The Summer of Love IV continues! We last left off Sakura and her friends were still doing what they always do, but we also watched my favorite episode of the entire series. Now things have continued, but have the good times remained? Or have things started to get a bit grating? Well let’s take a look at the next ten episodes right after the cut!
I’ll be honest, after the last ten episodes I starting to see the series beginning to strain itself in the box it had place in. While none of them were bad by any means, there was a real sense that most of what I watched last time was more filler. More of those ‘card of the week’ episodes that don’t really add anything to the overall plot. The episode with her father aside, most of it was just kinda ‘eh’, and I was afraid that would be the feeling until the final few episodes of the arc.
Thankfully that turns out to not be the case and this batch of episodes are some of the strongest I’ve seen yet. While there are filler episodes laced throughout, a lot of what is seen here is canon and does a lot to further the plot. The biggest of these is the constant referencing to Sakura’s dream and the anime does a lot with this. The shot of Sakura looking at the Tokyo tower, the flower petals, the cards and the mysterious figure looking at her remains one of the series most iconic shots. It is a layer of mystery and otherworldliness that reminds you that the show is more than just whatever card they are capturing this week. Furthermore the continued referencing of the mysterious Yue helps hooks the viewers, as the revelation of who he is remains honestly surprising to those people who are going into the series blind.
Out of the batch of episodes, there are a few that really stood out of me. The most consequential in terms of plot has to be ‘Sakura’s Wonderful Christmas’ that sees her going up against the Firey Card. While it is all wrapped up by the end, the conflict against Firey is a tense moment and sees both Sakura and Syaoran step up into their respective roles. Syaoran himself is starting to undergo his transformation from would-be rival to loving and loyal knight to Sakura and it is clear that her loving, kind and upbeat personality is starting to rub off on him. I’ll be talking more about this during his character dive, but seeing this change in the character is great to see.
Sakura and Tomoyo’s Lost Voice was another one of note, showing Sakura’s fear and concern for her friend when the Clow Cards directly affect her. Tomoyo the constant source of strength takes it all on the chin, comforting Sakura through her fear, and it remains a great example of their friendship. I also really liked seeing Tomoyo’s mother Sonomi show love and affection for her own daughter as the only other times we’ve seen her, she’s obsessing over Sakura. It’s a minor thing, but something I really appreciated seeing. She cares for Sakura yes, but Tomoyo is her only beloved daughter and she’ll rush to her side the moment she is in danger.
But it is Sakura’s Dizzy Fever Day that holds, in my view, the series best moment and one of the only moments in anime history that actually makes me tear up. I’ve always prided myself on being able to hold it together during sad anime moments. I just don’t tend to start crying, but man oh man, seeing Nadeshiko appear and help cure Sakura of her fever gets me every damn time. The music, the calm voice and the sense of love and affection are palpable. As much as Sakura’s family loves her, both her father and Touya (who is aware of what is going on) are unable to help her. So in this episode, seeing Touya step up and look after his little sister, Nadeshiko come from the beyond to tell her to ‘do her best’ and Fujitaka return from his trip out of worry shows the place of protection and love that her family can give her, even if they can’t help Sakura carry the burden.
Episodes 31 to 40 of Cardcaptor Sakura brings the series back on track after a fun, but inconsequential previous batch. The plot is here, things are moving forward and we are seeing the characters change ever so slowly from their experience. I was running hot and cold on CCS before this, but thankfully these episodes brought me right back into it and kept me glued to the screen. There are now only six episodes of the first story arc left and things are going to kick into high gear. I’ll be covering those in two weeks, as next time we’ll be taking a character dive into our titular character! I hope you’ll take a look!
- I loved that there was one or two episodes this round that have no card being captured. This is a good break the series needs at times. It lets the characters breathe without the ‘monster of the week’ just being there.
- Sakura and her friends going ice-skating is another great episode that shows Syaoran and Sakura working together really well.
- There is probably no greater user of ‘standing in the distance and looking mysterious’ than Kaho Mizuki. That woman has raised that shit to an art form.
- Syaoran and Kero switching bodies thankfully didn’t run that joke into the ground, and actually works well considering how tropey that idea can become.
- Tomoyo’s dream of just filming a million Sakura’s is so fucking adorable. That girl is just absolutely smitten.
- I said this before, but man they are really starting to stretch out some of the cards. Even the show is starting to notice it. Do we really need a ‘rain’ and a ‘cloud’ card? At least they seem to be aware.
- The moment in the Ferris wheel with Sakura and Yukito is a tender moment and the final shot of Sakura’s face is just great.
- Hoe count: 87