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The main story is finally back after 3-months break.
The color spread is a perfect mirrored illustration of Sakura and Akiho. They are in synch. Where there are six-pointed stars on one, there are crystals on the other, in their surroundings down to the details in their dresses and accessories. The tagline says that the two Alices’ destinies finally begins to move. Finally. Do I smell climax?
So indeed Sakura used one of her cards, SIEGE, as suggested by her holding the Dream Wand at the last page of Chapter 54. She is strong but not yet strong enough to be able to resist Kaito’s magic without the help of one of her cards. Makes sense. She was only able to secure herself inside SIEGE, otherwise she would definitely have secured Syaoran and Akiho as well.
Kaito makes sure to highlight the fact that Sakura was the first person to resist his magic. Sasuga Sakura-chan. Kaito’s facial expression here tells me that he knew this moment would come.
There is a moment where Kaito and Sakura exchange looks, right after Kaito tells Sakura what he knows about Syaoran. I think Sakura is seeing sincerity in his words. She is worried about Syaoran and if Kaito could be somewhat of a threat to him.
I did wonder in Chapter 54 what would happen to Momo and CLAMP, or should I say Kaito, conveniently removed her from the scene. I understand that from a storytelling point of view, and for Kaito’s own benefit, it’s better if she is not around. I think Sakura does not know who Momo is at this point, given that time was rewound the last and only time they spoke to each other.
Momo is surprised that Sakura was able to use a card in such short amount of time and reveals that not even Akiho’s mother predicted that Sakura would become this strong, in a moment very similar to Clow also not being able to predict that Sakura would fall in love for Syaoran and not Yukito. Stronger characters make their own destiny, in CLAMP.
Nice shot of Akiho’s mother. I want to see more of her….. =(
I like to think that Kaito just pretends he was going to attack Syaoran just so Sakura would do something. I don’t think Kaito would go as far as hurting him. We’ll never know because sure enough, Sakura casts TRANSFER for the first time (I believe?).
Sakura and Kaito’s positions are exchanged (transferred); Kaito ends up inside SIEGE while Sakura stays outside. She runs towards Syaoran and Akiho but of course, Kaito’s spell eventually affects her given that she is no longer protected by SIEGE. It is worth mentioning that she was able to take a few steps before Kaito’s magic kicked in (that’s how powerful our girl is at this stage).
Kaito’s expression in page 15 is so tender and sweet. He is remembering how happy Akiho was feeling when talking about her friends. Which goes to show that a) Kaito really cares about her; and b) he wouldn’t do anything to damage the source of Akiho’s happiness (her friends).
Due to the size of SIEGE’s field, the top part of Kaito’s staff actually stayed outside it, allowing him to perform magic (I see what you did here, CLAMP. Very clever).
If you thought Kaito would be too tired or on the verge of death to turn back time again, well… think again. He went and did exactly that, despite being all sweaty and tired. I do think/hope this is the very last time he does it because Sakura is on to his sh*t like never before.
I wanna point out that Kaito appeared to me very young in this chapter. I don’t know if I am getting more and more used to the idea that he was always meant to be a couple of years younger than Touya and Yukito or if it’s CLAMP’s currently art style where everyone looks 3 years younger, but the truth is that he definitely does not look like an adult, particularly in this chapter.
So, time is rewound but not before Kaito making a final plead: he asks for Sakura to create the card he wants (will she remember that later?). This pretty much confirms that neither TIME nor The Mirror are the cards Kaito is after (although they can both be of a difference importance).
So time is rewound but Sakura is aware of it now. She is not completely aware of things, but she knows Kaito can use magic. She cleverly casts SIEGE to protect herself, Syaoran, Kero and Suppi from any outside magic and reveals that fact to the other three.
I understand how turning back time has happened way too many times, but we have been seeing how Sakura comes back stronger and more resistant to it, and this time she actually remembers things and was nearly able to fully block/resist the spell. Let’s put it this way: Kaito is too weak now (or so I think) to turn back time while Sakura is too strong against it.
But more importantly, we know that the showdown couldn’t possibly happen at the Botanical Garden. We know it’s gonna be at the play so the turning back time was somehow expected, though rightfully unwanted.
THINGS WILL BE DISCUSSED (I hope) between Sakura, Syaoran and her guardians. Syaoran is technically still under Kaito’s spell, because time was rewound, but I wonder if his spell will loose effect inside SIEGE or if Sakura will simply lift it again.
This is it, no time to waste anymore. Our girl knows something is up and things will be different from now on.
The updated list of cards secured so far:
25 pages for the first chapter of volume 12 — a relatively short chapter for the beginning of a volume. This could mean that they are making room for 6 chapters (and not 5) for volume 12 and thus ending volume 12 with Chapter 60. Yes, a perfectly round number. Could Chapter 60 be the final chapter of the arc?
Next chapter will be released on September 29!