I don’t feel like posting Software Engineering or Management posts yet, so here’s something different: a graph mapping the complicated plot of the recently concluded series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.

Spoilers for Tsubasa and its sister series xxxHolic below the cut.

Timelines Map

click for larger image

Arrows going right represent timelines.

Colored line arrows represent individuals or groups crossing dimensions/timelines.

Boxes and ticks on the lines represent events. The numbers label these events as well as provide the order in which they are presented in the manga.

Label Explanations:

0 – The events of Cardcaptor Sakura

  • Both manga and anime seem to be compatible with TRC.

1 – TRC starts

  • Stuff happens in the ruins and the feathers are scattered to different dimensions
  • Yukito sends Syaoran and Sakura (light magenta arrow) to Yuuko

2 – The team gathers at Yuuko’s shop

  • Kurogane, Fai, and Mokona join the party (magenta arrow)
  • After paying the price, they start traveling worlds (Travel A)

Travel A – Mostly filler when considering the overall plot

  • Syaoran and Kurogane’s pasts are revealed

3 – The party reaches the post-apocalyptic Tokyo world

4 – Shit hits the fan

  • The real Syaoran is freed from his prison by Xing Huo (latter is killed by Fei Wong Reed)
  • Clone!Syaoran returns Syaoran’s eye and becomes an uncontrollable robot
  • Clone!Syaoran tears off Fai’s eye to retain himself. He also get a crapload of magic to boot
  • Clone!Syaoran starts traveling worlds to violently retrieve feathers
  • Fai becomes a vampire to survive his injury, Kurogane becomes his food source (to the delight of fangirls)
  • Sakura leaves a feather to help the people in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office to survive
  • The party starts traveling again
  • Syaoran takes the place of Clone!Syaoran

Travel B – Primarily Infinity World

  • Fai’s angsty past is revealed
  • Sakura figures out Fai’s curse and bets on a possible loophole
  • Loophole works: Fai’s curse is triggered when Sakura gains the power of the two feathers, but the latter doesn’t die because her body and soul was split and thrown to two different dimensions
  • Party’s goal now is to retrieve both halves of Sakura

5 – Ceres, then Nihon

  • more of Fai’s angsty past is revealed
  • Kurogane kills Ashura
  • Ceres implodes (the other curse), Fai and Kurogane escape only by sacrificing the latter’s arm and sword
  • they take a short break at Nihon
  • Seishirou beats the crap out of Syaoran, but eventually gives up the feather to allow the latter to go to the dream world where Sakura’s soul is located
  • Clone!Syaoran shows up and the two fight: Sakura dies in the process!
  • Sakura is revealed to be another clone!
  • The party prepares for the final confrontation with Fei Wong Reed. They travel to his location: in the ruins of Clow Country

6 – Return to Clow Country

  • The party blows up (not really) a time looped town to proceed
  • At the ruins, Syaoran reveals that it was all his fault!

7 – Young Syaoran (green arrow) travels to Clow Country

  • The price of traveling was the Star Staff
  • His father also gives him his (the father’s) name, “Li Syaoran”, and his sword
  • Both, of course, hint that Syaoran’s parents were Sakura and Syaoran from CCS
  • Boy meets girl.. yadda yadda yadda

8 – Fei Wong Reed screws everything up

  • Because of a moment’s hesitation, Syaoran fails to protect Sakura and the latter becomes cursed to die on her 14th birthday
  • Syaoran’s 7 day time limit meant that he was dragged back to his world after being beat up by FWR

9 – Syaoran decides to go back to Clow Country and try to save Sakura

  • Syaoran searched that world for a cure but ultimately failed

10 – Where shit hit the fan before

  • Time limit is up and Sakura is about to die
  • Nadeshiko sacrifices herself to stop time so that Syaoran could do something about the curse.
  • Driven by guilt and desperation, Syaoran wishes to turn back time – big mistake
  • Time is reversed, but an alternate world was created in the process (Nadeshiko is dead, Fujitaka is not the king, etc)
  • Fei Wong Reed captures Syaoran and imprisons him
  • Clones are created for the two (green arrow) The real Sakura is still in limbo because of the reversal of time.
  • Watanuki (brown arrow) was also accidentally created from the reversal of time, but Yuuko prevents FWR from capturing him too
  • End flashback

11 – Confrontation with Clone!Syaoran

  • Clone!Syaoran tricks FWR into believing that he killed the real Syaoran, making him open the barrier to his domain
  • Clone!Syaoran attacks FWR, but gets killed in the process
  • Kurogane and Fai (who gets back his eye) continue the attack and kills FWR…
  • …which turns out to be Kyle Rondart disguising as FWR

12 – FWR’s plan

  • FWR reveals that the final feather was the feather they left at Tokyo i.e. Clow Country is the distant future of Tokyo
  • The party sees an opportunity to finally rescue Sakura, and Syaoran is able to do so…
  • …which apparently was FWR’s plan all along.
  • That move allowed time to continue for a certain someone: Yuuko. (Translation: Yuuko is going to die.)

13 – Syaoran’s parents’ plan

  • Having an idea what was going to happen, Syaoran’s parents decided to trap themselves in that tube/world/thing so that they could Deus Ex Machina at the right moment
  • They send the tube to Yuuko via Touya and Yukito

14 – The tube

  • Yuuko breaks open the tube, Syaoran’s parents arrive to rescue the two wearing the same get up as the two

15 – CCS cameo appearance

  • It turns out that Syaoran’s mother isn’t Cardcaptor Sakura: the Star Staff was given to her by CCS Sakura in a dream

16 – Yuuko reveals everything

  • In a dark (dream?) world, Clone!Syaoran is surprised to see that he is still alive. Yuuko is also there and explains that she rescued his body.
  • She also reveals that she also saved Clone!Sakura’s body (which promptly shows up in that world)
  • Yuuko explains that since they are created beings, they can be reborn. The price has already been paid by Clow and Yuuko.
  • Yuuko then reveals the whole reason for TRC: that she died and Clow accidentally allowed her to live through a loophole in CLAMP multiverse logic: by stopping her time
  • Driven by guilt, Clow does the whole transfer-my-power-to-cards and get-reincarnated-into-two-people stuff (i.e. the plot of CCS) and travels to the Alt. Clow Country (blue arrow) to be the king. He dies afterwards.
  • FWR doesn’t want to be 1up-ed by Clow and plots to resurrect Yuuko on his own (i.e. the plot of TRC)
  • Of course, Clow and Yuuko doesn’t want FWR to win, so they plotted against him
  • Yuuko (black arrow) somehow makes her way into the xxxHolic world.

17 – Yuuko makes the clones live new lives

  • After explaining, Yuuko reincarnates the clones (light magenta arrow) in a new world (the xxxHolic world)
  • Yuuko finally disappears, and Watanuki vows to wait for her

18 – The WTF moment

  • The two meet again (with a Alt. Rayearth cameo) in Hong Kong.
  • They fall in love, get married, and (here comes the WTF) become Syaoran’s parents.
  • Yes, it’s a freaking time loop.
  • Back at the epic struggle between the heroes and the villain, this fact is revealed. Kurogane vows to bop the two in the head for “dying”, while Mokona is still confused.

19 – Climax

  • With the four’s (2 Syaoran, 2 Sakura) powers, they repair the multiverse
  • Kurogane and Fai kill Fei Wong Reed
  • The clones disappear (since their maker is now dead) and become feathers
  • Syaoran and Watanuki, being paradoxical entities (born out of nothing, resulted from a time loop), paid their own prices to escape FWR’s final trap
  • With the timelines reparied, the party is returned to the reservoir.
  • Syaoran and Sakura absorbs the feathers of their counterparts

20 – Epilogue

  • Turns out the whole timeline was repaired (Nadeshiko lives, Fujitaka is still king)
  • The clones’ memories are sealed within the feathers so they can still be considered as alive
  • Obligatory last chapter love confessions
  • Syaoran and Watanuki’s prices to make sure the multiverse isn’t borked revealed: the former can’t stay in one world for too long while the latter is stuck in one place.
  • The party (sans Sakura) heads off to find a proper world where the clones can be reincarnated.
  • Just before heading off, Syaoran (whose name was only given to him by his father) and Sakura (whose name is just a nickname) reveal their true names to each other.
  • The end.

X – xxxHOLiC starts

  • Apparently, most of the first chapter is a lie: Watanuki just forgot about it

XR – xxxHOLiC Rou

  • Watanuki takes over Yuuko’s shop
  • currently ongoing


There’s one important thing missing in this graph: the Watanuki Falls event. This occurs simultaneously at 4 and before 14 in the xxxHolic timeline.

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6 Responses to Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Timelines Map

  1. carmen caracol says:

    THANK YOU! This is the most concise explanation I’ve found, especially because it doesn’t get caught up in the frivolous (though certainly decorative) details… I loved the manga, but I just needed some clarifications. Thanks! xo

  2. OMG I have been searching for this all my life. I am a die hard CLAMP fan, but even for me (with a degree in History) it can be hard to keep up with all the different events and when they happened.

  3. asdasasfa asdasfasda says:

    Very solid explaination. So basically CCS has nothing to so with TRC other than the star staff being given from a dream and use as a payment. Everything is wrapped up within TRC itself with Watanuki’s background explained.

  4. acitro593 says:

    I don’t see the chart at all, but this was a good explanation!

  5. critika says:

    thanks loved reading the manga just got a little confused went over my head after the tokyo arc but just kept reading through to the end just finished now and spent several hours scouring the internet for a concise explanation of the plot and this is the best, most concise and clear explanation i have found yet. thank you.

    p.s. *SPOILERS* why is sakura/syaoran’s real name both tsubasa? i mean i know it means wings in japanese (i am learning japanese) but it just really struck me as very out of the blue. do you have any explanation for that?

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