Cardcaptor Sakura: A classic among classics when it comes to the “magical girl” genre. Also, that one anime you used to love as a kid.
In A Nutshell
The story focuses of Cardcaptor Sakura focuses on Sakura Kinomoto, an elementary school student who one day accidentally frees a set of magical cards known as Clow’s Cards. Along with Keroberos, one of the guardians of the cards, and her friends Tomoyo and Shaoran, Sakura will try to retrieve those cards in order to avoid an unknown global catastrophe.
Meet the Characters
Sakura is the main character of the series. Sakura is very sweet, polite, and nice to everyone. Sometimes critical situations can get the best of her and she tends to feel insecure, but when it comes down to it, she proves to be very brave. She always tries to protect everyone and sees the best in everyone around her. Sakura is also very good at sports and she happens to be in love with Yukito, her brother’s friend and classmate.
Keroberos, usually shortened to Kero, is one of the guardians of Clow Reed’s cards. His role in the story is to guide Sakura while she searches for the Cards. He cannot let himself be seen in front of other humans, so he often has to pretend to be a teddy bear. Kero is very nice to Sakura, and he can also be a real badass when things get serious. Oh, and he LOVES sweets! Sadly, saying more about the character would mean entering spoiler territory.
Unlike Sakura and Shaoran, Tomoyo does not possess any magical powers. Tomoyo is Sakura’s classmate and best friend. She is a very sweet, friendly girl who’s obsessed with making special dresses for Sakura and then filming her wearing them during battles. Tomoyo comes from a rich family and has many talents, like baking and singing.
Shaoran Li is a transfer student from Hong Kong. Just like Sakura, Shaoran Li possesses magic powers and is also collecting Clow Reed’s Cards. Even though this fact technically makes them rivals, Shaoran and Sakura get along for the most part. Shaoran doesn’t like showing his affection for others and often acts tsundere towards Sakura. He does, however, share Sakura’s passion for Yukito.
A Brief History of Cardcaptor Sakura: the When, Where and How
Cardcaptor Sakura is a Japanesemanga series written and illustrated by the manga group Clamp. The manga was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from 1996 to 2000. A manga sequel focusing on Sakura in junior high school began serialization in July 2016. The series was adapted into a 70-episode anime series by Madhouse that aired from April 1998 to March 2000. Additional media produced include two anime films, as well as video games, art books, picture books, and comics.
For its 20 year anniversary, a manga sequel focusing on Sakura in junior high school began serialization in July 2016.
Why It’s Awesome
The magical girlgenre (or ‘mahou shoujo’ as it’s known in Japanese) is one of the most explored genres in the anime industry, so it’s really hard to come up with one that is not only original, but also influential. Cardcaptor Sakura is not a deconstruction of the genre a la Madoka Magica, but it does try to make the same old things in a different way.
Cardcaptor Sakura is a really good mix of different genres. It does have quite a lot of romance, but it never feels too forced, idealistic or in-your-face. Romance feels natural and it’s related to the plot. Friendship and being a kind person is always very important themes, as are the school and slice of life elements (more often explored in the filler episodes). The comedy is also on point, and even though it doesn’t have a lot of drama, the story does a good job at making you feel tense when things get serious.
Finally, the art style and animation are impressive for its time. Studio Madhouse has always been one of the most acclaimed animation studios, and their work on Cardcaptor Sakura is no exception. The music is also very good, and all of the series’ openings are endings are superb, both in music and animation.