Sakura had managed to capture all of the Clow Cards which could bring disaster to the world and turned them into her own Sakura Cards. Now it’s spring. With cherry trees in full blossom, Sakura is just entering middle school. Her beloved Syaoran has returned from Hong Kong, and Sakura was thrilled to be going to school with him again. But one night, something strange happens to her Cards... On top of that, strange things keep happening in Tomoeda. Guided by the Key she encountered in her dream, Sakura starts collecting Cards again. And then, a new girl transfer into her class...
I waited for this anime for so long, this was the very first one I watched from beginning to end during my childhood so it holds a special place in my heart. This review had been updated as the anime progressed; however, with the season coming to an end I can finally finalize this review. A spoiler alert is in order. Story I was expecting this anime/manga to go in one of two directions. The first one would be to start Sakura in a new challenge with all of our favorite characters plus new ones as either a teen or young adult since it has been 20 years since the original release of the anime. In truth I was hoping for a “Harry Potter” type of thing with CLAMP taking into account the age of the audience and making it suitable for the now adults watching it. That obviously did not happen so that left us with the second potential direction which is basically giving us the same thing we have had in the past. While I was happy with the feelings of nostalgia seeing a similar plot, I felt that the plot was predictable and the pace was quite slow. Other seasons showed some level of difficulty in capturing the cards, but at the start of this season there are only a few minutes from the entire episode for the capturing of the card which proves easy to do, so no surprise/entertaining factor there. As the story progresses, we are able to see her use various cards and the fights are lasting a bit longer which is a redeeming quality but as a whole, I would like it for this area to be more consistent. Likewise, there seems to be a bigger focus on the “why” this is happening and secrets that are yet to be revealed rather than the execution of the story. This is not to say that the secrets are not worthwhile but because the story itself progressed quite slowly and not much was revealed, the execution of it left much to be desired. I believe this is partly due to the anime releasing this season without the manga having more development. I would have preferred for this animation to wait another year until more events took place in the manga rather than dragging episodes with extra scenes that do not necessarily play into the plot (as far as I can tell). Another issue I had with the plot relates to Syaoran. He has a lot of power but yet he has not been helping Sakura much with the cards, it is hinted that Syaoran has difficulty seeing them but I was still hoping for more team work all things considered. While he attempts to help here and there and appears to know some sort of secret he is keeping from Sakura, his involvement continues to be quite limited. The other reason I was so excited to watch this animation was because of my favorite couple (Sakura and Syaoran). I was greatly disappointed because there is little to no “romantic” interaction between them other than the occasional blush and a few hugs here and there. Yes I get it, they are children still but come on, not even holding hands? Talking about their feelings? Doing more things together? Reading fanfiction throughout the years was more satisfying than seeing those two interact in this season. That is not to say they weren't any cute scenes between them because they were, I just meant to say they were not enough (for me at least). Something that I found to be very neat is that the animation was true to the time period. Now we see Sakura using a computer, internet, and face-timing, something that was not common in the early 1990’s. I also enjoy the Kero segments at the end which are fun to watch. Animation I actually really like MADHOUSE and all of their projects. The quality of the animation showed and exceeded my expectations. No complaints here. Sound I liked the opening and ending themes very much. I loved that the voice actors returned so it truly gave it a special feel listening to the original voices so many years later. Characters The manga and anime continue to be true to the characters and their personalities but at the same time, we see little character growth since the last season. Sakura and Syaoran are more or less the same. The only character that stroke me as different was Yukito as he is now portrayed in a more feminine way than before which was a bit surprising (perhaps a more honest representation of his true self in current times). It is hinted at that Touya will have more involvement as well so we shall wait and see. The fact that Meiling is back for at least a few episodes was quite exciting. I was also surprised to see Li's family, albeit briefly, included in the animation. The inclusion of secondary characters was unexpected but a nice surprise. As far as the new characters (Yuna D. Kaito and Akiho) I am yet to make my mind. They are intriguing in some ways but it's too soon for me to tell whether they can grow on me or not. Overall I will always love this anime just because it was so important for me during my childhood. I must admit I had high expectations along with my excitement. My overall opinion is that the concept and characters are more or less the same. The executing could have been improved but overall, I still giggled and smiled like an idiot with every episode. I see a lot of potential for a great story line. If the new season (they better make one!) shows us some more plot development and action I think this acr will be well worth it. This is not to forget the many amazing strengths pointed out in this review with the fact that the voice actors returned, CLAMP continues with amazing and sure to be complicated plot twists (yet to be seen but for sure expected), the amazing and catchy music and seeing all our favorite characters included.
Welcome back to Tomoeda, your typical Japanese town of hard-working adults, rambunctious kids, and penguin-themed parks. A warm and charming place where one need not lose an eye or an arm in watching the goings-on of the local magic girl. Granted, Tsubasa had roughed up Princess Sakura. Coincidently, in the 20th episode of Kobato (review coming), we meet Syaoran and the gang as they visited our realm in search of Sakura. In the moment (2009), the sweet and sprightly Kobato gave Syaoran, Fay, Kurogane, and Modoka a place to stay as the trio of travelers explored the aspects of the world of Kobato’s pre-school. That episode reduced the then canceled anime series to the adventures of Syaoran, Fay, Kurogane, and Modoka as they jump from reality to reality in hopes of finding the lost princess. By the time Tsubasa Spring Thunder Chronicle finished its short run, we don't know if Sakura is authentic, cloned, alive, dead, or an existential ideal the three men have been devoted to discover in a hopeless romp through different worlds. Ah, the simple pleasures of Tomoeda! Clear Card is the 20th anniversary reintroduction of Sakura Kinomoto, the Cardcaptor who had graced the anime world from 1997-2000. The 22 episodes repeat the well-worn formula. Sakura's card collection has been altered to transparencies, blank cards which must recapture a new power. Most have striking similarities to the old cards, the Sakura Cards which have been modified from the original Clow Cards. By the approach of the end of the series, Sakura has the collection regained, and then the dark side of the plot enters, menacing the Cardcaptor and her future as premier magic girl of Tomoeda. The old characters are all there. Tomoyo is there with her camcorder and absolutely stunning fashion sense, having a new Cardcaptor costume for Sakura as she records the recent exploits of her best friend. Syaoran has returned to Tomoeda to attend the same middle school, though enrolled in another class. He is still honing his own set of magic skills, and the flaming sword facet translated nicely from TRC. The runty guardian Kero is back, pompous and over-rated as ever. But his lion-esque form still is an improvement. Meiling Li comes in from Hong Kong for a couple of episodes to show she is good with the budding relationship of Sakura and Syaoran. Brother Toya still gives Sakura the ‘monster’ jab (and it still upsets Sakura. Times don’t change sometimes). Yukito and his alter-ego Yue still are there for Sakura, Yukito for Sakura’s down moments in that tough growing-up time in the early teens, Yue for all those mounting Cardcaptor problems. Even Chiharu and Takashi have there moments, Chiharu to whack Takashi for those atrocious whoppers, Takashi learning to be more truthful and shocking Chiharu enough to stand in awe of the closed-eyed one. But there are new characters to sweeten the story-line. Akiho Shinomoto, a pleasant girl so much alike to Sakura. The overly gracious and nonetheless shifty butler Keito whose devotion to Akiho is admirable ... except for an ominous feeling that not all is disclosed. These two steal the show. You can’t figure out how, but somehow, though the recent manifestation of Clow Reed, Eriol, would love to become involved with the progress in the clear card gathering, he can’t. All attempts to communicate with Syaoran and his allies in Tomoeda fail; he's constantly out-distanced by some interfering power. As with CCS, Clear Card is a formula driven plotline which ends with a riveting conclusion which does anything but conclude. There is that bizarre similarity between Sakura Kinomoto and Akiho Shinomoto. Akiho has the appearance of a junior edition of Sakura's mother. Sakura's great-grandfather gives some vague clues about her mother and gives her a key-shaped amulet. Before we can learn the significance of the amulet ... heck, even the significance of a lot of things in the story ... it was over, a showdown between Sakura and a new claimant of the Clear Cards engaged in an aborted duel. The results: ???????? I’m puzzled and feel I’m waiting for the 23<sup>rd</sup> episode which will never come. Perhaps in the next chance for a CCS revival. The 25th year is 2022. The music has always been entertaining. The lyrics are always subbed, but the Japanese text is inserted as well. While I don’t speak/read Japanese, there is a something to the work of the Sakura Cardcaptor lyricist. The music is perky with its assonance and alliterative snatches. And, every once and a while they even throw in a word or phrase of English. It’s delightful listening to the songs as episodes open and close. There was one massive bummer. The original CCS ended with a moving greeting from Sakura thanking the viewers for the support. Clear Card ended with the ego-centric Kero singing his praises in a segment the original CCS had the good sense to drop a third of the way in their run. CCS has had a wonderful history. The original run of 70 episodes over three years. The crossover experiences in the two seasons of TRC and its brutal two OVA's. And now, the return to simplicity, with the full knowledge that a CLAMP-driven scenario will do no more than become overly complicated. Maybe ending at episode 22 with an unresolved climax moment was supreme wisdom...Any resolutions out there, CCS?
Spoiler Alert: I grew up with Sakura Kinomoto so I was over the moon that a new season was released for the 20th anniversary. This season, Sakura has graduated to middle school but is still as sweet and adorable as she was all those years ago. The plot follows her as she goes about her normal school life as well as discovering a set of new cards, known as Clear Cards. She also has a lot of disturbing recurring dreams of someone trying to take her key away from her. I really enjoyed this season, it felt like a true homage to the past seasons and even had a lot of throwbacks. Especially when the new cards were so similar to the Sakura Cards. I loved finding out that Sakura's powers have gotten stronger - to the point that she herself is creating the new cards. I also loved how much closer she got to Syaoran and how they both admitted their feelings to each other. It was beautiful to watch. What I didn't like though was that it ended with so many unanswered questions. Who is Yuna D? How is Achiho connected? Why are the Sakura Cards gone? I want answers so I'm hoping a second season is on its way soon!
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