A Review of Card Captor Sakura: Go ahead, Pick a Card.

Andrain here, you’re probably reading this while I’m on the road (Not to Viridian City, though I wish). Yare yare, moving into a new place, new duty station for more unimaginable training. Joy! Well everyone, welcome to the month of June here at the Caijin Samurai. You can call me Andrain and I’ll be taking over for this place’s namesake for this month. Perfect timing right? Couldn’t have asked for ANYTHING better! Ah well, a man can’t go back on his word. This month we’re going to take a look at some very very famous faces in Anime. Starting right from the framework May laid I’ll end May’s CLAMP month with CLAMP’s most important, famous, and groundbreaking work. That happens to leads extremely well into June where I’ll be taking a look at Magical Girls, everyone’s favorite genre (ok maybe not but still). That means there’s only one place to start! Boys and Girls, today we’re gonna take a look at CLAMP’s Legendary Masterpiece, Card Captor Sakura.

Warnings and Objectionable Content- That…. depends GREATLY on the version you watch… English version, you’re good to go. Japan….. ooo not so much, for the story of an elementary school girl, this can get over the top at times. Oh! This is the Warning section so with that said. DO NOT WATCH THE DUB! DO NOT WATCH THE DUB! DO NOT WATCH THE DUB! It might be sunshine and rainbows, but that’s just a very very hollow rewritten and Americanized show. The real thing is very different, and the only one I accept, as does most people. Still I gotta give it a PG-13 rating at least. This is a very pioneering anime in many ways.

Favorite Moment: Can’t share, sorry Enjoy the show!

Availability: If you’re not listening. I’m not telling you where to get the dub.

Story/Premise- The secrets of the Clow… OH SON OF A! WHY ARE YOU WATCHING THE DUB?! Ok, take two. Card Captor Sakura is the story of Sakura Kinimoto (NO NOT AVALON ((though that was a unique name choice I’ll give them that)) Are you all getting it yet?) A cheerful young girl who upon stumbling into a mysterious book opens it and all these cards go off flying every which way. Then a tiny little thing (Read mascot, but the best mascot ever.) comes out of the book and determines it’s up to this little girl to get all those cards back. Cue adventure of a lifetime. Card Captor Sakura is a legendary piece for so many reasons and no one has or will be allowed to come anywhere close to copying it. It goes on in season 2 where Sakura takes the powers she’s gained in the first season and logically makes them her own. A reasonable move that doubles the length of the series, while at the same time introduces more craziness! The second season even introduces the most controversial character in the series which the Americans ripped to pieces. Still I suppose reusing the cards all over again seems rather… boring. (23/25)

Characters: Sakura Kinimoto- Our Main Character is an elementary school girl. Athletically talented, luckily, she’s a baton twirler. She also is quite clumsy too. She is a happy kid. normal. and well regarded by her friends and classmates. She has a very abnormal sense of responsibility and greatly cares about the people near and dear to her. She’s not perfect, but she is adorable and the symbol of affection for many the world over.

Tomoyo Daidonji- The Heiress to a huge corporation. Tomoyo-chan is also a symbol in Anime. She’s Sakura’s best friend and important assistant. Her primary hobby and reason for existing is to provide us all amusement by dressing up Sakura in all sorts of Battle costumes to ensure both form and function. Also she is Sakura’s exclusive Videographer. Also though not as obvious, she is also Sakura’s cousin. What IS obvious is that she REALLY REALLY feels for Sakura more then the bounds of friendship. To top it all off! She’s got a GREAT voice too.

Syaoran Li- Unlike the importance the Americans give him through clever ripping apart of the original… Syaoran is Sakura’s main rival who is a descendent and apparent heir to those lovely Clow Cards. What’s that? Only main male character who she isn’t related to? Why Yes, CLAMP does show a history of… let’s… It’s complected.

Meilin Li -An anime only character. Specially designed to add Drama! I don’t mind her so much. She’s got guts. She wants Syaoran… BAD. I like her though. She’s got guts! She makes her addition to the series and her backstory helps us understand Syaoran a little more. It’s good to have her.

Keroberos- Kero! Why Yes! This is our mascot! The Guardian of the cards who represents the Sun! This awesome guy is full of win! Sure he forces Sakura into many dangerous situations but who cares! He’s a gamer, Total bro! Oh did I mention he talks in Kansai-ben (Also known as the Osakan accent)?

This series contains so many different types of characters, there’s implied incestuous feelings, homosexual feelings, one transgendered character. This is an amazingly progressive cast of characters especially for an Anime in 1998. (25/25)

(Disclaimer: Myself and the Samurai do not necessarily approve or disapprove of various choices or feelings characters have, they don’t exist and we won’t judge them. I’m just saying it is That Hat man, Everyone wears that awesome hat!quite interesting how these characters appear as they are in a series that was before our modern era shown openly in Japan)

Animation: It’s old, not gonna lie. It look good like Rayearth but it’s still old. The Fights are animated well and the character designs are still excellent and when Sakura goes into battle she’s ALWAYS looking good. The only question is which is your favorite outfit? 12.5/12.5

Music: Legendary Openings and Endings! This Anime may be quite old but the Music will still make you smile and matches the theme and pace of the Anime perfectly. If you need to smile put ANY of these songs on. The Music during the battles are fitting and intense, and did I mention Tomoyo-chan had an awesome voice? 12.5/12.5

Production: I suppose I should explain my ire for the dub. The Dub has been convicted of several counts of plot fitting, attempting to make Syaoran appear more important then he is to appeal to American boys. It also suffers HEAVY censoring that makes the censoring on Sailor Moon seem laughable. Bad Dub work… It was a different story. There is NO Redeeming factors about this dub (0/25)

That’s why we go onto the original! Ignoring that travesty… The original work was greatly extended by the Anime and I think it was a good thing. Sakura’s arsenal went from 19 cards to 52! That’s a lot to deal with. Sakura’s VA was Sakura Tange, best known for this role she was also Omitsu from Goemon. She’s more known as a singer then a VA but still does masterfully here. Li-kun was done by the very talented Motoko Kunai. She’s known for a lot of things including the lead of MAR, Sumomo from Chobits, and a Pretty Cure mascot. She plays across the spectrum! Heck She even does the Voice Over for Corey Mathews in the Japanese dub of Boy Meets World! Tomoyo-chan was voiced by Junko Iwao who also appeared in several notable roles including Jun Motomiya from Digmon Adventure 02, Akane Higurashi from Mai-HIME, and yes Samurai I won’t forget she’s also Hikari from Evangelion. And dear Kami-sama! Kero-chan is legendary! In his little Plushie form he’s voiced by the FANTASTIC Aya Hisakawa. This woman is A LEGEND! ON TOP of being Kero, she is also Sailor Mercury, Yae from Goemon, Yuki Sohma from Fruits Baskets, Ray Beams from E7, Skuld-sama!, AND Cure Moonlight! Oh dear Kami-sama… My heart. Meilin’s VA was Yukana Nogami, who would go onto voice Tessa from Full Metal Panic, Cure White one of the Original Pretty Cure… AND C.C. From Code Geass. This is once again an all-star cast where the headliner doesn’t even go onto do anything particularly impressive later but everyone else… Legends man, legends. This Anime is one of those legends I have to say all aspiring Anime fans have to watch in its original form. Required viewing for all Anime fans love it or hate it! (25/25)

Looking back at this I think I’m probably being too unfair. I probably could slice some more points somewhere if I really went into the series, but I maintain this is one of the finest Anime of all time. If you’re open minded enough to get through all the crazy stuff this throws at you, you’re going to get an endearing story. A tale of one of the finest Magicians the world has ever known!

Scoring Summary:

Story Breakdown – 23/25
Characters – 25/25
Animation – 12.5/12.5
Music – 12.5/12.5
Performance and Production – 25/25

Final Score – 98/100 = 98% – A

Well Sakura was the first member of the Magical Girl Triumverate! The Three most most well known Magical girls in Japan right now.

Next up I’ll speak about this young lady in the lower right! If you don’t know her already her name is Nanoha Takamachi. And in my next review I’ll be cover the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha sagas. Please look forward to it.

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