Here at DVDTalk we've had an extensive run with Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLe. All twelve individual installments of the show, the CLAMP double feature, and even a Blu-ray collection has gone under the microscope. The show has fared well in review, and though it's been some time since we've sat down with the franchise FUNimation has just released an OVA disc.
This late in the game it's probably unnecessary to recap the whole series, but I'll do a brief one just to be on the safe side.
Tsubasa is essentially the culmination of CLAMP's works. Included in this show are worlds and characters from many of their other works. Basically it's the Kingdom Hearts of the anime world. The show follows the exploits of a young man named Syaoran who is searching for the feathers of his beloved Sakura's memories. To do so, Syaoran visits a witch who helps him create a group of travelers and together they each go through a variety of worlds looking for feathers and something within themselves. It's an entertaining series that is very episodic, but as is the case with other CLAMP titles the characters really stood out the most.
I won't spoil anything in the series, but the OVAs here cover some decent ground with standalone stories. Five OVA episodes are presented here on one DVD. The production in question took place between 2007 and 2009.
The first OVA storyline is entitled "Tokyo Revelations". This tale takes up three episodes and really hits some dramatic notes. Basically the group travels to a dark, disheveled Tokyo only to be confronted by Fei Wong Reed, who is the mastermind behind the whole Sakura feather thing. Syaoran must confront a clone, and for a while things pretty much take one turn for the worse after another. The OVA gets into some dark territory, and CLAMP really seemed on the ball with this storyline.
The second arc, "Spring Thunder Chronicle", is broken up into two parts. This one has some involvement with the "Revelations" arc and antagonistic characters are carried over. Things begin with a curse being laid upon Fay and from there the arc snowballs into yet another confrontation with Syaoran's evil clone, and the group prepares to head back to Clow Country where the storyline started. This particular arc was interesting, though not quite as involved as the "Revelations" one.
Anyone that has seen the show and enjoyed it will want to pick this release up. The OVAs are a lot of fun and a great way to squeeze in yet another story with the characters and worlds they visit. I appreciated how they had a lot to do with the gut of the story as well. Those who haven't seen the series from start to finish will want to skip this release, since it's rather exclusive.
Tsubasa's OVA are presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and have been enhanced for anamorphic playback. The episodes look quite good, and I'd go as far to say that they look even better than the DVD transfer of the show itself. The quality of the animation is more fluid and the artwork seems to be a bit more detailed. There's a little grain here, and some blocking can be spotted at times, but otherwise this release is a solid outing.
For audio, this OVA collection includes English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0. The sound quality for both is right on par with expectations, though the English 5.1 isn't quite as robust as one might hope. Then again, if you have expectations from watching the series then you'll find them met. The voice actors reprise their roles and for the most part both tracks performed admirably. I found myself leaning towards the Japanese language, but then again I usually do.
For bonus features on this release there are trailers and clean animations. The real kicker is that each of the five episodes actually included audio commentaries with the English cast. That was rather unexpected and a nice way to pay fan-service to the people picking this disc up.
If you're a fan of Tsubasa then the OVA release is a no-brainer. The "Tokyo Revelations" arc is the far better of the two, but to be perfectly honest both are quite good. Unlike most OVA releases that squander runtime and feel hardly worth it, these episodes really do something with the characters and world. If you've seen the show then you can consider this totally worth picking up. If you haven't seen the show, however, then there's really no need for you to bother.