The Summer of Love IV continues! We have reached the final piece of media! The final chapter in this long journey of a girl and her magical cards. It’s been a ride full of ups and downs, but will this last entry be able to bring the show across the finish line? Or will it be the opposite? The truth is, as always, a bit of both. So after the cut let’s finally take a dive into the last entry of Cardcaptor Sakura: the second film: The Sealed Card!
Epilogue anime films often serve one real purpose. With the main story completed and all points mostly wrapped up, the film is made to wrap up any remaining loose threads or address fan demands or requests that had not been answered. This was the entire point of Naruto: The Last, which was made to solely deal with the romance the series so often kicked down the line. That similar idea is shown here in The Sealed Card where the story is devoted to resolving Sakura and Syaoran’s lingering feelings.
In this regard, the film does a decent job. While the romance was never anything special, it was treated as a big deal for the two characters and it is given a decent amount of weight. Sakura wants to tell Syaoran how she feels, but the constant interruptions by the other characters keeps throwing it back. It is only at the final minutes, when all of those distractions are gone that Sakura is finally able to tell him how she feels. That moment and the great joy that comes afterward is a wonderful cathartic release, and a triumphant moment for the journey of these two characters.
Which is good, because the rest of the movie is kinda ‘eh’.
The mysterious sealed card, it’s ability to remove people from the world, and the conflict that comes from it is all just kinda there. A plot that has been stapled onto the story because the confession isn’t able to carry the entire movie. It feels superfluous and very much what you’d expect from an anime movie, with no real stakes because you know everything would wrap up perfectly at the end. Yet with all that said, Sealed Card is actually able to give a sense of real threat from the titular card during the film. Sakura’s battle in the theme park has legit scenes where I was surprised at how intense they got, the moment with the roller coaster had me going “whoa, they did that?” While that doesn’t excuse the fact that the entire B-plot feels superfluous, credit needs to be given where it counts.
For the rest of the film, much of what I had said during the first film still stands. The improved animation makes everything pop, with a level of quality and detail that only big-budgets like this can give. The supporting cast remains fun and enjoyable, and I loved seeing Meilin being fully supportive of Syaoran’s relationship. Tomoyo owns every scene she is in, as does her mother. And I enjoyed Yukito and Sakura being more like brother and sister, showing her moving beyond her crush. It’s all enjoyable fare and after this long with the characters it is good to see that they still hold up and are enjoyable.
I don’t know if we needed something like The Sealed Card to wrap up the series. I was quite content with the ending we got from the anime. But even still, I can’t deny that this movie’s final moments don’t feel rewarding for the two characters and the journey we’ve been on. I only wish that the rest of the film didn’t fall into that trap of being filler to pad out the rest of the story. Yet even that filler had moments of fun and tension and honestly? I don’t want to be too critical of what is essentially a children’s show. If you have stuck with the series this long, you’ll enjoyed The Sealed Card, and if not. Well there is very little here to change your mind.
And with that, we have now wrapped up The Summer of Love IV! I hope you’ll join me next week as we give our final thoughts on Cardcaptor Sakura as a whole!