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Syaoran Li
李 小狼
SyaoranLi Tsubasa
Syaoran prior to his 'rebirth'
Series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle
xxxHolic
Profile
Also Known As Brat
Kid
Little Doggy
Age 14 (no longer in existence)
Birthday April 1
Relations Sakura Li (wife)
Tsubasa Li (son[1], original form)
Kimihiro Watanuki (son)
Fujitaka (adoptive father)
Clow Reed (ancestor)
Residence Clow Country
Hong Kong
Powers Highly skilled martial artist
Expert archeologist
Skilled Swordsman
Excellent use of magic, spells, barriers, and detection.
Characteristics
Gender Male
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Appearances
First Appearance
(Manga)
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Chapitre 1
First Appearance
(Anime)
Tsubasa Chronicle Episode 1
Last Appearance
(Manga)
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Chapitre 230
Last Appearance
(Anime)
Tsubasa: Shunraiki Episode 2
Voices
Seiyuu Miyu Irino
English Jason Liebrecht
"I will get the feathers back. No matter what."
— Syaoran

Syaoran Li (Li (李) 李 小狼; pinyin: Li (李), LǏ Xiǎoláng (Xiǎoláng - lit. Little Wolf); katakana: リ・シャオラン Ri Shaoran) (also known as Clone Syaoran, or just Syaoran) is initially the primary protagonist of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

Story

In Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Syaoran is an archaeologist who is excavating ruins in the country of Clow. When his childhood friend, Princess Sakura, visits the ruins with him one day her body triggers a chain of mysterious events that lead to a desperate situation. To save Sakura he must pay the price of "their relationship" in order to cross through worlds and collect her memories.

Background

CloneSyaoran

Syaoran before his reincarnation

As a young child he was found in the street by the kindhearted archeologist, Fujitaka. At that time he had no name, no memories of his past, and no sight in his right eye. Fujitaka readily adopts him as a son and names him Syaoran. The two travel across the country for excavation work which leads Syaoran to meet Princess Sakura of Clow Country. Even though Syaoran is blunt and emotionless from his mysterious past, Sakura takes an immediate interest in him. Instead of pitying him or rejecting him for not having memories or a birthday, Sakura readily gives Syaoran her birthday (April 1st) so they can share it and tells him that it doesn‘t matter if he has no memories--they can create many happy ones together. Because of her warm friendship, Syaoran is able to smile for the first time and her friendship becomes the thing he cherishes most in life.

Although he does become increasingly cheerful and friendly, Syaoran feels he is a burden to others because of his inferiorities and is constantly concerned about worrying his father or upsetting Sakura when he hurts himself. And though Sakura urges him not to hide his pain and tells Syaoran to let her worry about him, even later in the journey Syaoran hides his true feelings because he doesn’t want to trouble others or make them sad. Ashura-ō at one points warns him that if he continues keeping things to himself “nothing will change.”[2]

Fighting Skills

To compensate for his lack of reliable depth perception (due to being blind in his right eye) he asks for fighting lessons from Seishirō in exchange for translating books. Syaoran is shown to be an excellent fighter despite his blind eye, and his style is centered around his devastating kicks.

Swordsmanship

Later on in the journey he also asks Kurogane to teach him swordsmanship so that he can become stronger. The sword Syaoran uses is called Hien, "scarlet flame."he can use it to create fire techniques similar to the ones he created with his Fire Kudan,Rayearth,while in the Hanshin Republic.After stealing Fai 's right eye and half of his magic,he is able to summon it from his left hand and attack with more intense fire power.

Archeology

Due to his bond with his adoptive father, Syaoran is also an aspiring archaeologist with the attendant skills and experience of a hardened adventurer somewhat reminiscent of Indiana Jones. One of his quirks is taking an animate interest in history and is often very excited when they stumble on new books or artifacts in the countries they visit. His knowledge is useful on their journey so that he can read on leads to Princess Sakura’s feathers.

The Relationship

It's obvious in the first chapter that Syaoran and Sakura are both in love with each other romantically and though Sakura is on the verge of confessing, Syaoran seems embarrassed at her wish to be called "Sakura" instead of "Princess" and he tells himself it's wrong to be in love with a Princess. He even turns down Sakura's offer to live in the castle with her after Fujitaka died, because he said only people with royal blood should live there. After she loses her feathers, Syaoran takes an uncomfortable backseat as her protector instead of "precious friend," and when Sakura shares with him the memories she gains (which exclude him) he's notably hurt.

Although body memories aren't explained until Sakura unconsciously kisses Syaoran's sore eye, they can be seen much earlier in the series. She isn't supposed to know him, but Sakura is often shown intimately taking his hand, leaning towards him, or touching his face. And though most of these body memories result in excessive blushing, some are caused by Syaoran hiding his pain from her or pushing himself too hard.

But despite the misery he feels from the fact that Sakura will never remember him, Syaoran continues to fight passionately for his “most precious person.”

The Revelation

CloneSyaoran and RealSyaoran

"Syaoran" Li (right) and Clone Syaoran (left)

These desires come to a complete stop when the magical seal in his right eye breaks. It’s revealed that Syaoran is actually a clone of Tsubasa Li, and was created by Fei Wang Reed in order to collect Princess Sakura’s feathers. The seal on his eye also contained a piece of Tsubasa’s heart but the exact impact this heart had on Syaoran isn’t entirely clear yet.

Although Tsubasa tells him “the reason you consider that Sakura most precious to you doesn’t come from my heart, it comes from you!”[3] Syaoran loses that part of himself completely in exchange for his desire to collect feathers. Kakyō and Seishirō both comment that he ignores “pain of the body and the heart”[4] in order to achieve his goal. This, along with the magical eye he steals from Fay D. Flourite, makes Syaoran impossibly strong but horribly ruthless. After he ignores Sakura’s heartbreaking pleas of not leaving, Syaoran is depicted as an emotionless figure covered in blood while he stands in the devasting aftermath of the worlds he effortlessly destroys for feathers.

While searching for feathers in the Dream World Syaoran impales Sakura with his sword but his body refuses to kill her completely because of his body memories. He aims to kill Tsubasa for the feathers instead but Sakura throws herself directly in the line of both their swords, resulting in Syaoran inadvertently stabbing her through the heart.

Syaoran screams in agony, clutching a Sakura petal that was left behind after Sakura's body disintegrated.

Disappearance and rebirth

SyaoranLiTRC

Syaoran Li after being reborn

The Clone, seemingly on the orders of Fei Wong, returns to Clow Country, encountering the group, however it is unknown whether he will aid or attack the group[5]. In the ensuing battle, the Clone counters all of Tsubasa's attempted attacks. Tsubasa asks whether what Sakura said to him had any effect, but the Clone does not answer. Fai and Kurogane observe that the Clone must have used his magic more since Nihon, since his power seemingly surpasses Tsubasa's.

The Clone apparently gravely injures Tsubasa (the frame is obscured, making it difficult to determine whether the Clone stabbed himself, or the Original), before blasting Fai, Kurogane, and all of Fei Wong's men. Fei Wong also detects that Fai no longer has magic. The Clone whispers something in Tsubasa's ear before dragging Tsubasa's body with him toward Fei Wong[6]. Tsubasa is revealed to have been faking being dead to be close enough to Fei Wong to stab him using Hien. As Fei Wong attempts to retaliate, the Clone intercepts and is impaled himself by Fei Wong's blade. The Clone then casts magic that begins to make the entire cave collapse[7]. Tsubasa asks why he had done what he had, and the Clone simply replies "I wanted to hear the rest" (regarding what Sakura failed to tell him before she died). He removes Fai's eye and apologises to everyone (including an absent Sakura) before disintegrating in Tsubasa's arms - effectively dying the same person that he started out as, and not as a soulless copy[8].

It was revealed, however, that Syaoran had not died, but simply disappeared[9]. His body was moved by Yuuko into the dream world. Yuuko tells Syaoran that she also transferred Sakura's soul into the Dream World. Yuuko then asks Syaoran to make a choice on whether he and Sakura are revived. When Syaoran asks the price, Yuuko replies that a price for Syaoran is not necessary[10]. Yuuko remarks that the rebirth will not be the same as general reincarnation, and that he and Sakura will retain their memories. Syaoran and Sakura confess their love as Yuuko and Clow grant their wish to be reborn[11]. Syaoran is reincarneted into the Li line in another world, and meets up with Sakura in Hong Kong[12]. The two would later marry, and in a bizzare twist, would become parents to Tsubasa Li[13].

Syaoran Li (Partial)

Syaoran Li's (partial) appearance in TRC 192

Syaoran taught his son about hitsuzen and also entrusted his sword and name to his son before sending "Syaoran" off to Clow Country. Interestingly enough, Syaoran's face is not entirely seen.

Kimihiro Watanuki was created by Tsubasa's choice to reverse time to save Princess Tsubasa. Fei Wong Reed remarks that Watanuki's creation will bring suffering to Sakura and Syaoran. This revelation was thought to mean both Sakura and Syaoran are dead, but this was retconned later on after Yuko implied they were both still alive[14] This was confirmed by the fortune teller in xxxHolic 170, when she said that she had made a mistake and that Sakura and Syaoran had merely 'gone to another world' rather than 'passed into the afterlife' like she said. She was about to tell Watanuki this but Yuko answered her call instead. [15]

Sakura and Syaoran's current location is finally revealed. They used their own power to rewind time to help their sons, and in doing so, were trapped in another world and unable to touch each other. This "other world" is the glass tube seen in Yuuko's shop (given to Yuuko by Toya and Yukito). At the end of this chapter, Yuuko breaks the glass tube and frees Sakura and Syaoran, who then appear beside Princess Tsubasa and Tsubasa Li.

Sakura and Syaoran use their own power to try to "clean" the feathers[16] of the various worlds they had been to, thus breaking Fei Wong's plan. Mokona remarks that the two are dressed exactly the same as their son and Princess Sakura. A furious Fei Wong then attacks the pair. After learning the truth about the fate of the Clones, and of the death of Yuuko, Fei Wong seals Syaoran and Sakura inside the tube for a second time, vowing to kill them both once he finds the witch. However, both Tsubasa and Princess Tsubasa take hold of them, also being dragged inside the tube[17].

Syaoran Disappearance

Syaoran's final disappearance

After the two Sakuras break themselves out of the tube, Syaoran and Tsubasa are dragged into an oblivion where their powers do not work[18]. Fei Wong had remarked that this was the price Tsubasa must pay for his wish, but Syaoran was dragged in as well because he too is "Syaoran". Watanuki appears and explains that he realises he too is a form of "Syaoran". Syaoran then disintegrates into a feather (as his maker, Fei Wong, is dead), telling Tsubasa and Watanuki to escape. Because Syaoran was phased out of existence, Syaoran no longer appears in the photo of Tsubasa/Watanuki and his parents.

The feather is absorbed by Tsubasa, who vows to find a way to bring his father's soul back into a living body.

xxxHolic

Syaoran appears in xxxHolic in two forms, a clone self and his real self. The clone self appears throughout both the xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle timelines via Mokona, who acts as a communication apparatus for Yūko.

Powers And Abilities

Fighting Skills

At the start of the series, Syaoran's fighting skills are mainly the use of devastating kicks taught by Seishirō. As Syaoran was blind in his right eye (owing to Tsubasa placing his own left eye within him), he reacted instinctively to attacks coming from his right side better than he could his left, which Syaoran still relied on his sight for. Kurogane taught Syaoran how to use a sword, and during this training helped Syaoran develop his perception to attack from both sides.

Once the seal on his right eye breaks, Syaoran's fighting technique becomes more brutal. His skill develops to such a level that he is able to hold his own against his originator on three separate occasions.

After his reincarnation, Syaoran passes on a lot of his knowledge in fighting techniques, learned due to his connection to the Li family, to his son, Tsubasa.

Magic

In spite of being a clone of Tsubasa, Syaoran did not have any magic to begin with. After the seal on his right eye broke, he stole Fay's magic by eating his left eye. This allowed him to use the same offensive magic as Fay. As Syaoran had only taken one of Fay's eyes, the eye that allows his magic to grow stronger, Syaoran's magic continued to grow stronger the more he used it, even surpassing the strength of his originator towards the end.

After Syaoran is reincarnated, he is born into the Li family in a new world. Having been born into a family with blood ties to Clow Reed, Syaoran naturally possessed magic, which would be passed to his son (and ironically, his originator), Tsubasa. He taught Tsubasa how to use the magic, although he has never been seen using this magic himself.

As well as this, owing to Clow paying for his reincarnation, Syaoran is able to use Clow's magic circle.

Trivia

  • In The Hanshin Republic of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Syaoran's kudan is identical to the mashin Rayearth of Magic Knight Rayearth.
  • Syaoran Li's cross-dressing in Cardcaptor Sakura, where he played the role of Sleeping Beauty in a play, is repeated by his counterpart's clone in Tsubasa when Syaoran stays with the performing Troupe in episode 33 and 34, and also in the manga.
  • The revelation that Syaoran becomes his original self's father is the result of a temporal paradox, where neither can live if the other doesn't survive.
  • Both of Syaoran's parents are deceased[19], as opposed to his counterpart, whose mother was still alive.
    • Syaoran inherited the Jian from his father.
  • The two flashbacks in which Syaoran sends Tsubasa to Yuko Ichihara are different, suggesting that in each loop, Syaoran's actions change slightly.

References

  1. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 223
  2. Volume 9
  3. Volume 16
  4. Volume 16/Volume 21
  5. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 204
  6. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle chapter 208
  7. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 209
  8. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 210
  9. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 219
  10. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 220
  11. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 221
  12. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 222
  13. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 223
  14. xxxHolic chapter 168 - Yuko remarks that Watanuki's parents will "absolutely wait to meet you"
  15. xxxHolic chapter 170
  16. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 218
  17. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 227
  18. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle chapter 231
  19. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 28 Translation Notes

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