I have been a fan of CLAMP since before I even knew what they were. My first introduction to them was a manga volume my friend Anne brought to school. I read it with no idea what manga was, or anything about the story, and simply marveled over the drawings, and what I could get of the plot. It was not until much much later (ie years) that I now know what I read was the second volume of Magic Knight Rayearth, which incidentally became the first of CLAMPs works that I read in full. Avoiding spoilers, (well immediately) the ending to MKR was one of the most interesting things I had ever come across.
The second of CLAMPs works that I really got into was Cardcaptor Sakura. I watched the anime first, and it wasn’t until later that I was able to read all of the manga, but it became another of my favorite series.
I continued along in my otakudom, reading other CLAMP works Angelic Layer, X, RG Veda, Clover, Chobits, CLAMP Campus Detectives, and I enjoyed all of them (except Chobits). Magic Knight Rayearth, Angelic Layer, and Cardcaptor Sakura were by far my favorites.
So one day I was in the Waldenbooks down in Blacksburg for one of SD and my’s trips to town, and I spotted a manga on a display. It caught my eye because at a glance it looked like Sakura and Syaoran. Well suffice to say I was shocked when I read the back to find out it *was* Sakura and Syaoran. It was a new series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. I was thrilled. Two of my favorite characters of all time were back, and whats better, the world they were going to were going to be filled with tons of CLAMP characters.
So I read it, and it was pretty good. I eventually got the XXXholic which is seperate, but runs alongside Tsubasa’s story. Eventually the anime was announced, and I was even more thrilled, but eventually…I dunno it became monotonous? I stopped getting the anime episodes the day they came out, and I actually looked forward to new XXXholic manga and anime releases than Tsubasa, and basically it dropped into the background. I still read it, it was still good, but it wasn’t great, and I wasn’t sure why.
Well I was surfing the Internet, and stumbled across someone’s blog that pretty much summed up the problem I was having with it. Syaoran was a horrible one-dimensional character. At the beginning he was the endearing Syaoran that we all knew and loved from Cardcaptor Sakura. Blushing glances thrown at Sakura, stumbling over words between them and such. When she was in trouble he did not hesitate for a second to help her…but that was just it. He started out on his quest with her, Fai, Kurogane, and Makona and all he cared about was the feathers and we were like ‘Awww, he’s giving up everything for her.’ but he never stumbled, never faltered. His one and only focus was getting her feathers, and while there were the occasional blushing glances, there was nothing else going on. That was why I drifted away. I felt like nothing was happening, and that there was no room for anything to happen.
Below here are spoilers. So don’t click unless you’ve been keeping up with TRC, or don’t particularly care about spoilers.
So I was off in my normal anime world. Downloading new anime, getting new volumes of my manga. Pretty happy all around, when sometime in January I saw a familiar name on animesuki. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles: Tokyo Revelations. While the animation quality on the first season was poor, the screenshot I saw was much better, and I saw it was an anime version of the arch that I had just started in the manga, that had the cast of X. (I assumed that was why they were turning it into an OAV, since X is so popular.) So I downloaded it, and the first episode (of 3, each released a month apart) was exactly what I had in the manga sitting on my bookshelf. Eh, not bad, but seeing the X characters was cool, so I waited the month until another one came out. And this is what renewed my faith in CLAMP, and my reason for writing this post.
Throughout the series the “bad guys” have been holding a figure in suspended animation that looks exactly like Syaoran. The blind eye that Syaoran has is shown to be linked to this fellow who has an eyepatch over the eye out of which Syaoran can see. As well as losing himself a few times in the heat of battle, only to “wake up” and not remember the lost time, during which he becomes an amazing fighter. The general assumption I got (and that I assume most readers got) was that this was a bad/negative/dark Syaoran that was going to wake up and cause havoc.
During the second episode of Tokyo Revelations, this other Syaoran wakes up, and due to this as well as some unexplained fun magic stuffs going on with the feather, the Syaoran with the party goes ballistic during a battle with Kamui, and attacks Fai in another “losing himself” moment. However, at that point the Syaoran from the tube shows up. The two Syaorans fight, and in a twist that completely renewed my faith in CLAMP, it is revealed that the Syaoran from the tube is the *real* Syaoran, and the Syaoran that grew up with Sakura, and has been with the party all this time is simply a copy whose sole purpose was to gather the feathers when they scattered for “bad guys”. However when the copy was made, the real Syaoran was able to put a piece of his heart (represented by the eye) into the copy, which is where the fake Syaoran got the emotions that he has shown up until now.
This means that the reason I stopped reading, the flat Syaoran character was on purpose. It was actually something that was meant to happen (well maybe not the “stop reading” but the “man he’s kinda a boring character”) as a part of the story.
Now I haven’t gotten another volume of the manga yet, and the last OAV episode isn’t out until March 17th, but already my faith in the series has been completely rekindled. How will the real Syaoran fit into the party or will he even stay with them? (He seems to be extremely skilled at both fighting and magic.) Does he care about what happens? Did he get any memories from his copy with whom he shared his heart? Does he care about Sakura? Was the “fake” Syaoran anything like how the “real” Syaoran is? How will the party react to him, and him to them? Will they be competing with the “fake” Syaoran over feathers? Will the “bad guys” try and capture Sakura, or do they only need her feathers? And what will happen to X peoples, now that the feather is gone, and their haven is going to be destroyed by the acid rain?
Eeeeeee CLAMP. I love you so much.