Archive for the Card Captor Sakura Category


Cardcaptor Sakura Anime on Blu-Ray

May 1st, 2014

ccs2 Waaayy back, right after Sailor Moon took the west by storm, almost all of the voice cast were in high demand. A few of them landed in an adorable magical girl anime created by the all-female studio that goes by the name CLAMP…and another blockbuster series was born.

Tokyopop licensed Cardcaptor Sakura, and did a very decent job with it, but it came out just slightly too soon for the big shoujo popularity wave. CCS was infamously licensed for TV as Card Captors, and hacked into pieces, to make the Li Syaoran the lead, instead of the titular character Sakura. I know people who are still angry about that. ^_^

More importantly, this series just had the worst timing ever in terms of the US market. It just sort of disappeared into the gap after Sailor Moon and before Fruits Basket. Then Tokyopop went under and CCS faded away.

But, having hit a major anniversary in Japan, a new premium box set was released there. I’ve had it on my personal wish list of licenses since it was announced and yesterday the news hit – NIS America is releasing a Blu-Ray Premium box set of the Cardcaptor Sakura TV anime, with a dub (that I will never ever listen to. ^_^) I will totally be getting this for a number of reasons:

CLAMP series on Blu-Ray

Yue

Voice actors who win the universe

Gender and age bent relationships up the wazoo

Fabulous story

Did I mention Yue? Really…he’s worth the entire series.

Stolen directly from ANN: The Premium Edition, will be US$249.99, will include all 70 episodes on nine Blu-ray Discs, a 76-page hardcover art book, clean openings and endings, and a collectable slip case. The Standard edition will include three 4-DVD volumes for US$59.99 each. This is slated for an August release.

I know what I’m getting myself as a birthday present.

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Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Manga, Volume 4 (English)

November 1st, 2012

Sakura has faced many trials in the course of Card Captor Sakura and here in Volume 4, she is going to face even more difficult trials, we are told…repeatedly. It’s true that Sakura will face down the original master of the cards, and have to transmute all the cards into “Sakura Cards” but the true trial seem to be deciding who she’s going to be in love with.

Yukito’s out – as we’re told several times, by several people, that Yuki and Toya are an item – for the few innocents who didn’t pick that up. More importantly, everyone else is paired up neatly in officially sanctioned inter-generational relationships and Sakura manages to figure out that she’s in love with one of the two people who have confessed their love to her. ^_^;;

Poor Tomoyo. Remember, y’all wouldn’t have had Tamayo in Strawberry Panic, without Tomoyo’s cheerful smile that hides a broken heart, as she drinks herself into oblivion in an all-white apartment in which her movies of Sakura play endlessly. (That’s how I’ve always imagined it, anyway. But I’m a jaded cynic. ^_^)

Aside from Eriol’s dire warnings of terrible trials, the actual trials Sakura faces are pretty gentle as befits this incredibly pretty, soft, fluffy magical girl manga in which everyone is destined to live happily ever after…

…except Tomoyo.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 2
Story – A little messy, especially around the Clow Reed bits – 7
Service – 5 for all the inter-generational relationships and  for Yuki and Toya and all the squealing

Overall – 9

I really love this series. It has loads of likable characters, pretty art and leaves me feeling good. Win all around.

…except for Tomoyo. ^_^;;

Many,  many thanks to Okazu Superhero Andreass L. for sponsoring today’s review and leaving me feeling good!

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Cardcaptor Sakura Manga Omnibus, Volume 3 (English)

February 17th, 2012

Having integrated Syoran into her set of allies, in Volume 2, Sakura is now faced with another, far more powerful enemy. And this time, she’s one ally down, as Mizuho has gone abroad again. This leaves Sakura, Kero-chan, backed up by Syoran and of, course, Tomoyo, to fight off this new foe in Volume 3 of Card Captor Sakura.

First of all, the foe is much more powerful than the rogue cards ever were – and worse, the cards themselves aren’t powerful enough to defeat whatever it is. In order to defeat the enemy’s attacks, Sakura must recreate the cards for herself, evolving them from their form of Clow Cards to a new existence, entirely created by her.

When we learn the true identity of her new enemy, it’s still kind of weird/surprising and way creepy, no matter how you look at it.

And, lastly, something is terribly wrong with Yukito, who can’t seem to stay awake.

All of these combine for a very eventful, very interesting volume of manga.

Sakura continues to be the somewhat oblivious heroine, Li the somewhat ineffectual love interest and only Tomoyo can see anything. Well, Tomoyo and Toya. Toya is forced to make a life-changing decision in order to save his beloved Yurikto…and Sakura, of course.

For those of us racking up points on the bent-o-meter, Tomoyo basically flat out tells Sakura she likes her (again) knowing Sakura will miss the point, Rica and her teacher fiance’ are trotted out again, Sonomi’s feelings for Nadesico are mentioned, of course Mom’s age is mentioned, Yuki and Toya have some pretty intimate moments and, not at last or least, Ruby Moon points out that gender doesn’t matter and s/he could be male or female, as s/he desires. She just happens to be female this time.

Technically, some of the printing was a little fuzzy – the letters seemed off, but I’m getting used to my copies being not so good. It’s still heavy enough to be the murder weapon.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Story – 9
Yuri – 2
Service – 4

Overall – 9

This will always be one of my favorite series ever.

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Cardcaptor Sakura Manga Omnibus, Volume 2 (English)

September 3rd, 2011

In Volume 1 of Cardcaptor Sakura, we met Kinomoto Sakura, an energetic, cheerful elementary school girl who accidentally (maybe) unleashes the power of the Clow Cards…a deck that was created generations ago by the great magician Clow Reed. We also meet Sakura’s family and friends, and the magical creature that assists her to collect all the Cards, Cereberus, nicknamed Kero-chan.

In Volume 2, we pick up where we left off as Sakura, her rival Li and besotted best friend forever Tomoyo are trapped in the Maze card and rescued by the power of Mizuki Kaho-sensei, the new substitute teacher.

At which point the story begins to be weighted down with predictions and implications and precognition. Great things are happening, powerful creatures are stirring and Sakura is merely a young girl. But Sakura rises to the challenge every time. Helped by her friends, she conquers card after card, and slowly begins to learn that Kaho-sensei has a role in all this…although she doesn’t yet know what.

Clow Reed begins, in this volume, to become a real presence. Sakura sees him in a dream, Kaho speaks of him almost as if she knew him. And, we learn, that Kaho has a bond with another man in Sakura’s life – her brother. Years ago, they dated when Toya was in middle school and Kaho, a student teacher.

What happens next I won’t spoil. If you’ve read it, you know why this is the coolest volume. Yue is worth waiting for, just for sheer prettiness. But if you haven’t, I’ll leave you to meet Yue on your own time. ^_^

Yet again, I find Dark Horse did a very acceptable translation job, and yet again, this book is so heavy, I would worry if a child tried to carry it around. But the color pages are as pretty as I remember, and the story is a delight, even the pander-y, manipulative ones that make me choke up. ^_^

As I said for the first volume, I am not nostalgic, but I truly do love this series. Every character is likable, even the unlikable ones, and it’s all so…nice.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Story – 9
Yuri – 2
Service – 4

Overall – 9

I can’t wait for the next volume!

The especially wonderful thing about this volume is that it heralds the arrival of a brand new Okazu Hero! Thank you Walt R-B for sponsoring this review! Please email me at anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com to receive your Okazu Hero Badge, suitable for display on any website of social media profile. You’re my Hero. ^_^

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Cardcaptor Sakura Manga Omnibus, Volume 1 (English)

February 28th, 2011

513FFeTeOrLIt was no real surprise to me that I have never before reviewed Cardcaptor Sakura here. By the time I was writing regular reviews, the English edition of the anime was out of print and so was Tokyopop’s manga edition. I’m sort of sorry for that, since this was a Gateway Yuri story for a lot of people in that post-Sailor Moon phase of Yuri audience development. Because I am revisiting this series, but some of you may not be, let me tell the story from the beginning.

Cardcaptor Sakura was one of the earliest CLAMP mega-hits. (Not *the* earliest, but right in the zone.) As a manga it ran from 1996 – 2000 in Nakayoshi magazine, which meant it was riding on the magical girl coattails of the massive popularity of Sailor Moon. It had…one of everything. There was Yuri, BL, it was chockful of intergenerational relationships (my first thought was that there was *some,* but then I started to think about it and the list got longer and longer….) It had cute girls and beautiful women and cute boys and beautiful boys and even some handsome men. It had arguably some of the best magical creatures ever to grace a magical girl series. (Admit it, ladies, how many of you swooned over Yue?) And, not coincidentally, the voice cast of the anime was stellar – also major crossover from Sailor Moon. I have not loved everything CLAMP has produced, but no one can tell me that they are not geniuses at their business. Cardcaptor Sakura was a milestone.

The story contained in this CCS Omnibus Volume 1 is a simple one – cute, athletic, cheerful Sakura finds a book which, when she opens the cover, proves to be a book full of cards. The cards immediately scatter to the four corners and the creature depicted on the cover of the book comes to life. His name is Cereberus (nicknamed Kero-chan); he is the Guardian of the Cards. Because she could open the book at all, he tells Sakura, she must have magical ability. It is her task to gather the cards once more because blah, blah, blah.

Sakura is not the only one in the family with magical ability. Her deeply odd older brother, the bishounen Touya (Toya in the English edition) also can “see” things. Toya’s best friend is the real reason we all watched/read the series – Yukito, who has a secret within him that makes him even *more* the reason we all read/watched this thing. Unashamedly, I hung on Yuki’s every word, as he was voiced by Ogata Megumi, whose voice still sends chills up my spine. Sakura’s father is perfect, her mother is deceased, and their story becomes increasingly relevant to the overall plot of this omnibus volume as it progresses.

Sakura’s exploits as the “Card Captor” are filmed and enabled by her filthy rich and extremely besotted best friend Tomoyo. For those of you who came to Yuri in later years, Tamao from Strawberry Panic! was specifically meant to be a Tomoyo clone.  Tomoyo is practically the *definition* of the best-friend in one-sided love – in the manga this is made quite plain…and given historical precedent.

Ultimately, Sakura develops a rival in the form of Li Syaoran, which added shota and, eventually, heterosexual romance into what is a really entertainingly bent series. (^_^);  And let’s not forget Kaho-sensei. No…we must not forget her. She is, in any case, unforgettable.

So many of the things that made Cardcaptor Sakura work were an effect of timing, CLAMP’s unerring ability to squeeze a genre until it bleeds money and their raw talent for telling character-driven, beautifully drawn series. Cardcaptor Sakura is beautifully drawn, the characters are likable and the story, which has become a cliche of itself, still works. How can I say this? Because I have read the original in Japanese several times and in English several times, I have watched the anime several times and, when I hit the last page of this Omnibus, I thought, “I want to see what happens next!” Seriously, I did. I KNOW what happens next, but I can’t wait to read it again.

Technically speaking, Dark Horse did a fine job. I don’t recall being irked by the translation, the S/Fx are translated inline most of the time, except in a few spots where they were easily replaceable. The addition of color pages was a delightful bonus, I’m very glad that they thought to add those. If I were *forced* to come up with an objection to this omnibus I would say that this nearly 600-page volume is not, perhaps, little kid friendly. But in this world where Harry Potter novels were devoured by tweens, perhaps even that is not an obstacle. If you know a tween who likes fantasy, or just needs the smallest push to becoming an otaku, consider buying this series for them.

For me, though, the true pleasure of this Omnibus was spending time with old friends. Seeing Yamazaki lie so cheerfully, Tomoyo kvelling over Sakura, Kero-chan obsessing about sweets and Yuki eating gigantic lunches…was just, so…nice.

If you have never before read this series, I really hope you will. It’s got significant Yuri cred; it was, in its time, a gateway series for a lot of GL and BL fans. It’s CLAMP doing a series that is unshockingly an excellent example of the genre and, if you like XXXHolic or, especially, Tsubasa Chronicles, *this* is where major players came from. It’s good to know your roots.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters –  9
Story – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 4

Overall – 9

As I have said repeatedly, I am not a nostalgic person. Reading this volume, I came as close as I’ll ever get to it. Many, many thanks to Okazu Hero Eric P. for letting me wallow, just a bit, in pleasant nostalgia. ^_^

Dear Nozomi/Right Stuf, if you’re looking for another anime series to resuscitate, Cardcaptor Sakura would not be a bad choice. Hint hint

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