Cardcaptor Sakura Anime Review
Kaado Kyaputaa Sakura
Card Captor Sakura
US Release By
71 25-minute episodes
1998-04-07 - 2000-03-21
What's In It
- Magical girls
- Cute costumes
- Beasties (some of those cards are scary... at least from where Sakura is standing)
- Violence: 1 (mild)
- Nudity: 0 (none)
- Sex: 1 (mild)
- Language: 0 (none)
When 10-year old Sakura Kinomoto finds a mysterious book called 'The clow' in her basement, she accidentally releases the magical Clow cards from their imprisonment within the book. Powerful and potentially dangerous creations of an ancient sorcerer, the cards must be recaptured and Sakura is charged by Keroberos, the guardian beast of the clow (manifesting as a small yellow teddy bear with wings and a Kansai accent) with becoming the Card Captor who must recover the cards and attain the title 'Master of the Clow'. Aided by "Kero-chan" and her overenthusiastic best friend Tomoyo, alternately helped and hindered by her rival the Chinese boy-sorcerer Shaoran Li, Sakura must wield the magic of the cards to bring them all back under control and possibly save the world.
Card Captor Sakura is simultaneously CLAMP's most famous work and the second most well-known magical girl anime of the '90s (after Sailor Moon, which I personally think isn't as good as CCS). Immensely popular, extremely cute, funny, sweet and often very exciting, the series lives up to its reputation as the best magical girl story in years and still has not been bettered.
Despite a fair amount of predictability in the episode plotting (for the first half of the series Sakura catches at least one card in virtually every episode) Card Captor Sakura stories are fresh and entertaining, with some of the best and most lovable characters around. Character development and interrelationships are top-notch, with some excellent romance coming up during the series. Combined with bright, stylish animation, an excellent soundtrack and fantastic action scenes, Card Captor Sakura is capable of fulfilling the wants of every magical girl/shoujo fan (except for implied-nudity-transformation-scenes and romantic angst) with only a fraction of the cheesiness of Sailor Moon. As far as I'm concerned, this really is the top of the genre and should be watched even by people who normally avoid this type of thing.
(Oh, and as for the English 'Cardcaptors' version? Two words: Utter Crap. Avoid like the plague.)
Notes and Trivia
There are two versions of the series in English: "Cardcaptor Sakura," which is unedited and only available subtitled, and the edited and significantly rewritten "Cardcaptors," which aired on TV and is only available dubbed.
The series, as it aired in Japan, is technically composed of two separate TV series, each three seasons long (the second began airing about four months after the first ended): "Card Captor Sakura" and its sequel, "Card Captor Sakura: The Second Time."
The series was available in the US from Geneon on DVD in two versions: the "Cardcaptors" version, which is edited, dubbed only, and has three episodes per disc, and the "Cardcaptor Sakura" version, which is unedited, subtitled Japanese only, and has four episodes per disc.