Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle, Vol. 16 by Clamp

Syaoran and his companions are now in a world where humanity has nearly killed themselves by polluting the planet. Most of the rain that falls is Acid Rain, and people survive only by gathering around the few unpolluted sources of water left, one of which is under the seat of Tokyo's government. This appears to be the world of Clamp's X/1999 and Tokyo Babylon.

As Syaoran wakes up from being injured, Mokona senses a feather in the basement below the building. This is where the fresh water is stored, and is forbidden to most. When Syaoran goes down there, he discovers Princess Sakura in the waters, the feather is gone, and the magical shield that has kept the building safe has disappeared. Syaoran is attacked by a man dressed in black (Kamui) who is protecting someone named Subaru. Kamui wants to kill Syaoran so that his blood will wake up Subaru.

He and Syaoran fight, and Fai throws himself into the fight, ripping off the Kamui's arm and reviving Syaoran, who has been choked into unconsciousness. Kamui called Syaoran "game", or prey for consumption. Fai and Kamui have a conversation about Syaoran, while Kamui's arm reforms. Fai maintains that Syaoran is a good kid, while Kamui thinks he is evil.

Meanwhile the Time-Space Witch Yuuho senses that the magical seal on Syaoran's eye is weakening and breaking. Syaoran is a copy of Clow Reed's heir, but to escape a binding that Clow Reed put on him, he made a copy of himself and put part of his soul inside, knowing that some day the copy would wake and free him. But now the copy has a soul of its own, forged by the act of travelling the worlds and retrieving Princess Sakura's memory-feathers. But what kind of soul is it?

Syaoran wakes again, and decides he will do anything to get the feathers back, including taking one of Fai's eyes for the power it will give him. But when he emerges from the water with Fai's body and Kurogane sees what he has done, Kurogane attacks Syaoran to save Fai. But Syaoran appears to feel no pain... physically or emotionally.

Then the original Syaoran arrives, and tells the copy that since he has awoken too early and not developed a heart of his own and gone on a rampage, that Syaoran will destroy his copy himself. But the copy manages to battle free and travels on to the next world to look for more feathers, leaving the others, including Sakura, behind.

For those left behind, the picture is bleak. Kurogane has lost his sword, Fai is deeply injured and might be dying, and even the real Syaoran is hurt from the battle. Mokona manages to contact Yuuho and Kurogane asks if there is a way to save Fai. She says there is... but what price will she demand?

This was a somewhat confusing volume, with two copies of Syaoran, talk of magic and metaphysics, and discussions about Clow Reed, magician who created the Clow Cards of Cardcaptor Sakura and apparently not a very nice guy. Even if you haven't read all of the Clamp series that are somehow attatched together in some way, just the information that he imprisoned and bespelled his blood heir gives you the idea that he isn't good news. In fact, all magic users, apparently save Fai, are not nice people in the Clamp universe. Even Yuuho is mysterious and charges a steep price for the help she gives. Fai may seem nice now, but who knows about his own past?

It's also a shocking volume, both in finding out that the Syaoran who traveled with the others was apparently no more than a magic doll its creator could see out of through the seal that was on his right eye, and watching him attack people who were supposedly his friends and at least his long-time companions. Especially shocking is how he leaves Sakura, the one thing he supposedly loves best, behind, which breaks her heart.

Yet, I still want to read the rest, and see what happens. In fact, I can't wait to find out what happens to both the real Syaoran and the copy, and whether Fai can be saved. There is also the rather confusing assertion that Fai's magic resides in his eyes, and that by stealing one of Fai's eyes, the copy stole half his magic. I am feeling that perhaps Yuuho will return Fai's tattoos to him, since apparently he also had magic invested in them, but I could be wrong.

This, like all Clamp series, is excellent, and it's like a drug you can't get enough of. You'll be hopelessly hooked as soon as you read it. Why wait?

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