebrecht, the voice of Kouhei from Tsukuyomi Moon Phase and Natsu Tanimoto from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, coincidentally the last anime I watched. Sakura is voiced by Monica Rial, do I really need to point out what she's been in? Ugh, Misuzu Kamio from Air, Mei Misaki from Another, Kanae from Elfen Leid, Lyra from FMA, Maya Ibuki from NGE, Hazuki from Tsukuyomi Moon Phase and a lot more (as with every VA I list in these sections of my reviews). The moody Kurogane is voiced by Christopher R. Sabat who also voiced Kitz in Attack on Titan, Various voices in Dragonball including Piccolo and Vegeta, Armstrong from FMA and Shio Sakaki from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, again. There are so many other big voice actors in this anime including Carrie Savage as Mokona, Luci Christian as Chun Hyang, J. Michael Tatum as Seishirou and Troy Baker as Dr. Rondart.

Overall, the sound is rather immaculate, there is only a minor fault that awesome music plays when it doesn't need to, which can be seen as a good thing.

Characters

Whilst there are five main characters throughout this anime, the male lead would have to be Syouran (pronounced Shao-ran). A mysterious teenage boy who has a passion for archeology and works as an archeologist, following in his father's footsteps. His full past is shrouded in mystery, but one thing is for sure, his childhood friend Sakura is very dear to him. This guy willingly puts his life on the line for Sakura and would do anything for her. The sacrifice he has to make at the start (explained in the story section) is for Sakura to loose her memories of him, effectively starting their relationship from scratch and he becomes a stranger to her. Thus, the main quest is his goal, that is shared with the other companions. He's a pleasant guy, a protagonist who powers on through sheer goodwill and care for other people, besides Sakura. Of the many mysterious things about him, is his good combat ability, which someone points out is surprising given he has no background in fighting. His father died while excavating the ruins outside of their home in the desert kingdom (who's name eludes me). Thus Syoran has made it his goal to finish his father's work. A great protagonist, since I can't find much to fault the design of this character.

The female lead and arguably the only main female character in this anime is Sakura, the princess of the desert kingdom where Syouran grew up and now works. Her older brother Touya is the king and often likes to tease her, like any sibling is expected to. Initially he seems unhappy that Sakura often flees the palace to spend time with Syouran, but it seems he is just looking out for his little sister and he's actually glad that Syouran is her 'chosen one.' It's quite obvious that Sakura has feelings for Syouran and he feels the same way about her. She is a very kind-hearted and gentle girl, she gets along with animals well and so forth. Sakura also has mysterious power, one that starts off the whole saga of this story as her menories and life force are bound in wings and the feathers are spread throughout many alternate worlds. After she looses her memories, she becomes fragile, but her personality remains. As such, she is unconscious for a while and has nothing to sacrifice at the start. Another great character.

The powerful wizard Fay D. Flourite is another kind-hearted, goodwilled companion of the the group, who often jests. As a wizard he has access to powerful magicks, but requires a tattoo on his back in order to keep the magic under control. He has promised himself that he will not use magic without the tattoo. While he is well versed in the arcane arts, he is also rather adept at physical combat too. Heck he's so multi-talented, he has skills in art and cooking too! His reason to join the group on their quest is both due to his helpful personality and his desire to escape from his homeworld. He had locked up and sealed away a powerful and evil mage, only temporarily however. Thus to flee the wrath and retribution he joins the main quest to hop between worlds. His sacrifice he has to make is the precious tattoo on his back. Yet another positive character... though this is starting to be trend. It would be boring with just these nice personalities right?

That's where the final human and oldest member of the group comes in, Kurogane the moody and aggressive feudal Japanese warrior. His desire to grow strong by defeating any and all foes turned bloodlust, causes his princess Tomoyo to exile him from his homeworld using her power. She does this in the hopes that Kurogane learns the error of his ways during his travels. Kurogane is the loose cannon of the group, though surpisingly he has quite some self control. Which completely dies whenever Fay or Mokona annoys him and he gets filled with rage. He seems to be a 'bad guy turned good guy trope' character, that includes the likes of Vegeta & Piccolo from DBZ and Kai from the original Beyblade series. Not a bad trope to have if I'm honest, one of the better and much appreciated tropes of anime. He desires to return home and the only way he can do this is by joining the group on their travels and hoping to find his homeworld once more. His sacrifice is his precious sword. Nice to see a different character in the group.

The final member of the group is the non-human magical rabbit creature Mokona Modoki. This character seems like she (no idea what gender, but voiced by a woman so I'll assume it) should be annoying, but is a rather cheerful and comedic thing, often playing harmless jokes on other members of the group. One ability I noticed is the ability to imitate others voices. It appears to me that she has taking quite a liking to Kurogane, often teasing him and calling him nicknames.

The other secondary characters don't appear to often, due to the nature of the plot of this anime. I will say that the story of the girl Chun Hyang from the second world is a rather heart-wrenching one and this helped make her a likable character. The big bad seems to be the shady and enigmatic Fei Wong Reed who appears often scheming in the background along with his sidekick Xing Huo. Seishirou is also another interesting character, however I feel his additoin was too late and would have benefitted from flashbacks or foreshadowing in earlier episodes. Some of these characters appear to be very human, they may look perfect on the surface, but they each have their issues.

Story

I will say that my biggest issue with the story is that it was split up into two seasons. There could be various reasons for it, but it could have just as easily be done as one series of ~50 episodes like other anime. Tsubasa in the title is the japanese word for wings and refers to the overall story. The plot goes that Sakura's memories and life force become drawn out in wings that grow out of her back during a freak event (in episode 1) and the feathers of these wings are scattered throughout many worlds. If she doesn't retrieve all of her memories (feathers), then she will die. Syouran takes Sakura and along with 2 individuals from other worlds appears in front of the sorceress Yuko who agrees to help them traverse worlds and to complete their quest, for a price. Within these multiple worlds they would find doppelgangers (look-alikes) of people they know, join fights, solve mysteries and more.

Of course, it goes without saying that the story is more complex, due to the backgrounds of the characters, which also means flashbacks to explain things. Both the overall plot and inidvidual stories within each world tiwst and turn, with unexpected occurences and more. There is even some uneasiness within the group and the characters begin to question themselves. The pain of Sakura bing unable to remember Syouran in her past is apparent and can be empathised with. As I mentioned in the intro, the story reminds me of other anime like FMA due to how the characters are constantly travelling. The feathers are usually a major source of power in each world, sought by evil for nefarious uses. I'm also reminded of Dragonball, there is similarity in the quest to find 7 Dragon balls and the quest to find all of Sakura's feathers. An excellent story with little that annoys me. Even the individual tales of characters from the various worlds are very interesting.

One thing I will note (without spoilers) is the rather interesting plotline in the last world. It eventually may seem unreasonable, but I'd say it's not. I just had a feeling from the very start of that world that something was off, though I agree they could have spread the tells and foreshadowing out a bit earlier. Otherwise, that sort of subplot would be a terrible overall plot. Thinking back to past stories, that sort of thing has happened as a subplot and as long as it doesn't outstay its welcome, it isn't so contrived.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this anime so much, I went out of my way to watch more than my 6 daily episodes. I'd recommend this anime to all, heck I designate this as a must watch anime. Everyone should be able to enjoy this, if you don't you either have no heart, lack patience or have a bad taste in anime. I really don't see anything here that isn't to like or any sort of BS. Or your cycnicism vastly outweighs mine, I honestly didn't expect this to be so good before I watched it. I wasn't even going to watch it at first, but I'm glad I did. If you enjoyed anime like FMA, Dragonball or even Code Geass, you'd love Tsubasa Chronicle. It's been a while since I gave an anime such a high rating, but this is just excellent.

Family-friendliness Rating: 1/5 Nothing dodgy at all. Just a bit of fantastical violence, but who cares about that ^.^ (lower is better)

Overall Rating: 10/10 (higher is better)

9.5/10 story
9.5/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Aug 20, 2017

Tsubasa Chronicles (TC) is using on of the cheapest tricks in the book in order to sell: Crossovers! It appeals to your fondness of characters from past series in order to lure you in. And then it appeals to the fame those shows have because of their fandom in order to lure in newcomers who didn’t get to watch them yet are piqued by fame. As such, this is a title that was going to sell well no matter how bad its overall quality is; and since the producers and/or makers know that, they weren’t exactly motivated to try too hard to make something great in overall. Hey, if it sells why try harder?

Anyways, I am not fond of crossovers in general, since they are almost always terrible in conception and directing, with very poor excuses for bringing together characters from various different universes to fight some cardboard supervillain. The very heroes are treated as nothing but caricatures, used only as display of their special powers without ever revealing new sides of themselves or developing further. At the same time I do not reject the idea since over the years I have actually seen some good examples of this sort. The Kingdom Hearts games is one famous example, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie where they join forces from different series is another. Unfortunately, TC is not the exception but the rule of what makes crossovers damn tasteless.

The premise of the show is very catchy as you get to watch most CLAMP anime characters in various roles, trying to collect the lost memories of a princess and preventing a villain from taking over the multiverse. The initial episodes are actually very captivating as you not only get to see Sakura in the role of the princess of a magical kingdom next to the valiant Shaoran prince, having their romance about to bloom, you also see how an evil witch steals her memories in the shape of feathers (thus the name of the show) and various other characters from other realities need to join hands or antagonize them in order to progressively manage to collect it. That is all something very good to build a good story from.

Sadly, the execution of the idea is far from good, as the plot is basically the heroes going to some reality where they meet friends and foes in different roles each time. They have these almost simplistic adventures until they manage to find a portion of lost memories and move to the next world where the process repeats.
-Basically, the plot is separated into stand-alone arcs which despite the feeling of progress in making Sakura gradually returning to her normal self, are still disjoined from one another entirely. There are also some hints of the evil plan the villains set in motion in each arc but it is all too basic and hardly counts as an interesting mystery to follow.
- The plot is not the only thing that is done simply. The actual action is not good either as it is almost bloodless and without excitement, consisting of some boring choreography of characters standing still and exchanging special attacks.
- The pacing is also slow to the most part, as you need to tolerate several episodes where nothing much is going on, only to be rewarded with lukewarm showdowns with caricature villains.
- The very heroes are not really maturing or developing beyond their initial introduction, with the exception of Sakura because she turns to a mindless doll and gradually returns to her normal self. Although basically not even her is developing; just returning to her initial stage. All the rest are just shallow posers most of the time.

To be honest with you, CLAMP characters were never interesting for their development. It was always their attitude and the spicy premises that made all CLAMP related anime so interesting; something to do with a taboo romance, or the end of the world, or some really bloody showdown. Script-wise all these stories were very simple and even fillerish to the most part, yet the bold interactions and the dramatic or cute characters were enough to be likable to thousands. Well TC is nothing like that; it is boring, shallow, and uneventful most of the time. The famous characters we all liked are used here as noting but cameos with almost no personality, the story moves very slow and unexciting, and the action is juvenile. In fact, it was so boring that the third season was cancelled after the producers realised that the fans weren’t falling for it anymore (how I wish the same would happen for some perpetual on-going fighting shonens).

The artwork and animation are ok but are really bogged down by the slow plot and the bloodless violence which makes everything look boring to stare for long. Outside the fondness of watching your favourite characters’ appearance, they are mostly walking around slowly, talking a lot about things with little importance, and fight in really simple ways. Heck, even their facial expressions are dull, like they don’t even care for what is going on.

Music and voice acting are by far the best things in this show; the soundtrack is good enough in terms of romantic sadness to go buy it without a second thought, while the characters don’t sound irritating in their roles. Too bad most of what they were talking about was so boring.

Overall, this show has no value at all; it is shamelessly betting all its cards on our fondness of the other shows while doing very little to stand on its own feet and try to tell a good romance, show a spicy romance, an exciting battle, a captivating mystery, a uniformed setting, or something worth of our attention in general. Heck, it even resets the plot by taking away the memory again at one point, in order to further milk us with its dullness. This is just beyond lame. I do not recommend this anime as nothing else but a good example of how exploiting the mangaka can turn after they get rich and famous.

2/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
3/10 characters
4/10 overall
Komirai's avatar
Aug 28, 2012

Tsubasa RESERVoir Chronicle (TRC) - the anime - showed a lot of promise from its very first episode. However, because of the fact that TRC is aired during the children's hour in Japan, which limits exactly the kind of content they are allowed to put into this anime, as a result, have disappointed many viewers thinking they would be witnessing a story that was close to what was written in the manga by CLAMP. However, despite all of that, Tsubasa Chronicle still shapes up to be a relatively enjoying series, if you can get through a couple of the more slower arcs and horrendous fillers.

First of, in case you did not know, CLAMP decided to "recycle" a lot of its characters from Card Captor Sakura and other anime in this show. In essence, you will see a ton of familiar faces, but that's all they are - faces. For the most part they have completely different personalities and histories. I don't know if that's because they ran out of ideas for completely new characters or not, but that's just the way it is. But don't get me wrong, it's definitely not a bad thing.

The animation, as usual from CLAMP, is up to par with today's standards and what today's viewers expect from an anime. It's very crisp and clean and very colorful. The relationship between Sakura and Syaoran is something you could shed a tear witnessing the trials they go through, but once again, the slowness of it all prevents a continuous enjoyment of that.

Yuki Kaijura has once again put together a very beautiful soundtrack to go along with this anime. From the very first time the piece named "A song of storm and fire" is played with the anime, that alone will urge you to keep watching this anime. However, this anime does progress extremely slowly at times, especially after the first arc and the fillers (you wouldn't think there would be fillers in a 26-episode season, but there are) are extremely boring, possibly with the exception of one or two filler arcs.

Even with all of that, its the animation and music that keeps Tsubasa RESERVoir Chronicles - the anime - alive and what keeps its viewers, in my mind anyway. The story has the potential (well, it does if you read the manga) to be amazing, but the fillers and slow progress prevent it from doing so. If you want to know what happens, pick up the manga and start reading it. You won't be disappointed. The anime is something you have to be patient with.

8/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
6/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
starlightknight's avatar
Feb 3, 2010

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (Season 1) Review

INTRODUCTION:

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is a crossover series by CLAMP. It has appearances from many of their other works, but it most heavily builds on Cardcaptor Sakura, where it draws its main characters from. Additionally, this series runs in parallel with xxxHolic, which it repeatedly crosses paths with. However, in the anime, you can only see the crossovers from the point of view of Tsubasa as all references to Tsubasa were unfortunately removed from the xxxHolic anime.

STORY: 9

Tsubasa starts out in the land of Clow Kingdom, where a host of familiar characters to fans of Cardcaptor Sakura are found. Syaoran, the male lead, is working as an archeologist, and Sakura, the female lead, is the princess of the Clow Kingdom.

One night, Sakura is beckoned to the ruins Syaoran is exploring by a strange power. Syaoran finds her in the ruins, where she is attacked by enemies from another dimension. Her memories of the heart are stolen from her and scattered across the dimension in the form of feathers. Yukito, the high priest of the land, sends Syaoran and Sakura to meet the "Witch of Dimensions", Yuko (from xxxHolic). There, Syaoran joins with Kurogane, Fai, and Mokona to go on a journey to retrieve Sakura's feathers and restore Sakura's memories.

In order to do this, Yuko grants them the power to cross dimensions through Mokona; this power, however, comes at a grave cost. Each member of the party must pay for this power with the thing most dear to them; for Syaoran, it costs him his relationship with Sakura. The price he must pay for the power to save her is her memories of him. Even if he is able to travel the dimensions and recover all of her feathers to restore her memories, he will no longer be a part of them… Sakura will never remember him.

ANIMATION: 9

The animation of Tsubasa is very high quality. Among other CLAMP series I've seen, Tsubasa is top-notch work as far as the animation and art quality goes. The artwork was excellent attention to detail, along with beautifully done coloring and a variety of well done special effects.

The special effects vary throughout the anime as well because when they travel between the worlds the methods of combat change from world to world. This is nice because it provides variety and you aren't seeing the same effects over and over again for the whole series. I didn’t have any complaints about the artwork and it is one of the better series that I've seen as far as quality goes.

SOUND/MUSIC: 10

Music is where Tsubasa really shines. Honestly, it has the most epic soundtrack I've ever heard in an anime. There are roughly twenty unique tracks used in different situations throughout the anime, and the music adds a lot of feeling to the events of the anime. I feel that the excellent soundtrack really helps to express the intended feelings & moods and is easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the series.

The opening song to the first season, "BLAZE" by Kinya, and its accompanying animation really helps to set the mood of the series. Both "BLAZE" and the ending theme "Loop" are excellent songs that I really enjoyed. I usually skip the credits when watching anime, but I found myself watching the season 1 credits again each episode just to hear "Loop" again. I really enjoyed both themes and got myself MP3 versions of both.

CHARACTERS: 10

Characters are easily my favorite part of the whole series. Being a crossover series, the more CLAMP series you've seen, the more you'll enjoy the characters as you'll recognize more and more of them from previous CLAMP works. Particularly, I loved that the characters from Cardcaptor Sakura were reused because I am a huge fan of that series. However, even if you haven't seen any other CLAMP series the characters are still very enjoyable.

Throughout the series, the characters grow and develop very well as a result of their experiences together. The main cast evolves throughout the series from a team that has no desire or intention of helping each other to a team with deep bonds with one another, to the point that they would be willing to sacrifice their lives for one another.

FILLER IMPACT: MINIMAL

For this first season, the impact of filler is minimal. Filler was mostly done in the way of cleverly extending existing arcs from the manga, and the anime does a good job of doing so. There is only one arc that is entirely filler in the first season and you would never have guessed it was filler if you hadn't read the manga.

SUB VS. DUB: SUB

The dub for Tsubasa is unfortunately quite lacking.  Characters like Fai are extremely difficult to express. They chose Vic Mignogna to voice Fai in the dub, which is probably the best choice they could have possibly made, I feel that even he is lacking at many times as Fai. The real deal-breaker for me, however, was Kurogane's voice. I felt that Christopher Sabat's attempt at voicing Kurogane was a bit *too* deep and gruff compared to the Japanese actor; it really felt off to me.

For the rest of the characters I was mostly indifferent in my opinion of them, but I definitely prefer the Japanese voice actors all the way. If you're going to watch Tsubasa, I highly recommend going with subs all the way.

OVERALL: 9.5

To be honest, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is my absolute favorite series; this may be a biased opinion because of that, but I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy anime or anyone who has enjoyed any other CLAMP work. The whole anime shines, especially this first season.

Be warned, however, that at the time of writing this anime remains unfinished and will likely not be finished anytime in the near feature. As of October 2009, however, the manga is finished. If you like this series and want to experience the ending to the story, you'll eventually have to read the manga.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
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fononhaze's avatar
Jul 7, 2012

I have been a fan of CLAMP's works since Cardcaptor Sakura. As such, Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle has brought me so much nastalgia featuring alot of reoccuring characters in a new senario. Now I will give my opinions on the anime:

To start the review, here is the introduction video.

Story: It's kind-of difficult to pin-point the actual setting as the anime takes place in several different dimensions. These dimensions include desert-like kingdoms, Japanese cities, feudal and mideval villages, ect. In all, Tsubasa doesn't really focus on where the entire senario takes place anyway. It's all varied.

That being said, the main focus is the characters. Syaoran is an archeologist who is uncovering a nearby ancient ruins first discoverd by his father Fujitaka. He is secretly in love with the Clow Kingdom's princess: Sakura. One night, Sakura is mysteriously lured into the ruins by the glint of the full moon. This causes Sakura to go in a trance and unlocks the hidden power to travel through time and space deep within the ruins. However, when Syaoran attempts to intervene, he breaks Sakura's focus thus loosing her memories which are scattered through dimensions in the form of feathers. With the help of the dimensional witch Yuuko, Syaoran must now travel through dimensions to recover Sakura's lost memories before she dies. This comes with a high price, the memories of Syaoran himself. Together, he travels with Fay and Kurogane, unaware that he is being watched by a hidden advirsary who seeks the power Sakura has.

The story itself is very heart-warming as it mainly focuses on romance with a blend of other fantasy-based genres. I have enjoyed the story to it's fullest.

Animation: The animation for the most part is good. The only exception though are Syaoran's movements when he performs his kicks. The animation for Syaoran's kicks can be a little awkward and off. Other than that, most movements for other characters runs very smoothly.

Sound: The music in Tsubasa is by far one of the best ever played in any anime. The music that plays in each scene has a unique emotional feel to each of the songs. Even the main opening theme "BLAZE" has an emotional feel to it. You can easily tell that the music is one of the many things that make Tsubasa great. The sound effects are done very good but can be startling at certain scenes (for me anyways). The voice acting for the subbed version is also done very well and the dubbed version is just "average".

Characters: Most of the characters that appear in Tsubasa are from other CLAMP series with very few new characters. It's this that can create nastalgia to anyone who has watched CLAMP over the years. The personalities of each character though are different and this can be reflected by Sakura who mostly shows a kind-hearted nature compared to her personality in Cardcaptor Sakura where she is mostly energetic and strong-willed. Syaoran also shows this as well as he is mostly calm and focused. I guess it's to make these characters new again. Other surprising cameos will also appear to give a jaw-dropping "Wow!" factor. One thing I liked about the characters is that for the first time ever in any anime, I felt their emotions and feelings; something that is extremely rare in a majority of anime. Now for the designs. The characters are designed very well and if you are an artist, you can easily tell how artistic many of the features each character has.

Overall: Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle offers both nastalgia and heart-warming feelings that will mostly keep you watching one episode after another. I highly recommend this anime to those who want to spice up their lives with a blend of fantasy and romance.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
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