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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. Yuuko has no intentions of removing Watanuke's talents, it becomes clear, but is instead 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 (using magic given them by the helpful Yuuko) 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 “foul papers,” presumably the contents of an animator’s trashbasket. All my xxxHolic sketches come from the opening scenes of Episode 19: Unfair. This episode focuses on a mysterious chest that Watanuke finds while cleaning Yuuko'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. I have not yet identified my Tsubasa art, which came without episode or cut numbers.

Graymouser's Gallery has some additional Ep. 19 sketches. Also, Cel Envy has yet another interesting batch of sketches, some from Episode 15.

Despite the greater number of episodes, sketches from Tsubasa are even more difficult to find. But you can find a selection of others in Cel Envy (an especially rich collection), Requiem for Lost Souls, Anime Cel Depot, Crystal Rose, and Land of Cephiro.

 Tsubasa Chronicle: Princess Sakura

 Chibi-Sakura Sighing

 Chibi-Sakura running

 Yūko appears to Mokona

 Watanuke finds the trunk

 Yûko and Mokona exchange glances

 Yûko and Mokona reminisce

 Watanuke fumes

 “I’m opening it!”

 Yûko spaced out

 Moro and Maru dance 1

 Moro and Maru dance 2

 Portrait of a Sloshed Yûko

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