Card Captor Sakura
Card Captor Sakura is the story of Kinomoto Sakura, a typical elementary school student who discovers a mysterious book in her father's study. It turns out the book contains a set of magical cards known as the Clow which she accidentally loses when she unknowingly uses one of them (the WINDY card, of course) This awakens the Clow's keeper, Cerberus (nicknamed Kero-chan), who is a rather cute beanie-babyish critter who tells Sakura that she must gather the Clow Cards (after all, she IS the one who lost them) before they wreak havoc all over the city. Along with Kero-chan, Sakura is helped by her best friend Tomoyo. Well...if you call designing her oh-so-cute Magical Girl outfits (all not only functional but tailor made to fit every situation she's in, natch!) and recording all of her adventures on tape for later enjoyment "help"! ^_^ Can Sakura collect all of the Clow and still find time to do her chores and homework? It's a magical girl show...of course she can! (We hope...)
Card Captor Sakura is one of the cutest shows we have seen in a long while, and we will confess it's one of our current must-haves. We finally managed to get our hands on the first season (or so) of it, and we want more! The characters are wonderful, especially Tomoyo (Christi's favorite), and the animation is above average. Not only that, it achieves what one would think is impossible nowadays: a fresh spin on the concept of magical girls. It borrows a little from every show of its kind before it, including Sailor Moon, but manages to come up with something unique. Yes, Sakura has a duty to fulfill, but darn it, she's gonna have fun while doing it. And her best friend gets in on the fun too without having to be a magical girl herself. And Kero-chan is as much mischievous as he is helpful, and has a more fleshed-out personality than previous familiars. He doesn't exist to nag Sakura, for he feels gathering the Clow is as much his responsibility as it is hers, an attribute sorely lacking in most magical girl familiars.
As far as plotline and characterization (the technical stuff), it's done well. Sakura herself is quite talented and strong-willed, though she can be a bit clueless, and has an innocent crush on the *much* older Yukito (who treats her like a good friend). Tomoyo is simply adorable, and if she's maybe a bit obsessive and protective of her best friend, it's understandable when you get further down the storyline. (And all magical girls need a fashion designer/camera girl/promoter/agent type, of course.) Kero-chan is a glutton and a dandy, but he's got a good heart (and one heck of an Osaka-ben accent). And Li Shaolan is definitely a rival, but even he's supportive of Sakura when it counts. Each episode, though formulaic, leads you a little further down Sakura's path to capturing those Clow Cards - as well as the hearts of those she meets along the way. Each story is well written, with some episodes dealing with such issues as love and loss, and while being very genuine with what young people deal with, Card Captor Sakura is an intelligent show - and a beautiful one. And the plot only seems to get better as the seasons go by. We're looking forward to finishing this series, as CLAMP have really outdone themselves here by keeping CCS cute without unloading the overbearing angst common in their work. (Well, so far, anyway.)
Card Captor Sakura is has been one of most popular shows in Japan for quite some time, and there is a good reason why. It's really, really good. In Japan, Sakura was one of the shows that toppled Pokemon from the ratings, so, as a result, Nelvana picked it up to release here as the Next Big Thing. Unfortunately, they've skewed the show so far off true in their dub, CardCaptors, that the show isn't even cute anymore. (Not to mention Sakura isn't even the focus of her own show anymore!) The dubbed adaptation, however, is different enough to merit its own separate heading and review.
Thank goodness Pioneer has released the subtitled DVD, as Card Captor Sakura really deserves far better than what Nelvana has put it through. The dub simply can't compare to the original, so we therefore can't help but recommend the Japanese version.
But darn, if it isn't a good excuse to get your young ones to learn to read subtitles.
A very, very appealing and extremely cute series that has done well to capture the hearts of Japanese youth. We still hope the same thing happens here too. — Carlos Ross and Christi
Recommended Audience: 5 and up. All ages, especially teenage girls and their little sisters, will adore it. As well as a lot more guys than most will care to admit (and you know who you are out there ^_~)
Version(s) Viewed: digital source, R1 DVD
Review Status: Partial (30/70)
Card Captor Sakura © 1998 CLAMP / Kodansha / NHK / NEP21
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