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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Vol. 7 - The Dangerous Pursuit
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Vol. 7 - The Dangerous Pursuit
FUNimation // Unrated // August 19, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted August 18, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
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The Show:

The first season of Tsubasa proved to be a worthwhile excursion for fans of CLAMP. Comprising many elements from some of the manga group's most popular series Tsubasa quickly became a successful staple in FUNimation's catalogue. Pulling material from Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura there are other tidbits and morsels tossed in for good measure as well. In my opinion the show isn't quite as enjoyable or creative as xxxHolic but that's par fort he course I suppose and by the end of the first season it was clear that this particular series had some good legs to stand on.

This review is for the seventh volume in the series though it's arguably the first as it starts up the second season. Since Tsubasa began some time ago I suppose it's important to recant the details and bring you up to speed. Basically the whole affair started when Syaoran witnessed his friend, and princess, Sakura bearing wings and hovering in the air. Sensing something was wrong our brazen hero dove forward to save her but in the process he scattered her memories across several dimensions. Lost and not knowing how to get help he came to find himself standing before Yuko, the Dimensional Witch (fans of xxxHolic will undoubtedly recognize her).

Yuko pulled not only Syaoran but also two other warriors searching for something as well. Kurogane and Fay reluctantly join Syaoran and the three intrepid explorers are ushered away via a cute magical critter to find Sakura's feathers. While Syaoran's mission is the driving force, Kurogane and Fay each have other things to do that tie in with Syaoran's path. The first season followed their exploits through various realms with nice story arcs and stand alone episodes. Rather than run through all of the details each dimension they land in has a feather that recreates a fragment of Sakura's memory.

With the differences of time between dimensions some of these feathers have been treasured due to their magical abilities for hundreds of years. It definitely creates an interesting twist on exactly what's going on within the series and adds a nice layer of depth to each world. In each world there is also an obstacle that the group must overcome in order to get the feather and move on to the next location. That basically sets the tone for the series and it quickly becomes a traveling buddy show with some nice depth tossed in. Unfortunately many parts of the first season also felt a little dry due to the formulaic nature. Does the second season change that? If the first volume (er, seventh?) is any indication then no, it does not change the structure of the series. Consider it both a good and bad thing as Tsubasa remains consistent to a fault.

This installment contains five episodes and begins as most every other storyline in Tsubasa does with Syaoran, Sakura, Kurogane, and Fay traveling to a new world. This one is currently in the midst of a racing tournament with the feather standing as the grand prize. There are some interesting events that take place during the arc which lasts three episodes and it definitely offers a change of pace from what the series has shown. With all four participating in a race to get the feather the dynamic has certainly grown since Sakura was just a limp noodle.

Unfortunately after the three episode race arc is over there are two one-shot episodes. Tsubasa is a show that is better when it's telling a larger tale across multiple episodes and having to wrap everything up in the span of one just feels rushed and the plots feel a tad looser than normal. Still, both offer some fine moments and if you enjoyed the rest of the show you'll undoubtedly get into these.

Syaoran and Sakura's journey continues with the second season of Tsubasa though I'm not entirely sure that this installment is what fans have been waiting for. The episodes are decent but they definitely don't push and boundaries or win points for creativity. If you're a CLAMP fan then you've probably already begun watching the show and will continue to do so until the end. However, if you're new to their works I suggest maybe checking out xxxHolic first since it feels like a more balanced effort.

The DVD:

Video:

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The show features some downright fantastic character designs that while simplistic (and oddly proportioned), are very endearing and unique. Unfortunately I can't say that the video quality is as impressive.

I found much of Tsubasa to be hazy with a soft appearance and a distinct lack of contrast. Shadows were relatively flat and the palette didn't seem to be as vibrant as it should have been. There was also a fair amount of compression artifacts that cropped up in the darker areas of the image. This could have had a lot to do with the mastering process for the DVD but some of it could have also been a byproduct from the show's production. Overall this volume doesn't look "bad" but it certainly doesn't achieve high marks for quality. "Mediocre" is about the best that you could say for it.

Audio:

Fortunately the audio for this release is far less problematic than the video. For options you'll find a 2.0 track for the original Japanese and 2.0/5.1 selections for English. For my first viewing I watched the show in Japanese and found it to be acceptable in terms of all around quality. The soundstage is noticeably subdued for this track but things improve once you turn on the 5.1 English language. The rear channels come to life with a fair amount of music, sound effects, and ambient noise making their presence known. It may not have been the most immersive track that I have listened to before but it was certainly acceptable.

Extras:

Unfortunately the second season of Tsubasa doesn't spruce things up in the bonus feature department. The same Character and World Guides make a return as well as textless animation and trailers. Ho-hum.

Final Thoughts:

I was looking forward to checking out the second season of Tsubasa mostly to see if things improved at all. Well, the unfortunate news is that no, Tsubasa hasn't changed things or taken steps to draw in new viewers. With that being said the show continues to offer interesting stories with rich character development. That's always a positive combination in my book so naturally this one is a recommendation if you've been following the show to this point.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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