Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE 15 by CLAMP: B+

From the back cover:
Kurogane, Syaoran, Fai, Mokona, and Princess Sakura have come upon a desert of shifting sands and ruined skyscrapers. This postapocalyptic nightmare is all that remains of the booming metropolis that was Tokyo, and the survivors are battling for the few life-giving resources left in the world. As the five dimension travelers search for another piece of the princess’s lost memories, they will all be tested to their limits in ways they never expected!

When did I start to like Kurogane so much? It’s crept up on me unawares. My favorite thing about him is how observant he is. It was Kurogane who, a few volumes back, knew something was up with Tomoyo and her Dragonfly Race. It’s been he who’s noticed Syaoran’s shifts in personality, and it’s he who initiates a fascinating conversation with Fai in this volume about how the latter has been keeping his distance while wearing a “constant grin.” What I love is that no one ever cried, “Gee, Kurogane! You sure are observant!” Instead, the character trait is portrayed with subtle consistency, and I really like that.

There’s a lot to like plot-wise in this volume, too. The gang from X is almost all here, but with some differences. The groups that Kamui and Fuuma lead are reversed from how they were in the X manga, and Subaru and Seishirou are missing. All of Tokyo is battling over water—a precious resource in this country—and it’s a pretty interesting landscape for our leads to be thrust into. More importantly, there is a major development concerning the villain’s plans that also seems like it might shed light on Syaoran’s mysterious origins.

Every time I resume reading this series I realize anew how entertaining it can be. Some chapters are uneventful, and I find it hard to care very much about Syaoran and Sakura, but I really adore Fai and Kurogane and anything that pertains to them.

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