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.
Ruined everything. The plot sucked, the voices changed (since I saw the dub), the character's personalities were completely trampled by the whole corny and cheesy theme.
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