Growing up I came across many different anime series that are now long heralded as anime classics. Sailor Moon is considered by many to be the epitome of the “mahou shoujo” sub-genre. However, as much as I remember loving Sailor Moon, I remember loving Cardcaptor Sakura just as much. There is really nothing to dislike about CCS except the “monster of the week” theme it has which is completely understandable. The 90’s was filled with shows of all kinds showcasing weekly villains, and anime was not left untouched. Aside from that, CCS proves to be a timeless classic.
The story is very straightforward. After starting her day and arriving home from school, Sakura Kinomoto stumbles upon a strange book in the basement. This book contains a set of strange cards of which end up escaping. It turns out the cards are magical, and the keeper of the book, Kerberos or “Kero-chan” assigns Sakura as the “Cardcaptor” to seek out all of the escaped cards created by an incredibly strong magician named Clow Reed. Thus, Sakura’s long journey hesitantly begins. Along with her best friend and cousin Tomoyo Daidouji, Kerberos, and Syaoran Li, Sakura tries her best to deal with her personal life and her mission to stop the “Clow Cards” and return them to normal.
CCS is a nice big ball of emotions. Most of the time you will be in a happy mood, others you will be sad and comical. I couldn’t help but feel happy for Sakura when she became the “true” master of the cards, but was also mad about how much stuff she was put through despite being such a young girl. Overall id say the character development was quite slow, but necessary. Sakura remains cheerful and naive for most of the first half of the series, but starts maturing later on. She still retains the traits that make her lovable but its nice to see her more mature by the end of the series. The second movie for sure showed what an improvement she made. Her best friend and cousin Tomoyo provides some comical relief with her never ending quest to capture Sakura on film when shes doing something important. I swear, Tomoyo could make a movie with all the action shots she’s gotten from Sakura’s fights. She is the backbone Sakura needs, and is always looking out for her. Next would be Syaoran. Coming from Hong Kong to steal the cards away from Sakura, he starts out as a tough and overall more fit “candidate” for sealing away the cards. He seems to heavily dislike Sakura at first, but slowly softens his heart as they fight together. He seems to be… “confused” romantically for the first half of the anime, but later learns why that is, and is set on a different romantic path, one that ends up bridging most of CLAMPS series together in a series called Tsubasa later on.
Sakura’s older brother, Toya, is a rather strange character as he seems to have magical powers himself, but never really uses them. He obviously loves his little sister but chooses to pick on her, providing some funny moments now and then. Why he has powers to begin with is never explained. Hell, why Sakura has powers is never explained either. Why a 10 yr old (age at the beginning of the show) is chosen to seal away all these cards and face so much danger is beyond me. I’m not complaining, but you really have to wonder about these things when they aren’t explained.There’s some other things that were never explained, such as who was taking care of Yukito financially (Sakura’s crush for the majority of the series, and best friend of Toya) since his family is never seen. Yukito has a secret revealed by the end of the second seaon, but that secret still doesn’t explain much about anything when you really think about it.
I re-watched this series in glorious 1080p. The art is considerably better than my DVD counterpart. I suggest everyone watch it in HD if possible. Back when CCS aired it had good artwork for its time, and with HD it shows. The music is a hit and miss. Because of the nature and style of the show, most of the tracks and re-used over and over. Now and then a new track will be used for a special setting. At the very least the first season’s OP is probably one of the best I have ever heard simply because it captures the overall theme of the show quite accurately. Each other OP captures the essence of each season, which is great if you ask me.
Move past whatever misconceptions you may have, move away from the stigma you may face for watching a “girly show” (I’m a guy btw), and move past the fact this show is from the late 90’s. CCS is a gem among the 90’s anime that swept the world off its feet. It’s an anime that is called a classic for a reason, and it’s an anime worth watching if you want something heartfelt, with a good story, and with lovable characters.
Score - 8/10