Syaoran explains that when he compared Grosum-san’s list of children missing with Kyle-sensei’s doctor’s visits, he realized that they were the same. Kyle-sensei had used hypnosis to tell the children to follow a bird in the snow, leading them to the castle so that he could get the feather from it. Confronted by the townspeople and Syaoran’s group, Kyle-sensei runs over the water (using stepping stones) and into the castle. Following him inside, Grosum-san and Syaoran find the missing children sleeping in a large room. Elsewhere in the castle, Sakura is following Princess Emeraude when she bumps into the doctor. He offers his hand, but Emeraude identifies him as the villain, so Sakura doesn’t take it. Kyle-sensei catches her leg with a chain as she tries to run away, but she’s saved when Syaoran enters the room. As she’s in his arms, the castle starts to crumble thanks to the water rushing in from the dam that Kurogane made earlier. Syaoran and Sakura are separated from the group and continue on their own to find a way out, chased by the doctor. They enter a room with a Emeraude statue, and ghost tells Sakura of a hidden door. Syaoran kicks it down and the two escape. However, when Kyle-sensei approaches the door afterwords, the statue falls on him, crushing him. Outside, Syaoran and Sakura are pulled out of the river by their friends. Princess Emeraulde’s ghost releases the feather into Sakura and then disappears, but not before warning Sakura that someone has been watching them. Back in town, the children are reunited with their parents and the entire town is overjoyed. The next day, Grosum-san is visited our heroes’ rooms, but discovers them gone, leaving a note asking the town to carry on the legend of Princess Emeraude. On the outskirts of town, Syaoran and company are ready to leave, but are watched a man who’s reporting back to Fei Wang Reed. Syaoran is worried by the fact that they’re being watched, and by the fact that the doctor knew about Sakura’s feather.
I like the way the mid-episode confrontation (inside the castle, when the doctor pulls out a gun) went in the manga much better than in the animated version. Princess Emeraude played a lot bigger part and it just felt more dramatic. Also, the hidden door occurred inside the passageway, not in the statue room. And so Kyle-sensei died from the rushing water in the manga, instead of the falling statue, but I admit that the statue of Emeraude falling on him seems like a fitting end. Overall, I think if the production crew had followed the manga a lot closer, including expanding on the Emeraude protecting the children from disease part that was very prominant in the manga, this world would have turned out more interesting.
I really don’t have much to complain about the animation, it’s been decent up until now. It’ll never be as pretty as the manga is, but it’s hard to animate everything CLAMP draws. I did enjoy the fact that the world really brightened up after they got the feather and rescued the children.
The preview voiceover was hilarious, with Kurogane saying all of Mokona’s lines, and then refusing the last few words; the whole sequence was pretty unexpected. However, the material in the preview really gives me a scare. Up until now, they’ve been following the worlds layed out in the manga, but the next world is new to me (and I’m up to volume 12, chapter 80). It seems to be a fighting arena world, where there’s a lot of Syaoran look-alikes running around. Not sure what to expect, but I was really looking forward to the brief look back at Clow country with Yukito and Touya, and then Outo country. I hope they’re still doing that and not cutting it out in favor of new stuff from this point forward.