It’s been 20 years since the original CardCaptor captivated all of our young, geeky hearts. And now CLAMP is back at it again with an all-new CardCaptor Sakura, with all the same voice cast & writers, but all better graphics to accompany the latest threat to our heroine. The story will cover the manga CardCaptor Sakura: Clear Card that was released in 2016.
In this new installment, Sakura’s cards have all turned transparent following a mysterious dream about a hooded figure. Eriol hadn’t responded to her calls, and neither Yue nor Kero know what’s going on. With no magical signature that could be identified and no clue as to what could have caused this, Sakura has to capture an entirely new deck of cards. An easy task, if she could figure out how to use her old cards, or how to use her new key and staff. But that’s just the thing–she’s starting from scratch.
The good news?
The ten-year-old in me reminisces to the point of writing these synopsis blogs. Do people still write these things? I remember ten years ago, in ye olden days of dial-up, episode synopsis bloggers were an actual thing because YouTube cartoon theorists haven’t existed yet. MyOtaku was the place to be.
The episode starts off with much crispier graphics, as you’ve seen above, and continues on for some time with much of the same Sakura-brand tropes we all know. Grab some shots (if you’re legal!), because this synopsis can pass off as a rules list for a CardCaptor drinking game:
- The show begins with Maaya Sakamoto singing the opening theme. God bless her beautiful soul.
- Sakura gets ready for school.
- Touya bullies his little sister.
- Daddy Kinomoto reminds her that she’s late for the first day of school.
- Sakura says goodbye to the photo of her mom.
- “Wow! The Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom!”
- “I have to tell Tomoyo about a thing so we can set up a date to do a thing!”
- Sakura does gymnastics at school; everyone is impressed.
- Sakura & Tomoyo walk home together.
- Sakura mourns the difficulty of mathematics but is !!persistent!! to !!learn!!
- Syaoran returns from Hong Kong.
And this is the part that has all of us alive again. Let’s all take a moment:
And we’re back with:
- Beautiful flower shots:
Man, this show has a budget to spend, and it shows. They’re really banking on the kids who grew up on this show and are now working adults, fully capable of foregoing saving for retirement and splurging on merch. (Sweet!)
- Syaoran & Sakura’s sweet moment is interrupted as Tomoyo plays the part of paparazzi.
Is she deliberately ruining their moment?
- Sakura talks to Eriol like he’s a totally normal kid and this is just small talk.
- The conversation with Eriol hints some ominous foreshadowing, and Sakura totally misses the point.
- Kero goes aggro on a video game console and being loud while Sakura was on the phone.
- Kero gushes about desserts and asks for treats to be sent over.
- Sakura & Kero visit Yukito on their way to school.
- Yue. Being. Beautiful.
- The first mention of a crisis and Tomoyo proves her priorities are straight by breaking out her Pinterest Board of costume ideas.
- Tomoyo says something deep and further proves that her love for Sakura is true and unconditional.
- Sakura makes an attempt to contact Eriol after he rudely didn’t give her the full details the first time, but now he’s totally unresponsive and Sakura is left to fend for herself.
And for the bonus round:
- Yamazaki gives obscure trivia.
Okay, are you drunk yet? Your liver can take a break at this point because the meatier part of the episode comes next.
When Sakura sleeps, she sees the hooded figure again and attempts to ask for its identity. The Clear cards shatter, and the shards violently speed towards her. But she is unharmed. The shards have come together to fashion themselves into her new key.
Just as this happens, a loud roar unravels the dark realm, unveiling that they are floating in the night sky.
A large, serpentine creature under the command of the hooded figure roars once more, and Sakura is awakened to find Kero by her side. She opens her palm: the new key from the dream is there.
The following morning, Sakura is attacked. Gusts of strong wind are lashing about her, and without a functioning deck, and not knowing how else to protect herself, she attempts to evade the attacks. One blow almost catches her, when:
The key provides temporary defense. And through attunement, Sakura finds within herself the words to her new incantation.
With the correct staff freshly summoned, she tames the serpentine wind beast and reveals the new ClearCard.
Cue ending theme music!
These remind me so badly of some early digital art styles that I often saw in fan art, and honestly, my geeky heart is crying tears of glass. This is beautiful.
The ending theme is sung by Saori Hayami, the voice actress for the main character in Snow White with the Red Hair. I don’t think I’ve heard her sing before, and certainly not for CardCaptor.
I love the fresh take on the animation, and how seamlessly they’ve integrated it to continue the old story and style. You could probably watch the original anime series and continue with this and feel only a slight difference. The color choices were still consistent. And if anything has improved, I really can’t describe it any further or any more articulately other than it being crispier.
I didn’t read the new manga. To be completely honest, up until the announcement of a sequel to the anime, I was totally unaware it was happening. Last I’ve been indulging in CLAMP was with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. But I find this to be an advantage. I get to enjoy the full brilliance and vibrancy of the anime, before I go into the manga.
It’s been a long time since 1996 when the first manga came out. And I feel that they’ve definitely taken so much of their growth in terms of writing lore and designing worlds and characters and costumes into the new CardCaptor. Sakura’s costumes have always been pretty wild and intricate, granted, but take a look at how she dressed in the The Maaya Sakamoto opening theme “Clear“.
Everything in this new series was upgraded. All the designs, from the mystery antagonist to the new Key & Staff, and all the way to the new Card creatures are all just leagues beyond their predecessors. If Gale is a worthy example, then that Clear deck would definitely make an insane collectible. I’m just putting it out there.
I’m definitely excited for this fresh season. CLAMP has successfully kept Sakura in her young age in the past twenty years while managing to elevate her story to one that all could appreciate.