Princess Sakura and her friend Shaoran live in the World of Clow. Shaoran is an archeologist who is continuing his (adoptive) father's work by excavating the mysterious ruins outside the city. One evening, Sakura is overtaken by a mysterious force, and she wanders into the ruins. Shaoran finds her there, and he grabs her just as she is sprouting wings...
It turns out that the wings are her memories -- and she has lost them. The high-priest Yukito sends Shaoran to the Dimensional Witch, in order to gain the power to travel through the various worlds in order to reclaim Sakura's feathers.
When he arrives, he meets two other travellers: Kurogane, a strong swordsman who was banished from his world by Princess Tomoyo, and Fye, a magician who have fled his own world after sealing away a fellow magician.
They all have to give up their most prized possession -- in Shaoran's case, Sakura's memories of him. The Dimensional Witch gives them Mokona, a 'white manjuu', which has the power to take them along on his travels through the worlds.
And so begins their adventure. Sometimes they stay longer in a world, and they become entangled in the various events in that world. Sakura's feathers are apparently a source of great mystic power, and as such they have to battle evil magicians, monsters and other nasties that have been empowered by the feather they hold.
Over time, the dynamics within the group become apparent, and the stories that are told are always amusing or mysterious, with plenty of action scenes but also a lot of character development -- especially Shaoran has a lot of growing-up to do.
Mokona had all the potential to grow into an irritating sidekick pet, but the writers cleverly avoided that particular trap by giving Mokona the cheery character of a small child: she says whatever she thinks, which is charming in a way.
Most of the character designs are recycled: we see the cast of Card Captor Sakura (obviously), there's a cameo by Chii, there's allusions to Angelic Layer, there's characters from X... The CLAMP veteran will have a field day with spotting all the stuff from other series. However, the designs have changed somewhat. Characters are elongated somewhat, which makes for a more mature look -- but their arms are too long and their hands are too large in comparison.
Also, this is a TV series, with a TV series budget. It's not as bad as, say, Avenger, but there are some long pauses and looped animation. This makes it seem as if not much happens in a single episode, which is a pity.
Yuki Kajiura did the music, but unfortunately not all of her pieces work as well as they did in, say, .hack//SIGN or Noir. Especially the choral pieces somehow feel slightly out of place. The opening theme is dire, but the closing theme is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, which makes it all good again.
All in all, it is a fun series. The characters work amazingly well as a group, and they grow ever closer as the series progresses. Most of the worlds they visit are interesting, and the plots are clever as well. It is a shame that there is no resolution in this series (there is a menacing guy with a monocle who always talks about how he is going to acquire Sakura's feathers and gain great power through them, but nothing ever comes of it), and the series ends with '...and so they went on with their journey'. There is talk about a second series, though -- and I'll be sure to catch that one too.
- Lots of references to other CLAMP properties;
- Interesting stories;
- Good cast of characters that work well together.
- No resolution;
- Music doesn't really fit well with the series;
- A lower budget than would have been needed to do this story justice.
All in all, a 7.5. Also, I think the premise would work amazingly well as a campaign for Everway...