Review – Tsubasa WoRLD CHRoNiCLe

Tsubasa - WoRLD CHRoNiCLE - Niraikanai HenTsubasa WoRLD CHRoNiCLe: NIRAIKANAI vol 1-3 by CLAMP
Synopsis for Vol 1 from the back of the book: (SPOILERS for Tsubasa ReSeRVoiR CHRoNiCLe!!!)
BRAVELY FACING THE DARKNESS TOGETHER
Syaoran and his friends were successful in collecting Sakura’s memories and defeating Fei Wang. However, in order to release Fei Wang’s last spell, Syaoran had to pay the price of “continuing his journey”. He parted with Sakura and once more, accompanied by Kurogane, Fai, and Mokona, traveled to a parallel universe!

The group has arrived at a seemingly peaceful paradise, but a cloud of darkness approaches…

I don’t think I’ve reviewed any manga or comic books on here before.  At least, my tag history implies I haven’t.  But that’s because I haven’t read any new ones recently.  I did, however, recently reread all of Tsubasa ReSeRVoiR CHRoNiCLe (TRC) in preparation for WoRLD CHRoNiCLe (TWC).

For those of you unfamiliar with TRC, it takes the multiverse theory, the insane amount of characters from the tens of works written by the four-woman, manga-creating team CLAMP, and smashes them together into an wonderfully complicated, engaging, cyclically-structured epic.  If you like graphic novels, I highly recommend it.  Even if you’re not familiar with CLAMP’s works and thus won’t get the ‘in-jokes’, it’s very good and mostly accessible (I think – I’m at least passingly familiar with all of their work so I’m not the best source of ‘accessible’, unfortunately).

TWC picks up some time after the end of TRC and focuses on a single world.  Now, it wasn’t unusual in TRC to spend 3+ volumes on any given world.  What is unusual is that with TWC we’re not given any real sign of where they’ve been since TRC.  And the ending doesn’t show where they’re going next.  It implies that the journey will continue, but it doesn’t show them leaving Niraikanai, the current world/verse, which is definitely a departure from TRC’s feel.

On the one hand, it gives me some hope that, one day, they’ll be able to stop traveling if they wish.  On the other hand, it’s a bit jarring, but also makes these three volumes very self-contained.  This will allow CLAMP to add to both the before and the after without having written themselves into a corner.  Of course, there is, as far as I know, no current sign that they will be continuing the series, unfortunately.  But at least the option is there.

For me, the characters and their journeys were what really drew me into TRC in the first place, so it’s nice to see all of them appear, however briefly, in TWC.  Unfortunately, I felt that certain characters had changed for no apparent reason since the end of TRC (since when does Kurogane have a drinking problem???).  Others remained as heartbreakingly true to their past characterization as I had half-hoped and half-dreaded (oh, Syaoran…).

And, like all good CLAMP works, there were a lot of choices to be made and none of them lead anywhere happy.  This kind of pain or that kind of pain.  Which can you find it easier to live with?  That is exactly what I’ve come to expect from CLAMP, so I was delighted to see them deliver, even when shaking my head in denial.

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.

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