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xxxHolic/Tsubasa (Production I.G., Bee Train, 2005-08)
Source: TV
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Added 4/25/2008
Updated 7/2/2019

CLAMP set the manga world on its ear in 2003 by starting xxxHolic and Tsubasa, Reservoir Chronicle, two distinct but intersecting series. xxxHolic follows the trials of Watanuke, a high school lad wanting to rid himself of his unwanted ability to see supernatural spirits. He apprentices himself to the witch Yuuko, who (rather like a Buddhist master) sets him to work cooking, cleaning, and doing menial chores. It soon becomes clear that Yuuko has no intentions of removing Watanuke's talents but is training him to take control of his powers.

Tsubasa makes use of Sakura and Syaoran, the principal characters of Cardcaptor Sakura, but places them in a totally different narrative situation. Princess Sakura loses her memories (visualized as feathers). To save her life and restore her personality, Syaoran, accompanied by two other questing adventurers, must travel with her through many CLAMP-inspired worlds in search of these memory shards.

Tsubasa was the first to see anime adaptation. Produced by Bee Train, the first season ran in 2005, followed by a second season in 2006, totaling 52 episodes in all. This was followed by two OVAs, one in 2007-08 and another in 2009.

xxxHolic was produced during the same period by Production I.G. The first season aired in 24 episodes in 2006, and a second season, in 12 episodes, followed in 2008. Production I.G is best known for the Ghost in the Shell movie and TV series, and sometimes collaborates with Gonzo (for instance, on the anime portions of the Kill Bill movie). So a number of the sketches in this set I obtained were done on the backs of leftover Gonzo layout paper.

Sketch art from both series is fearsomely scarce and consists solely of “rough papers,” presumably the contents of an animator’s trashbasket. Reithejelly of Stem Cels was kind enough to split a lot of rough layouts from xxxHolic with me. These all come from the opening scenes of Episode 19: Unfair.

Without spoiling the entire plot, the episode focuses on a mysterious chest that Watanuke finds while cleaning Yûko’s treasure room on a snowy winter day. He brings it out to the porch, where his boss is "snow-watching," i.e., getting smashed on sake along with Black Mokona. And so --

I have not yet identified my Tsubasa art, which came up unexpectedly on eBay for a surprisingly affordable price. They lack episode or cut numbers and include a nice portrait of an adult Princess Sakura and two rougher sketch sets of her as a child, reacting with curiosity and joy to some event.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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