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Tsubasa: Those with Wings Volume 1 Paperback – March 17, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Takaya's Fruits Basket may find Tsubasa a bit disappointing. Takaya's earlier work is a sprawling fantasy that lacks the originality and emotional impact of Fruits Basket. The weaker characters, mediocre artwork and poorly written and paced plot line does little to capture attention. The tale is set in a war-torn 22nd century mysteriously similar to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, where luxury and amenities are reserved for the upper classes. The common people live for the legend of the Tsubasa, a magical glowing object said to grant wishes to all who see it—not unlike the dragon in Dragonball. To add to the pastiche of clichés, heroine Kotobuki the thief is monkeylike, similar to Goku. Despite the epic setting, much of the story focuses on Kotobuki's hackneyed romance with Raimon, a genius who dropped out of a prestigious army position in order to date her. The slow-building junior high–like romance ties together a series of nearly unrelated episodes. Two-thirds of the way through, the book has a satisfying ending, yet the story continues. Although the series was six volumes long in Japan, Tokyopop has made the excellent choice to publish it here in fewer, thicker volumes. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

While the thickness of this manga may lead people to believe that it’s a stand-alone, it’s actually the start of an older series by the mangaka responsible for the shojo megahit Fruits Basket. The story takes place in a future where the planet is barren, and young thief Kotobuki is trying to turn to more honest work for a living. While she tries to make ends meet, she is followed by an ex-commander from the military who says he is in love with her. In the background, rumors swirl about something called tsubasa, which supposedly can grant wishes. No one knows what exactly tsubasa is, how it works, or even if it exists, but this doesn’t stop people from avidly searching for it or joining cults that revolve around it. Natsuki Takaya already has a large worldwide following, so she’s sure to have many readers flocking to get their hands on this fantasy manga as well. Grades 10-12. --Danica Davidson
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Product Details

  • Series: Tsubasa Those With Wings (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427814287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427814289
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,542,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Everybody knows Natsuki Takaya as the lady who wrote the fantasy/romance/comedy "Fruits Basket."

Well, among her earlier works, "Tsubasa: Those With Wings" is a bit different in terms of genre -- it's a sci-fi/romance/comedy series, and the first volume takes readers to a vaguely postapocalyptic future. Though the art is a little rough at times, the quirky humour and the likably scrappy ex-thief heroine keep things from getting boring.

It's the 22nd century, after wars have wrecked the world. Kotobuki was once a brilliant thief (and always being followed by the charming, arrogant militia commander Raimon).

But when she tries to go straight, she only ends up in more trouble -- a newly-unemployed Raimon turns up, and the explosive-happy Shouka tries to recruit Kotobuki into her thieving gang. Their goal: the Tsubasa, a mysterious object that can grant any wishes. Kotobuki gradually starts to become interested in the Tsubasa, and Raimon tags along for the ride.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the search for Tsubasa is definitely not going to be easy, especially since Shouka's gang is still searching for clues. On their way, Raimon and Kotobuki encounter a mysterious cult that worships the Tsubasa, and a little girl whose gullible mother is paying a sinister scientist to make a Tsubasa detector. Guess whether it works or not.

Normally a series set in an impoverished wasteland after the collapse of civilization as we know it... well, it wouldn't be very fun or romantic. So I guess that's a sign of Natsuki Takaya's blossoming talents in her second series, which is more flexible and amusing than her earliest work, and approaching the sweetness of her bestselling "Fruits Basket.
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Format: Paperback
Ok, so people like to compare Fruits Basket to all of her works, past and/or present, and well this ain't no Fruits Basket, but it's not such a bad story. To be honest, the first time I read this story, the dynamics of the relationship between Raimon and Kotobuki really bothered me, but somehow I've gotten over that. Maybe this first volume that collects the first 2 volumes of the original release may seem somewhat boring and uneven, but it was actually looking at the later volumes that actually propelled me to even start buying this series..so give it a try, even if this set seems boring, at least to me the next 2 volumes were interesting enough for me to pick this one up. And as a side note, I meant to give it a 3.5 rating, but since the star rating only works w/ whole #'s, I went for the lower rating.
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As a fan of the wonderful (if overly long) Fruits Basket, I was excited to see that TokyoPop was releasing two of the creator's previous works. One of them I wasn't that entranced by & one I immediately was intrigued with. Needless to say, you can guess which one I liked by the star rating of this review.

The plotline surrounds the reluctant thief Kotobuki as she tries endlessly to not only find a job & keep from reverting back to a thief, but to also evade the attentions of the amorous military captain Raimon. She is initially caught, but let go by Raimon with the stipulation that if he manages to catch her again she will become his. Years pass & Kotobuki manages to find a job in an inn, only to eventually run across Raimon. Eventually the two of them set off in search of not only a job, but for a mysterious object known only as "Tsubasa".

I really enjoyed this manga, although there are some fans of Furuba that will be dissapointed that this isn't anything similar to Takaya's later work. The storyline is a mixture of sci-fi & fantasy with a dollop of ecological fable & romance. The artwork isn't as good or defined as her later work, although it is still quite lovely. Some may be thrown off by how different it is from Furuba, but I encourage those people to take another look & give it a chance. The plotline is incredibly intriguing & quick moving, so it's easy to get involved in.
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Tsubasa Those with wings was a volume I found at my library while going through the manga section looking for something new. I loved Fruits Basket, so finding something by the same author seemed a like it might be good.

The art is definitely Takaya, and there are times when Raimon looks like Yuki so much it's hard not to notice. This story is darker though and the art reflects it. The backgrounds and scenes are more detailed and the characters have more definition at times. I think her later work style is better but it's not bad here.

The main problem with volume one is the pacing. While the story throughout the three volumes increases in complexity and resolves reasonably well, volume one was very difficult to follow in the first part. We are introduced to so many people, so fast without really understanding what our overarching story is. However, by the end of the volume, the story had taken off and I was interested in seeing what happened next.

I can't say that this series is a must have. I enjoyed it and don't regret taking the time to read it. I would probably only buy it if I found it severely discounted as my shelf space is past full ( I have a dozen boxes in the garage due to not enough room lol) and that there are frankly more engaging stories I've read. That said, the story overall was pretty good and I didn't spend time comparing it to anything else. If you can find this in your library or on sale I would recommend reading it but only if you can get all three volumes as the story doesn't really have a stopping point at the ends of the first two :)
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