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Cardcaptor Sakura
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 03/25/2001

Fourth-grader Sakura Kinomoto has always been pretty content and happy with her life. She has a wonderful and caring father, a pesky but protective older brother, and a nice home. Sakura's mother had passed away when she was little but never had she felt that life was incomplete. Lately though Sakura has been having weird dreams, dreams of magic and strange visions. One day, Sakura stumbles upon a mysterious book full of cards in the basement. Upon opening it, Sakura unwittingly releases numerous magical spirits imprisoned in the cards! Thus, Kerberos (Kero-chan for short), guardian of the cards, awakens and informs Sakura that the cards were created by a powerful sorcerer named Clow. Sakura must retrieve the spirits she released and seal them back into the cards before they cause havoc in the world outside. With this, a new magical girl is born... Cardcaptor Sakura!
Before anything else, I'd like to point out that what I am reviewing here is the original uncut version of Cardcaptor Sakura. I didn't want to waste my time on anything less, but even so I wasn't really gung-ho about watching Cardcaptor Sakura.
Cardcaptor Sakura has a fairly simple plot -- a young school girl has to capture the cards she unintentionally scattered about. It's actually sort of a cross between Pokemon (you know, gotta catch 'em all), Magic the Gathering (the Clow cards are spell cards), and Sailormoon (cute girl with magic and card of the day theme). Sakura has to use her newly discovered magical abilities and wits (yes!) to catch all the cards, and there's a card to catch in every episode. What took me by surprise was the fact that Cardcaptor Sakura is not a brainless magical girl show. Our girl has to devise strategies on how to catch those darned cards using the spell cards she has on hand and whatever resources are available to her. In one ep, Sakura had to capture the Watery card. At that time, she only had the Windy, Fly, and Shadow card. Sakura lured Watery into a freezer and used the Windy card to open the huge freezer door and shut Watery in. After Watery was frozen solid, Sakura was able to seal it and gain another spell card.
Cardcaptor Sakura won't bore you with the usual lengthy magical girl transformations. The heroine does more than just pose and use fancy paraphernalia. Cardcaptor Sakura also gives you a nice portion of humor and comical situations. There is also a love angle in the series despite Sakura's young age, and some faint hints of homosexuality can be seen. A possible flaw to all this is the rather repetitive "card of the day" theme. More mature fans may find Cardcaptor Sakura a bit too childish as well.
The art and animation are predominantly cutesy in style but exquisitely done. I think this series showcases some of Clamp's best art yet. Gone are Clamp's trademark severely drawn eyes (see Magic Knight Rayearth, RG Veda, and X). Cardcaptor Sakura characters are markedly milder and more amiable-looking. A new battle costume is also featured every episode, thanks to Sakura's best friend and couturier Tomoyo. Cardcaptor Sakura characters actually change clothes a lot, which is interesting for me. The songs and music are cute, and complements the series perfectly. Yes, Cardcaptor Sakura is a cutesy magical girl series... but it's a good one at that.
This is definitely one of Clamp's better works.

Cardcaptor Sakura
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Review Title:
Cardcaptor Sakura
Alternative Titles:
Card Captor Sakura, Card Captors, CSS
1750 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Adventure, Comedy, Drama,
Magic, Romance, School
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