So that’s over with.

I finally finished reading Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle today. No surprise, it was incredibly disappointing.

At least they finished it. CLAMP is notorious for just not bothering. Which is funny, because they are super type A about other things. Like comparing themselves to others.

This is a story I have from my husband, so it’s both funny and depressingly true. He used to be really big into the convention scene, he was often if not always staff. He was also in an improv show called Whose Line Is It Anime? I gather that it had some behind-the-scenes problems sometimes, but it was a good show that was fairly popular.

At one particular convention, the show was more popular than CLAMP, who had come all the way from Japan. ….actually, it’s a little funny that in the land of my blog and like… the three people I know definitely read it, my husband is better known than CLAMP. Anyway. Not only did the improv attract waaaay more people (standing room only!), this group of four ADULTS were upset about it.

Dollars to doughnuts that they were saying things like, “These Americans are lame, they don’t know what’s really cool.” Or something about not getting it. That’s the usual fallback. *cough*FinalFantasy13*cough*

More understandably, they were probably upset when they were made fun of for banning photos. If you want a CLAMP photo, you have to pay for it. …man, they suck.

Seriously though, the comic is… disappointing really is the most suitable word. I’m not angry. By the end, I had nothing invested in it. It’s like I had invested plenty, and then slowly withdrew until I was just flipping pages.

But the phrase, “And not a f*** was given” doesn’t quite apply. I really like the beginning. Tired tropes and silly J-E translation traditions aside, it’s actually a compelling premise.

A young man goes on a journey across dimensions with an weird magical creature, an angry swordsman, and a cryptic magician to regain the lost magical items that comprise his sweetheart’s soul.

See? It’s pretty cool, right? Granted, every world they go to is just Japan. But it’s episodic, which manga loves, and it has old gold stereoty–I mean characters in an ensemble centred around the romantic leads.

Then it all goes into the toilet for some kind of death-defying, clone-infested, time travel bullcrap.

Every time there was major twist concerning the male lead, it was echoed by the female lead in an infinitely less interesting way and somehow at just the wrong time. I think “death-defying, clone-infested, time travel bullcrap” is spoiler enough without having to go into specifics. The name thing was just… boring and pointless, especially since this was supposed to be the CLAMP version of Kingdom Hearts.

I’ve read a range of CLAMP’s work. Clover was the first (Wikipedia says it’s finished, but it isn’t), Clamp Detectives made me vomit, Wish (finished, but the art is so bad that it looks like a name) Chobits (also ruined by too many twists and too much drama), Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer (another one that looks bad because it’s rushed and has almost no backgrounds).

But apparently none of that matters, because every single one of those works is only given a little bit of lip service. Characters show up, familiar faces divorced from their personalities and circumstances. Seeing Ora devoid of poignancy is kind of heart-breaking.

I’m glad it’s over. I may read just the beginning again. CLAMP is lame. Go finish Clover. I wanna know what happens to Ran and if his guardian is really his boyfriend or something.

…you know what? Also, do a real gay couple for once, instead of teasing.

13 thoughts on “So that’s over with.

  1. “A young man goes on a journey across dimensions with an weird magical creature, an angry swordsman, and a cryptic magician to regain the lost magical items that comprise his sweetheart’s soul.”

    I feel like this premise is way more common in anime than it ought to be.

    What little I know of/have seen of Clamp has been creepygross.

    • That’s a rather sweeping statement. Sure, ensemble journeys come up a lot, but even just the premise of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and say, Saiyuki are quite different. And what is the “ought to be” for commonality in anime, anyway? It’s an industry that constantly repeats itself.

      Heh, what, have you only read Miyuki-chan in Wonderland? :3 Honestly, I find the fact that they can’t learn proportions to be creepygross. They draw people noodly and impossibly tall, which would be okay, if it weren’t for the fact that they then draw a head the size of a grape.

      • It is a medium heavily built on tropes and archetypes. The best examples have been the ones that are solidly aware of them and deconstruct them, but a lot of the animes I’ve seen are very ‘by the tropes’, especially in fantasy, not that I would trade Mushrambo/Shinzo for anything in the world :D I guess what I mean, though, is that the strange (premises as fanciful as described) is so commonplace that it becomes trite.

        X the motion picture was my first exposure to anime, gratis my highschool girlfriend. Out of the whole confusing mess, the only part that really stuck with me was the naked crucified lady who got torn apart by razor-wire. That and what I know about Chobits is enough for me :D

    • Based on the descrption, it’s just “The Quest” accompanied by a Katamari of Japanese tropes. You have the hero, a fighter, a magic-user, and a Mascot.


      • This: after half a century, the Hero’s Journey is old hat, and the most interesting stories are those that have not doggedly clung to Campbell’s model. Every once in awhile, it’s nice to cleanse the pallet and watch/read something wholly archtypical, but it gets old when that’s all there is.

      • That’s just it: the common misconception that it is a model. It isn’t. It is a tool for analysis.

        And if the implication is that anime/manga is full of Hero’s Journey or something…then, um no. Maybe in the shounen genre, but even then.

        I’ve actually seen the Hero’s Journey analysis used as a road map far, far more often in Western media.

      • True, though in some cases the tool may have become the model (but, as you say, this likely more common in western media). Structuralism, once established and/or analyzed, begets an adherence to structure. My initial point (which was more a bad joke than anything else, sry :/ ) was that the description/premise you gave, while in a vacuum may have seemed out there was just one of many similarly out there premises of fantasy in anime.

        (was definitely not trying to be belligerent D:)

      • Oversimplification is unhelpful and largely useless in analysis. I did say that the characters were all stereotypes. I made an offhand joke about it. Is there something wrong with my liking the premise? Maybe I oversimplified. I was trying to make it plain without trying to say all of it at once.

        My problem with this story was not that it was rote or by the numbers. IT REALLY WASN’T. There are a lot of rotting corpse “must-haves” like the only female lead being almost inanimate in her uselessness and the fact that all dimensions/worlds are Japan because the writers are insular and xenophobic..

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