The Summer of Love IV: Final Thoughts on Cardcaptor Sakura

The Summer of Love IV concludes! We have now reached our final post in the fourth annual Summer of Love. It’s been a long journey and as always, it’s been ups and downs. Still we are now at the end, and it’s for our final thoughts. Let’s get into those after the cut!

Throughout this summer, I have been looking at CCS with the idea that I wanted to answer one question.

Why is Cardcaptor Sakura so good?

Having watched the whole thing, including the movies, I think I need to change up that question: What makes parts of Cardcaptor Sakura so good?

I’ll be blunt here, this was probably the hardest Summer of Love I’ve had to get through so far. With 70 episodes and two movies, there was a lot to watch and honestly, a fair portion of it felt like filler. Made in a time when seasonal cours were not a thing. CCS often suffered from bloat and throwing in episodes that felt very much like treading water. In fact out of the entire run of 70 episodes, I would say only about 25 feel very much ‘canon’ to the original manga story while the rest was twiddling it’s thumbs. If anything, I do think Cardcaptor Sakura is in desperate need of a remake, ala Fruits Basket that honors the manga’s timeline.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Because when Cardcaptor Sakura gets to those good episodes, man oh man, is it something else. I’ve said before, but the best piece of children’s entertainment are the ones that entertain both children AND adults. For my generation, shows like Hey Arnold, Recess, The Weekenders and Spongebob’s initial three season run, remain cornerstones of our childhood, but on reflection they all have good writing, good characters and humor that adults can enjoy. Cardcaptor Sakura isn’t exactly like that, but its treatment of its characters and the stories they tell help elevate it greatly.

Stories about a world of innocence, where adults can be trusted and safety is always present. Of a girl who acquires magical power, but remains the humble, optimistic, kind and very much human. Where the biggest crisis is letting down your dad, but who will always forgive and understand. Where a brother is protective, but willing to let his sister do what she needs, knowing that another will come and protect her. Where a best friend understands that her love and the love her friends needs are two different things. Where a mother will step into the living world to cheer her sister on, and where a young boy realizes that his place is not as the wielder of the cards, but as that girls knight, protector and number one person.

Cardcaptor Sakura is all of these things, good and bad. A show that highs are amazing, but its lows are noticeable and dragging. A product of its time, but one that holds a dear place in the hearts of many. Despite my frustrations, I enjoyed my time going back to this series, but I will not deny that I wish that journey didn’t have so much dead weight. For anyone who has followed these posts, I hope my words have made you want to check out, because even if it is a little too long, this is a landmark series for a generation, and one that should be applauded for what it does.

And with that, The Summer of Love IV comes to an end, and we can only wrap things up in one way.

Play us out, Purachina.

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