Reviewby Michelle Yu, Mar 19th 2011
CLAMP Double Feature: Tsubasa Chronicles and xxxHOLic
From the sweeping universe of CLAMP, two journeys run parallel yet intersect. As two souls seek the mystery of truth, worlds collide where the Dimensional Witch waits. There is no coincidence, only the inevitable...
The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom Our intrepid adventurers have once again encountered a people oppressed, this time landing in a virtual paradise trembling on the very edge of existence. A princess silenced, but not into submission. An evil king who seeks an end to light and happiness. Only the brave of heart will prevail, rescuing the kingdom from darkness eternal...
A Midsummer Night's Dream Yuko drags her pawns along, invited to a mysterious auction at an intriguing mansion. There, confronted by greed, vanity, and pride, they will navigate through rooms and passages that twist like the souls of holics, the mongers of material satisfaction. As the other guests disappear one by one, the puzzle must be pieced together before they become part of the collection, too.
Anyone even somewhat familiar with the titles in the anime world should know that the supernatural is a consistently prevailing theme in Clamp titles. Supernatural as in long flowing hair billowing as a sorceress casts a spell, or angel feathers falling from the sky as if they are dropped by The Man himself. There is little to no blood, gore or demonic violence so those with a particular interest in such features may stop reading and look elsewhere for a more suitable release.
For those who have chosen to read on, the release in question is the Clamp Double Feature which includes the titles xxxHOLiC the Movie: A Midsummer Night's Dream and Tsubasa The Movie: The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom. Being a fan of Shakespeare's works, this writer was eager to see what Clamp have done with the title of one of the great bard's romantic comedies. The beginning of the Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE series was also quite entertaining to watch so the movie stood a chance as well.
It is good to be able to say that Clamp did not murder a Shakespeare classic, and that the parallels between the two texts are minimal. XXXHOLiC The Movie is surprisingly frightening and poignant at times during the story following a party at a mansion. From the anonymous invitation to the morning-after, it commanded viewer interest. It was also pleasing to see that this feature was suitably short. At one hundred minutes, it was enough to take the viewer on a quirky, cathartic journey without the feeling of growing tedium. That said the ending could have been better executed, however that can only be understood by watching the feature in its entirety.
The review for The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom is a little less glowing. Unlike the former, the plot was on the predictable side and while it was even shorter than the previous feature it felt much longer. Even the blurb on the back of the DVD box suggested that the feature had less to offer by using the words “…once again…” This prompts people (especially those that have seen the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles series) to believe that plots are being recycled in an attempt to make a movie for the sake of it. However the double feature would not have been the same without Tsubasa: The Movie for the following reasons:
1. There would have only been one feature, making the “double feature” in the title superfluous.
Die-hard Clamp fans will be happy to hear that this double feature includes over two hours of special features. That includes footage of the Japanese premiere and original trailers, as well as the expected special features such as cast commentary and artwork.
Although this is a special find in Madman's catalogue, there is one clearly better feature out of the two. Unfortunately that may not win new viewers over but I can imagine long time Clamp fans enjoying the beautiful artwork and cute characters. Hopefully Clamp will incorporate more balance across the board into future double features.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : B
Animation : B+
Art : B+
Music : B
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