Friday, May 14, 2010

Tsubasa, Volume 8

So I'm finally caught up in my reread of the xxxHOLIC series by these same authors, and I am continuing on with Tsubasa, which "crosses over" with xxxHOLIC. The premise is that a group of friends are traveling from one world to the next in search of Princess Sakura's lost memories, which take the form of feathers and give their bearer power that manifests in various unusual ways. Yuko, the space-time witch who features prominently in xxxHOLIC, gave them the ability to travel from one dimension to the next, for a price.

This installment opens with an episode that is a change of pace, lighter and more whimsical than the previous stories. The travelers find themselves in a world populated with cute little rabbit-like critters. They turn out to be surprisingly ferocious, however, demanding a sacrifice in order to placate a frightening "thing" that has appeared in the area. Sakura, who is becoming more energetic and forceful as her memories return to her, insists on going with the hunting party to confront the mysterious beast.

The second story sees the friends moving on to a new dimension, but when they arrive they find they have been separated into two groups. They find themselves in the midst of a sort of feud involving a traveling group of female circus performers and the villagers who are convinced the performers' annual arrival bodes ill fortune for them. Sacred statues that cry tears of blood are at the heart of the matter, and the friends think that perhaps one of Sakura's feathers is involved as well. The story is not concluded in this book, however, so I'm anxious to read the subsequent volume to see how it all turns out.

It's good to be back to this series, although xxxHOLIC remains my favorite manga. It is interesting to see how the story changes shape and tone as Sakura gains memory feathers. She is becoming more of a participant in the adventures, which I enjoy, because she is a strong, feisty character, definitely not the sort of person to stand by while others take risks for her. She is instinctively kind and very intuitive, and it is bittersweet to see her gaining memories, but never the ones of how much Syaoran meant to her.

I enjoy the humor and the energetic artwork, as well as the element of mystery that surrounds each missing feather. And, as with the xxxHOLIC series, the notes at the end of each volume are interesting and informative. This time, among other things, I learned about Shimenawa:
Shimenawa is a rough rope decorated with strips of folded and cut white paper. It is usually place around holy sites, and especially on old or prominent parts of nature such as locally significant rocks or old trees. The shimenawa indicates that the locals respect that piece of nature as having a kami residing in it or connected to it. Shimenawa can also be used as wards or boundary markers for Shinto shrines and other religious observances.
I also appreciate the information that connects some of the countries the travelers visit with different historical time periods in Japan. So far they have traveled to places that are similar to the Japan of the early 20th century, present-day Osaka, feudal Japan, and Edo-period Japan. The stories in this series are interesting, and so are all the historical details.

Books reviewed in the Tsubasa series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7

Tsubasa, Volume 8 by Clamp (Del Rey, 2006)

Have you reviewed this book? Please let me know, and I'll link to your review.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 20, 2010

    Do you recommend reading this series or XXXholic first? Have you watched either of the animes either?


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