Archive for the CLAMP Category


Card Captor Sakura, Clear Card Arc Manga, Volume 2 (カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編)

July 13th, 2017

A year has gone by since Kinomoto Sakura has been called upon to collect the Clow Cards and turn them into Sakura Cards.  And, as a new school year begins in Volume 1 for Sakura and her friends, new cards, two-sided but  magically transparent, are throwing the town into chaos. Luckily for Tomeda Middle School, Card Captor Sakura is there to protect them. 

In Card Captor Sakura, Clear Card Arc , Volume 2 (カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編) new cards are appearing, and it no longer seems to take much out of Sakura to capture and name them. But, her dreams of a hooded, masked figure are causing some problems. She can’t see the figure, but realizes that it is the same height as she.  Sakura is visibly taller than most of her female friends, although the boys are taller still, so a girl at her height would be noticeable.

And then a new transfer student arrives! Shinomoto Akiho (a name that, in Japanese, is both similar and opposite to Sakura’s) has been all over the world traveling with her family, but she seems really nice. And,we cannot help but notice, she’s the same height as Sakura.

While in conference Yue takes a moment to note that the new cards don’t feel magical at all. 

I’m looking forward to Volume 1 of the new arc coming out in English from Kodansha in November 2017!

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1 Unless you’re writing fanfic, then it’s always more
Story – 7
Service – 1 On principle 

Overall – 9

Who Akiho is and what the Clear Cards mean is still a mystery, but it’s all good, I’m happy with this kiddy ride full of pretty art and nice kids.

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Card Captor Sakura, Clear Card Arc Manga, Volume 1 (カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編)

March 14th, 2017

In the middle of series getting reboots and homages,and re-mastering, Card Captor Sakura is back with a honest-to-goodness sequel.

Card Captor Sakura, Clear Card Arc, Volume 1 (カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編) begins a year or so after the original series ends, as Sakura is about to begin middle school. 

The arc begins with a dream, as the other arcs have. A cloaked and masked figure appears. Sakura’s cards are all lost to a storm and a new key appears.  She wakes to find the new key in her hand and all her cards gone. Clearly, she will be tasked with gathering cards once again. 

Almost immediately, she encounters her first card. She and Kero-chan are old hands at this now, there’s no confusion about what to do and she nabs “Gale.” The card has a front and back design, but the background is transparent, and the other side is invisible. Cool. I know there’s a set for sale, I wonder if it works!

Not much has changed in this year that has passed. One major difference is that Yukito and Yue seem comfortable now sharing a body. When she needs to speak with Yue, Sakura asks Yukito if it’s all right. And it is always all right. 

Another is the lack of confusion about how to handle the Clow Cards. It’s all very business-like. Tomoyo, of course (!) is thrilled beyond belief that she can design new costumes for the Card Captor.

And finally, Li Syaoran has returned. The year has been good to him. He’s taller and calmer and clearly more mature. When he and Sakura reunite, they embrace like they really mean it. He’s still carrying the bear Sakura made for him and, although Sakura does not know this, is in touch with Eriol.

The backup cast is the same as well, although class assignments have shuffled them around. Yamazaki and Naoko are in Syaoran’s class, so the stories are even weirder and less pleasant than ever before, to Chiharu’s chagrin. Yukito and Touya are still inseparable.

As the final chapter wraps up with Sakura capturing the Siege card, we and she have no idea at all who the cloaked figure is or what the story is this time. More importantly, neither Yue no Kero-chan know either. (I’ve read the magazine chapters, so I have a little better idea what’s going on, but I’m not telling. ^_^)

If you like the original series for exactly what it was, (as I did), you’ll enjoy this new series. If you’re hoping for something more “adult” you’re not getting it. One year went by, not a decade. But if you did like it, you can also look forward to the new anime, which will premiere in 2018!

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1 Tomoyo is the same as ever
Story – 7
Service – 2 Inevitable slashing of Touya and Yukito.

Overall – 9

Oh, wait…there was one other difference. When Sakura said good-bye to her mother as she does every morning, Fujitaka did not see Nadesico, as he usually does. Hrmmm….

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New Cardcaptor Sakura Manga Series in June

April 26th, 2016

ANN has the scoop513FFeTeOrL on CLAMP’s classic magical girl series, Cardcaptor Sakura, which is getting a new manga series to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary!

Debuting in June, in Nakayoshi magazine the series will be a true sequel, picking up with Sakura in middle school. (hrm…2018 will be Sailor Moon‘s 25th anniversary. I wonder if we’ll get a new story for that, now that Crystal has been so successful.)

Here’s hoping for more of the wonderful bent characterization and gorgeous CLAMPian art that made the series delightful the first time around!

 

 

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Yuri Anime: Card Captor Sakura (English)

September 16th, 2014

ccsSo, the last month or so I have been mainlining all 70 episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura on Crunchyroll.  And y’know…I like it all over again. ^_^

You have to remember, we were coming off a Sailor Moon high the first time. All those amazing voice actresses, and there they were scooped up the immensely talented all-woman studio, CLAMP, no less. It was a perfect set up for Yuri fans.

And then…it started going all bent and alt-sexuality right away. The BL fans went gaga (rightfully so) over Touya and Yukito, fans of intergenerational relationships had Terada-sensei and Rika, and Kaho and Touya, and Fujitaka and Nadesico. Yuri fans had Sonomi’s feelings for her cousin Nadesico, mirrored by Tomoyo’s feelings for Sakura. So, basically everyone had something to be weird about. Boy with wings and long silver hair? Here’s Yue. Androgynous cute being? Have Ruby Moon. There was something for everyone, wrapped in a pretty CLAMP animation with ribbon and cake.

NIS did a really decent job with the translation, until they didn’t. And when they didn’t, it  became one of those moments that you just suck it up and do the best you can and hopefully realize that you can’t just ignore the honorifics and hope they go away. (Only companies keep making the same mistake over and over. How about we learn to translate names as they are presented, already and stop fighting it, huh?) So instead of Li-kun becoming Xialoang (a transliteration I 100% approve of, btw. It is correct), they struggle with Xiolang to…um, “bestie.” Yeah, no.

The film quality is great, and when/if I get this, I think getting Blu-Ray will be worth it. NIS has a Hybrid Blu-Ray (Amazon/ RightStuf) version available.

It actually felt more Yuri to me this time around – Tomoyo is well and truly besotted, much more so than her mother. (Bonus for us seiyuu otaku, Sonomi is is played by Itou Miki, who played Sachiko in Marimite.)

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Ratings:

Art – 8 One of CLAMP’s most colorful and swoopy
Story – 8 Weird, but fun
Characters – 10 Enduring in a lot of ways. There never would have been a Tamao in Strawberry Panic, if there hadn’t been a Tomoyo in CCS.
Yuri – A steady, underlaid 3
Service- 6 Not physical, but psychological hoo-whee!

Overall – 9

It’s been a long time since I watched this series and I think I enjoyed it more this time around. ^_^

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Angelic Layer Manga, Volume 2 (English)

April 22nd, 2013

layer2I’ve uncovered a trend in my reading. For most of the manga I’ve read, that have an associated anime, I prefer the anime. If you asked me if I’m a manga reader or an anime watcher, I’d tell you I read way more manga than I watch anime. And that’s true. But for the small subset of anime that is also manga, scanning my shelves, I realize I much prefer the anime.

This certainly holds true for Angelic Layer. The reason I reviewed Volume 1, I said, would be revealed in Volume 2. Only, it isn’t. Huh?

Volume 2 follows Misaki as she defeats stronger and more skilled opponents with pluck and determination and the willingness to have Hikaru beaten badly. But hey, she wins, so rawr! And at last she meets the plot complication of the creepy woman who has been stalking her throughout – who, to no one’s surprise turns out to be her mother. The book comes to an end with a jump for joy at how wonderful life is. Nothing bad about it, if not inspired. The art is rather more thick lines and obscure motion than later CLAMP and the tropes are laid on heavily, so three pages are spent on obsessing about Misaki’s underwear and Kotaro’s obvious (but unexpressed) feelings. At the same time. So yeah, a tad ham-handed.

Ultimately the reasons I was left feeling a bit disappointed with the manga came down to two things. In the anime, Misaki’s mother is confined to a wheelchair and is, therefore, painfully embarrassed to be seen by her daughter. In 1999, this was a plot complication that made some sense. Japan was not at all handicap-accessible. Now I’d rank their subway as a million times better than, say, New York or London. (I can’t for the life of me figure out what wheelchair users do in London. There were no ramps, no escalators, no elevators in most of the stations I was in last December.) It was already a little tired, but manga is always behind on social trends. So, fine. In the manga, Mom is just painfully embarrassed around people she loves. Eye-rollingly dumb, but there we go.

The thing that really irked me was that the one relationship I was looking forward to was completely and utterly missing from the manga – and it surprised the heck out of me, as CLAMP is usually all over a little Yuri-service. I’m sure you all understood that “Lady Sai”‘s fangirls were all screaming “Sai-sama!” in the original.  In the anime and some of the incidental art I have seen, (at least one image of which I believe is a CLAMP original) pairs her and Kaede.  I had never read the Tokyopop edition of the manga and just presumed it would be in the story. Bummer. Sorry.

Ratings:

Art  – 7 Not CLAMP’s best work, not their worst
Story – 7 Same, except when the foreshadowing stick is being applied too heavily
Characters – Another thing the anime did was give secondary characters more time. This manga might have benefited from that, as well
Yuri – Screw it, I’m counting Sai and Kaede anyway, and there’s still Tamayo’s shrill, but empty statements. So ugh, 5
Service – 7 Three pages of underwear obsession had me reaching for a knife…

Overall – 7

If this series could be bowlderized properly, and all the incredibly tedious bits taken out, I’d give it to a child I like.  As it is, it’s better than X, but not as good as Card Captor Sakura on the CLAMP-o-meter. ^_^

Many, many thanks to Okazu Superhero Amanda M for sponsporing today’s review!!

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