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CLAMP's Massive Multiplayer 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, XxxHolic, 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 word of warning, this series can be rather confusing. To know how, just see how many references there are to a certain related trope all over this page.

A Characters page is in development, but it Needs More Love.

Not related to Captain Tsubasa.

Tropes used in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle include:
  • After the End - Clow Kingdom
  • All There in the Manual - One really needs to be reading XxxHolic at the same time to be getting the full story, particularly in the second half. This is reciprocal, xxxHoLic also makes more sense this way.
  • Always Identical Twins
  • Amnesiac Lover- Or so it seems at first; before Acid Tokyo puts the plot in a blender with LSD, its a key part of the starting premise. Whether it can still be classed as that after the lightearted veneer is stripped away is... confusing.
  • And the Adventure Continues... - The Big Bad may be gone, and the Princess may be staying home this time, but the male lead, mascot, and the Yaoi Guys are still walking the multiverse looking for the feathers, albeit to restore two people rather than the one. Also, looking for bodies for those two people along the way, but that's secondary to the feathers.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin - Oh Fai D. Flourite, looking at you.
  • Arc Welding - Huge. For our sake, go read about it on CCS or Tsubasa Wikis.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil - Both played straight and subverted. 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-ou, 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 kinda arguable: he only did it so that Fai's first curse would activate on him instead of someone else. That 'really' worked, didn't it...
  • 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.
  • As You Know - The first chapter had some very artificial-sounding dialogue to fill readers in about the backstory of Sakura and Syaoran.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror - See the Fridge page.
  • 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 Yuko alive and on the edge of death.
    • Partial in chapter 220 - Yuuko has said that she will bring C!Sakura and Cloney 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? What?
  • Badass - Kurogane. As a fanfiction puts it, anyone who hacks off his own arm without batting an eye is fucking hardcore.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil - The various Powers That Be behind the scene can't directly interfere, and constantly refer to mystical rules that they have to follow. And in the case of Yuuko, she can't directly interfere because she was Dead All Along.
  • Battle Couple - Arguably, Kurogane and Fai. They fought together both in the Shura arc (but it's mostly off-screen), Koryu, Outo, Infinity (even with their problems, they were back to back), and in the final battle against Fey Wang Reed.
  • Beam-O-War - Sometimes used as a battle style (particularly by Syaoran when up against magical opponents), the main characters are also entirely capable of traditional melee combat as well.
  • 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 is a bruised and bloody mess.
  • Big Bad - Fei Wong Reed
  • Bishonen - Syaoran, Kurogane, Fai... everyone? Well, it is CLAMP...
    • Kurogane is a bit too manly to be a Bishonen, but Fai fits it to a T.
  • 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, remember ? Sakura-hime might very well be an old lady by the time they visit Clow Country again.
    • It is possible to choose the correct location and the correct time when travelling to the next destination. That is, if the price is right. Otherwise characters would never be able to track each other down or play their Gambit Roulette properly.
  • Blank Book
  • Brainwashed and Crazy - Sorata and most of the villagers during the latter half of the Koryo arc in the episodes from the first season.
  • Break the Cutie - Used several times, and subverted with Fai, because it turns out he was already broken and it was an act.
    • Also played straight: Sakura. Both versions.
    • This is done to Kurogane as a child. It's pretty jarring as we get to know him as this big Badass character, then you meet him as a child and he's pretty much a bundle of joy and happiness, with a loving father and mother. It's then shown how he became so violent and angry at the beginning of the series...
  • Brick Joke - At the beginning, Fai mentions he can't whistle and substitutes a "Pyuu~" sound for it. 14 volumes of pyuu-ing later he DOES whistle for a spell that saves the Tsubasa gang's lives.
    • Seishiro (Cloney's kung-fu guru) 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 - He even has a special fighting system based on kicking (to compensate for lack of depth perception).
  • Calling Your Attacks - Done seriously for most of the series, but lampshaded in one instance where Fai tells Kurogane, "You could at least call your attack's name!" To which the ninja replies, "Screw that!"
  • Cannot Spit It Out - A unique take on an older trope. The Dimension Witch'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 several UnConfessions.
    • And even before that, both R! and C! Sakura's attempts at Love Confession.
  • Canon Dis Continuity - In the animated version. Tokyo Revelations picks up immediately after the escape from the Rekort library, ignoring the filler arcs from the broadcast series.
    • The second OVA skips several more chapters ahead leaving those who only watched the anime 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 - Probably intentional, to the point that the first half of the series (through Piffle or Rekort) appears to be a light-hearted Nakama adventure story, and the second half 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 the father and mother of not-clone!Syaoran. And Mom and Daddy turn out to be grown-up versions of reborn clone!Syaoran and clone!Sakura. Does your head hurt yet? Mine does.
    • 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 xxxHolic) 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. And Yuuko. And Clow Reed.
  • Closed Door Rapport - When Sakura hides into her room leaving Syaoran outside in the chess world.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience - 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 (including C!Syaoran have some degree this, but Kurogane is the most prominent. A great deal of the humor in the series comes from his serious reaction to Fai's and Mokona's provocations.
  • 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.
  • Cyberspace - The Country of Oto, 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 pure 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 XxxHolic) 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. In xxxHolic, the ugly results of bad-faith wishing are visible, as are some (although by no means enough to make sense) of the reasons and details behind the devil-dealing process.
  • Denouement Episode - Actually from the 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. But as typical of CLAMP, the readers never see the reunion itself.
  • Deus Angst Machina - How to summarize the whole story in 3 words. So where do we even begin?
    • Backstory will never NOT be angsty, especially if your name is Fai. "Tsubasa Goes to the Therapist" would be an excellent fic premise.
    • It was done somewhere. I can't find it anymore, though.
    • Poor, poor, Fai's case is fully covered on the trope page.
  • Divide by Zero - 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 Xanatos Gambit) was also created as a response to that wish.
    • And if that wasn't bad enough, it also led to other characters (including Syaoran) making their own attempts at this trope, further distorting an already distorted and illogical reality.
  • Doppelganger - 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.
  • 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 abilites) to prevent his death from massive trauma and shock.
  • Everyone Is Related - Oh yeah all the Sakuras, Syaorans and Watanuki and Big Bad are descendants of Clow. Not to mention all the implications of the absurdly Tangled Family Tree (See below).
    • 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 Inna 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!).
  • Expendable Clone - The clones, if only to Fei Wong.
  • 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 eyepatches 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.
    • Mekyo!
    • He also opens his eyes when he senses a feather.
  • Eye Scream - At least twice, with one more implied. OH CLAMP. OH CLAMP'S FAVORITE FETISH. 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 soul-less 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.
  • Fan Nickname - Ass-Chin (Big Bad Fei Wong Reed) and "Cloney" (Syaoran's heartless clone, sometimes called C!Syaoran in contrast to R!Syaoran). Jr or Syaoran-jr when Real!Syaoran turned out not to be a real at all, but Sakura and Syaoran Li's son taking his father's name. Kurogane is also affectionately referred to as "Big Doggy" by some fans after the alias Fai gave him as an oni hunter. The aliases for the other members were Little Doggy (Syaoran, Little Kitty (Sakura), and Big Kitty (Fai). Sense a theme? "Fai-mommy" and "Kuro-daddy" are also canon nicknames that have taken on a second life in fandom.
    • Tsubasa-kun and Tsubasa-chan
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture - Hanshin is Osaka. Korio is Korea. Oto is Japan in the 20's. LeCourt is a magical London. Piffle and Edonis are generically futuristic. Storm is Mayan. Daroga is modern America. (The last two are anime-only.)
  • Five-Man Band - The corresponding roles are: Syaoran The Hero, Sakura The Chick, Kurogane The Lancer /TheBigGuy, Fai The Smart Guy, and Mokona Team Pet. Note, however, that these roles stick only through the first half of the series. The deconstruction and character development in the second half breaks down the easy categories.
  • Fountain of Youth - When C!Syaoran and C!Sakura seal themselves in the tube, they reverse age from adults back to being 14 years old and become identical to the originals right down to the clothes! Which makes for some interesting results on the reader's eyes when the tube is finally broken.
  • Freak-Out - c!Syaoran, after killing c!Sakura. Doubles as a Tear Jerker in retrospect, since this is probably how he regained his heart. Also, Fai after his curse activates and he kills Sakura.
  • Freaky Friday Flip - Ok. This one's a very weird example. Observe closely and you'll see that C!Sakura and R!Sakura have 'swapped' bodies between themselves. What makes it freaky is that the bodies are of course, completely identical! Basically R!Sakura (A) merged with C!Sakura's body while C!Sakura's soul entered the body of R!Sakura (B) that Ass-Chin lost during the cloning process. See Doppelganger above for an explanation.
  • 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. Or such as when she talks down a tornado. It later brings her flowers.
  • Feather Motif - Sakura's memories take the form of feathers.
  • Funny Background Event - A lot, usually Mokona antagonizing Kurogane (for example, stealing his food during the Hanshin arc, and during the Jade arc when Mokona had to hide from the locals, you can see a suspicious lump moving around under Kurogane's clothes and Kurogane pulling funny faces). Also, a Miyuki-chan makes a cameo running in the background once in every single world.
  • Fusion Dance - Weirdly so, R!Sakura merging with C!Sakura's old body and becoming her 14-year old self as timelines reconnected.
  • Gainax Ending - Well, what did you expect, given the rest of this page? It might be tied up in XxxHolic, which is still running. Might.
    • XxxHolic Chapter 204.5 had a little extension of the Tsubasa group finally travelling back to Clow. But heck! The Holic didn't even tie itself up completely.
    • This is also true for 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), 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 ( after all that, Syaoran gets one feather for Sakura when the bird has millions and doesn't even get to see Syaoran in her memory, simply so they can keep traveling ), and had Syaoran finish 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. And considering that, the manga is even weirder.
  • Gambit Pileup - Summarize at the risk of your own sanity, for it is said that he who can understand what the hell has been going on since Growing the Beard has been lost to eldritch Things from Beyond. True Art Is Incomprehensible, indeed.
    • The last one on the pile shows just how big this gets. The Big Bad is implied to have been created by Clow's wish which in turn...
  • Gambit Roulette - Several, for only a few of which are known about fully (although not fully understood), the combined effect of which is almost to the point where Gambit Pileup becomes inadequate description. At least three different characters are running semi-independent Xanatos Gambits: Clow, Fei Wong Reed, Yuuko, and (very much contrary to what we believed at the beginning of the series) R!Syaoran.
    • Not to mention the predeceased Clow Reed, who apparently put together all of Cardcaptor Sakura, (long before TRC, but also after Clow's death) in preparation for TRC. So is his Xanatos Gambit part and parcel with Yuuko's, or are they slightly competing? Is it supposed to trump Fei Wong Reed, or possibly stuff even further in the future / past ? AARGH.
  • Generation Xerox - The Sakuras and Syaorans. It can't get any more literal than that!
  • Genre Shift - And how. It essentially transformed, in one arc, 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 Fai (Yuui) and his twin were imprisoned at the bottom and top of a tower, respectively, surrounded by unclimable walls, 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.
    • And in the end, Junior has to go and find the rest of them to restore his parents/clone and girlfriend's clone.
  • 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, at least for the first half of the series.
  • Guilt Complex: Syaoran. He blames himself for pretty much 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.
  • Happily Adopted - Cloney was Fujitaka's adopted son in the altered version of Clow Country. Yes, the father of R!Sakura.
    • Clow filled up Fujitaka's place as Sakura's father in a role reversal of the original timeline.
  • Head Pet - Mokona to Kurogane.
  • Heroic Sacrifice - C!Sakura and Cloney!!! The latter attempts to pull a Taking You with Me on the Big Bad. He gets better, since as a clone he could not truly die. And then Chapter 231... Yeah, the clones did just die AGAIN, this time C!Syaoran does to upset the balance of the timeline, hence opening a hole in the space where he, R!Syaoran and Watanuki are trapped... allowing them to escape. C!Sakura dies at the same time. Head hurt yet?
    • Cloney in fact returns about 5 minutes after his first heroic sacrifice as Syaoran Sr. along with C! Sakura only to let all 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...
  • Hot Shoujo Dad - Li Syaoran. Though the man looks like his son, the look in Syaoran Sr.'s eyes leaves little doubt that he's the real deal.
    • The fact that his son wasn't so bad looking doesn't hurt, given how identical they are.
      • Also Fujitaka and King Clow Reed. This is CLAMP after all.
  • Identical Grandson - Or son, really, being Syaoran and his son...Syaoran. We're confused too. 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 - same as the confusion above.
    • It must be noted that, as of Chapter 223, after an explanation as to the relationship between father and son, we are even more confused about the Syaorans.
  • 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.
  • Killed Off for Real - This is stated to be a fundamental rule of the multiverse (although its impact is undermined somewhat by the series' penchant for twins and clones). 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging - In Chapter 218, Mokona mentions being incredibly confused as to what's going on, especially with the fact that Junior looks just like his father and his mother looks exactly like Sakura. Oh, and they've suddenly appeared to save the day. By this point, the reader likely agrees.
  • Left Hanging - Major one here. Sakura and the whole of Clow Country are themselves a paradox as [[spoiler: they too existed only thanks to the Stable Time Loops (see below). Ret-Gone C!Sakura having left her feather in the Tokyo reservoir. And R!Sakura even admits this while they're trapped by Big Bad in his tube. But 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.
    • Well by this point even God admitted they too were lost.
  • Life or Limb Decision - Specifically, Kurogane amputating his arm for Fai's life. Completely without hesitation, too.
  • 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.
    • What? No one's mentioned the mirror Chu'nyan used in Koryo to wake the villagers from that arc's villain's spell?
  • Mama Bear + Papa Wolf - In chapter 217, 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 - Hey, guess what Syaoran and Sakura's real names were? TSUBASA... and TSUBASA. Meaning wings. Which come in pairs. Not to mention the title of the series now meaning it's about Tsubasa, as in a person, rather than "Sakura's" lost feathers ("Tsubasa" meaning both feather and wing)
  • Mecha-Mooks - The enemy robot ninjas, and it turns out the mooks are actually souless attempts at clones deemed expendable by Fei Wong.
  • Mind Screw - AND HOW! 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.
    • How to sum up the story in just 2 words. As for examples, Some of them include...
    • Which Me? - Keeping track all the Sakuras and Syaorans can be this, especially when more than one of either is in the same panel. This gets so bad in chapters 226-231 that you can't even figure out who's who from the dialogues, as they could easily be interpreted as being spoken by the clones or the originals.
    • Not only that. After the time loop set up in the Acid Tokyo arc is revealed, the entire plot becomes confusing.
    • The Multiverse as such! Just how many darn versions of each character are there anyway?? The confusions of who's who is quite understandable.
    • CHA-PT-ER 223!!... Aaargh! Can't the fonts get any bigger?
    • The Ridiculously Tangled Family Tree and the ever changing relationships added over existing ones, which are just one part of the HUGE Gambit Pileup.
    • And now the Big Bad is confused. This may be a good sign that we should all just stop trying to understand the plot and accept anything and everything that CLAMP throws at us, if we can...
      • Perhaps it's easier to accept the fact that all logic just got thrown out the window.
      • That and it's a good indication Ass-Chin probably should have stuck with a Xanatos Gambit instead of the full Gambit Pileup
    • The only place where effect follows cause is when Clow started screwing up the dimensions with an accidental act of Power Incontinence. After that any attempt to trace the law of causality (especially when you thrown in multiverse crossovers) will result in permanent brain damage.
    • The less speculated about the plot, the better. All attempts to Mind Screwdriver this story only create even more Mind Screw than ever.
    • Not to mention incredible amounts of Arc Welding and Canon Welding.
    • And to thrown in the rest, Temporal Paradox + Timey-Wimey Ball + You Already Changed the Past = Brain Damage.
    • And MOST importantly, now that the Holic has ended, even Word of God has admitted that they too are rather confused over how everything turned out and want to re-read it. Yup! You read that right! EVERYONE'S CONFUSED! A feat unlike any story ever seen before...
    • Did you notice that this series has broken the World Record for the single handed number of references to this trope? It is no YMMV to consider that this would be one of the all-time most (if not THE most) confusing manga/anime storyline ever.
  • Mismatched Eyes - C!Syaoran, after the second grisliest scene in the series thus far.
  • More Than Mind Control - (A subtrope of Stockholm Syndrome.) 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.
  • 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... 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.
  • Nakama - The group has twice elected to continue the journey despite knowing it was quite likely futile.
  • Names to Know In Anime - Cast
  • 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.
    • The Big Bad is implied to have been created because of this as well. Oops...
  • 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.
    • Happened some more times, with C!Syaoran dying in chapter 210 and even more recently with FWR, C/F!Syaoran and C/M!Sakura
  • Occult Blue Eyes - Fay's magic is explicitly tied with the blue color in his eyes, which is weird.
  • Oedipus Rex - Syaoran. Specifically, the real one. He's been impersonating his father and romancing an a princess who is the original from whom his mother was cloned since he was seven.
    • And that is precisely what his ahem...parents want since they see the two as their original selves. See Shipper on Deck below. Poor 7 year old Tsubasa Syaoran was totally clueless about the time loop and the Gambit Roulettes of everyone including his parents until Wham! Episode came along. And also the whole thing had become inevitably pre-destined by this point.
    • Also, 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, its debatable which generation is imitating which. Time travel, reincarnation and a really tangled family tree with ever changing relationships piling up on top of each other make things confusing, yes.
  • The Other Darrin - Kusanagi and Tomoyo got their dub VAs replaced in the OVAs.
  • 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 that 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.
  • Perma Shave
  • Phenotype Stereotype - Fai is blond and blue-eyed, and in one chapter has some serious objections to sushi and chopsticks. 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 a CLAMP work, 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! Phew!
  • 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, What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic
  • Planet of the Apes Ending - Clow country is the Tokyo from the Acid Tokyo arc. The reservoir under the temple is the one under the Government Building.
  • Really Seven Hundred 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. It was long enough for everybody else in their country to die, so it was probably a while.
  • 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 Asschin, though Asschin 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 Big Bad 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 Divide by Zero 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.
  • San Dimas Time
  • 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 Yuko so Fai will kill her, rather than Syaoran jr.
  • 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.
  • So Good We Mentioned It Twice - Mind Screw, Mind Screw! Issues repeated two to the power of two times two plus another two across this page (and mentioned again on some others) that does not include Lampshading it once more. And that's precisely why it's So Good We Mentioned It Twice.
  • 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.
    • Fay: 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. Such are the complexities of Hitsuzen...It's so bad that what at one point appeared to be a major Divide by Zero on Syaoran's part turns out to be a part of these.
    • 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 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. Argh!
  • 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 mor 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 Fay activates, he literally shuts down a dimension with his magic. This also highlights his Power Degeneration.
  • 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. [1]
  • 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 essentially the self-proclaimed mother of the group.
    • Actually, it was Mokona that titled Fai the Team Mom. Fai, at the time, was doing everything he could to subtly stay unattached and uninvolved without suspicion, as he was a Death Seeker / Martyr Without a Cause and didn't want to cause more pain then necessary. Cue Kurogane attempting to set him straight for arcs.
  • 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 recently 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-koku to play King, then died there, split his soul into two and was then reincarnated into Eriol and Fujitaka. Whew.
  • Time Travel - CLAMP's brought in variations of every category on the trope page...
  • 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 Tense Trouble - We at TV Tropes aren't the only ones suffering serious difficulties with the script.
  • 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 Mokona's special power. Since the cast themselves are from 3 different worlds, if they get separated from her, they can't even understand each other.
    • This is demonstrated early on and played for laughs again later when Fai and Kurogane get marooned together for six months with no translation. Kurogane's language is close enough to that of the country they're in for basic communication, but Fai spends that time "doing things that didn't need words". Hint hint.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 error 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.
  • 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 most recent arc aka the showdown with Fei Wang (aka Asschin) qualifies, as CLAMP continually puts off explaining exactly what the freaking hell is going on: 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 Toya and Yukito apparently in their CSS clothing in one of the panels.
    • Presenting Chapter 223, in which the reader finally goes brain-dead from all the insanity.
  • 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.
  • Window Love - Sakura and Syaoran at the beginning of the manga.
  • You Fail Biology Forever - All 3 (actually 2) generations of Syaorans have the exact same DNA, 50% of which appeared out of nowhere.

Notes

  1. To make it short: The real "Syaoran" is the son of the reincarnation of his own clone! In a verse where reincarnations are visually and possibly genetically identical to their previous life, no less. His mother, by the way, is his girlfriend's clone's reincarnation. Now taking bets on whether or not he himself is going to father yet another of himself. Also factor in possible parents and grandparents given the multiple RetCons of the Clow royal family and what we know from Cardcaptor Sakura.
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