“To create a story that ‘links all of CLAMP’s works together’.”
Where did the idea for Tsubasa come from?
At first, we thought that instead of creating “something like a magazine”, we could try to create an “incredible” story. As we thought in this direction, we decided that instead of creating a real setting with real people, we could create a story that is based mainly on fantasy. All four of us accepted this idea. Then we added the idea that this time, we would try “to link all of CLAMP’s works till now together” in this story. Therefore, in Tsubasa, starting with Sakura and Syaoran, characters from all of CLAMP’s works till now will gradually appear.
By the way… I remember that when CLAMP first debuted, you have mentioned that you wanted to create a story like that.
Yes. We’ve always wanted to, and up till now, in works such as X we have done something similar. But this time, we want to create a story that “links all of CLAMP’s works together”. However, because of this, we had to create a character “who understands all the relationships within and between all of CLAMP’s works”, and that person is Ichihara Yuuko (from XXXHOLiC).
That connects XXXHOLiC to the story (Tsubasa) then?
This is also something we’ve always wanted to do, that is “to create a story that is seen from 2 points of view”. However, if they are related only in the beginning portion of the story, then the timing of the 2 stories must be synchronized in order to make it easier for the reader to understand. It would be great if they were published in weekly magazines, especially two magazines that are published within a short time of each other. But we’ve never had the opportunity. This time, thanks to both Weekly Shonen Magazine and Young Magazine, this wish of ours can finally be realized.
First, XXXHOLiC began to serialize in Young Magazine.
When Chobits was finished in Young Magazine and we started thinking about what kind of story to serialize next, we thought that this time we could try to create an “adult story” that isn’t about H (hentai). We wanted to create a protagonist who does not personally experience or decide the things that happen. A protagonist who couldn’t care less. Then, we’ll put him with the character we mentioned earlier, the one “who understands all the relationships within and between all of CLAMP’s works”. After much thought, XXXHOLiC was born. XXXHOLiC started serializing first, then after preparing for the appearance of characters from CLAMP’s other works, we connected it (XXXHOLiC) with Tsubasa. In XXXHOLiC in the May 19th edition of Young Magazine, Sakura and Syaoran appear before Yuuko. Then Tsubasa started serializing in May 21st edition of Weekly Shonen Magazine published in the same week, in which Sakura and Syaoran also appear before Yuuko. This was the plan; both sides ending with Syaoran saying, “Please save Sakura!”. As they had to appear in the same week, the people at the magazines had to calculate when to start serializing both stories. We gave them a lot of trouble (laughs). The question – “Why did Sakura and Syaoran suddenly appear before Yuuko?” is answered after reading Tsubasa. On the other hand, for those who have only read Weekly Shonen Magazine and have things they don’t understand, can refer to Young Magazine.
Then, there is the feeling that you can’t miss anything on both sides.
That would be great (laughs). I’ve heard that the number of readers waiting to buy manga in book form (tankoban) rather than buy manga magazines has risen. It’s such a rare chance that we are serializing (a related story) in two magazines, so, if it is possible, I hope our readers will support us, and buy the magazines to enjoy the story as it develops.
We are able to see the characters that appear in Young Magazine on Mondays, then on Wednesdays, we are able to see them from a different point of view in Weekly Shonen Magazine, sounds fun!
Thank you. Of course, the stories still make sense even if you read only one of them. However, we feel that it would be more fun for readers if they read both. Yet, no matter how much effort we put into drawing the same backgrounds (for both manga) in the same week, it won’t show in the tankoban (laughs).
Will CLAMP’s other characters also appear in XXXHOLiC?
Yes. However, that is not the main plot. Devilish Yuuko ordering Watanuki around, while granting the many wishes of her clients – that is the main plot of the story.
The Sakura and Syaoran who appear in Tsubasa, are they related to the ones who appear in Card Captor Sakura?
The characters that appear in Tsubasa, unless it is specially pointed out, are basically different from their counterparts in the original stories. They are completely unrelated. Our idea is that they exist as different people in different worlds. Therefore, from the point of view of Yuuko, who is able to see everything clearly, the Sakura in Card Captor Sakura and the Sakura in Tsubasa both exist. They are completely different entities, only their basic persona is the same. They have, as Yuuko puts it, “the same soul”. So, even though Chii from Chobits and Ashura-oh from RG Veda appear in Tsubasa, they are all unique entities.
Will characters from your finished works also appear elsewhere?
We’ve thought about that. However, as CLAMP’s works are so detailed, it might cause confusion if we refer back to them. Characters who have died should live happily in worlds other than Tsubasa (laughs). Basically, we want readers who haven’t read the stories the characters are originally from to be able to understand this story. Yet it would be more interesting for readers who have read the original stories. While enjoying the original stories, they can be attracted to characters that have not yet appeared (in Tsubasa). The characters that we have created till now are all very lovable, so we are very happy to be able to create for them this “alternative life that might exist”.
How did you come up with this name – Tsubasa?
First of all, we used katakana for the name; moreover, we avoided using a made-up name. Using a noun (tsubasa = wings) is simple and it is also expresses the world-view of the story. This noun, “tsubasa”, expresses the idea of the protagonist traveling to different places. In addition, “tsubasa” as a thing, has a very big effect later on. These are the things the title represents.
Why did you use the subtitle – “RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”?
It’s because we had wanted to use it as the main title (laughs). “RESERVoir” means “storage” and “CHRoNiCLE” means “record”. Both meanings are related to the story.
Are Syaoran and Sakura both the protagonists?
Syaoran is the protagonist, because this time Sakura is the heroine.
Did you realize that this is a “shonen manga” (manga for boys)?
We think we have already included two themes commonly found in shonen manga – “you must work hard” and “you must become stronger”. So we can translate these themes as – “you must work hard for the one you love” and “you must become stronger to save the one you love no matter what”. We did not set out on this theme because this is a shonen manga, or because it would be more like a shonen manga this way, we just wanted to create a story that is in CLAMP’s style.
There are so many CLAMP characters, why did you choose “Syaoran” to be the hero?
We do have a lot of characters, but those who are successful in love and are able to live happily together in the end, are very few (laughs). Though the couple (Akira & Utako) in 20 Mensho can be said to be happily in love, it is rather difficult to make Akira the hero of a shonen manga. Anyway, very few of our couples have the perfect happy ending, most of them end up either with broken relationships, or one of them dies, or both of them die… (laughs). Therefore, we feel that a story about “protecting the one you love, and becoming strong for that person” suits Syaoran very well.
How old is Syaoran in Tsubasa?
We drew him based on what he would look like at 14-15 years old. He is older than in Card Captor Sakura.
Is it hard work serializing in 2 magazines?
We’re just simply very busy (laughs). Moreover, the manuscripts for Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC are different, so we have to be careful not to mix them up.
No matter in Tsubasa or XXXHOLiC, Yuuko is a person who “understands everything that goes on in CLAMP’s world”, isn’t she?
Yes. For example, in a recent chapter (Chapter 11 of XXXHOLiC), Yuuko seems to know Subaru (Subaru Sumeragi from Tokyo Babylon and X). We want Yuuko’s knowledge “to show in these minor places”.
So, it’s not at all strange that she knows these people systematically?
Yes. If you look closely, you’ll see that she actually talks about the recent happenings of many characters in bits and pieces. Of course, her daily routine is only receiving clients, accepting their requests and doing her job (laughs).
To conclude, please say something to the fans.
XXXHOLiC actually belongs to a very unclear category (laughs), we’d be very grateful if readers would take a look at it. Tsubasa is, as we have mentioned, a story that even readers who don’t know anything about CLAMP’s other characters and stories can understand, therefore we hope that readers who have not yet read this story will take a look at it. Though readers who have read our other works have expressed the feeling that – “they never thought that the unfortunate people (from CLAMP’s other works) would be able to live so happily in this (Tsubasa) world” (laughs). A few new characters have also appeared in Tsubasa, we hope you’ll appreciate them. Finally, no matter which story comes out, we hope that our readers will buy the magazines to experience the fun you won’t be able to experience in the tankoban. Thank you
Translated from Japanese by unknown.
Interview originally published in Puff magazine (Zassosha). It is unclear which issue of said magazine this interview was published, but judging by the answers, it looks like it was published around the time the serializations of Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC started, which means circa 2003.
If you are the translator of this interview or if you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating this or other interviews, please contact me.