FUNimation originally released the first season of Tsubasa
Reservoir Chronicle over six volumes, but now they've collected
the 26 episodes
into a nicely priced season set. Created
by Clamp, a studio that has produced several well-received series
including X, Magic
Knight Rayearth, and Chobits,
the show features a few inside jokes that fans of
their work will enjoy as well as a sprawling dimension travel story
interesting and, at times, exciting. Tsubasa
Reservoir Chronicle is solid show that
has a lot of entertainment value.
Syaoran is the adopted son of an archeologist who has spent
his life working to understand the ruins in the country of Clow. Since he was a young age the boy was best
friends with the country's princess, an attractive lady named Sakura. Together they grew up and after Syaoran's
father died the young man continued his adopted parent's work. Visiting the ruins one evening, Sakura is
attracted to an odd pattern etched into the floor.
Falling into a trance, she rises up into the
air and sprouts gossamer wings. Fearing
that she'll float away forever, Syaoran leaps up and grabs the princess
destroying the wings in the process. The
feathers from the wings fly off in different directions and disappear. Consulting with Sakura's brother, now the
king, and his court adviser it is determined that the unconscious lady
dire trouble. The feathers that were
lost represent all of Sakura's memories, and without them she would
die. The problem is that they've been
transported to different dimensions and are not anywhere in Clow.
Deeply in love with Sakura, Syaoran vows to do whatever it
takes to get her memories back. So the
court magician transports the young man He and his love to the
Witch, Yūko. She has the power to let
him travel between dimensions, but at a price.
There are two other travelers who arrive at Yuko's at the
same time, Kurogane, a powerful warrior who was banished from his home
and wants to return, and Fay D. Flourite, a mild mannered magician who
running from a powerful mage that he imprisoned. All
three have reasons to travel the
dimensions and so Yuko sends them off together, but only after claiming
thing that each person prizes most. For
Kurogane it is his sword, for Fay, it's the mysterious tattoo on his
back, but Syaoran
has to give up something even more precious:
the bond between he and Sakura.
Even after she gets all of her memories back, the young girl
remember nothing of her past with Syaoran.
He'll always be just a helpful stranger to her.
Yuko gives the group an egg-shaped rabbit-like creature, Mokona,
who can sense when Sakura's feathers are near and can also transport
to another world once a memory has been found. Additionally
Mokona can contact the Dimensional
Witch if need be. Together they all
travel across the dimensions searching for magical feathers and helping
people they encounter along the way.
One of the things that I enjoyed about this series is the
dimensional hopping. Each time they land
in a new world they have to get used to the way that place works. Some allow magic, in others people have
innate abilities that they don't in the 'normal' world.
In addition, they discover people in need in
each new place they visit and helping them always leads to the
discovery of a
feather. It's interesting to see how
each world works and the problems that the locals face.
If you're not enamored of one world, in a few
episodes they'll be someplace else which keeps the series feeling fresh.
Having said that, there were a few aspects of the show that
grew thin after a while. Syaoran's
exclamations of "I will do this!" and "I will get it done!" were
a while. This isn't a fighting show, but
it has the same philosophy that sheer will power will always triumph
that is pretty
ridiculous. Syaoran is also too noble,
self-sacrificing, and egoless. While the
idea of someone saving their love at the cost of loosing that love is
they take it just a bit too far.
Mokona was included mainly as a comic relief (and presumably
so they could license the look and crank out countless Mokona stuffed
but comes across as irritating. The
ultra-high pitched voice is grating and none of 'his' jokes are funny. Anytime he does anything remotely helpful
(draws a picture, teases Kurogane) he proclaims "That's one of Mokona's
Secret Skills!" Are you laughing? I didn't think so. If
that's not enough, the rodent refers to himself
in third person too.
The character designs are rather simple and in a few cases
the proportions are oddly off. Sometimes
Sakura will be standing still and her forearm will be way too long or
neck will look like it's stretched.
These weren't terribly common, but it did occur several times
The characters never really get fleshed out as much as I
would have liked, but they are fun to watch.
Kurogane's constant desire to fight is a cute running gag and
almost drug-induced calm makes for interesting viewing especially
This set presents the 26 episodes from the first season on
four DVDs which come in tow thin pak cases housed in an illustrated
Viewers have the typical choice between the original Japanese
track in stereo or a fuller English DD 5.1 dub.
I alternated and found them to be about equal.
The Japanese track sound more 'natural' but
the English track is more dynamic and exciting during the battle
which are not as often as your typical anime show.
The English voice actors do a decent job
bringing their characters to life.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks fine though there are some
problems. The colors are solid but not
as bright and vibrant as I was expecting and the blacks can be a bit
times. There are some digital defects
present, aliasing in the background, banding in areas and some minor
but none of these are ever distracting.
Overall this show looks fine but it's nothing to write home
This set ports over most if not all of the extras from the
individual volumes. There are cast
commentaries to episodes 26. These are
typical anime commentary tracks where everyone sounds like they're
but little information is offered. There's
also cast auditions, which are fun, and character and world guides. The set is rounded out with a textless
opening and closing as well as a series of trailers.
This is a fun show that, while it has some problems, goes by
all too quickly. The stories are often
fun and though there's a section or two where things slow down it's
know that the group will soon be in another world and different
predicament. This is a series that is
worth checking out and comes Recommended.