Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Chapter 232: The End?


How should I put it... This ending leaves a lot more wanting. I had a firm belief that Tsubasa could become and epic manga or it could become a huge disappointment for me simply because I have invested so much in the characters of "Sakura" and "Syaoran" since Card Captor Sakura days. Either way, I'll refrain from making a final judgment until I see the final epilogue chapter and how xxxHolic unfolds.

Ever since the whole Clone controversy began, I began to feel a little cheated. Because Tsubasa has been the story of the clone's journey. I haven't followed Tsubasa that carefully and I think it could do some good to read everything through without all the interruptions.

There are lots of parallels between TRC and some Jungian principles; I recommend Carl Jung's Synchronicity as a start. Hence, I feel confused when I read TRC whether there is deeper meaning or whether the ending is simply rushed or there is just a lot of explaining to be found in xxxHolic.

Maybe it was naive of me to think there could be a happy ending for the clones. I knew clone Sakura and Syaoran meeting in the alternate modern day Hong Kong world in Chapter 222 was too good to be true. My heart broke a little bit in Chapter 223 when I learned that Syaoran's surname in that world was also Li. I think CLAMP indicates that the memories of the Clones will live on through real Sakura and Syaoran, hence they are not truly gone. But then, they are gone and at the end of the day, while I initially thought that Tsubasa was a manga about the epic journey of a boy who wants to recover the memories of his most beloved person, it is actually the story of a glitch in time, the story of how duplicates of the real Sakura and Syaoran escape from an infinite loop. It was never a story about characters but rather archetypes. I have a feeling we'll probably be seeing the vampire twins (they'll probably get their own spin off someday) and KuroFai in the future (truthfully, I feel more sorry for these two than anyone else in the manga--they lose arms and eyeballs and find out that their travel buddies are clones that disappear in the end, not to mention that they've had quite crappy childhoods on top of that).

From the beginning, I decided to differentiate between CCS!Sakura and Syaoran and TRC!Sakuras and Syaorans. I don't know why CLAMP wrote this manga. I initially thought it was fanservice, reintroducing characters we knew in a big, grand universe and showing us the interlinking of CLAMP worlds. The second half of TRC seemed to then twist into a torture-fest of how much we can make our main characters suffer as much as possible. I can't tell if this ending is the true ending that CLAMP intended for TRC (though obviously we'll understand more through xxxHolic), or whether they just grew tired of this project and wanted to move on to other projects (that would likely get a more decent animation production).

I read TRC eagerly to see glimmers of further insight of characters I am familiar with. Truthfully, though TRC!S+S are not CCS!S+S, nonetheless, this story has made me reevaluate the dynamic between Sakura and Syaoran. I'm not sure I can ever look at the beautiful ending of the CCS manga where junior high Sakura and Syaoran hug, finally reunited without thinking of a very similar composition in TRC where clone Sakura and Syaoran are reunited in Hong Kong. Furthermore, it is indicated throughout TRC that CCS!Sakura and Syaoran are aware how much suffering their alternate world alter-egos are undergoing.

I've been working on a TRC AMV recently, but now I feel like I'm going to cry if I see poor S+S.

Anyhow, does anybody feel like it's time for some Kobato-healing?


  1. heh, first thing I looked at before reading the chapter was how many pages there were. Upon seeing it, I knew that the chpt would be rushed. sigh

    Waiting for the epilogue...but I seriously doubt that it'll cover everything if it has only around 25 pages (and double pages at that...)

  2. And somehow I think it did...
    with only a few pages CLAMP somehow manages to wrap it up beautifully - showing one of the only explicit expressions of love from one character to another from all their other manga in consideration.

    At one point I was doubting that they would be able to wrap it up well enough, though it will take a few reads to fully understand the complexity of the story line I think it summed up this area of CLAMP's major works beautifully.

  3. OMG *dies* On one hand I am so glad that they were able to close Tsubasa as well as they did, but on the other... It just seemed like a total cop out. Kurogane can't be content to leave Tomoyo behind for an extended amount of time - again. >< And instead of ending on a bittersweet tone, they left it open and hopeful that the clones could be saved (and this can somehow continue in a mini sequel). No. That -- I can't see that as a true ending. One where Syaoran and Sakura admit their feelings and are left with the residue of the other thems is one that I can take. A world where Kurongane and Yuu are left with the ability to return home, but choose to linger. There's nothing wrong with a happy ending with a sad undertone. I think CLAMP needs to learn that.

    We DID get a confession out of them though - a true confession. That's a relief. I don't think we ever got a true "I love you" "Ilove you too" out of S+S before. Everything was always implied. *sigh*

    Well, either way, I'm sad it's over, but all good things must come to an end. It could have been worse, I guess.

  4. The ending was really bittersweet to me.. though Sakura and Syaoran finally get to say "I love you" to each other, they are split apart indefinitely. But all the ends were tied up except the part about their true names, which were "tsubasa". That gives me hope for a sequel! But that may just be fangirling.

  5. @animefreak242, you summerized beautifully my feelings about the ending. Lol...

    @anon 3, I'm kind of hopeful for a sequel as well though this is not the sort of manga I thought I would have wanted a sequel for. Maybe it's because despite all the chaos over past several volumes, I do really enjoy the concept, seeing familiar faces, the crew wearing beautiful clothes... and most importantly, I feel like the adventures up til now were the Clones' adventures. I think real S+S deserve to make some lovely memories together as well.