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Manga: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle

CLAMP's Massive Multi Player Crossover, Alternate Universe versions of Cardcaptor Sakura characters Sakura and Syaoran travel from Alternate Universe to Alternate Universe filled with CLAMP characters to find the scattered feathers that represent Princess Sakura's heart and memories.

The story begins in the Kingdom of Clow, a somewhat medieval desert world. Syaoran (see Spell My Name with an "S" below for other romanizations) is the adopted son of the deceased Adventurer Archaeologist, Fujitaka, and a dear childhood friend of Sakura, princess of Clow Country.

Just after Sakura decides to finally tell Syaoran her feelings for him, she's drawn to some ancient ruins on the outskirts of the city. After stepping on a symbol drawn on the floor, she seems to sprout ghostly wings, which then dissolve into feathers and vanish as Syaoran tries to save her. This causes Sakura to fall into an unwakeable sleep. The High Priest of Clow, Yukito, realizes that these feathers are the pieces of her soul. They have been scattered across the worlds, leaving Sakura as an empty shell. In order to save her, he sends Sakura and Syaoran to the only person that can help her - Yuuko, the Dimension Witch. She agrees to help them, for a hefty price.

Two others have been sent to Yuuko. The wizard Fai D. Flourite has fled his home world after sealing away the god Ashura, and fears that Ashura will wake up for some reason. His goal is to stay as far away from his home world as possible, and never return. The ninja Kurogane, on the other hand, is the opposite; he was banished from his own world for being too bloodthirsty, and his princess, Tomoyo, wants him to learn more about true strength before he can return. Frankly, he couldn't care less; he just wants to go home.

Yuuko tells them that the thing which all three have in common is a wish to travel between the worlds: Syaoran to search for the feathers, Fai to stay away from his own world, and Kurogane to search for his home. In exchange for their most prized possessions, she will grant them the ability to travel between worlds. Fai gives up his tattoo, the focus of his magical ability, and Kurogane his sword, while Syaoran must give up the memories that Sakura has of her relationship with him.

The retrieval of the feathers is made more difficult because the feathers, being fragments of Sakura's soul, hold huge magical powers. Whoever holds one is given strength that rivals that of the Powers That Be. And there is another force opposite Yuuko that attempts to intervene in their journey to fulfill its own desires...

Tsubasa has a sister series, ×××HOLiC, which focuses on the Dimension Witch and her indentured servant, Watanuki. The plots of the stories are deeply intertwined and characters have been known to cross between the two.

This is a completed manga series, ending with 233 chapters organized into 28 volumes. There was an anime adaptation that ran for 52 episodes, as well as a movie Princess of the Birdcage Kingdom and two sets of OADs, Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations (which follows the Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier storyline of the manga) and Tsubasa: Shunraiki (again, another supporter of said storyline). A sequel began serialization in August 2014, named Tsubasa World Chronicle, and Word of God has stated it'll be connected to ×××HOLiC Rei.

A word of warning, this series can be rather confusing. To know how, just see how many references there are to a certain trope all over this page.

Has a Character page.

Not related to Captain Tsubasa.

This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Aerial Canyon Chase: In Piffle, complete with canyon-wall wipeouts.
  • After the End: Tokyo and, by extension, Clow Kingdom.
  • All There in the Manual: One really needs to be reading ×××HOLiC at the same time to get the full story, particularly in the second half. This is reciprocal, ×××HOLiC also makes more sense this way.
  • Always Identical Twins: Fai and Yuui. Averted with Kamui and Subaru (probably because they're not actually related)note .
  • Amnesiac Lover: Sakura, before Acid Tokyo puts the plot in a blender with LSD. It's rather unclear how much this trope is still in play afterwards.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Big Bad may be gone, and the Princess may be staying home this time, but Syaoran, Mokona, Kurogane, and Fai are still walking the multiverse looking for the feathers. This time, however, is to restore two people rather than one. Also, they're looking for bodies for those two people along the way, but that's secondary to the feathers.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Fai D. Flourite, looking at you.
  • Arc Welding: Huge. For our sake, go read about it on the CCS or Tsubasa Wikis.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Played with. One town is ruled by father and son pair of insufferable bastard aristocrats, while in another town the cold, seemingly evil aristocrat ruler puts rent in abeyance and personally searches for lost children every night. Also, there's Ashura, who kills a presumably large amount of people to strengthen his magic.
    • The first case is arguable: they weren't aristocrats by birth, they became aristocrats by BEING evil bastards.
    • The third case is also arguable: he only did it so that Fai's first curse would activate on him instead of someone else.
    • Played straight with Valeria's king. He killed everyone in the country and blamed it on the twins.
  • Art Shift: Besides the change of production studios between the series and OV As, there is an episode which shifts the art to a crazy comical art style of a storybook.
  • Artificial Human: Both Syaoran and Sakura have been magically cloned, and Fei Wong Reed's various minions are implied to be failed experiments of this sort.
  • Artificial Limbs: Kurogane ends up getting one after sacrificing his left arm to save Fai in Celes. In a subversion of the usual pattern, it is NOT a perfect replacement and causes him pain.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Both Syaorans have the exact same DNA, 50% of which appeared out of nowhere.
  • As You Know: The first chapter had some very artificial-sounding dialogue to fill readers in about the backstory of Sakura and Syaoran.
    • Infinity had some as well, to explain the chess game.
  • Back from the Dead: Subversion; an Aesop for this series is that this cannot ever happen. Bee Train (the anime production company) created a filler episode where it did, and the plot forced them to retcon it.
    • Late in the manga it turns out that The Big Bad's Gambit Roulette was designed to get around this, mainly by keeping Yuuko alive and on the edge of death.
    • Partial in chapter 220: Yuuko has said that she will bring C!Sakura and C!Syaoran back to life—but that this is only possible because they were created beings, and thus could not enter the reincarnation cycle, hence requiring Yuuko and Clow to fork over payment for them to be reincarnated.
    • Nadeshiko and the rest of Clow Country's citizens dying and being reset back to life is actually not this trope, since they didn't die in "real" time, so they weren't really dead.
  • Badass: Kurogane. Anyone who hacks off his own arm without batting an eye is pretty hardcore.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The various Powers That Be behind the scenes can't directly interfere, and constantly refer to mystical rules that they have to follow. In Yuuko's case, she can't directly interfere because she was Dead All Along.
  • Battle Couple: Kurogane and Fai. They fought together in Shura (mostly off-screen), Koryo, Outo, Infinity (even with their problems, they were back to back), and the final battle against Fei Wang Reed.
  • Beam-O-War: Sometimes used as a battle style (particularly by Syaoran when up against magical opponents).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted to the point of Break the Cutie in Acid Tokyo. Sakura is scrabbed, impaled and then burned in acid. By the time she returns, she's a bruised and bloody mess.
  • Big Bad: Fei Wong Reed.
  • Bishōnen: Almost all of the men who appear.
    • Particularly Fai.
    • The most girly is Tokyo's Kakyou, whom some fans still believe to be a woman. That he is voiced by Mitsuki Saiga, who is known to voice ambiguous characters, doesn't help.
    • Kurogane is somewhat of a subversion since, although he's good-looking, he's too manly to qualify.
    • Ashura is also a subversion, due to Ambiguous Gender; even though many fans interpret them as a man, their gender is never actually stated.
    • Celes's Ashura-ou, the one Fai was so afraid would wake up, qualifies though.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The boys go world-travelling again, while Princess Sakura stays behind in Clow. Mokona assures everyone that they will be able to visit her world again...though there is no mention of when and how often. But Fridge Horror takes it to a new level: time doesn't flow the same across dimensions, so Sakura-hime might very well be an old lady by the time they visit Clow Country again. It's possible to pick the place and time you want to arrive while travelling dimensions, but usually only for a large price.
  • Blank Book: The memory book in Rekort is blank to the first person who picks it up, but the next person to take it will see the memories of the first.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Most of the villagers in Koryo at one point.
  • Break the Cutie: Used several times, and subverted with Fai D. Flourite, because it turns out he was already broken and it was an act.
    • Played straight with both versions of Sakura.
    • This also turns out to have happened to Kurogane, as seen in his backstory.
  • Brick Joke: At the beginning, Fai mentions he can't whistle and substitutes a "hyuu~" sound for it. 14 volumes of "hyuu~"-ing later, he DOES whistle for a spell to save the gang's lives.
    • Seishiro makes a comment on R!Syaoran's remarkable resemblance to his father, whom he has met before. Fast forward to Chapter 223 and suddenly that remark takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Bruce Lee Clone: Syaoran. He even has a special fighting system based on kicking to compensate for his lack of depth perception.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Done seriously for most of the series, but lampshaded in one instance where Fai points out that Kurogane didn't call out his attack's name.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: In a way a little different from most uses of the trope, Yuuko's price for helping Sakura and Syaoran was their past relationship. Any time Sakura realizes her past feelings for Syaoran and tries to tell him, her memory of that is instantly removed, resulting in UnConfessions.
    • And even before that, both R! and C! Sakura's attempts at a Love Confession.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In the anime. Tokyo Revelations picks up immediately after the escape from the Rekort library, ignoring the filler arcs from the broadcast series.
    • The second OVA skips the Infinity and Celes arcs, leaving those who hadn't read the manga in the dark.
  • Canon Welding: Possibly the ultimate welding project in manga history. CCS-TRC-Holic and further with every single thing CLAMP has ever made.
  • Can't Live Without You: Fai can't live without Kurogane after being turned into a vampire.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first half of the series appears to be a light-hearted True Companions adventure story, and the second half is a dark deconstruction of the first.
  • Chains Of Love: Used both in an artistic sense in splash pages and literally in the Infinity country, when all the clothing the group is given has prominent chain attachments.
  • Chastity Couple: Other than plenty of hugs and one peck on the cheek, Syaoran and Sakura never kiss. There's not even an Almost Kiss.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The reservoir of the title appears for the first time in Acid Tokyo, halfway through the story. At the very end, a mindbending reveal unmasks it as possibly one of the most important locations in the entire CLAMP-verse.
    • Do you remember that tube way back in the beginning of the series? Turns out that the Sakura and Syaoran way back then were actually Li Syaoran and Sakura, who were paying a price. It also plays a role in the final battle.
    • So, whatever happened to Sakura's memories of Syaoran anyway? By the second half of the series, the issue seems moot. However, in the epilogue, Mokona gives the gang Larg's (the black Mokona's) earring. Because it contains C!Sakura's memories of C!Syaoran, along with Watanuki's memories of his parents, they will be taken back to both Clow Country and to the shop much more often than any other worlds. It's implied that they will also revisit most or all of the worlds they have been through before.
    • And there is Mokona's red earring. At first it seemed like a cute accessory. Then Yuuko mentions (in ×××HOLiC) that it can increase magical power. This wasn't used until Fai needed a power boost in order for him and Kurogane to escape the collapsing world. When they finally did, it was mentioned by Fei Wong Reed that Yuuko probably created it just so that Fai and Kurogane could escape.
  • The Chessmaster: Fei Wong Reed, Yuuko, and Clow Reed are all this.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Syaoran and Sakura, though she is unable to remember him.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The body of R!Sakura-2 (for want of a better label) was taken away and merged with the cloned soul, while the original soul of R!Sakura-2 ended up in the Big Bad's own tube, but is never mentioned again. Or what happened to that tube. Yes, there were three Sakuras. This makes it hard to explain the Sakuras' body merging-cum-swapping. Not to mention complicating the Cloney/C!Sakura relationship and forcing the use of extensive spoilers in a desperate attempt to reduce reader confusion.
  • Closed Door Rapport: Sakura goes into her room in Infinity to get away from Syaoran.
  • Colour Coded Characters: Some characters have clear color associations, such as white and sky blue with Fai, black and red with Kurogane, Syaoran with earthly colors like browns and greens, and pink with Sakura. The complementary colors for Kurogane and Fai mark them as a yin-yang pair.
  • The Comically Serious: A couple characters, such as Syaoran, have some degree this. Kurogane is the most prominent, and a great deal of the humor in the series comes from his serious reaction to Fai's and Mokona's provocations.
  • Costume Porn: It wouldn't be a CLAMP work without this trope. Every world the characters travel too get some cool outfit to match the setting. Their general travel outfits even are pretty cool looking too.
  • Continuity Cameo: Scores, but of particular note are Hikaru, Umi and Fuu as C!Sakura's classmates in an alternate world.
  • Creepy Twins: Subverted. People only thought Fai and Yuui were bad luck.
    • Also, the vampire twins Kamui and Subaru. Being vampires fills in for the creepy-ness.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A thing that happens around Kurogane.
  • Cyberspace: The Country of Outo, although none of the main characters come from technologically advanced worlds, so they never suspect it. Not that it would matter if they did, since they don't know what world they go into until it's too late.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tokyo Revelations went into high-octane Nightmare Fuel following the conclusion of the second season series and abandoning of the third season, as it jumped straight from playing its tropes straight to the dark deconstruction that the manga had slowly eased into. Of course, that arc was a significant jump darker even for the manga, but it was the low dive compared to the OVA's high dive. See also Wham Episode.
  • Dead All Along: Yuuko was only alive because Clow told reality to ignore her death. As a result her death resets just about everything reboot-able across the history of the multiverse.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Dimension Witch Yuuko (of ×××HOLiC) grants wishes and demands a heavy price in return, however she doesn't cheat her customers if they act in good faith. She is the "sponsor" of the heroes' travels and stays in communication with them. She also makes deals with the individuals the band comes across, who usually get a fair cop.
  • Deconstruction: It's a light-hearted True Companions/Gotta Catch 'Em All adventure story with some darkness around the edges, heartwarming romance and interesting sexual subtext. One-third of the way through, however, everything you thought you knew turns inside out and even the most light-hearted elements become harbingers of the ugliest secrets. From there on out, the series proceeds to do virtually everything it can to make your mind ill, including introducing major unexpected Squick and a monstrous Gambit Pileup. Fundamental to it all was CLAMP taking a second version of their most popular, cutest and innocent pairing...and then to sending it straight to the other end of the spectrum by throwing in bizarre levels of Angst, Squick, Incest, Fridge Horror and Mind Screw.
  • Dénouement Episode: Actually from ×××HOLiC, Chapter 204.5. 520 days after leaving Clow Country, the Tsubasa gang return to Watanuki's shop, in the process accidentally giving him the idea for his signature—a bird. So Watanuki then enables Syaoran and company to travel to Clow Country so that he can finally meet Sakura again.As typical of CLAMP, the readers never see the reunion itself.
  • Deus Angst Machina: How to summarize the whole story in 3 words.
    • Backstory will never NOT be angsty, especially if your name is Fai D. Flourite, whose case is covered on the trope page.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Averted in a series that really needs it. There is no way to tell apart the clones from the originals when they're together in the tube at the end.
  • Doppelgänger: Needs a separate line as it's rather unique here. There are 3 versions of Syaoran (Watanuki included) and 3 (yes, three) versions of Sakura. And don't bother counting how many Alternate Universe versions of all CLAMP characters there are.
    • An alternate Clow Country with an alternate R!Sakura was created when R!Syaoran turned back the clock while the original Clow Country went into a loop with the first R!Sakura frozen in the ruins. Check these out.
    • Lampshaded in Chapter 187. The Sakura whom R!Syaoran was always with and the Sakura whom he saw through the clone's eye. The second one was actually cloned. See What Happened to the Mouse? below.
  • Earth All Along: Clow Country is the Tokyo from the Acid Tokyo arc. The reservoir under the temple is the one under the Government Building.
  • Elemental Powers: Syaoran = Fire, Kurogane = Ice, Fai = Air, Sakura = Earth. While the actual powers are confined to the Hanshin arc's kudan, the association remains throughout the story. Syaoran and Kurogane later obtain swords named, respectively, Hien and Souhi, "Red Flame" and "Blue Ice". Fai is frequently connected with bird imagery, such as his phoenix tattoo. Sakura's power is associated with being able to understand plants and animals.
  • Emergency Transformation: Fai is transformed into a vampire (with attendant regeneration abilities) to prevent his death from massive trauma and shock.
  • Epic Race: The Piffle Princess's annual Dragonfly Race, where racers ride in customizable , lightweight flying machines. This year's race is especially notable as the prize up for grabs is one of Sakura's feathers.
  • Everyone Is Related: All the Sakuras, Syaorans, Watanuki and the Big Bad are descendants of Clow.
    • Including extra relationships due to adoption-inducing parental swaps caused by space-screwing. (See Happily Adopted below).
    • And Canon Welding with CCS makes 9 people in all directly related to Clow Reed.
  • Evil Twin: Subverted twice. The Syaoran we see in the beginning of the series appears to have an evil Twin In a Tube, but turns out to be the evil one himself. Then there's Fai, who is haunted by his twin's voluntary sacrifice (and for a while, it seemed like Fai was the evil twin who demanded that sacrifice). Also subverted by Cloney, who goes from being heartless to performing a Heroic Sacrifice for the gang (twice).
  • Exact Words: The legend surrounding Princess Emeraude says that the children she kidnapped were never held in their parents' laps again. The reason why is because the children were all too old to do so by the time it was safe for them to return home after the plague had passed.
  • Expendable Clone: All the clones, in Fei Wong's eyes.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Fai lets his hair grow out after Acid Tokyo, which indicates the dark turn in his personality. It also indicates a time-skip of at least a couple months.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Subverted. Both Syaoran and Fai wear eye-patches at different points during the series, but both actually lost eyeballs and with them substantial magical power.
    • In fact, it's the same eye-patch, as Syaoran didn't need it anymore and thoughtfully passed it on. (Hopefully someone thought to wash it at some point.)
  • Eyes Always Shut: Mokona. Except when in magical teleport mode or when sensing a feather.
  • Eye Scream: At least twice, with one more implied. First chronologically: R!Syaoran rips his eye out, seals half his soul into it, and implants it in his clone to foil Fei Wong's plans. Second: When Syaoran's seal breaks, the newly soulless clone rips out Fai's eye to gain half his magic power. Implied: Seishirou is known to have given up sight in one eye to gain the ability to cross dimensions.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Hanshin is Osaka. Koryo is Korea. Outo is Japan in the '20s. Le Court is a magical London. Piffle and Edonis are generically futuristic.
    • In the anime, Storm is Mayan and Daroga is modern America.
  • Feather Motif: Sakura's memories take the form of feathers. When Sakura and Syaoran Li disappear because Fei Wong is defeated, both leave behind feather memories.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fountain of Youth: When C!Syaoran and C!Sakura seal themselves in the tube, they reverse in age from adults back to 14 years old and become identical to the originals, right down to the clothes.
  • Freak Out: C!Syaoran, after killing C!Sakura. Doubles as a Tearjerker in retrospect, since this is probably how he regained his heart.
    • Fai after his curse activates and he kills Sakura.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: This one's a very weird example. C!Sakura and R!Sakura "swap" bodies between themselves at one point. What makes it freaky is that the bodies are, of course, completely identical. Basically R!Sakura merged with C!Sakura's body while C!Sakura's soul entered the body of the R!Sakura that Fei Wong lost during the cloning process.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Princess Sakura; it's stated her power is to hear the voices of the voiceless.
    • This includes non-living things, most importantly water. She also speaks to a tornado once.
  • Funny Background Event: A lot, usually Mokona antagonizing Kurogane (such as stealing his food in the Hanshin arc.)
    • A Miyuki-chan makes a cameo running in the background once in every single world.
  • Fusion Dance: R!Sakura merging with C!Sakura's old body and becoming her 14-year old self as timelines reconnected.
  • Gainax Ending: The anime ending, mainly because they had a whole second season to explain who the antagonists were, and delve into the manga story, but instead frittered it away with two flashbacks of Kurogane (which was okay) and several deconstructions of the characters and settings from the first story. So then the last 8 or so episodes felt extremely rushed, resolved little to nothing ( and after all that, Syaoran gets one feather for Sakura when the bird has millions and she doesn't even get to see Syaoran in her memory, simply so they can keep traveling ), and then Syaoran finished off the bird with a move more reminiscent of Shaman King than the main story, and did nothing to even mention Fai's story beyond the brief mention of Chii.
  • Gambit Pileup: Incredibly large.
  • Gambit Roulette: At least four different characters are running semi-independent plans: Clow, Fei Wong Reed, Yuuko, and (very much contrary to what we believed at the beginning of the series) R!Syaoran.
    • Clow Reed apparently put together all of Cardcaptor Sakura in preparation for Tsubasa.
  • Generation Xerox: The Sakuras and Syaorans, mostly because they're clones of each other.
  • Genre Shift: In one arc, it transforms from a happy and light-hearted Gotta Catch 'Em All adventure story to a Mind Screw of a fantasy drama.
  • Girl in the Tower: Gender Flipped. Yuui and Fai were imprisoned at the bottom and top of a tower, respectively, surrounded by walls impossible to climb, where the dead bodies of prisoners were discarded.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Collecting the feathers, which has since been revealed as a colossal McGuffin to keep them on track in the Big Bad's plans. Fai was aware of this from the start.
    • In the end, Junior has to go and find the rest of them to restore his parents/clone and girlfriend's clone.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: In the English dub when the group was separated from Mokona, Fai spoke French and Kurogane spoke Japanese.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Kingdom of Clow, apparently. The loop is only a few hours, not a full day, and within the stable time loop is a pocket of time that has stopped dead.

  • Grumpy Bear: Kurogane
  • Guilt Complex: Syaoran. He blames himself for everything that happened, because of his decision to rewind time when he was seven. This includes Sakura being taken away by Fei Wong Reed, Fai's being born a twin and therefore being a cause of misfortune, Kurogane's mother's death, and Watanuki, most of which happened before he was born. Probably. He blames himself because the Big Bad implies that his rewinding time gave him a free reign, but in reality it was his only option, he was pretty much manipulated by Fei Wong Reed and had no control over what Fei Wong did making use of the altered timeline, and there is no way the poor kid could've known all the ramifications that were possible from his one wish, anyway. Heck, even the readers don't quite understand all the ramifications.
    • Fai, too. It's not as large as Syaoran's, but it's there. It's probably because it was pounded into his head when he was a child that everything bad that happened was him and his twin's fault, including the king of Valeria going insane and killing everyone. Then Ashura did the exact same thing after living with Fai for a while. It caused Fai to become distant to everyone he met because he was afraid that if they got close to him, bad things would happen because they'd gotten close to him.
  • Happily Adopted: Cloney was Fujitaka's adopted son in the altered version of Clow Country. Yes, the father of R!Sakura.
    • Fai was adopted by Ashura and seemed to think of him like a real father.
  • Head Pet: Mokona to Kurogane.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: C!Sakura and Syaoran. The latter attempts to pull a Taking You with Me on Fei Wong Reed. He gets better, since as a clone he could not truly die. And then the clones die again as Sakura and Syaoran Li, this time opening a hole in the space he, R!Syaoran, and Watanuki were, allowing them to escape. C!Sakura dies at the same time.
    • C!Syaoran in fact returns about 5 minutes after his first heroic sacrifice as Syaoran Li, along with C!Sakura, only to let everyone know he's waited a whole lifetime to pull out a second one. And to drive home their identity they now look exactly identical to the originals, so much so that at one place even the authors mixed up a piece of dialogue. R!Syaoran's expression when he realizes who're who's parents is priceless.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Kurogane, though he really doesn't need to worry about it much being the Badass he is.
  • Identical Grandson: Or son, really, being Syaoran Li and his son Tsubasa, a.k.a. R!Syaoran. Kurogane and his father also look remarkably alike, the main difference being stubble and a ponytail on the latter.
    • Mokona lampshades this in Chapter 218 when it voices it's confusion on "Syaoran" referring to the newcomers as his parents.
    • This is because Syaoran Li is the reincarnation of R!Syaoran's clone. Yes.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Kurogane's insistence on turning Fai into a vampire to save his life puts a serious strain on their relationship for almost 50 chapters.
  • I Know Your True Name: The power of names is explicitly so great that none of the protagonists are using their real names except the clones, whose real names are the false aliases the originals use.
    • R!Syaoran and R!Sakura both have the real name of Tsubasa, Kurogane's real name is Youou, and Fai's real name is Yuui.
  • Killed Off for Real: This is stated to be a fundamental rule of the multiverse. Death is permanent and comes to everyone in time. Even Yuuko cannot bring someone back from the dead without suffering serious consequences. Except clones, because they weren't truly alive until Clow and Yuuko gave payment to have them be reincarnated. But when they die after that, it's for real.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Arguably the original "Syaoran" as his appearance marks the point where the story swerves into Darker and Edgier territory.
  • Left Hanging: Major one here. Sakura and the whole of Clow Country are themselves a paradox as they too existed only thanks to the Stable Time Loops Ret Gone C!Sakura established, having left her feather in the Tokyo reservoir. R!Sakura even admits this while they're trapped by Big Bad in his tube. Now that the loops have ceased to exist with the clones Ret Gone, apparently only R!Syaoran & Watanuki have to pay a price for having to exist as a paradox.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Specifically, Kurogane amputating his arm for Fai's life. Completely without hesitation, too. His expression (in the OVA) seems to say The things I do for you, dumbass.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted like My Suit Is Also Super, since the series has strong shoujo influences. The dimension-hopping characters all start out with just the clothes on their backs, but will readily switch to the local fashions provided they have enough time and money. Once they do adopt a world's clothing, they will change outfits as appropriate. In the first arc of the main plot, you can see Syaoran, Kurogane, and Fai changing each successive day.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Fei Wong Reed made his Gambit Roulette with the intention of bringing someone Back from the Dead. Or apparently, to save someone else's life. And that person is Yuuko. She is not happy with this, and ends her unlife to help stop him.
  • Magic Knight: Fai may look like a Squishy Wizard, but he's quite proficient at physical combat as well.
  • Magic Mirror: The giant mirror used by Fei Wong Reed to spy on the main characters is the most frequent and obvious use of the trope. Other not-so-literal examples include the High Priest of Clow using a reflecting pool for scrying and Mokona using a reflective surface to help "phone" Yuuko.
    • Chu'nyan uses a mirror in Koryo to lift a spell from the villagers.
  • Magical Eye: Fai's eyes are the source of his magic power. When C!Syaoran takes one, only one of his eyes turns blue.
  • Mama Bear + Papa Wolf: The Li's show that if you threaten their son, they will unload their spells on you. Considering that even Sakura had a Badass glare before the barrage, it's only expected that Ass-chin had an Oh, Crap moment.
    • Prior to that, "Fai-Mommy" and "Kuro-Daddy" had it well and truly covered since basically the start.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Even after specifying that he would help as long as it didn't endanger his life, Fai has repeatedly put himself in danger to save or protect Syaoran, and has been interrogated by Kurogane for his unwillingness to defend himself.
  • Maybe Ever After: CLAMP's favourite ending. The Epilogue. Hopefully Syaoran will be free to be re-uninted with Sakura someday. Their names (see Meaningful Name below) are a hint.
  • Meaningful Name: / Name's the Same: R!Syaoran and Sakura both have the real name of Tsubasa, which means "wings." There are two of them. It also means the title of the series is actually a character's name, although the character doesn't appear until halfway through the series.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The enemy robot ninjas, which are actually souless attempts at clones deemed expendable by Fei Wong.
  • Mind Screw: Several orders of it, with no chance of screw driving. Really, CLAMP deserve a special award and maybe a even new trope like Mind Screw Pileup. For the sake of your sanity, do not, we repeat, DO NOT try to understand the story. Not to mention incredible amounts of Arc Welding and Canon Welding. It's mentioned repeatedly that time and space and reason have been destroyed (possibly) by Fei-Wang Reed's Evil Plan / Reality-Breaking Paradox / Time Stands Still...thing, resulting in multiple paradoxes.
    • This flowchart might help. (Spoilers behind link.)
  • More Than Mind Control: Fai is revealed about two-thirds of the way through the story to have been willingly manipulated for most of his life by both Fei Wong Reed and Ashura-ou. This involved cunningly preying on his insecurities and regrets in moments of extreme emotional distress, aided by some magical suppression of memories that might have caused him to question his situation.
  • The Movie: A short 30 minute film released between seasons one and two of the TV series.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Kurogane and Fai. YES.
  • The Multiverse: The party is traveling through multiple worlds and dimensions. Not everyone they meet is aware of the existence of the multiverse.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: Hello, Fai D. Fluorite... or should we say Yuui.
    • The clones apparently live through their originals as well.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Averted, as clothing gets torn, stained, and otherwise damaged on a regular basis and stays that way until it is repaired or replaced.
  • My Own Grampa: Syaoran's clone is also his father.
  • Near Death Experience: A conveniently-timed one allows Tomoyo-hime to tell Kurogane how to get Fai out of Celes.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Played straight and averted too. Where it's played straight is that the clones, in spite of visiting Yuuko's shop many times, never meet their reincarnated selves in the tube.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Multiple times in the story, and the root of the whole problem is Clow's momentary subconscious wish that Yuuko wouldn't die, which set the entire plot in motion when Fei Wong Reed decided to grant it.
    • Fei Wong himself is speculated by Fai to have actually been created by Clow's wish.
    • Not to mention that R!Syaoran's wish to save Sakura's life was the thing that started breaking causality. He even states himself that it's possible that his tampering is what lead to everyone else's life being a mess. Luckily, they forgive him.
  • Ninja: Kurogane and Souma, as well as numerous other unnamed ninjas serving under Amaterasu and Tomoyo-hime.
  • No Body Left Behind: Usually averted, with corpses lingering unpleasantly (backstory flashbacks, anyone?). Two notable occasions when it is played straight: the body of the real Fai dissolves into dust when the feather is removed and Fei Wong tells us that real!Sakura's body dissolved after being magically cloned.
    • And that's what happens when all created beings die.
  • No Ontological Inertia: All the distortions in the Multiverse disappear with Big Bad's death.
    • Also happened with C!Syaoran dying in chapter 210 and even more recently with Fei Wong Reed and Sakura and Syaoran Li.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Fai's magic is explicitly tied with the blue color in his eyes, which is weird.
  • Oedipus Complex: Syaoran. Specifically, the real one. He's been impersonating his father and romancing a princess who is the original from whom his mother was cloned since he was seven.
    • And that is precisely what his parents want since they see the two as their original selves. See Shipper on Deck below.
    • Cloney is also an example, since he has memories of being a clone of Syaoran, and his wife has memories of being a clone of Sakura. Since they got together based on those memories, and a clone can be thought of as being like a child, it's debatable which generation is imitating which.
  • One-Woman Wail: Heard often in the series, usually from the signature battle song, A Song of Storm And Fire.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Kamui and Subaru, and later Fai gets turned into one to save his life. Description on the trope page of how they stack up against classic vampires.
    • Seishirou is also possibly a vampire as Fuuma comments to Subaru when he is asked why Seishirou isn't growing any older.
  • Out-Gambitted: Fei Wong is beaten by the combined efforts of Clow, Yuuko and the reincarnated clones. The clones use their power to restore reality back to normal in all dimensions. For all his colossal scheming, Big Bad did not account for the possibilty of reincarnation and Clow giving his magical power to Cloney.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Fai is blond and blue-eyed, and in one extra chapter has some serious objections to sushi and chopsticks. He also comes from a very cold and snowy world, possibly resembling northern Scandinavia. In the dub, he speaks French once seperated from Mokona.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Most particularly in the color artwork but also in the chapters themselves. This is CLAMP, after all. Sakura is by far the most common subject, but practically everyone gets a truly amazing outfit or two.
  • Power Limiter: Fai's full-back phoenix tattoo is supposed to restrict his huge innate powers to keep him safe. Thus, when he gives it up to Yuuko as his traveling price, he also swears off the use of magic. Later subverted when we find out he's more dangerous with it than without it, because he is cursed to kill the first person he meets who is MORE powerful. With his magic restricted, it's more likely that he'll find someone who outstrips him.
    • The "curse" Tomoyo places on Kurogane which will decrease his strength if he kills anyone could also been seen as a kind of limiter. This is also subverted because we find out after Celes that it's really a protection charm and the stuff about his strength diminishing was a prophecy about the consequences of killing Ashura.
  • Power Incontinence: Clow's power made his unconscious wish to save Yuuko's life come true, freezing her in time and creating the Timey-Wimey Ball. This eventually culminated in Cardcaptor Sakura when Sakura split Clow's remaining power between Fujitaka and Eriol.
    • To show just how much power shedding he had to do, He put a huge part of his powers and abilities in all the Clow Cards. Then he paid for C!Syaoran's reincarnation with his magic, enough magic for Cloney to even stop The Big Bad's moves! Then he needed to split his soul in two. And even then mind you...he STILL had so much leftover power and abilities remaining when he reincarnated as Eriol (even without the cards if he could affect an entire city) and ultimately split his power between himself and CCS Sakura's father Fujitaka, only after which he was no longer the strongest in the world.
  • Pretty in Mink: Fai's giant floofy white fur overcoat. It doesn't seem to be necessary for warmth (his plainer blue coat should be sufficient even in Celes), it's totally about marking his status. He later loses it for good when Kurogane saves him in Celes.
  • Random Transportation: The protagonists travel the multiverse in search of Princess Sakura's scattered memories—however, they rarely know what kind of world they will end up in next, just that there is a "memory feather" in it somewhere.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Wishing to bring back the dead. Clow's subconscious wish to keep Yuuko alive distorted reality to a point where the effects on the multiverse could never be fully repaired, or even be understood by anyone, even CLAMP themselves.
    • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Big Bad (and consequently his incomprehensibly complex plan) was also likely created as a response to that wish.
    • And if that wasn't bad enough, it also led to other characters making their own attempts at this trope, further distorting an already distorted and illogical reality.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Fai. As Yuuko told Kurogane, '[Fai] has already lived many times your lifespan'. Given that Kurogane looks to be in his early 20's at the youngest, this probably makes Fai at least 80 years old, despite also appearing to be in his early 20's. Although it's not entirely clear how much of this is slow aging due to magic, and how much of that time was spent in the timeless pocket dimension where he and his twin were banished.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Subverted with Kurogane. While he has red eyes, he's one of the main protagonists, and in fact the only one of the original group (besides Mokona) who isn't being manipulated by Big Bad Fei Wang, though Fei Wang tried to get him with the death of his mother before Tomoyo and Yuuko interfered. He is, however, the most physically capable of the entire group, and you do not wanna piss him off.
  • Reset Button Ending: Now that Fei Wong and Yuuko are both dead, existence should have been restored to the way it should have been. Right? But no, paradoxes (Syaoran, Watanuki and by extension even Sakura and possibly the whole of Clow Country, not to mention an unknown number of lingering changes in the multiverse) still exist. Reality could never fully recover after that many Reality-Breaking Paradox attempts.
  • Ret Gone: Yuuko's death deletes her undead history out of reality.
    • The original Syaoran, who was replaced by Watanuki.
    • And also the clones, who have vanished from all time, leaving Syaoran a bootstrap paradox, and...
    • Ripple Effect Indicator: His family portrait no longer has his parents/the clones on it anymore.
  • Reused Character Design: Cardcaptor Sakura characters in an Alternate Universe setting (and it's not a sequel)
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mokona, oh so much.
  • Sand Worms: They inhabit Acid Tokyo.
  • Scenery Porn: All the anime adaptations.
  • Screw Destiny: The characters have managed to barely defy various prophetic visions. Sometimes they will "go along" with a prophetic vision up to the critical moment, in order to avoid other changes multiplying the number of possible futures and making the outcome harder to control.
    • (Clone) Sakura making a deal with Yuuko so Fai will kill her, rather than Syaoran jr.
  • Shout-Out: Oh so many to other CLAMP series, and a few to other series like Cat's Eye and other mediums like old Wacky Racers cartoons. Edges dangerously close to Crossover in some cases.
    • High School A.U. Horitsuba Gakuen has Yuuko using Sailor Moon's Catch Phrase "_____ I'll punish you!" when she sends Fai and Kurogane on a treasure hunt across campus. She even imitates Usagi's way of saying it.
  • Shipper on Deck: One of the reasons for the clones/parents sealing themselves in the tube is to get their originals together, defying foretelling dreams predicting Star-Crossed Lovers. They succeed, partially, but it's quite an achievement considering the aura of inevitability so far.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Near the end of the Nihon Arc with Syaoran and Fai.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Hitsuzen anyone? Till the time loop, it seems to be a Type 1 as all choices simply seem to be a part of the loop, but eventually after some painful decision making (See Flying Dutchman), it ends with a type 2.
  • Spanner in the Works: Kurogane is sometimes this to Fei Wong Reed, although mostly just through having his priorities in the right place.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Fai and Syaoran are the ones with the most confusion.
    • Fai: The official English spelling is "Fay D. Flourite", but the name actually references the mineral fluorite (like the crystal in his wizard's staff). It's a common spelling mistake even for native English speakers, and the translators have thrown in the towel on trying to correct it. Other spellings include permutations of "Fay" "Fai", and "Fye" with "Flourite", "Fluorite", and "Flowright". Additionally, the English pronunciation isn't used, instead it's a Russian pronunciation, so it sounds like 'Fye' rhyming with 'Eye' rather than Fay rhyming with 'Day'.
      • "Fluorite" is derived from the Latin verb "to flow", so "Flowright" may not be that bad.
    • Syaoran: "Li Syaoran" is the official spelling, but "Shaoran" is another possible romanization for the name pronounced Japanese-style, and "Xiao Lang" reflects the original Chinese pronunciation. Some also pronounce it "Show-ren". His last name may also be romanized as "Lee".
  • Stable Time Loop: Twice. Two overlapping ones even.
    • One is responsible for Sakura and Clow country's existence. C!Sakura's feathers are scattered across the dimensions, she travels back in time and leaves one of her feathers in Tokyo. This prevents the destruction of the Tokyo government building, and humanity can survive. Hundreds of years later, Tokyo has slowly transformed into Clow Country, Sakura is born and cloned, C!Sakura's feathers are scattered...
    • The My Own Grampa (see above) scenario is the other one.
    • The entire story is one of these as the trapped Sakura and Syaoran from the bottle are the Sakura and Syaoran we've been following this whole time.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Played straight and averted with the Sakuras and Syaorans. In the end, R!Syaoran becomes a Flying Dutchman although he will return more often to Clow Country than any other world. Sakura stays home as going with him would only make things worse.
    • The clones were rather luckier here; they got a new life of their own for several years.
  • Stepford Smiler: Fai, though it does begin to crack and ultimately appears to fall away completely.
  • Superpower Meltdown: In Celes country, when the second curse on Fai activates, he literally shuts down a dimension with his magic. This also highlights his Power Degeneration.
  • Sword Pointing: Syaoran and his clone point their swords at each other at close range just before getting into a sword fight. Watch it here.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Oh my, Kurogane. Seishirou may also count.
  • Tangled Family Tree: The Reed/Li/Watanuki family tree looks like this. Reincarnation and cloning make for very, very loopy genealogies. note 
  • Team Dad: Kurogane has this title applied by Fai unwillingly, but it fits surprisingly well, especially by the end of the Infinity Arc.
  • Team Mom: Fai is proclaimed the mother of the group by Mokona.
  • Temporal Paradox: Too complicated to explain. And explaining it would make it even more complicated!
  • Thanatos Gambit: Clow Reed seems to have planned out an awful lot of the plot before his (very deliberate) death... Also, it was revealed that Clow didn't actually die prior to CCS, he duped Kero and Yue into believeing he was dead and then buggered off to Clow to play King, then died there, split his soul into two and was then reincarnated into Eriol and Fujitaka.
  • They're All Grown Up: Most new readers/viewers' impression of Syaoran and Sakura in this work.
  • They're Called Personal Issues For A Reason: We're looking at you, Fai.
  • Time Stands Still: Clow Country, or more specifically the Reservoir, which is frozen in the moment just before little Sakura is cursed. Subverted in that what happens in the frozen world affects its inhabitants. Don't worry, they get better.
  • Time Travel: CLAMP's brought in variations of every category on the trope page...
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time Travel never works the same way twice and with all its varieties being used at different times, the result is indescribable and represents the end of all logic as we know it. But...
    • People just can't give up and someone actually tried to draw the ball, which probably looks like this.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Both Syaoran, and more recently (and much more jarringly) Sakura herself are revealed to be copies as part of the Big Bad's unimaginably complex Gambit Roulette.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sakura after the latter parts of the Tokyo arc, but the result is that while she is more capable, it has rather heartbreaking Broken Bird connotations.
  • Translator Microbes: This is one of Mokona's special powers. Since the 4 main cast members are from 3 different worlds, if they get separated from Mokona, they can't even understand each other much less the inhabitants of their current dimension.
    • This is demonstrated in the first world the group visits after making their deal with Yuuko. Once Mokona is out of range, Syaoran perceives Kurogane's speech as a mishmash of very basic kanji and geometric symbols, and Fai's as a stream of Cyrillic-esque runes.
    • Played for laughs again later when Fai and Kurogane get marooned together for six months without Mokona to translate. Kurogane's native language has very basic mutual intelligibility with that of the country they're stranded in, but Fai spends that time "doing things that didn't need words". Hint hint.
    • The translation effect does not extend to writing systems. One omake is devoted to Kurogane deciphering the plot of a ninja manga from the illustrations and a few ideographic characters he recognizes.
  • True Companions: The group has twice elected to continue the journey despite knowing it was quite likely futile.
  • Tsundere: Arguably, Kurogane is a male Tsundere. However, Kurogane only fits the Tsundere mold through at most the first third of the story. After that point, he loosens up considerably around Fai. Even early on, however, he's quite straightforward about his feelings, although also quite undemonstrative. The running-hot-and-cold tendency in their relationship is really more about Fai sending tremendously mixed signals.
  • Twin Switch: Fai is actually Yuui (although the switch occurred after the real Fai, who's name Yuui uses, was already dead), and this has led to much arguing in the fandom as to which twin is which in the Alternate Universe Omake.
  • Uptown Girl: Sakura is princess and Syaoran is middle class.
  • Walking the Earth / Flying Dutchman: In the end, Syaoran chooses to do this in order to find a place where he, Sakura, and their clones can all exist together; this is actually his price for continued existence and he'll be wandering forever. Fai, Kurogane and Mokona go with him, and thanks to Mokona's memory-storing earring they can return to Clow Country and Watanuki's 'verse more often.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Fei Wong Reed went through an epic breakdown when he realized even all he'd done couldn't fulfill Clow Reed's wish to save Yuko, especially jarring given his earlier smugness.
  • Wacky Racing: The Dragonfly race. Tomoyo and her officers' dialogues suggest that the wackiness part is unintentional, and that at least one of the competitors must be rigging the race. Actually, it was Tomoyo's party herself that was rigging the race, because they were trying to find out which competitor was after the feather.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 212 of the manga, where it is revealed that Clow Country is actually the acid Tokyo in the future, caused by the group's meddling in other places.
    • The Entire Tokyo arc, where the fun and games end and someone loses an eye. See also Darker and Edgier.
    • Chapters 150 and 151, where Fai's curse activates and he nearly kills Sakura and all of the Celes arc.
    • Anything that's occurred during the Clow arc a.k.a. the showdown with Fei Wong qualifies: Yuuko was mysteriously summoned by Asschin's attempt to revive someone or do something similar, Sakura and Syaoran are multiplying all over the place, and there was a picture of Touya and Yukito apparently in their CSS clothing in one of the panels.
    • Presenting: Chapter 223
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: An alternate R!Sakura from an altered Clow Country which came into being after R!Syaoran's wish split the timeline creating an alternate Clow Country, came into being out of nowhere and was actually the one cloned (the original R!Sakura was frozen in time). Her fate is not resolved.
  • Which Me?: There are a lot of Syaorans and Sakuras. It might not be so bad if they actually had some sort of distinguishing features from one another.
  • Window Love: Sakura and Syaoran at the beginning of the manga.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: Each universe has differently functioning magic, and some have none at all.

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alternative title(s): Tsubasa Chronicle; Tsubasa; Tsubasa Chronicles; Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle; Tsubasa Chronicle
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