Reviews | Written by Alan Boon 04/02/2019

CARDCAPTOR SAKURA: CLEAR CARD – PART 1

Cardcaptor Sakura was a long-running manga and anime that told the story of Sakura Kinomoto, an elementary school girl who discovers she has magic powers after finding (and losing) a set of enchanted cards. By the end of the first series, Sakura has collected all of the cards once more, and confessed her love to her boyfriend, Syaoran, who returns to Hong Kong, which is just plain rude.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card takes place two years after the original series, and finds Sakura in junior high school, where she is soon joined by Syaoran who has returned to Japan after taking care of whatever business he had back in China. Sakura begins to have bizarre dreams about transparent cards and a hooded figure, and awakes one day to find all the cards in her magic deck have also turned transparent! Later that day, on the way home from school, she is assaulted by strange winds, and is forced to use her abilities to subdue the breezy threat. This grants her the card “Gale”, and the quest is on the capture the clear cards!

Based on an ongoing manga by CLAMP, CS:CC contains the first eleven episodes of the anime series that aired in the first half of 2018. Sharing many themes with other popular “collection” anime like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, it’s very obviously aimed at a younger audience, perhaps even younger than its PG certificate and thirteen-year old main character might suggest.

Sakura is an endearing protagonist, and the supporting cast made up of her school friends and overseas magic advisors add varying amounts to the show, from the strong, determined best friend to the actually-quite-annoying boyfriend. Particularly interesting - and unusually handled in a very welcome, casual manner - is Sakura’s brother’s romantic relationship with his male best friend (who also happens to secretly and unknowingly be the guardian of the cards).

The animation services the story well, and the story skips along, adopting a Card of the Week format, while slowly rolling out the overarching plot of the mysterious hooded figure from Sakura’s dreams. Although this is just part one, the manga is still ongoing, and there is plenty of story to be told even after the inevitable release of part two later this year. Included, as always, are dual soundtracks, with the original Japanese dub featuring the experienced Sakura Tange reprising her role from the original show. The English dub, provided by Funimation, casts the prolific Monica Rial in the title role, and she brings bounce to Sakura’s character.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is a typical but decent shoujo anime, which should delight the tween crowd. The older viewer may still find enjoyment in the show, but if your time and money are limited there are far better options to spend both on. Still, those cards won’t catch themselves, so maybe we best get to it...

Extras: Sakura and the Two Bears prologue, textless opening and closing songs, trailers

CARDCAPTOR SAKURA: CLEAR CARD - PART 1 / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: MORIO ASAKA / SCREENPLAY: NANASE OHKAWA / STARRING: JUNKO IWAO, AYA HISAKAWA, MONICA RIAL, JASON LIEBRECHT / RELEASE DATE: 11TH FEBRUARY