Hello, lovely readers! Today, I would very much like to talk about a certain shojo (girl’s) series that is quite near to my heart. It is another 90’s anime, and it always makes me smile whenever I see it. I can watch it over and over again, and never get bored. And because I have a short attention span for things, especially if I’ve seen it before, that’s saying something. The series is named Cardcaptor Sakura, or Cardcaptors in America, Western Europe, and Australia.
We are introduced to fourth grader Sakura Kinomoto. She lives a carefree life, with her father and older brother. She has the greatest best friend a girl could ask for, Tomoyo Daidouji. Her older brother Toya can be mean sometimes, but his best friend, Yukito Tsukishiro more than makes up for it–plus she has a huge crush on him. She is a member of the cheer squad and is pretty popular with her friends. Even though her mother has passed on, she still stays upbeat. All in all, her life is pretty great. Until she finds an odd book snapped shut in her father’s library. It looks sort of like a diary and in big bold letters THE CLOW is written on the front. Opening the book by accident, she sees that a large stack of cards are placed in an indent in the book. Before she can close and replace it, all of the cards go flying out, save for one: WINDY. She is also met by a talking creature that looks like a cute plush toy named Cerberus (I watch it subtitled, and it’s spelled and pronounced Keroberos). He tells Sakura that she has to go and find all of the cards that have been lost. He gives her a key that can, with an incantation, be turned into a sealing wand and tells her that it is her job to capture all of the Clow Cards. There is a catch though: All of the cards are unsealed and in their released state. Before she can seal them, she must defeat them in some kind of way before they will submit long enough to be resealed.
After a few life or death situations with Tomoyo tagging along, another character is introduced: A transfer student from Hong Kong named Syaoran (Shaoran) Li. He is revealed to have similar powers to Sakura and has magic at his disposal. He still needs Sakura to seal the cards, but if he has done most of the work in bringing it down, he is the owner of the card. He is initially very wary of Sakura, even showing signs of disdain towards her. As time moves on, he starts to warm up to her, and even help her. Another character that is introduced is Syaoran’s cousin, Meiling Li. She has a huge crush on Syaoran and starts up sort of a rivalry with Sakura for his affections (Sakura doesn’t realize this). She is an anime exclusive character though, and is mostly there for comic relief.
At the end of the second arc all the cards are resealed, but Sakura and Syaoran are tested by another being similar to Cerberus, named Yue, who has been disguised as Yukito all along. The two children must use the cards they have collected to defeat Yue. Whoever can do it successfully will be the master of all the cards. Sakura succeeds where Syaoran fails and becomes the master of the Clow Cards. However, sealing staff has changed into a star wand.
In the next (and last) arc, all of the children have elevated to the next grade. Meiling has gone back to Hong Kong (if you are watching the anime) and a new transfer student has appeared: Eriol Hiiragizawa. He is seen as a mature young man by everyone in class, save for Syaoran. To Syaoran, he is both a threat to safety, and a rival for Sakura’s affections (because at this point in the series, he has started falling in love with Sakura). Supernatural things start happening around their town, and Sakura, with her new Star Wand must change all of the “Clow Cards” to “Sakura Cards”. It is revealed that she has her own unique magic, and if she doesn’t change the cards, they will disappear. By the end of all the shenanigans, it is revealed that Eriol is actually a reincarnated form of the original card maker, Clow Reed. Eriol created the chaos so that Sakura could unlock her own magic.
This is a classic shojo piece. I remember watching it on the now defunct animation block Kids WB, but it was dubbed and titled Cardcaptors. I never did get very far with that-mostly because they removed entire episodes. The ONLY thing that bugged me in the WHOLE series was when Syaoran was falling for Sakura and he literally ran away from his feelings (I had to keep reminding myself he was only ten/eleven in the series). Also there was just enough action to offset the romance (because I’m not really one for just romantic things). This series was intended for a younger audience, though. So if you’re older, it’s easy to get frustrated with some of the situations, however, It’s still a fun ride! I could honestly read or watch it all day.
The anime can be found dubbed… but I personally recommend against watching it in that format because they changed WAY too much. They wanted the anime to be appropriate for the younger audience (In the manga/ original anime, they touch on mature subjects such as homosexuality and major age differences in relationships). There are also two movies for the series. The first one is a typical anime filler movie, but the second one officially ends the anime. (I VASTLY prefer the second one to the first, because it is so cute!) Also, like all anime, details are left out. Not enough to change the plot too much, but they’re cool things to know, especially if you want to keep all the facts in order to win arguments as to why this series is better than others.
We do have the series in big 3-in-1 books available at multiple locations, and we have the first movie at the Dr. Clarence V. Cuffee library.
I hope you enjoyed this little nugget of information. That’s all I have for you. Until next time, stay golden my friends!