Cardcaptor Sakura Series Impressions

Anime Hajime Impressions: Cardcaptor Sakura

The Set-Up

There are two things you need to know if you choose to continue.

First, I would highly suggest reading through the entire Anime Hajime: Benkyou – Cardcaptor Sakura series. Doing so will provide a lot more context to what I will be talking about.

Second, this post is not a review; I cannot stress this enough. Although I intend to discuss what I liked and didn’t like about this show, THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. I watched the entirety of Cardcaptor Sakura in Japanese without any English subtitles. I do have confidence in my understanding of Japanese, but not nearly enough to write an official Anime Hajime review. Therefore, I fully expect to get details wrong. Please leave your thoughts about this series in the comments section below.

With those points out of the way, what were my impressions of Cardcaptor Sakura?


Sakura Kinomoto

  • Voiced By: Sakura Tange

A fourth-year elementary school student. An athletic, energetic girl, Sakura takes on the role of Cardcaptor to search for and seal away the mysterious Clow Cards.


Impressions

This show was a ton of fun; that’s the bottom line. If you have never seen Cardcaptor Sakura, then I highly suggest you do so. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be shocked to discover how much more there is to this series.

For starters, the animation. My god, Cardcaptor Sakura was beautiful to look at, and can you believe it’s over twenty years old (as of February 2021)! Of course, this isn’t all that surprising given how this show came out of Madhouse Studios, which is also responsible for Death Note, Hellsing, and Black Lagoon, just to name a few.

Also, I would consider Cardcaptor Sakura to be a show for younger audiences. That said, remember, this is a late-90’s anime. Thus, it wasn’t afraid to go a bit dark.


Cerberus

  • Voiced By: Aya Hisakawa

A small, yellow, flying cat-like being, Cerberus is the guardian of the Clow Cards. Cerberus becomes Sakura’s partner in the search for the missing cards.


Overall, I wasn’t sure where this overview was going to go. How do you summarize the ups and downs of a 70-episode series, especially one that was predominantly solid throughout its run? It also doesn’t help that much of this show had a rinse-and-repeat style. There was a lot of downtime in Cardcaptor Sakura, and only a handful of episodes carried any real weight.

Was this a problem?

Again, this is not a review. But if it were, I would consider the lack of anything significant to be an issue. Hardly anything led anywhere. In fact, the series was mostly just a build-up to something bigger. Unfortunately, those bigger things were scarcely worth the wait. And, naturally, those bigger things were the pivotal battles of the Clow Card and Sakura Card story arcs.


Syaoran Li

  • Voiced By: Motoko Kumai

Sakura’s rival. Syaoran’s family knows all about the Clow Cards. Like Sakura, Syaoran is trying to recover the lost pieces of the deck.


Of course, the episodes that directly lead into their respective climaxes were the most info-heavy. In other words, there was a ton of Japanese I did not catch. Therefore, it is possible, if not probable, that I failed to appreciate what was going on.

However, that leads to another point. Why did I find the Clow Card arc (the first 46 episodes) to be far more compelling than the Sakura Card arc (the last 24)?

I think the chief difference was the feel of both plotlines. In Clow Card, the end goal – collect all the Clow Cards – came off as much more critical. In Sakura Card, it was merely extra; in all reality, the show ended well enough in episode 46.


Tomoyo Daidouji

  • Voiced By: Junko Iwao

Sakura’s best friend. Tomoyo loves taking pictures and videos and is especially fond of Sakura. Coming from a wealthy family, she joins Sakura on her Cardcaptor missions.


Hence why I am torn. I did not care much for Sakura Card, which had the unfortunate distinction of being this series’ conclusion. Cardcaptor Sakura did not end on its high note. But this wasn’t even half the series. There was so much more that was so much better and worth your time.

And yes, I know there are the two Cardcaptor Sakura movies and the 2018 series Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. They might (big emphasis on MIGHT) add something more, and I’m not against reviewing them sometime in the future. But as for the original series, it should have quit while it was ahead.

Now, I need to calm down because this is becoming more of a rant than I had intended. I did enjoy watching Cardcaptor Sakura, even when nothing was happening. Why? Simple – the characters. This series had an absolutely fantastic cast of characters.


Meiling Li

  • Voiced By: Yukana Nogami

Syaoran’s cousin from Hong Kong. Although Meiling is a skilled fighter, she doesn’t appear to possess any of the Li family’s abilities. She also doesn’t care too much for Sakura.


Sakura, Syaoran, Cerberus, Tomoyo, Meiling, the list goes on. Watching our heroes grow accustomed to fighting the Clow spirits was incredibly entertaining. They added an untold amount of personality to this show. As I see it, they are why this series is considered a classic; good luck convincing me otherwise.

If you were to ask who my favorite was, I would give that honor to Sakura herself. She was always someone you could root for. It great to see her master her powers and use her cards in unique ways. She really did earn the title of Cardcaptor.

That said, Tomoyo was a close second.

Incidentally, my least favorite characters were Ms. Mizuki and Eriol. Again, language barrier, but they ultimately felt like nuisances.

To wrap everything up, I can see myself doing a proper review of Cardcaptor Sakura someday. I had enough fun with this series to warrant a return.

Anime Hajime Impressions: Benkyou – Cardcaptor Sakura

Final Thoughts

When I started watching this series in full Japanese, I wasn’t sure how it would end up. My biggest fear was that I would be so lost that I would have to call the whole thing off. To my delightful relief, that was never necessary.  

Not only was this show relatively easy to understand, but it was also a ton of fun.

The animation was fantastic, making both battle scenes and quiet moments wonderful to look at. The series was often hilarious, and the cast of characters brought everything to a much higher level. There were times when absolutely nothing happened, but this show’s charm was more than enough to keep it above water.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest giving Cardcaptor Sakura a chance.

Thanks for following along with me. If you’ve seen this series and feel I am wrong in my descriptions, please let me know in the comments below. I wouldn’t want to put this show in an inaccurate light.

If you’ve liked what you have read, be sure to follow Anime Hajime on our social media sights so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this post across the internet to help add to the discussion.

For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and come back in April 2021 for the start of the second lesson of Anime Hajime Impressions: Benkyou, where we will be covering:

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