It's been three months since the last two Clow Cards were transformed by Sakura and Syaoran, and Syaoran and Meiling have returned to Hong Kong. Life has moved on as normal for our heroes and heroines, including the exciting news that Sakura has been chosen to be a princess at an upcoming school festival! But trouble arises when Clow Reed's old mansion is destroyed and replaced with a Carnival. And with it, bridges, sign posts and even people begin to disappear. Dark magic is afoot; can Sakura manage to stop it, even if it means losing the one she loves the most?
StoryAs the true sequel to the original series, Card Captor Sakura: The Movie 2: The Sealed Card continues the story of Sakura, Shaoran, and all the rest. As fans will remember, the series left a significant romantic subplot up in the air, which this movie finally attempts to resolve; and having lost none of its unique charm and sweet-natured humour, it does not disappoint in the least.For those afraid that The Sealed Card is nothing more than an excuse for a fluffy romance, fear not: CCS retains its adventurous story-telling style, with scary action and sweet romance alternating in equal measure to provide a well-paced, well-developed plot. What works about this dual approach is that Sakura tries to rise to an unprecedented new challenge whilst undertaking an emotional journey that is also unfamiliar to her. The result is a feature that feels a lot like the final arc of the series; it is epic in presentation, but also heart-warming without being saccharine. I suppose my only gripe is that, although Sakura survives some freaky dangers, the actual resolution to the conflict is too easy. It's the kind of ending that makes me ask ‘Why didn't you do that before?' However, considering that the main reason for watching another CCS adventure is to see the romance develop, this flaw is not too big a problem.AnimationThe concept for The Sealed Card remains the same as in the series, except everything has gone big-budget now; the opening sequence has got to be one of the most inventive action scene involving monsters, bright costumes, and playground apparatus that I have seen. Moreover, all the background details are more visually delightful than before, and the characters' movements are flawlessly smooth. SoundSince there is not one theme here that I could call interesting or memorable, the soundtrack is quite worthless; if there is an official album for this movie, I suggest not bothering with it. On the other hand, the voice acting is wonderful as usual; the entire cast steps up to the mark once more to deliver nothing but excellence. My favourite moment has to be Tomoyo's crazy giggle, which cracks me up to no end.CharactersCharacter development is minimal here since the protagonists only have a short space of time to deal with their enemy. What development there is occurs in the realm of Sakura and Shaoran's romance, where the two characters struggle to express their feelings and take the next step from friendship to love. Sakura is her usual plucky self, although I found her slide into emotional turmoil added a refreshing change of tone. Shaoran, on the other hand, has matured a lot since the series and gets quite kick-arse during the battles. When put together, their dynamic involves a lot of hilarious awkward moments, which make for some of the most memorable scenes.Tomoyo and Meilin also have more involved roles than they did in the first movie, which is a welcome development; I enjoy watching them almost as much as Sakura and Shaoran. Above all, it's great to see so many of the extras making cameo appearances. For example, Tomoyo's mother and Sakura's father return with touching consequences, and all of the important classmates, as well as Eriol and his gang, have a part to play. They remain static as characters, but their personalities are portrayed wittily enough.OverallThe Sealed Card is a fantastic conclusion to the entire franchise; it doesn't just wrap things up nicely, but also continues to deliver on quality of presentation, plot, and a little bit of character development. In an industry where too many anime have dissatisfying endings or are not concluded at all, this is a rarity indeed; no fan of CCS should leave this one off their list.
It took me two viewings of CCS 2: The Sealed Card. The first attempt was when I was just entering the final arc in the series, where Sakura began transforming Clow Cards into Sakura versions. At this point, I was not ready to understand perfectly what was happening and decided to wait until I was nearly halfway through this closing portion of CCS. It appears that I would have been better served if I had waited until viewing all seventy some episodes. But, by the mid-fifties of episodes, I found myself a little more comfortable with the plot flow to deduce approximately how things would work out. The presence of Eriol and his crew appearing to see to Clow Reed’s interests. Tomoyo sensing that there was something developing between Sakura and Syaoran Li. The transformation of the Clow Cards and the new magical techniques Sakura must learn to control their powers. The Sealed Card adds one new aspect to the drama, an unknown card of conflicting powers had been discovered, and its destructive powers are driven by a malignant goal to gather up all the Sakura Cards. A lonely card needing the companionship of the 52 others. A motivation that one could sympathize with, but at the costs of the destruction of property and people. The elements which drove the series are all there. Tomoyo’s insistence on dressing up Sakura as the Cardcaptor struggles to regain control of the cards which she had laboriously gathers in the first forty-five episodes. Sakura and Syaoran slowly gaining respect and confidence in each other’s abilities. Syaoran hesitant to admit that he is having feelings for Sakura and embarrassing himself in any chance encounters with her. Even Meiling Li returns from Hong Kong with her cousin Syaoran and discloses to Sakura that she has renounce her ‘engagement’ to her cousin if Syaoran found a girl to whom he would be attracted (hint! hint! wink! wink!). The comedy of this movie involves Tomoyo and Meiling giving Sakura every chance to confess her love to Syaoran; these meetings are strained and uncomfortable but are crucial elements towards the story’s resolution. Again, as in the first movie, the power of Sakura’s opponent is daunting. Sakura cannot help but losing all the Sakura Cards to the mysterious entity of the sealed card. It only comes at the moment Sakura encounters this card and notes that the card’s zeal to have all the Clow Cards in her control is not only selfish but devastating. But a minor paradigm shift. If the sealed card cannot gain the ‘friendship’ of the fifty-two Sakura Cards, why not join them as the fifty-third Sakura Card? The threat of losing Syaoran Li’s friendship is an intimidating obstacle, but Sakura risks that to save her friends, family, and the city itself. The animation is flat, but vividly drawn and contrasted. One feels the smoothness of the characters’ motions, even down to the flitting shadows of tree branches as they move into the shade. Stronger, more disciplined animation techniques were employed in this year 2000 piece, and one would have to imagine what Madhouse would have done if they had the CGI skills back then. The results are staggeringly excellent. CCS 2: The Sealed Card is a great transition to the expansion of the CCS project beyond the original concept of seventy + episodes and feature movies.
If I had to choose one thing about the CCS series that was good it would be this movie. Not just because it signifies the end of the series :P but it was a short wonderful story that actually wrapped everything up very well. Shoujo fluff at its best in this movie and that says a lot coming from me because i generally hate shoujo.Unlike the show this movie kept up a good pace. nothing was too slow or to fast plot wise and it was wonderful to watch the events unfold and if you are a fan of shoujo you will be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen at the end.
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