The Summer of Love IV continues! When we last left off we saw Sakura Kinomoto release the clow cards, meet Kero and her would-be rival Syaoran. There were costumes and cute moments and this week will be no different. Let’s get into the next ten episodes right after the cut!
When looking at shows like CCS, it is important to remember that it is a mostly episodic format. Too often the show has Sakura and co going about their daily lives when a Clow card shows up and disturbs the balance. They try and fail to stop it, throw on a cute costume and end up sealing the card before the credits roll. Along the way some characters develop and everyone ends up looking cute. It’s a good concept but one that would be understandable stale after a handful of episodes. One of my fears would be that the deeper we got into CCS, the more repetitive and dull the series might become.
Thankfully that is not the case, and even this early on it is clear that CCS is trying its best to keep things fresh. The most noticeable of these things is that in this 10-episode run, we are treated to an episode where the cards aren’t even a part of it. Instead we follow Sakura during her summer vacation as she meets an old man. And keeping in the ‘pure innocence’ vibe of the series, this old man is kind, loving and gentle, giving Sakura wonderful memories that she in turn gives back through a rainbow. It is only at the end that we see this is actually Sakura’s great-grandfather and their meeting was organized beforehand. It’s a wonderful and gentle episode, and one that shows a surprising amount of depth for what is children’s programming. Putting the cards to the side for this episode also reveals the excellent character work of the main cast and how they can stand on their own without the magical girl elements.
And really, a lot of these episodes here work because they focused on the secondary cast. While Sakura is always the focus, there is a good amount of time given to the other characters and it works well. Tomoyo’s mother Sonomi is a delight, and her obsessive and loving personality towards Sakura clearly runs in the family. Despite not liking that Nadeshiko married Fujitora, she understands that he is a good person and understands Sakura’s admiration of him. Tomoyo herself gets some insight into her character, and her adoration of Sakura is all about her being shown kindness and affection. The scene that reveals her most precious possession remains a top-ten favorite moment for me. It is refreshing to see the show just embrace Tomoyo’s fondness for Sakura and not try to make it more cynical or complicated.
But it is the arrival of Meilin Li, cousin of Syaoran and the series major ‘anime-only’ character that struck me the most. Her tsundere and jealous personality is such an unknown force to the cute and fluffy series, but it works so well. In her single episode so far, Meilin helps shift the status quo and gives Sakura someone who isn’t falling over to praise her. I don’t know what most fans view Meilin, but I absolutely love having it with everyone. Her design, mannerisms and role in the story is exactly what the series needed and I only hope that it is used well in the future episodes.
Episodes 11 through 20 of Cardcaptor Sakura continue to go from strength to strength. While some are a bit more ‘fillery’ than others. The show knows what is important and never drags things on too much. Furthermore CCS isn’t afraid to shake up the status quo ever slightly, or add moments of true character progression. It is nothing major, but it is good to see that the characters aren’t stuck in the same limbo that so often crippled the western cartoons of the 90s and early 00s. Characters are given room to breathe and the spotlight is comfortably shared among everyone. As we reach the halfway point of the first arc, I am curious to see if that feeling holds up. We’ll have to see in a few weeks, as next time we’ll be taking a look at the music of the series! Make sure to give it a look!
- I was afraid that the episode where Kero and Sakura fought would be a bummer, but it was actually really refreshing. Sakura may be the pinnacle of girlish innocence, but she is still human and can get frustrated, annoyed and even stomp her feet. That does a lot to humanise her.
- The little girl who adopts Kero was also fucking adorable as all hell. Anime always does know how to portray children in good ays.
- Syaoran hasn’t had much to do (something I am sure will be the case until the second arc), but he is butting heads more and more with Sakura. I love their competitive streak and how casual, but real their rivalry is. You wouldn’t know that these two end up being soulmates.
- Toya rejecting every female confession was fun to see, but I liked how he decided to give Akane a dance regardless. He’s a good man, but he’s got eyes only for Yukito.
- The Time Card ends up being one of the most important ones in the series, next only to Windy and Sleep. I do kind of wish they had gone a bit more into the time-loop aspects though.
- Tomoyo is fucking loaded man. Like I don’t know what kind of money a CEO of a toy company makes, but Sonomi knows her shit.
- I like how Nadeshiko, despite being shown as the pinnacle of motherly perfection, was still clumsy and a bit clueless. Her relationship with Fujitora is probably the more ‘acceptable’ of CCS’s more eye-brow raising romance, and the series does state time and time again that it was mutually loving and wonderful pairing. Poor Sonomi though, she just can’t get over it.
- I’m surprised at how little we’ve seen of the ‘full transformation’ sequence of the sealing staff. I thought that happened a hell of a lot more than it does. Props for showing restraint!
- Hoe Count: 42