Back in mid-January, Funimation announced its licensing of Tsubasa Chronicle season one and the Tsubasa/xxxHOLIC crossover movie in Anime Insider magazine and that they would start releasing the series by the end of this year (2006). This fueled rumors that they had also licensed the xxxHOLIC TV series, which had yet to air in Japan and was two months from its premiere. Alas, no further announcements have been made in the 6 1/2 months since then. Why no progress? Here are four possible excuses I culled from brainstorming.
Excuse #1: Funimation might be waiting for the second season to finish up before they announce their license of the second season as well and start production; as far as I’m concerned, it’s practically in the bag already and it is just a matter of time before they say something. For example, Funimation waited until the 17th/18th episode of School Rumble 2nd season to announce their license of both seasons and the OVA at Otakon last month. The 17th episode of Tsubasa Chronicle 2nd Series aired on September 2nd, although I’m sure this kind of interseries comparison is slightly useless because there’s going to be a third season of 26 episodes starting April 2007. (Anime on DVD: search for “Funimation Enforces Rights”) I don’t know how far the series is in respect to the manga in terms of story arcs/worlds because (1) I haven’t really read the manga and (2) I only watched the first four episodes of season two due to moving on to other shows. I should really try to pick up with it over the next couple of weeks…
Or maybe excuse #2: the company just haven’t gotten the footage and the untranslated scripts from the Japanese publishers yet. According to a Jul 10 post on Newsarama, the first disc will be released sometime in next spring. However, this is the only hint at a date I’ve been able to find. Voice actors haven’t been announced yet although, at the CLAMP panel at AX this year, it was said that Tsubasa would be cast by July 7th. That means they must have recorded at least a couple episodes by now. My guess is that the first volume will be released sometime between April and June 2007 and definitive information will probably come out by the time an early-year con, like Ohayocon (January) or Katsucon (February).
Excuse 3 could be that the studio is simply too busy with all the other titles it’s distributing. Series for which new volumes have recently been released by Funimation, or will be within the next four months, include: *inhales* Baki the Grappler, Basilisk, Black Cat, Case Closed, Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, Kodocha, Negima, Moon Phase, Rumbling Hearts, Speed Grapher, Tenchi Muyo RYO-OHKI OVAs, and Trinity Blood.
The 4th and final excuse I could come up with is an absurd but still possible one: that they just forgot about it, kind of like how ADV “forgot” about Kurau Phantom Memory. (Just kidding!) Anyway, the reason this seems very unlikely is that there is a significant audience for Tsubasa in the States. At Anime Expo this year, thousands of CLAMP fans crowded into the Anaheim Convention Center to meet the female manga-ka quartet. The original manga, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, seems to selling pretty well. Also, they cared enough to send a C&D letter to Shinsen-Subs to stop distributing Tsubasa (along with several other unlicensed and licensed series) so they better not dally too long.
I think the most likely explanation is #3, as being involved in too many other titles might explain why casting details haven’t been revealed yet. Whatever the excuse is, I hope the final product turns out well. Finally, I emailed Funimation this morning and asked how the project’s going; I’m supposed to get a response in a couple days.