Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc — Revival of a classic Magical Girl

We ended the original series with an embrace, maybe they'll end it with a kiss this time

As the quin­tes­sen­tial Card­cap­tor Saku­ra fan­boy around the blo­gos­phere, I felt it was only right for me to start writ­ing about my thoughts on this at some point. A con­tin­u­a­tion of the series after 20 years is a pret­ty big thing, after all. You could mess around with Digi­mon Adven­ture tri. or Drag­on Ball Super to my dis­may all you want, but if a new Card­cap­tor Saku­ra sto­ry­line isn’t done right, I’d go apeshit.

The scan­la­tions, at least, are up to chap­ter 3. I got into the Kinomo­to Saku­ra craze at least 15 years ago. A lot changes a man in 15 years (and I’m not just talk­ing about puber­ty). 15 years ago I would have put up with bad­ly typed, shod­dy trans­la­tions by some fujo fan­girl mak­ing dum­b­ass lol­ran­dom com­ments in-between pan­els just to get my Saku­ra fix. Nowa­days, I can’t sim­ply put up with that crap any­more. Which is where, you know, basic Japan­ese read­ing skills come in handy! But for the life of me, I can’t find Japan­ese raws of the new series any­where, so I’m pret­ty much forced to read Eng­lish scan­la­tions if I want to fol­low the Clear Card arc. It’s not like they’re ter­ri­ble, I can tell the per­son tried their best with edit­ing and mak­ing it look pre­sentable. It’s just that the trans­la­tion feels stilt­ed at a lot of points, most­ly because (from what I can tell) it’s being trans­lat­ed off of Chi­nese trans­la­tions (hint: some SFX are still in Chi­nese). Well, at least it’s extreme­ly bet­ter than that base­ment bull­crap we had to put up with years ago.

SAKURA KAIJUU JA NAI MON

Mov­ing on, it’s pret­ty nice to see my best girl, her best girl, Syao­ran, and the rest of the CCS cast togeth­er again for some­thing new after the end of the orig­i­nal man­ga. There are some dif­fer­ences between the end­ing of the orig­i­nal man­ga and the begin­ning of this one, most­ly just cute addi­tions such as Saku­ra’s adorable re-intro­duc­tion of her­self, a clas­sic morn­ing fight between Saku­ra and Touya (it’s to note that in the orig­i­nal end­ing, while Saku­ra left for school she implies that Touya was­n’t even at the house at the moment), Saku­ra think­ing of Syao­ran while going to school, etc. Oth­er than that, we start right where the end­ing left off at, Saku­ra and Syao­ran’s lov­ing embrace.

I actu­al­ly love the updat­ed art style. I don’t like it more than what we saw of 12-year old Saku­ra dur­ing the end­ing of the orig­i­nal man­ga, but I don’t dis­like it. I think this Koba­to-esque style fits the feel of Card­cap­tor Saku­ra and is a nice choice for a mod­ern update, obvi­ous­ly much more prefer­able to the style they used for em>Tsubasa ‑RESER­Voir CHRoN­i­CLE- and ×××HOLiC dur­ing the mid-2000’s. As Tear Grants would put it, “Cute is best.” Although 12-year old Saku­ra does look more or less the same age as her 10-year old self dur­ing the series, and much younger than her equiv­a­lent 12-year old self in the orig­i­nal end­ing. The same goes for Syao­ran and the oth­er char­ac­ters. They do look slight­ly more mature, but not as much as they did in the orig­i­nal end­ing.

Ohoho~

And, of course, it’s only 16 years lat­er that we find out Tomoyo was film­ing the fluff

What I think is kind of a shame is that Rika trans­ferred to anoth­er school… I guess this is CLAM­P’s way of “san­i­tiz­ing” the CCS man­ga (which already feels as clean as it gets, in my opin­ion) for mod­ern times, where I’m assum­ing things like Ter­a­da-sen­sei (teacher) and Rika (mid­dle school stu­dent) being hot for each oth­er would­n’t have been treat­ed as light­ly as it was 20 years ago in a chil­dren’s man­ga. At least they explain why she’s absent from Saku­ra’s mid­dle school, as opposed to per­form­ing a ret­con and pre­tend­ing she nev­er exist­ed.

It’s kind of weird how they all use smart phones now, when pri­or in the series they all used “pro­to­type” com­mu­ni­ca­tions devices from Tomoy­o’s moth­er’s com­pa­ny that were cute yet seemed rel­a­tive­ly unim­pres­sive (tech­no­log­i­cal­ly) in com­par­i­son… and when they weren’t using those, every­thing else seemed to be in-line with what was avail­able dur­ing the 90’s. I mean, it’s only been two years. Not to men­tion that Tomoy­o’s still using her orig­i­nal cam­corder when she could use her smart devices instead. Go fig­ure.

BASED

Part of me is afraid they might rehash plot ele­ments from the orig­i­nal Card­cap­tor Saku­ra’s Saku­ra Card arc here, espe­cial­ly with Eri­ol once again act­ing like an enig­ma where he cuts off con­tact with Saku­ra but is revealed to secret­ly be in con­tact with Syao­ran at the end of the third chap­ter. The desire to tell a new sto­ry in a sim­i­lar style is under­stand­able, since a com­plete­ly new direc­tion might upset 20 years of love, but I look for­ward to brand new mys­ter­ies and devel­op­ments hap­pen­ing in the future because it’s wel­come.

I do appre­ci­ate CLAMP return­ing to an old­er style of writ­ing from before they start­ed to get real­ly con­vo­lut­ed and con­fus­ing with their 2deep4me sto­ries. Per­haps they’ll get back into their old groove again from this revis­it of one of their ear­li­er casu­al titles. It’s just real­ly hard to trust them with new mate­r­i­al now with them nev­er fin­ish­ing X or the whole Tsub­asa ‑RESER­Voir CHRoN­i­CLE-/×××HOLiC clus­ter­fuck of an unre­solved sto­ry­line.

I just wished they played with a slice-of-life angle for a bit before throw­ing the Clear Card stuff at us all at once. It’s been a while after all, and it would have been a great way to get read­ers more reac­quaint­ed with their favorite char­ac­ters (bar­ring Rika of course), instead of hav­ing a new threat arise right after Syao­ran and Saku­ra get reunit­ed. The pac­ing would have been fine if this arc were to have come right after the Saku­ra Card arc years ago, but as a sequel that arrived 15 years after the man­ga had end­ed, I kind of want­ed to see the char­ac­ters and the OTP that I love have every­day fun for a while longer before throw­ing us into a con­flict.

RELEASE!

Any­way, I love Saku­ra’s new wand — my girls’ back in action! There are a bunch of ques­tions that I’m inter­est­ed in see­ing resolved in fur­ther chap­ters, such as Saku­ra’s fur­ther devel­op­ing pow­ers as a mage (the new Key), the exis­tence of new cards (i.e. The Gale), why Fuji­taka’s sud­den­ly los­ing his abil­i­ty to see wife’s ghost, what Eri­ol’s up to and Syao­ran’s rela­tion to him in all of this, why are the Saku­ra Cars becom­ing trans­par­ent, etc. Most of all, I’m curi­ous as to how, or rather, if this will lead up or have any­thing to do with Saku­ra giv­ing her Star Wand to her TRC coun­ter­part in the future. Let’s just hope CLAMP does­n’t put this baby on hold.

Yeah, he still has superior tastes

And here’s to hop­ing Tomoyo FINALLY gets the chance to put Saku­ra in more new cute out­fits! The cutest mag­i­cal girl is back in action.

Hope­ful­ly with the new ani­me project is a sequel to the ani­me canon. It’ll def­i­nite­ly be inter­est­ing to see a take on this Clear Card arc that takes the ani­me’s ver­sion of the end­ing into account (The Sealed Card).

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