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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