As I made mention earlier in the month, I finally watched Cardcaptor Sakura. This week, I finished the original 70-episode run (and the second movie) in a binge session unseen for any anime I’ve watched not named Gurren Lagann. Thank you, FunimationNow and Crunchyroll. Let me tell you this: it was one of the greatest endings I’ve seen. The way that it handles love and magic–not to mention the action sequences in the last episodes and The Sealed Card–is, in a word, astounding. CLAMP knows romance and it knows how to circumvent and twist the magical girl genre to create something classic (see: Magic Knight Rayearth). However, seeing how everything played out was beautiful, down to the confessions at the end of the second movie. CCS is an anime for the ages, for sure. I now understand why people hold it in such high regard, even people who don’t typically go for magical girl series.
The romantic element doesn’t come out of nowhere and is properly paced, even in the face of world-ending catastrophe. Actually, the catastrophes that unfold in the final 120 minutes or so of the original series and the second movie work well into the theme of love overpowering all. In the second movie, Sakura is faced with a choice: lose her hometown and its inhabitants (including her magic-imbued allies) or sacrifice her strongest feeling to capture a previously-unseen Clow Card. Those who’ve seen the series proper know what Sakura’s strongest feeling is and how that aids her through her trials in the show. Without giving too much away, it’s a difficult sequence of events that depends on themes such as maturation and growth. Ultimately, though, things do work out and love wins (in every sense of that phrase). There is a finality to it that is both satisfying and leaves you wanting more–kind of like Darling in the FRANXX.
I’m currently watching Clear Card, the 2018 sequel series that is both set a while after the events of The Sealed Card and serves as a reworking of the second movie’s theme. I’m curious to see how CLAMP handles a slightly older Cardcaptor team (Sakura and her friends are now in middle school and her brother Toya is in college). However, I’m hopeful that the magic (both actual and thematically) that brought me into the franchise is kept and dished out in healthy doses. It is, I’ll admit, a bit jarring to hear a different dub cast.
This go-around, we get Justin Briner as Yukito/Yue (though I still get Deku vibes). Meanwhile, Mikaela Krantz voices Kero and Jason Liebrecht and Monica Rial reprise their respective Syaoran and Sakura roles from Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle. It is a Funimation dub, after all, versus Animax manning the dub duties. However, it does make me happy that characters’ names are properly pronounced (“SA-kura” versus “Sa-KUR-ah” and “You-ay” versus “Yu,” for instance). Additionally, there’s more emotion behind the dub performances. Plus, Tomoyo’s Funimation dub actress, Natalie Hoover, doesn’t sound like a 45-year-old woman trying to do a doting-on-everything-Sakura-does tween voice. The voice cast alone gets me hyped for what goes down in Clear Card. But I don’t come for anime just for dub voices–otherwise I wouldn’t have watched JoJo all the way through thus far.
I’ll have thoughts on this series once I’m done with its first (and hopefully not only) season. Stay tuned.