Cardcaptor Sakura – The Movie

May 30, 2004 on 3:53 pm | In Cardcaptor Sakura | Comments Off on Cardcaptor Sakura – The Movie

Cardcaptor Sakura is a film that gives the impression of having been based on the first OP song “Catch You Catch Me”. The story goes as such: School is out for winter, and a greater force causes Sakura to win a trip for four to Hong Kong. Her father can’t go, so he suggests that Toya looks after her and they take Tomoyo and Yukito along as well. Bizarrely, Toya acts as if going to Hong Kong with Sakura is some sort of favour that he’s doing for her and demands recompense.
Sakura has a recurring dream and is lured into a magical world created by a sorceress, who was actually calling for Clow Reed. Along the way she meets Shaoran (in Hong Kong to spend the holiday with his family) and his four genki teenaged sisters and his deathly serious mother.

That’s what happens. Cardcaptor Sakura is a very compact movie, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. Fortunately, Kero-chan extolls the virtue that “nothing in this world happens by coincidence”, so people can’t complain. Although the idea of letting two teenaged boys and two ten year old girls go to Hong Kong by themselves is slightly suspect … there’s a scene when they first get to Hong Kong where Yukito, Toya and Sakura are sitting on a boat together. One has to wonder where Tomoyo is … seeing her sitting alone (well, with Kero-chan) on the other end of the boat with her video camera trained on Sakura is slightly scary.
Thematically, it’s exactly the same as “Catch You Catch Me”; feeling powerful emotions, but never getting the chance to speak them. The ending was particularly sweet. Meeting the Li family was a highlight; four women more unlike Shaoran you’re never likely to see; two girls on the shoulders of Yukito and Toya. The magic must have missed them, because they’re definitely members of the cute brigade. Shaoran’s mother is of the tightlipped but caring variety, and Shaoran is certainly scared of her. He will always, without doubt, do exactly what she says.

The thing about Cardcaptor Sakura is that it doesn’t look significantly different from the television series. The animation might be more fluid, but it was already pretty danged good on television. In fact, this fares slightly worse than the TV series because of the more washed out pallette used for a cinematic production. Still, it’s fairly well beautiful, but not as dramatic a leap as some other TV to film projects.

This is also the only DVD to have both the original Japanese track and the Nelvana produced dub. But the less said about that the better (although you’ve got to love the new “We have amnesia! Isn’t that weird?” ending). Hisakawa Aya does a good job of playing Kero-chan back on old turf, especially the “where are we?!” bit. Hayashibara Megumi is a pretty good angry sorceress, but it would have been nice to see her have a few more lines. The suggestion that evil was afoot in the casting department comes when Mitsuishi Kotono’s Maki cameos as the catalyst of the trip. She’s one of the most frequently recurring guests, slotted in wherever a feasible place can be found for her. And Inoue Kikuko pops up as Shaoran’s mother!
CLAMP love to secure good casts.

Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie was a good movie, largely because it posed the sort of threat that almost never reared its head in the first television series. The idea of consequence was introduced to the narrative flow, which is something very important and hitherto infrequently addressed. It’s attractive and showed some, although perhaps not enough, of Shaoran’s alternate home life.
No matter what it is, it’s far from a boring travelogue; it’s a definite help for Sakura to discover her honesty, and Kero-chan gets a fairly substantial role to play for once. Poor guy’s memory isn’t as good as it used to be, though!

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