If there was one way to describe this series it would be charming. Everything from the comedy to the characters to the setting and character interactions the show is filled to the brim with wit and charm that its hard not to get instantly attached to the show. While the setup is inherently formulaic and repetitive it makes up for it by constantly building up the characters in each scenario. By the end of the show its hard not to just smile through the whole thing. But what is this show about? Well Cardcaptor Sakura is about the titular character Sakura a plucky and cheerful fourth grade lass who accidentally unleashes the Guardian Beast of the Seal named Keroberos a weird looking plush toy from a book she found in her fathers study as well as the 52 clow cards that were sealed inside it that have various magical powers. Together with Keroberos and her best friend Tomoyo a rich girl whose entire purpose in life is to dress up her friend and film her daily life Sakura must rectify her mistake by hunting down and sealing away the clow cards. What makes the show special is the characters and their general dynamics with one another. The narrative itself is very simple with most episodes before episode 46 were about finding and catching the clow cards almost like Pokmon in that regard but what makes itself memorable are the characters. Sakura for example is presented as this sort of cheerful and happy go lucky girl who would help anyone at any point and while this is true its not the full picture. Sakura does have her moments of sadness and selfdoubt at various points in the series. She grows throughout the series both magically and matures throughout the series. At first she doesnt want to collect the clow cards but she begins to believe that its her responsibility to capture all the clow cards that she released by accident. She also has a crush on Yukito a friend of her older brother Toya whos in his high school. As the series progresses however she ends up getting over her initial feelings of Yukito and falls in love with a certain character that would eventually be resolved by the end of the second movie. She has many comical interactions with her older brother and Keroberos and she works off quite well with those two characters. Her mother passed away soon after she was born and it somewhat works into her dynamic with her family such as Sakura unwittingly meeting her great grandfather without even realizing it was him or the time when Tomoyos mother meets her and her father and it was revealed that her mother and Sonomi are cousins. This creates an interesting dynamic with her father and Sonomi in one particular episode where it was revealed that her mother married her father when she was just 16 years old and he was a high school rookie teacher which understandably causes a lot of distress from her aunt and gets into an argument with her father. At the end of the episode Sakura uses her newly found clow card to make it rain flowers to calm her down. She just has a lot of energy and adorable charm to her that its hard not to root for her search for the cards. The next character would be Tomoyo who is an interesting character to say the least. While on the surface it appears that Tomoyo only really cares about filming and dressing up Saukra to the point where its a running gag throughout the series Id say theres more than meets the eye with her. She truly cares about Sakura and her wellbeing. There is a point in the series where she decides to help Syaoran try to get with Sakura and also help Meiling get over her feelings for that character to the point where she even teases that Syaoran about it as a gag. She wants the best for Sakura and wants to help her in anyway shape or form. She consistently shows concern for her friend and tries to cheer her up whenever she can. She does really love and care for her friend but it usually shows as a sort of gag where she sometimes is unable to film or dress up her friend and she gets disappointed. She does love Sakura but understands that Sakura doesnt share the same feelings and its because of her understanding that allows her to support her friends when they also have trouble expressing their feelings such as Meiling and Syaoran. After that would be Keroberos or Kerochan for short. I adore this little guy everytime hes on screen. His ego general demeanor his obsession with food his little accent and genuine care for Sakura makes him so fun to watch. Aside from giving general information about the clow cards and eating a lot of food he really cares about Sakura and worries about her from beginning to end even after she accidentally releases the cards. There is a legitimate relationship between the two and he grows to care for his new master. The buildup feels sincere and genuine as the show moves on. There was this episode where Sakura and Keroberos have petty fights and he runs off after eating chocolate with alcohol in itNo really that happened lmao and he meets this little girl. After yet another encounter with a clow card Sakura and Keroberos realized that they shouldnt fight and Sakura even made a little room and bed for him in one of her cabinets. It was a nice end to the episode that solidified their relationship even further. There would also be Syaoran who was introduced a little later in the show. He is from Hong Kong and wants to collect the clow cards and starts off as a sort of rival character to Sakura. Right off the bat he comes off as jaded closed off and also very skilled. Hailing from a magical family and as a descendant of Clow Reed himself the sorcerer responsible for creating the clow cards he has far more knowledge about the cards than Sakura does and knows about as much as Kerochan. He even manages to capture a few of the cards himself which makes him come off as a legitimate threat to Sakuras goal but as the series progresses he softens up and becomes friends with Sakura and her friends in her class. He slowly changes his attitude throughout the series in a very subtle way. He begins working together with Sakura and helps her capture many of the cards that they go after in the series. He even cares about Sakura and her wellbeing and slowly puts down the barrier that he usually puts up. His initial standoff ish personality is slowly but surely replaced by a kinder demeanor for others. Finally there is Meiling Syaorans cousin. She starts off similarly to her cousin where she sees Sakura as a rival but not for the cards but for Syaoran. After initially meeting up with him again at the end of episode 19 she misreads the situation and sees that Syaoran had given Sakura the shirt that she gave him as a gift. Afterwards she starts pinning for her cousin and sees herself as a rival for Sakura. As the show progresses however she slowly changes. Hailing from a family of magic like Syaoran yet having no magical abilities of her own she wanted Syaoran to marry her with the condition that she would call it off if he found someone that he loved more than her. However she would also slowly change through the show as she would slowly see Sakura not as a rival to compete with but a genuine friend that she wanted to help out when necessary. The final episode she appears in was in episode 60 where she writes a letter to Sakura saying: My dear friend. Plus its not like her antics truly harmed anyone as it was entirely framed with comedy and not malicious intent. Speaking of comedy lets talk about that There are a few running gags in the series such as Yamazaki telling random lies about random things the aforementioned Tomoyo gags Melings general behavior Toyas teasing of Sakura and Kerochans general gluttonous behavior. There isnt much I would say about the comedy as it can be funny but Yamazakis lies can get annoying after a while and the rest of the gags can range from alright to pretty funny. That one gag I mentioned with Tomoyo is my favorite one in particular. Some may find Meilings behavior with Syaoran to be annoying but after a little bit I got used to it. She also changes for the better so that certainly helps. There are some issues that may or may not annoy you. For example this show is a 70 episode series with two movies as well but the manga is only 50 chapters long. That means that some episodes are not as good as others and your suspension of disbelief may get tested at times. For example there are many episodes where Sakura has to fly and the question becomes how dont any of these blind people dont see her and there is one egregious example where Sakura becomes a giant and has to fight a giant dragon and yet nobody sees them It becomes a little hard to excuse that but it doesnt bother me too much overall. Theres also the issue of the fact that both arcs have so much buildup to them and their handled really well until the climax which isnt bad but it does make it feel anticlimactic. Theres also the romance. The build up for Sakura and Syaoran feels genuine as they both had the same admiration for Yukito but slowly move away from those feelings and build a romance with each other. There actually isnt a full blown confession at the end of the series like you would expect but instead you would still believe this romance between the two build throughout the series. Their interactions and body language is all you need to understand their budding romance which doesnt get concluded until the end of the second movie. Theres a few general things I want to mention before I move on. First of all there isnt a usual magical transformation sequence. Instead Tomoyo would dress her up in one of her various costumes she made herself and this does add a lot of flare to the series overall. Second of all there are two movies that I would recommend. The first one takes place around the half way mark of the show where Sakura and co win a trip to Hong Kong and we meet Syaoran and his family there. While the movie isnt necessary for the series narrative it does bring a decent sense of adventure and it is nice to see Syaorans family and mother. The second one takes place directly after the series and this is where the conclusion of Syaoran and Sakuras relationship at the end. I would recommend both since theyre pretty enjoyable and the second movie is important to the romance by itself. Finally theres the audiovisuals. I would say it certainly holds up for a 22 year old series. Some of the clow cards have really appealing designs like POWER FIREY and WATERY and its a treat to see them. Some pretty standout moments like Syaoran and Meiling fighting against the twin cards or like Sakura fighting against a certain character in episode 46. The usual CLAMP designs looks rather appealing and nice to look at. The OST is also nice to listen to with some standout calming pieces or rock tracks during fight scenes. The first opening is also rather nice which is song by the voice for Sakura interestingly enough Overall I really loved this series. Not only would I recommend it as a piece of Mahou Shoujo history its also just a really fun and enjoyable show to watch from beginning to end. It has so much charm it warms my jaded and cynical heart right up While I wouldnt call it flawless its a classic series that is highly recommended for anybody of any age to watch. Its entertaining and even somewhat thought provoking and it certainly earned a place in my favorites
90 /100
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