Cardcaptor Sakura – episodes 21 to 29

May 19, 2004 on 12:10 pm | In Cardcaptor Sakura | Comments Off on Cardcaptor Sakura – episodes 21 to 29

Finally the story arc of Cardcaptor Sakura series one begins to manifest. Sometimes.

Meilin and Shaoran have been given great opportunities to develop. Sakura is probably to blame, as she’s incredibly kind. Despite the hostility she has received from both of them, she’s always been completely friendly. They’ve treated her in kind and they all act normally; of course, the normality takes away the wild and outlandish aspects that made Cardcaptor Sakura so enjoyable and hilarious. Fortunately, Tomoyo is as unstable as ever.
At one point the cards started to appear simply as arbitrary elements; however, almost every one of the cards in these episodes had something to do with overall plotting or character development.
Three episodes gave focus to Meilin, and her dedication to Shaoran. Her stubbornness is generally admirable, but she doesn’t realise that sometimes she persists too hard. Gentleness is something that she needs to learn, otherwise she’ll never bake a cake properly.
Kero-chan gets some particularly good scenes and one recurring joke about Meilin that seems distinctly like the Osaka humour. Of course, I could be making that up. Eventually realisation dawns that the new Leave it to Kero-chan is only about 20 seconds long and contains no real insights or anecdotes from everyone’s favourite guardian beast. In fact, the episodes barely feature him as Sakura spends an increasingly large amount of time acting independently and the cards appear at real intervals instead of mysteriously appearing across town. While this is good for her character development, it’s bad that the producer of the series’ best material has to suffer as a result.
The most notable of these episodes are the two that deal with Sakura’s family. Sakura and her kind father featured one of the most moving scenes that the series has offered, when she has caught the card but then had to face the unforeseen consequences; this theme was expanded on in Sakura and Another Sakura, in which Sakura realises that the cards now know she’s out to get them and are indirectly attacking her. Her resolve, which guarantees that she will never be a reluctant heroine, was a marvel. Sakura’s dedication to anyone she cares about, it’s something that changes people. She’s one of the most truly nice characters; oddly, it doesn’t even seem a weakness that she would never do anything bad – even all of those after hours activities and her harbouring an orange winged tiny lion with a taste for sweets comes across as right. At least she’s not eternally genki.

With the introduction of Mizuki, so too is the major story arc introduced. The idea of latent power working as attractors is nice … but the “love” that a ten year old feels is a complete enigma to me. The feel of them “being there” and all the blushing is probably as alien and incomprehensible to the characters as it is to me. Mizuki is mysterious, and kind. Sakura sees her as warm and generous, but Shaoran is wary of her power. The discussion of this in Sakura and the Shrine of Memories (in which Kero-chan goes to the vending machine to buy juice) provided some of the best interplay between those two characters, and the feeling that something is coming makes Cardcaptor Sakura more compelling than the episodic adventures that have been seen previously.
That being said, though, the episode in which they caught the SWEET card was the closest thing to pointless that the series has come; it makes one wonder more than anything else why Clow Read made some of these cards in the first place. Most of them are practical … but a card that makes food unbearably sweet?! Oh well, at least the cooking uniforms were cute, but the story seems like one that the series was past before it had even begun. Shaoran got a nice wordless scene at the end as well.

Cardcaptor Sakura continues to be enjoyable, although not compelling enough to make one want to watch it all night long. It’s against the magical girl ethos of a dark evil, and she has no real rival or enemy to stand against. It’s very much a “realistic” example of the genre that tries to maintain a normal world … with the abnormal CLAMP touches.

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