“Under contract I, Sakura, command you! Release!”
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Romance, Age: Children’s+
Released: May 1996 – June 2000
Cardcaptor Sakura is every little girl’s fantasy: finding out that you’re destined for something greater than your current existence, that you have magical abilities, and a cute mascot character as your guardian. Your life is school pans out from everyday rush to school and coming home to homework. You have to collect cards that hold magical beings that threaten the existence of the current world if not found and captured. And through it all, you have your best friend cheering you on, recording your adventures and making you cute little costumes.
(Tomoyo sees a career in card capturing)
The main character is Sakura Kinamoto, who is the titular card captor. She’s tasked with finding the Clow cards by Kero Beros, the guardian Beats of the Seal of the Book of Clow.
(I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!)
Alongside her is Li Syaoran, an exchange student from china, who comes in after a couple of chapters. He turns out to have magic powers and be a descendant of Clow Reed, the creator of the Clow Cards. However, he relinquishes the responsibility of capturing the cards to Sakura and helps her out instead.
The setting is modern day japan, in an ordinary school and surrounding areas of Tokyo. Sakura is young kid, she doesn’t deter from her usual route to school and goes sneaking about on rooftops… unless it’s for a Clow card!
(Sakura unleases the key of the clow, which is a magic duck)
Sakura spends a lot of time running around at strange locales at strange time, sometimes being caught out by her brother, Touya, who knows she’s up to something..
(What you doing running about late at night Sakura?)
Sakura is a popular girl and has a lot of friends, which have their own side-arcs alongside the card story. Personally, I didn’t care for the side characters much. Some of the side-stories, which are romance related, are really unsuitable considering their age.
I think these kids are 10 years old, and already have relationships with classmates, and in one case with a teacher! Err.. was very awkward to read that.. just painful..
(Girls girls girls.. litrally)
Fine, American dub, you can cover up the pedo-relationship, but you missed a trick by covering up Touya’s and Yukito’s caring relationship.
(That would’ve have swamped in a lot of fangirls…)
There aren’t that many changes to the plot, jut a reshuffling of sequence of events, and some location changes. One significant difference that stands out is that the manga has a lot less cards to collect, or Sakura collects them in a more timely manner. The plot hurtles through until she has collected them all and faces the final test to become the true master. It lacks suspense, but the whole plot feel is little less dragging and labored.
(The cards are restricted to a few notable ones)
A notable absence is of Mei Lin, who is Li’s fiance in the anime, but doesn’t exists in the manga. She was a good character and spurred on Sakura’s role as the lead female, so it’s a bit disappointing that she’s not real.
The art for the series is gorgeous. It’s worth getting the special Omnibus edition from Amazon, which has coloured pages at the back.
(Sakura looks really pretty)
(Yukito a.k.a. the Snow bunny!)
(Touya figuring out how to play violin..)
Season 2 carries on with more of the same, except character relationships are expanded. The cast includes loads more characters in addition to the originals.
(You’re gonna love or hate the new characters, frankly)
Cardcaptor Sakura was part of my childhood and I remember watching it every weekday, following Sakura’s adventures and interactions with the lively cast of this story.
The manga, of which the anime is based on, is the shorter, probably tighter knit version. Obviously the manga came first, but having watched the anime first it’s almost amusing how fast paced the story becomes because many of the cards that feature in their own episodes were not mentioned. Likewise many heartfelt moments were also left out.
Maybe the anime is the better version of this story, however, the manga is purely worth watching for the sheer scope of integral relationships and background information that’s never mentioned in the anime, particularly the english-dub, which had a lot of things hacked to pieces.
(Everyone looks glossy in the anime..)
Overall the story, characters and ending of Cardcaptor Sakura is wholesome and satisfying. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat at the right moments, it will stun you the next.. Whether you read the manga or watch the anime, the ups and downs of this story are not to be missed.
Rated – 4/5 Satisfying journey, some themes may not be suitable for younger viewers.