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Cardcaptor Sakura

Grade: A+

Genre: Comedy, Action/Adventure, Magic Girl, Contemporary, Fantasy

Reviewed: Sub/Dub

Episodes: 70 episodes

Notes: Cardcaptors is the U.S. edited dub version. There are 2 movies in addition to the series. The series is based on the manga where Li plays less of a role and Mei-Lin does not exist.

Introduction: Sakura is an energetic 10 year old girl who discovers an ancient book in her father's library. When she opens it, a bunch of magical cards fly out and the guardian of the cards, Keroberos, awakens. Sakura is appointed a Cardcaptor and is responsible for retrieving all the cards before they create mischief. She is assisted in her pursuits by her best friend Tomoyo, and rival Cardcaptor Li Shaoran.

Animation/Music/Voices: The animation is beautiful and crisp in the shoujo style. Everyone is cute from the kids to adults as well as the magical cards. Clamp does a wonderful job as usual and it's a lovely anime to watch. Look out for all the neat costumes Sakura gets to wear, made by her best friend Tomoyo. The various opening and ending themes are all addictively catchy, overall score is fine, and there are some good songs performed beautifully by Tomoyo. All the voices are appropriate for the characters, with special kudos to Sakura's voice actress for her ability to express sounds like "Hoeee!" that is particular to her character.

Review: The plot is straightforward and is divided into 2 arcs. In the first arc, Sakura gains confidence in her powers to capture the Clow cards and develops a partnership with her rival Li Shaoran. In the second arc, a mysterious boy appears and causes all sorts of chaos for Sakura who now needs to change the cards to a different form (Sakura cards). But what makes this a wonderful anime, especially for children, shoujo lovers, romantics, or those of the female persuasion, are the character interactions. At its heart is a series of love triangles, and dealing maturely with unrequited love. All the characters are lovable. Even Mei-Lin, one of Sakura's rivals, redeems herself from being rather annoying at times, when she handles Li's rejection with equanimity. There are lots of love triangles, a few twists, and a couple of same-sex crushes or odd relationships, all done innocently. It's also very funny, with some decent action scenes. It's mostly episodic, but for character development it should be seen in order. A few episodes have virtually no action, as when Sakura meets her great-grandfather for the first time, and is just for character development and background. There are also numerous touches of Japanese culture like White Day and Shrine festivals. A superlative anime overall (magic girl genre), each episodes is a gem, but may be too cute for some, or not enough action/excitement for others. Be advised to watch the sub version and not the dub, which has inappropriate character voices, changes of names and personality, and lots of bad edits.

Cardcaptor Sakura The Movie (Grade: A)

Basically a feature length episode with better animation and lots of action and humor. Good as a standalone movie for those not familiar with the series. Sakura wins a trip to Hong Kong where she discovers a secret from Clow Reed's past involving an evil sorceress who's out for revenge.

Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card (Grade: A)

Sakura addresses her feelings for Li, while the Void card, an extremely powerful Clow card that had been sealed away, is making everything around them disappear. Nice way to wrap up the series, very touching, good action. The dubbing group is different from the first movie and series. The voices are more childlike and appropriate, but Sakura ends up with a rather high pitched Minnie Mouse voice. Not bad, but stick to the sub.