Card Captor Sakura
CARD CAPTOR SAKURA graced the anime scene on 9 April 1998 with much anticipation and good reviews. The wonderfully imaginative series centers on a fourth grader named Kinomoto Sakura. She attends Tomoeda Elementary School and a mysterious book called The Clow forever changes her life.
Sakura has an older brother, Touya, who makes her life difficult with his constant teasing, but he really does care for her. Sakura’s father, Fujitaka, works to provide for his family as an archaeologist at the local university. Touya’s and Sakura’s mother, Nadeshiko, died when Sakura was only three years old so their dad has been taking care of them ever since.
The anime series starts out to be a very innocent story about a young girl named Sakura until her life is changed one day when she finds a magical book entitled The Clow. The day begins normally enough as Sakura attends grade school with her best friend, Daidouji Tomoyo, who has a penchant for Sakura and everything she does.
Sakura stumbles upon The Clow as if by fate and breaks the seal of the book. Within the hollowed out book, Sakura finds a deck of magical cards called the Clow Cards. Each of the Clow Cards contain a special magic and a conscience all their own. She accidentally scatters all, but one Clow Card to the winds when she utters the word “Windy” from the first card she picks off the top of the deck. Immediately after, Kerberos, or Kero-chan, rises from The Clow book as if awakening from a deep slumber.
Sakura finds out that Kero-chan, a doll-sized, angel-winged lion with an Osaka-dialect, is supposed to guard the Clow Cards from doing any harm to the world. With the help of Kerberos, Sakura is magically transformed into Card Captor Sakura whose mission is to capture all the Clow Cards that have been scattered. With the help of Windy, Sakura captures her first Clow Card, Fly.
The series continues as Sakura awakes to find Kero-chan there to greet her in the morning and all that happened the night before was not a dream. Tomoyo shows Sakura a video she made last night on her new camcorder. To Sakura’s surprise, Tomoyo has caught Kero-chan and herself flying though the evening sky. Tomoyo confirms her suspicions when Kero-chan bursts forth from Sakura’s backpack.
Sakura’s secret is no longer secret, and Tomoyo joins her and Kero-chan in the search for the Clow Cards. As if this tidbit of info is not weird enough, something seems to be happening to the students’ shadows as they leave for the school day. Something is amiss as the students return the next day to find their desks piled up mysteriously in the middle of their classroom.
Sakura finds that no normal being is doing this and it must be the work of a Clow Card. Tomoyo, a fan of magical girl shows, is ecstatic about the fact her best friend is a real life magical girl. Much to her chagrin, Tomoyo helps Sakura out by providing her with a different costume every battle.
With the final episode in this volume, Sakura finds that all is not well on a school field trip to the aquarium. An unseen force holds a penguin and an aquarium diver underwater, but fortunately Touya saves them. Sakura figures out that this is no ordinary occurrence. After an innocent date with Yukito, Sakura finds herself battling yet again with another Clow Card.
The series continues to show the double-life of Sakura through her ordinary family life and her magical Card Captor life. It is an enjoyable series for those who like magical girl series. The author enjoys the way the story stays interesting even though it has a set formula (i.e. Sakura captures a Clow Card every episode). The mixture of fantasy and slice-of-life gives CARD CAPTOR SAKURA an appeal for those looking for something more than just your usual magical girl show.
The author also enjoys the way Sakura handles herself in the situations she is subject to day after day. Sakura is a very strong girl for her age and is very admirable. The series has all of those traditional shoujo aspects: the innocent loves, the strong female lead, and, of course, the character designs. One of the fun and unique things that CARD CAPTOR SAKURA contains is the “Leave it to Kero-chan” Corners. Each Corner showcases Sakura in her many battle costumes.