Cardcaptor Sakura: More than Magic

Note: Some of the reviews/ rambles that I put up will be on old and established anime/ manga. I’m writing down my thoughts on basically every single anime/ manga that I have ever read or watched, and some of these older ones are gems. 

[A review/ ramble about the rather old anime, Cardcaptor Sakura]

After Pokémon, this is the next big thing on catching powerful thingies and trapping them in something. Okay, this show is nothing like Pokémon. Firstly, it has a start, middle and an end (yes, an actual storyline) and it is quite interesting. Cardcaptor Sakura was my childhood and it was a pretty awesome one at that.

This show is very fantastical. It is thoroughly sweet, wonderful and all good things. No one is evil, and everyone has a good side to them. Such an idealistic world cannot possibly exist in reality, I know, but I love it so much.

Sakura, the eponymous protagonist of this story and once my idol, makes a good role model for young children. She is brave, kind and very very cute. There is nothing I dislike about her (save for the high-pitched voice in the Japanese audio version) and she learns and grows through the series, which is extremely adorable to watch. Her concern for her friends (and even ‘enemies’) is a nice reminder that we all have potential for kindness and compassion.

The storyline itself is rather simple – it is essentially about Sakura developing her magical powers and catching the Clow Cards that she accidentally released into the world. What impressed me is that it flowed really well, and somehow, everything clicks into place by the end. The episodic nature of the show meant that for the most part, each episode was a complete story on its own (not many cliff-hangers here) but also somehow built up to the overarching plot.

We get to spend sufficient time with all the main characters and they are all lovable in their own way. One of the things I truly appreciated in this show was the slow build relationships. The existing relationships between some of the characters (such as the friendship between Sakura and her bestie Tomoyo) are explored, showing us the affection that these characters have for each other. At the same time, new relationships are built steadily throughout the show. I adored the budding romance between Sakura and Shaoran, and I loved how his perception of her changed as he interacted with her. I hated him at first, because of his brash, loud and seemingly selfish nature, but much later realised that he is actually quite shy and selfless, much like Sakura herself. Then there is the somewhat complicated relationship between Toya and Yukito; complicated because it took me a while to understand what that was and it was never quite stated explicitly (although it was sort of implied all along if you caught the clues). I did enjoy watching their relationship progress and I think it is perfect.

However, the show does have its downsides. Firstly, the Japanese voice acting takes a while to get used to. I watched the show first in English Dub (that was before I realised it was an anime), and rather liked it. When I watched it again with the Japanese Audio, I found the high-pitched squeaks used in the girls’ voices rather jarring. It was almost intolerable initially but after about five episodes or so, I sort of got used to it. I do not know which English dubbed version they played on TV all those years ago though, because when I tried to find it, I ended up with a really lousy English dub.

The second problem is that a rather simple story means that there isn’t much room for plot development in this show. Some things do happen, and there are a few questions thrown in here and there, but nothing significant enough to warrant a thread on a discussion forum. I do not think this is a serious shortcoming though. In fact, I actually like this about Cardcaptor Sakura because the simplicity is something that I think I need every once in a while.

All in all, I love this show. When I’m feeling really down or upset, there are only two shows that I watch to lift my mood; one is One Piece (which is hilarious in its own way) and the other is Cardcaptor Sakura. The bright and beautiful world painted in Cardcaptor Sakura is completely comforting and a good one to escape into from time to time. If you are not averse to lots of cuteness and don’t mind watching a simple story, then I would highly recommend that you give Cardcaptor Sakura a try (if you haven’t already). It’s an old show but it’s a complete story and it is worth it.

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