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A color spread with the three guardians in their true forms. This is the third (!!!) color spread in a row and second in a row with dark background. It’s also the third time there is a color spread without Sakura being present (these are getting more and more common).
We are offered a glimpse into Naoko’s script for the play — so no time jumps, it will take some time before the actual play.
The story is set in a different world but similar to our own and shows an Alice that is kind and born in a family that loves her. That Alice has special dreams that can foresee the future. Judging by that alone, it’s hard to connect this Alice with Akiho, given that she wasn’t necessarily born in a loving family (we only know for a fact that her deceased mother loved her). And that part about the different world, I am not sure how much it’s related to the actual story. It could just mean different culture instead of a different dimension literally.
That Alice has a black cat (the original Alice from the Lewis Carroll novels also had one) that had been abandoned — sounds familiar? Which other character from this series behaves like a stray cat and has no family? — Now, this Alice is easier to connect to Akiho.
Her family thought she was a bit weird but they still loved her — again, I’m not sure Akiho’s family loved her (apart form her mother).
(That last panel on page 4 reminded me so much of CLOVER).
That Alice shares with her family about a strange and worrisome dream that she had where there were talking trees and other surreal things. The cat guided her through this world and the strangest thing about it was that time seemed to go back and forth as though someone was playing with it.
That Alice searched and searched for an exit until she found the Red Queen (Momo? And is there a White Queen as well?).
Now, this Alice could be Sakura as well. The black cat is most definitely an allusion to Kaito, and in many ways Kaito is guiding Sakura around (many situations were triggered and caused by him). The loving family and foretelling dreams would also fit.
Kero and Suppi notice the similarities with what Sakura herself had been going through and Suppi credits that to the fact that authors have some sort of sixth sense for things that happened in the past or will happen in the future (is Ohkawa-sensei like that too, I wonder?).
I was happy to see Suppi and Kero doing good old-school “guardian work” by filling Sakura in about things. It’s been a really long time since they told something new and useful to Sakura. This time, we learned that the “Book of Time” (or as it is currently known as, “Alice in Clockland”) had once belonged to none other than Clow Reed.
We learned that the book it’s more than a rare object that contains powerful magic, that it is almost like a forbidden book, but that even so it wasn’t enough for Clow to do what he intended to. According to Momo, the last time the book was used was over 100 years ago and that could very well mean that Clow was its last user. Also according to Momo, the outcome of using the book did not turn out well. What did Clow want to do with the book’s magic? Something to do with Yuuko I would guess? Did he try to use the book after he realized that him wishing for Yuuko not to die caused her time to stop? Was he trying to fix things but actually ended up making things even worse? Either way, this smells like a retcon and it seems like we will soon get deeper and deeper into the Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC connections.
Also, there is a theory out there that Akiho’s family are actually the Reeds. Now that we know that Clow actually had the book at one point, this theory gets more depth.
Sakura’s body memory remembers having spoken to Momo, the book’s guardian, even though her brain memory doesn’t, and she wants to speak to her (and the book?) again. It’s interesting because it seems like this book has some sort of personality (choosing the owner, not wanting to be tracked down). I don’t know if The Clow/Sakura Book has a similar personality.
Everyone close to Sakura are supporting her in following her intuition, much like they agreed to do a couple of chapters ago. Tomoyo will begin preparing the “final battle” (?) costume and what an adorable moment when Sakura tells her that thanks to that she will know for sure that everything will be fine. The old Sakura would feel embarrassed and nervous about acting in a play. This one is so secure and confident! Such a difference!
What’s with both Sakura and Akiho saying that they feel like they are bound to play the Alice role? xD I mean, it’s obvious for us as readers, of course, but I wonder if there is any bigger meaning to this? And right after Akiho herself points out that it’s weird she feels this way considering she doesn’t have any magic power and then Kaito tries to reach out as if he was going to say something. Suspicious.
Kaito’s supportive behavior towards Akiho playing Alice is exactly what I would expect from him — partly because he is supportive of Akiho but partly because that is likely something that will come in handy for his plan…
(Momo seems so pissed off!)
Debilitated!Kaito makes another appearance after Akiho is out of sight. Again Kaito specifically mentions his body not responding or is running out of time, as if when the time runs down he is going to leave this shape and form into another.
Kaito has such a sad expression on the last page. It could be because he is in pain, of course, but he doesn’t look malicious at all at the thought of finally getting his hands on the magic he has been wishing for.
And what’s with that ominous “the story is about to begin”? The story is about to END, CLAMP, END! I DON’T WANT ANOTHER ARC!!!!! PLEASE STOP HIM SAKURA!!!!
The updated list of cards secured so far:
29 pages for the third chapter of volume 12 — 84 pages for volume 12 so far.
Next chapter will be released on November 29!