Gold Knight's Ten Comments Special (TRC Vol. 17)

Gold Knight

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Hello! I'm Gold Knight. You may have never read my Ten Comments, since many of you probably don't read the usual Jump mangas that I review - which are usually Naruto chapters on a weekly basis. But I've always wanted to branch out to other stories too, and I've recently caught up to the most recent chapters of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. With the conclusion of the latest storyline, I felt the time was just right to do my first review on a finished TRC volume!

But first, a few explanations might be in order for what exactly I'm doing here. This review won't be an in-depth look at all the chapters individually - no time for that, unfortunately, on my end here - but rather an overall, comprehensive look at the volume with an emphasis on its highlights and lows.

However, I'll still try to pinpoint certain parts of the volume that might have become more clear with the revelations of latter volumes, and also mention questions that still haven't been answered.

Finally, I'll also be rating the volume based on not only the entertainment value of the chapters contained within it, but also how well they flow together in order to make the reading experience a memorable one. For example, there'll be times where a particular chapter isn't so great as a stand-alone, causing fan impatience and the like, but coupled with previous and following chapters, one gains a greater appreciation for the storyline as a whole, which is really the biggest advantage of reading a complete volume.

I may expand on the review a little bit more with special features later on, but for now I'll just stick to the commentary. I'll be starting with Volume 17, the latest complete volume, but will be using revelations in Volume 18 to support my points, so be forewarned if you don't want to be spoiled. The next review probably won't be until the end of Volume 18.

Finally, bear in mind that I have not yet caught up to the latest chapters of TRC's sister manga, xxxHolic, so I'm not at all aware of what's going on in that book. Even if I was, I don't know if I would have mentioned it in my review of TRC, since my review's based on it being a stand-only volume.

I also want to thank fellow admin Tamerlane for encouraging me to read what has turned out to be a very memorable story with plenty of characters with rich personalities, the group Hyuu Scans for doing fine Edited Mangas of the chapters, Fnuckale for the re-touching on the header, and last but not least, Fusawashii Kyuuri for the awesome translations that she's been posting here at MH! If you are a TRC reader downloading RAWs from our mirrors at MH here and perusing FK's translations, please take the time to express your gratitude to her.

I think that's all for now. Hopefully you will enjoy the analysis, and feel more than free to comment, too, if you want! ^^

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE Volume 17 * * *

1. Betrayal...!?


Sorry Sakura... you've just been dumped.

Who could have seen this coming? The protagonist becoming the antagonist! The Syaoran whose wild quest we've followed since the very first chapter of the series, the hero we've gotten used to being always so fiercely protective and loving of Sakura, turning out to be a phony! Suddenly, Syaoran was willingly abandoning his injured love in order to follow Fei Wong Reed's wish for him to search for the feathers in other worlds. I don't know about you, but I sure didn't see that coming!

Of course, we now know that the second Syaoran that's been kept in a liquid chamber, who appeared and tried to try to stop the clone, turned out to be the genuine article. Still, what a shock that must have been to Sakura. Even if she is a bit of amnesiac now - she must have felt as though she's just lost someone precious to her. What an unexpected story twist.

One of the best things about TRC has always been the superb sequential art, which expresses so much more than what words could ever say, and we saw yet another example of it here as Sakura was trying to pull Syaoran back and begging him to stay, one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the series so far. Oh, the drama!

In fact, you might find it fun to note that in the panel that the CLAMP artists made it almost seem like Syaoran had just stabbed Sakura in the heart with his sword even as he was walking away. Which was pretty much what he had done!

Note: To avoid further confusion, I'm going to now refer as the fake Syaoran, the clone with two hearts, as "Syaoran" and the real Syaoran as Syaoran without the quotation marks. Although I wonder if "Syaoran" will still become good again down the line...


Well, vampires were never known for their sensitivity...

At this point in the story, we also see Subaru and Kamui, the vampires that had been trapped in this world, finally reunite, at the expense of all the water that the Government building had left in their reservoir. They would play a pivotal part in the fate of two of the main characters later on.

But in her sad reaction to Sakura's misery, Subaru was proved to be clearly different from most vampires I had read about, which I found interesting. In most literature, vampires were usually depicted as either manipulative, emotionally detached, or quite violent in their natures. (Kamui had seemed like a shining example of the race.)

This particular version of vampires, though, I do like more than most - they actually don't seem all that bad. I had been very skeptical on TRC deciding to include vampires along the way, since they had become pretty old hat to me by now. Turns out it wasn't a bad thing, after all - they actually added to the overall story. More than I thought they would, actually... but I'll talk about that shortly.

Though, I ask you, why did Subaru have to look so feminine though? I thought he was a female all this time! Ah, well. I'm still interested enough that I'm thinking about picking up the manga, Tokyo: Babylon, in which he's the protagonist. Maybe someday.

EDIT: According to Khaludh, Tokyo: Babylon contains completely different versions of Subaru and Kamui, so now I'm not really thinking so much about getting it now.


Oops... the last thing Syaoran wanted Kurogane to see.

We also see Kurogane reacting to the bat crest on Syaoran's clothes and recognizing it as the same one that was marked on the sword which had killed his mother. Talk about a bull seeing red.

Good thing the Dimension Witch stopped him from doing anything drastic by claiming that Syaoran had been merely a prisoner. In any event, this was a good move on CLAMP's move, though, because if Kurogane hadn't seen the crest, I think he would have been so disgusted with this turn of events that he would have left the party later on. Instead, he's actually feeling like he's closing on to his mortal enemy. Go, Kuro! (He's my favorite TRC character, by the way ;) )

2. Accepting Responsibility...!!


Always the darn bloodsuckers' fault, isn't it?

Gotta give Subaru some credit for being honest. He could have just remained quiet about his own part to do with the sudden disappearance of the only thing that was keeping the refugees at the Government Building alive - life-sustaining water!

But in deciding to tell their story, and for his willingness to pay a price in order to save the people he had unintentionally put in danger, he also set the wheels in motion for a complicated solution to all their current problems to be proposed by the Witch. Good for him.

About time, by the way, that we finally get an example of why the title of the manga's got the word "resevoir" in it! The absence of water in the resevoir here sure played a big part towards a huge turning point in the series.

Edit: Camena said that she believes that the reason why the series is called Tsubasa: RESERVOIR Chronicles doesn't really have anything to do with a water reservoir. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary states that a reservoir could be a place where something is stored, so in this case, she believes that Sakura's wings is a reservoir where her heart and memories are kept within each individually scattered feathers. Not a bad theory at all, so I decided to edit her comment in here. Good one, Camena ^^


Roughly translated: "If you die, I'll kick your ass!"

Of course, Subaru wasn't the only one taking responsibility in the room. Kurogane also decided that his comrade, Fay, who had been critically injured by the fake Syaoran, with his right eye being ripped out of his socket, needed to be saved despite his pitiful desire to die right there and then.

I was a little bit taken aback by Kurogane's fierce determination to save Fay's life here. I suppose that just goes to show you that as gruff and cold as Kurogane has been in the past to Fay, he did indeed consider him a valuable partner. I can certainly understand Kurogane's suspicions, though, that Fay was running from something rather than confronting it, and feeling as though he had needlessly given up on his life and being disgusted by his cowardice.

At any rate, to recap the deal that took place: Yuuko gave Subaru the means to restore the water to the resevoir, with the condition being that he would have to let Fay drink his vampiric blood - a twist I certainly wasn't expecting - and as long as Kurogane would accept the price for the water. In doing so, they would solve each other's problem.

Of course, Kamui decided to be the one to give Fay his blood as to save his brother the trouble of possibly having another hunter on his tracks, and Sakura would actually be the one to take on the challenge to cross across the wasteland in search for Yuuko's equivalent price.

A lot of responsibility going around, eh!

3. Temporary Life...!!


That ain't ketchup...!

It was just as well that Sakura accepted Yuuko's mission, because Kurogane would have had to pay a double price otherwise - by having to be the bait for Fay's bloodlust! (Woah, CLAMP was definitely catering to their yaoi-loving fans here, huh?)

Still a double whammy, though, as far as story twists in a single volume. First we had "Syaoran" revealed to be a clone working for Fei Wong Reed, and now, gentle Fay becoming a vampire. I'm still not sure how I feel about this very unusual story twist, but it certainly added a very different dynamic to the series.

Not to mention Fay was completely against the idea, but Kurogane went on with it anyway. Talk about inviting a whole lot of tension and anger for later on!


Whoops! Your egocentrism's showing. Tsk, tsk.

Though, when reading the chapter, did you wonder why Kurogane almost had to deal with so much in return for saving Fay's life? Seemed like being his friend's bait was enough of a hefty price to pay in itself, right? Well, seems like it came with its own rewards, so no wonder Kurogane would still have had to do something else.

What's the advantages? Long life. Seems that in order to be a vampire's prey, one's aging process also slowed down as well. So, interestingly enough, the price was no price at all - except for his friend. Leave it to CLAMP to cover all the bases. They avoided a loose end there.

Though, Kurogane didn't know any of this when he agreed to Yuuko's condition, so he obviously didn't care and was fully intending to make a sacrifice for his friend without getting anything in return. :amuse

This also means it'll take quite a while for Kurogane to get old now. Wonder if that'll come in play later on in the story. The way this series is going, I'm not going to discount time travel as a possibility later on!


Ah, there IS a way out! ^_^

Somewhat amusing that Yuuko waited until the blood transfer was complete to announce that they only needed to get Fay's missing eye back from "Syaoran", and his magical powers would be restored enough to the point where his vampiric blood would be negated. That's so like her.

What a relief that must've been to Kurogane, though. He probably didn't exactly love the idea of babysitting (or is it vampiresitting? ) a friend forever, even if he had insisted on it.

Of course, if Yuuko had told them right from the start, the price might have been even more costly. Who knows.

4. A Heroine Born...!


Sakura FTW!

This was a golden moment for Sakura. When the residents of the Tower came, carrying another feather, this one protected from detection, with the request of moving into the Government Building due to their water supply was running low, it would have meant the survival of both parties from the acid rain that was mercilessly demolishing the world around them.

Of course, the feather wasn't their own to start with, but a piece of Sakura's memory. So, her choice right then was to sacrifice the feather there with these strangers, and risk never getting it back, or to take it and leave them to their doom.

And in letting them keep it, Sakura established herself as truly a heroine for the first time in the series. She was risking her life - don't forget that she has to get them all back or die - so that she could keep these people from dying right then. This was a turning point for Sakura - and ever since, she's been slowly taking "Syaoran's" place as the main protagonist of the series. We were seeing her character being developed before our very eyes here.

Another completely unexpected turn of events, for me anyway! But that took some guts on her part, and I think it earned a whole lot of respect for her from the others, and she hadn't even gone across the wasteland yet!


Who's up for some snorkeling!?

Pretty impressive feat, by the way, how Yuuko provided all that water for them! These bottles must actually be portals to the bottom of an endless ocean.

Too bad that the water couldn't fix the world itself. Still a lot of work to do.

I found it a bit interesting that Yuuko was so willing to give over the water before the receiving her payment. Guess she was confident that they knew that if they weren't going to pay the price, then they'd REALLY pay the price... >.>

Incidentally, since Sakura's leaving the feather with these people, I have a strong feeling that we'll be seeing this world again - right at the end of the series, or close to it. I don't think we'll be seeing these people "mend the structure of the world" until then, and I think the water resevoir will be again important later on, which would be rather fitting!

5. Who's the Prey...!?


Whoa! Nail clippers, anyone?

Gotta say, I do really enjoy the whole cross-over storytelling that CLAMP's got going on here with TRC. Even though I've never seen most of these characters before, the authors do a good enough job of re-introducing them all so that we don't feel like we've missed anything with them - we truly meet them for the first time!

Anyway, even though I had never read Tokyo: Babylon and barely know Subaru and Kamui, I definitely understood their startled and violent reactions when they found out that the brother of their archenemy Seishirou was in town, and it was pretty cool and interesting to see Kamui finally go all-out "vampire mode" for the first time.

Even though I have no idea what their history is all about, I could appreciate that they didn't like Seishirou - he didn't give us a very good impression back in Ōto country when he evilly took off with one of Sakura's feathers, that's for sure. So I don't blame Kamui for getting upset that Fuuma turned out to be his brother, although, whoa, he sure didn't take long before drawing first blood!


Whippin' time, boy!

Although Fuuma and Seishirou aren't so much vampire hunters as they are treasure hunters, the whole battle was still reminiscent to me of the Castlevania games.

If you've never played these, the hero usually hailed from the Belmont clan and was constantly defending Transylvania against the evil of Dracula. (Though in recent games, the protagonist has been Alucard, son of Dracula, but I digress.) They used whips, too, which could be the reason I thought of that when I saw Fuuma defend himself against Kamui here!

The only difference, of course, is the roles are switched here - the "vampire hunters" (well, Seishirou IS hunting Subaru, anyway) are the bad guys, and the vampires are apparently good. Heh - or perhaps it's more of a gray area - neither are really either good or bad.

Makes sense, though, that Fuuma was from another dimension because he did have the means to hide the feather. I didn't blame the 'Tokyo' refugees for getting suspicious. Another loose end tied up pretty nicely by CLAMP, and with added drama to boot.


Not exactly a ringing endorsement...

After seeing the scene where Yuuko had said that Fuuma was also one to also make trouble, just like his brother, something tells me that we'll be seeing him very soon again somewhere down the line.

And this time, as an antagonist...! >.>

6. Sakura to the Rescue...!!


All ready to go and kick butt...!

Again, Sakura steps up to the plate - in a big way. For the first time in the entire series except when she was racing to win a feather - and that wasn't as serious a mission as this one - she became central character. At the time I first read this chapter, I was amazed, to be honest. TRC is one of the few mangas I've read where a female character actually gets an opportunity to shine this much, so it was a very good move on their part.

I mean, racing competitions I can understand, but this was a mission that was more naturally fitting for the likes of rugged warriors like Kurogane. So - yeah - for Sakura to do it instead, I didn't see that coming at all. Was she going to become a fighter, too, now?


Yeah, let her take the reins for a while - for once!

As for when she told Syaoran and Mokona that they should rest, I thought it was kind of funny how it was almost like Sakura was saying "Thanks for taking me this far, I'll take it from here" - even if it wasn't the same Syaoran she had travelled with all this time.

But I suppose it's about time Sakura did something other than sleeping and following. Must have been frustrating for her to have been so dependent on others for a long while.

Still pretty interesting how Sakura all of a sudden decided that she had to do the mission though, especially since she must have been in a miserable mood right now. Guess Sakura wasn't your typical dainty princess...!


We'll have tea for you when you get back...!

There's one more thing that was pretty surprising to me - which is Kurogane so casually going along with Sakura's wish to embark on the grueling journey - but all that was explained in the next volume, of course, when Fay had found out and demanded an explanation.

I understand the sentiment, I guess - Sakura really hasn't done all that much compared to the others, and she was wanting to prove herself, and Kurogane decided, why not? None of them were in any good shape at all, and she was probably their best chance at the time. He had enough faith in her to believe that she would succeed, and I suppose that's what good friends do.

And Kurogane was clearly impressed with Sakura's bravery. I was, too. Especially when we saw exactly what was ahead for her...!

7. A Rough Journey...!


Fresh girls for dinner tonight! YUM!

I don't remember what exactly I was expecting when I picked up TRC, but I know I didn't imagine that the art would have been so good that the monsters looked like something out of a Final Fantasy game. I was very impressed by all the monsters that Sakura encountered on her journey to the "egg" - first, the nine-eyed demon-like animal we saw here, and the two-headed python later on.

I know the intention was to show just how brutal and rough Sakura's journey was, but woah. She even nearly fell about, what, forty miles down off a cliffside?

Pretty scary - and to think Sakura had nobody to rely on but herself - and she had a time limit to work with, if she didn't get back to the building by morning, the acid rain would kill her. And they said this was a cutesy, romantic story...

8. A Cold Greeting.


Guess at least he didn't call him a bastard outright...!

Talk about being grouchy in the morning. Fay woke up, and with his refusal to call Kurogane a nickname, basically said that he wasn't going to be friends with him anymore. Even though their fates were tied together for a time, due to the blood transfer. Ouch.

I'm sure Fay was pretty upset that he didn't get what he wanted - to just die without fuss and not causing his friends any trouble - but sheesh. He's being a bit too emo for my tastes here. I know that Fay is a pretty popular character among the fans, but I never could really get into liking him much. Though I understand that he felt that he had gone too far into getting close with somebody else, and was just trying to distance himself from them all over again.

My theory about Fay is that he ran away from his master because he had been found guilty of doing something, and was to be punished. But what kind of punishment would drive him to run away so far? I'm thinking that the consequences may not be so much directed at him, but his friends. Why then would Fay be so concerned with not being close friends with anyone, out of the fear of hurting them unintentionally?

9. A Team in Turmoil...!


What the hell are we going to do now??!

Of course, I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on Fay. What with "Syaoran's" betrayal and the recent injuries of everybody, and the general mood of the world they arrived at, everybody was being pretty melancholy right now. All of them had suffered an emotional crisis.

This was a huge challenge for them all to overcome - either they would break up and go their own separate ways - or hang tough and stay and fight. Of course, we know the answer to what they would do now, and naturally the series couldn't really continue if they HAD chosen to just give up on the whole quest. (That'd be kinda sucky for poor Sakura, tho - her life was on the line!)

Still, had to appreciate that they were having a pretty tough time, and that it wasn't all flowers and bright skies for them right now, and they still stayed together.


Awww...

I think, though, Mokona's sadness for the real Syaoran was the most emotionally charged scene in the whole volume. What must it have felt, indeed, to be trapped in a container, seeing but never directly experiencing the same moments that his clone was having with the group? I suppose it could be worse - Syaoran could have been completely unaware of everything, and been a complete outsider.

So, he's still the same Syaoran that they travelled with, because he remembered everything - but at the same time, he probably doesn't feel like it. That must be hard.

10. A Vanished Heart...!


Didn't know we were in a Kingdom Hearts game... >.>

Sakura obviously still feels like Syaoran's clone is a competely different person that needed to be saved. I mean, here she says that she would sacrifice her innocence in order to find Syaoran's "vanished heart." While I admire her determination (another turning point for her character), I think the real Syaoran is already there with them, so am I just confused here or what?

I know Syaroan right now isn't "complete," though - so will the two be merged some time in the future?
I suppose, if anything, they DO need to stop "Syaoran" from slaughtering everybody that gets in his way! Heh. Let me know what you guys think!

Rating: 5 of 5! This is actually the first TRC volume that I think I would have given a perfect rating, for all the surprises and story twists it offered. A lot of drama and emotion and there wasn't any bad parts. Good art, too, and superb character development, especially for Sakura, but also changes to Fay, Kurogane, and of course, Syaoran as well. Even the subplot between the vampires and Fuuma was interesting.

With Volume 18 looking like it's continuing to be just as great, I'm definitely along for the ride now.

Well, that's it! Hope you guys liked my reviewing style. I'll be looking forward to doing the next volume review, I had a lot of fun with this one.

Let's talk TRC! <3


Things aren't going to be the same, are they?
Comment! XD
 

Galth

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