What if?

Something which was brought up in the comments section of my CLAMP in Wonderland 2 review was the possibility of a remake of my favourite anime, Card Captor Sakura. I've been meaning to write about this for some time now, and I suppose this is as good a time as any.

Firstly, I need to lay all my cards on the table (convoluted referential pun unintended). If it were just entirely up to me and personally me, I wouldn't really care for a remake. For all the things I think the series could have done better (for example, the huge number of plot holes and bizarreness, which I'll probably point out when they get blogged about), I'm still of the opinion that it's one of the best anime I've ever seen, taken even as it is, rather than an idealized version in my head with impressive CG and suchlike. For myself, I'm satisfied with CCS.

However, it will be extremely likely that if CCS does get a current remake, in this day and age of the almighty blogosphere and episode reviews and such, there will be an upsurge of interest. CCS will be talked about; perhaps the comments will be unfavourable, perhaps people will love it anyway. But it will still be a point of discussion now, and remain in the current blogger (and anime fandom) consciousness for just that bit longer.

I mean, I was talking to an acquaintance about favourite anime recently, and I mentioned that my absolute favourite was Card Captor Sakura. Their initial reaction was a blank look I've become familiar with, as they tried to match the name with an anime released in the past two or three years.

"Oh, Card Captor Sakura," they say, finally remembering. "The one where Sakura and Syaoran from Tsubasa Chronicle come from, right?"

"Sort of," I hedge. "But I prefer the original versions."

"But it's such an old anime," they say. "Why don't you watch something newer?"

"I do," I say. "But I still like CCS."

"Yeah, that's very unusual," they say, and the matter is finished. And it invariably turns out that people I talk to have indeed seen CCS, and thought that it was good, but they had completely forgotten about it until now. I suppose this counts as evangelizing the series, since they often decide to watch it through one more time, but sometimes I selfishly feel like talking about CCS to someone who, well, knows what I am talking about.

And then there's the obvious benefit of more posters and merchandise coming out in all the magazines and retailers, rather than the occasional rehash of an image I already own. There is very little new merchandise for CCS, which is understandable considering its age, but, well, that's pretty much my point.

It's not likely that we'll be seeing a remake of CCS anyway, or at least a remake which will satisfy my incredibly keen nitpickery. (I'm still slightly peeved that Madhouse mis-animated Tomoyo in CLAMP in Wonderland 2 with brown eyes, instead of the blue eyes she was supposed to have.) Thus I think I am relatively free to speculate on What May Be.

The gut reaction for the first choice of studio to attempt this would be Kyoto Animation, of course. They have a reputation for sticking extremely close to the source material, and CCS has enough of a plot that any immersion-breaking references would be kept at a minimum (unlike, say, SHAFT, as much as I like them). For those with short memories and too much cynicism, consider how many references to other works you've seen in non-Lucky Star KyoAni works, and then ask if they broke immersion that much. Do this without bias, please.

The problem would then be which source they would stick to. The anime has seventy episodes and fifty-three cards (Clow or Sakura, including the movies), which would be a relatively immense amount of work for them. However, there's also the manga, which has nineteen cards and is divided neatly into two arcs, which would probably be more manageable.

Except that the manga does not have Meiling, and that, to me, is too much of a sacrifice.

We'd also have to bring back the original voice actors/actresses, and that's going to be a miracle. For one, Sakura Tange is pretty much retired (I forget whether she retired before or after voicing Kasumi in the Dead or Alive games), so no more hoe~ and hanyaa~n the way it was meant to be. I'm not sure what the schedules of the other seiyuu look like, but we'll have to bring back Junko Iwao for Tomoyo (she's been in a few anime recently, like Akane in the Mai-HiME/Mai Otome series), Tomokazu Seki for Touya (he's definitely active), Aya Hisakawa as Kero-chan (she's around here and there, I know that), Motoko Kumai as Syaoran (no idea if she's still active), Megumi Ogata as Yukito (I think she's still active), and Yukana as Meiling if she gets in (she's very much around, as Nanoha StrikerS and Full Metal Panic shows). Kanon managed to achieve the return of the old seiyuu, as did Negima!? and Ah! My Goddess, but I think this particular order might be a bit too tall.

And so I think that a remake of CCS will remain only in my imagination, where it probably should remain. Of course, we never know what the future might bring.

If it turns out to contain a remake of Card Captor Sakura as done by SHAFT and Akiyuki Shinbo, though, I think I might have to concuss myself just to make sense of it all. Mottsu cameos, Terada-sensei writing on that sentient blackboard, endless references to everything else for split-second frames… wow. My head hurts already.

At least it would be interesting.

19 Responses to “It Will Never Happen”
  1. Eijigawa says:

    Man, I totally understand your feeling. As a CCS fans myself, it is hard to find someone like you who like CCS till this day in this era of new anime. I too have the same situation as you where I was chatting with my otaku's friend and they give the same reaction and I replied the same thing !!!

    Anyway, I feel relieved to know that there's still someone out there who still appreciate CCS and said it is your favourite anime !!! For some reason I just want to thank you so much !!!!

  2. CCYoshi says:

    Giving it a second thought, as much as a remake would be incredibly awesome, there are a few things that worry me about what would happen if it happened.

    Maybe a bit of a sweeping generalization, but the lolicon fad is pretty strong nowadays, and with the omnipresent Rule 34, I'd be worried about how a lot of people would take to the revival of CCS. (Perhaps it's that CCS is so dear to me that the first sight of vaguely NSFW content would send me into a blind rage, and given that I can't kill things over the internet with fire just yet…

    I'm probably being a bit paranoid as that stuff is likely out there already; I just worry that with a remake of CCS it'll become more present. ("OH GOD SHANA SAKURA IS HOT", etc.) Picture Sakura and Tomoyo in one of them pin-ups in Megami magazine and you'll get an idea of what I mean.

    And how many pure magical girl shows do we have out there anyway? Or even pure shows in general? At least that's one plus, to me, about KyoAni, that they don't really do physical fanservice (i.e. the flashing and the boing-boing, etc).

    But, there was Nanatsuiro Drops, so the genre is still alive if anything.

    Certainly it would be great if CCS was remade, but I think that, at least now, the weight of "Would they do it right?" outweighs the "More Sakura! Hanyaa~n!" factor. From a few of the blogs I've traveled, CCS still seems like a known name, even if they don't quite post on it to the extent that you have.

  3. Keeping in mind that I've 1) never seen a remake, and 2) never seen a series which was later remade (unless you count, say, the original He-Man, then the early 2000's series, but that's not a remake, it's a reuse), I don't know how I'd feel about a Cardcaptor Sakura remake.

    It might be nice to see something shorter, as with all the anime I have pending watching, I lack time to re-watch the original Cardcaptor Sakura. It would be nice to see a "speed run" list of the lowest number of episodes you can watch without missing out on any plot points or lasting character growth, but Cardcaptor Sakura makes that difficult by having Sakura collect a card each episode, and then later transform the cards, and midway she uses various cards. It's not like Saint Tail where you can watch only the manga-based episodes and see an entire series in about 24 episodes rather than 42, without missing a thing (yay for filler which doesn't touch the plot or characters!)

    If I want to see the CCS anime, I can watch the anime. I think for this reason, I'd rather see a remake of the manga in an animated form. As already said up in the post, it fits nicely into two arcs, so it could easily split into two series.

    I'd drop Méilíng from the series in an instant if only for one episode: the school play. Yamazaki's big role as the villain. That, and it would be nice to see the original manga storyline animated for the second arc. The connection between Eriol and Sakura's father fit so nicely in the manga that I felt a bit empty come the end of the anime.

    Just to make it fun, rather than using the resolve to Sakura and Lǐ's relationship from the either anime or the manga, they could come up with a whole different way about it.

    Perhaps the best part would be the dub. I'm serious. There have been some wonderful dubs from ADVFilms and Geneon, and I'm sure from other companies I don't know about. Imagine if one of them picked up a CCS remake to dub, without censorships, without changing names, without cutting anything, without skipping or reordering episodes. I have no doubt in mind that a dub release would get the series into many houses more than a sub-only would, even considering the number of CCS fans out there who'd buy it up with or without a dub.

    Here's looking toward someone deciding a CCS remake would be a Good Thing To Do, with blue-eyed Sakura and brown-eyed Tomoyo ;)

    Now I find myself wishing there could be a 24 episode Saint Tail remake, but due to its light storyline and lack of character growth, I'm not sure how far it could get in this day and age…

    Whenever I read a CCS post here, it makes me want to pull the series out and blog about it. If only my to-watch list wasn't a mile long already…

  4. Misha says:

    I realize my experience of CCS is relatively non-typical, seeing as how I'm currently midway through watching the series for the very first time, but even entertaining the thought of a remake of something that's still relatively new (less than ten years old!) seems strange to me. I'd much rather see a good English-language dub (i.e., not C*rdc*pt*rs) than a remake, though even that idea has its issues. For instance, I'm wondering how Animax's English dub handled Sakura's "hoeee" and "hanyaan."

    Of course, I'm more worried about how I'm gonna buy my own copies of the CCS DVDs, now that Geneon isn't distributing in Region 1 anymore…

  5. CCYoshi says:

    Misha: You could probably hurry and snap some of the floating DVDs up, I saw 3 or 4 DVDs of the CCS set on clearance at Fry's Electronics for less than $10, so if you don't mind doing a little hunting…

    Also, to invoke the "if one person can do it everyone can", Kanon was remade after only 4 years, although the original for that came under a bit more fire.

    Christopher: Why drop Meiling? I thought she was a pretty good character as the "rival love interest", if only because of some ace scenes near the end of the series (uh, Episode 60, I think, where she finally accepts that she is the Unlucky Childhood Friend).

    Re both: A good CCS dub would probably do wonders for the American crowd; it certainly seems like the type of show that could actually air on American TV relatively uncut (ignoring Nelvana's botched attempt), thus garnering a good audience. Just the Eriol and Mizuki, or Touya and Yukito relationships might come under a bit of conservative fire, but you never know.

  6. CCYoshi says:

    (By the way, totally encroaching on author space, sorry, but I want to discuss this too. XD)

  7. CCYoshi: I could go either way on keeping or dropping Méilíng; I just want to see Yamazaki take on his wonderful role as villain of the play ;) When I reached that episode, I was in heavy anticipation of his great role, and Mihara's "Wow, I've known him all my life, and never seen him like this before" comment, but that was all lost as Méilíng took the role.

    Other than that, I have no problem keeping her in. I'd still like to see a 13 + 13 episode remake, though (13 per manga series), and I'm not sure how well she'd fit in. I don't doubt room could be made for her.

    Re-looking at the manga book one again, through the first few chapters, I wonder which would be better: following an existing media, or following the manga close enough to use the same cards, but change the situations a bit. This would keep the anime from being a replacement for the manga, although it often seems I'm the only one who likes when manga and anime don't 100% follow the same path and events. (For this reason, I do like Méilíng getting the role of the witch; I simply selfishly wanted to see Yamazaki in that role =P )

    When I watched through the anime, I was reading through the manga at the same time. Sometimes I'd be ahead on one, sometimes I'd be ahead on the other (at least until the two started to diverge, at which time I speed through the last three books in one week). I don't know how I'd view the play had I seen the animated version first.

  8. aanusha says:

    dear moe check,
    In India it is difficult to be a die hard anime fan. For starters, you don't get lots of options about watching good anime.Neither are any dvds available for the shows that you really want to watch. My only hope is animax- the only 24hour anime channel that caters only partly to my requirements. I am 16 years old and i have been watching ccs from the time it was aired(subbed) in cartoon network in the english version in 1998 and again when it was aired in animax in 2003. It's really difficult to get the stuff we anime watchers really want in this place.So thanks for maintaining such a good blog. It provided me with a lot of info that i really wanted(Clamps other creations and their story lines for example). Keep blogging cause you really did me a world of good. I envy you….(P.S- If you can manage to get the time, do send me an e-mail.My I.D is –sakura.avalon2@gmail.com)

  9. Lysander says:

    I'm really not too keen on the idea of a remake, but as was said previously there's no way to tell for sure how well it would work unless someone actually goes out and does it. At the very worst, I would find myself completely ignoring it as I did with the Cardcaptors series, and that risk might be well worth taking if there's a possibility of a really good series coming out it (nostalgia factors included). I think more realistically I'd love to see a re-mastering of the original CCS boxed set that was released here by Pioneer. I think having a company go over all the details and clean up the art for presentation in the twenty-first century would be something both we older fans as well as the newer generation could get into.

    Seriously though, we have half a dozen different shoujo anime being aired in Japan at this very moment and that I know many of my friends are drooling over from week to week, so the potential is there for some good to come out of re-mastering and re-releasing an older shoujo series here in the states. Now we've got to deal with Geneon being pretty much dead and all this other drama but… it's worth thinking about. My personal opinion is that everyone should be emailing ADV and telling them to pick up the license, but that might just be me. *shrugs*

  10. Misha says:

    CCYoshi: Not to get too wildly off-topic here, but I should've completed that sentence of mine: "… now that Geneon isn’t distributing in Region 1 anymore and I've fallen in love with CCS after becoming an utterly broke full-time college student." I will, however, keep your suggestions in mind, in case any of my relatives feels an attack of largesse coming on. ^_^

  11. Aanusha says:

    (Please tell those of us who don’t know what actually happens in the CCS mangas. How are the events different from those in the anime? What is the connection between Eriol and Fujitaka? And how, oh how, was Meilin dropped from the story line???)

  12. The manga events are as follows, so anyone reading or planning on reading the manga might want to skip over this comment. Likewise, if you're watching or planning on watching the anime. I'll understand if this comment is edited or removed due to spoilers. Also, keep in mind that I read the comics about a year ago, so I might be a tiny bit incorrect.

    Again, MANGA AND SOME ANIME SPOILERS ARE BELOW!

    In the manga, Sakura notices that Eriol is "familiar" to her somehow. He wears glasses and smiles the same as her father and Yukito. The three all seem "familiar" somehow. In the anime, Eriol is revealed as a reincarnation of Clow. Because Eriol is from Clow, and Clow created Yukito, they might have similar features.

    In the manga, Eriol is not the reincarnation of Clow. Instead, Clow did not die. He wanted to no longer be the most powerful wizard, so he split himself into two different characters. He became Eriol, and he became Sakura's father. This might explain why Toya is able to "see" things with his "sixth sense". This can also explain why Fujitaka gets the Clow book after it was in Osaka for a long time.

    Even though Clow split, Eriol still has all the power. In the anime, Sakura has to transform the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards to save them from "dying", but in the manga this is not true. Eriol does put Sakura through challenges so she changes the cards, but this is to make the cards use Sakura's power. This makes Sakura stronger. When Sakura transforms every Clow Card into a Sakura Card, she is strong enough to split Clow's power between Eriol and Fujitaka. Incidentally, while Toya loses his power to save Yukito, this split gives Fujitaka a similar power. Toya can no longer see his mother's spirit, but Fujitaka now can.

    The entire ending with Sakura and Shaoran is also different. The bear Shaoran made is left behind, and Sakura takes it with her. Shaoran later tells Sakura to keep it. When Sakura learns Shaoran is moving back to Hong Kong, she begins to realize her feelings for him. She makes him a bear, and gives it to him as he is leaving on a bus to the airport. Sakura tells Shaoran he is her special someone. Fast-forward a few years, and Shaoran returns having gone through the process to become a citizen of Japan.

    Méilíng was added to the anime, so she was never in the manga. There isn't anything to say about that, but I think she returns home in series one in the anime so the first series can end similar to the manga.

  13. CCYoshi says:

    Lysander: That many? I don't think there are that many 'true' magical girl/shoujo shows left (without lolicon/fanservicey/etc influences), but I'm not that up to date with the fall season. Nevertheless, a remastering does sound like it could work, although I've never actually been able to compare an old version to a remastered one.

    (Just realized Aanusha was talking about how Meilin wasn't in the manga, but since I've already got a little post on how she came and went in the anime…)

    As far as I remember, Meilin left somewhere in the middle of season 1 (before the Yue fight) for some irrelevant reason; Wiki says "her mother called her back" and I suppose that's code for "take me out of the storyline by any means possible."

    She returned later in season 3 (post Yue, circa 50-odd?) for a few episodes to officially give up her engagement with Syaoran and, y'know, declare Sakura the winner and all. There was a really touching scene in 60, I think, where she keeps the emotion back when telling Syaoran that she's breaking it off, then goes and lets it all out in Tomoyo's lap later. It's the kind of character interaction that makes Cardcaptor Sakura more than just an average magical girl anime.

  14. Nevertheless, a remastering does sound like it could work, although I've never actually been able to compare an old version to a remastered one.

    I've been reading up a bit on Cardcaptor bootlegs to do a quality comparison (as legit US releases are drying out), and I came across a three-part box set release for Cardcaptor Sakura (here's box set one). The three box sets together total at ¥81,081, or US$724.95 (and the two movies together are ¥11,500 or US$102.82)

    I find the following piece from the page to be interesting:

    現在もNHK教育にて再放送中の作品が、ハイビジョン・ネガテレシネと5.1chDDの映像と音声で蘇る!

    What I take from this is that there are a re-mastered release (they came out in 2005), with 5.1ch audio, and remastered audio and video. ハイビジョン (High-Vision) refers to a hi-definition digital satellite television service by NHK (a Japanese television station). The Japanese Wikipedia has a list of shows airing on this hi-definition station, including Cardcaptor Sakura (カードキャプターさくら).

    The ネガテレシネ part is a combination of ネガ and テレシネ. The latter part, Telecine (a combination of "television" and "cinema") is taking a film and making it digital, which makes sense for use on NHK's High-Vision service. The first part, "nega", might refer to using negatives (I don't know).

    Does this mean there's a digitalized release with cleaned up video and improved audio? I would love to find out, but the box sets are way too expensive, especially as I'm buying various bootleg and non-US releases to do a quality comparison write-up. Maybe I should have saved up for a remastered box set to write-up on, rather than doing a write-up on bootlegs in hopes to inform anyone looking to buy the series in a time when the places to buy the official subtitled releases are drying up.

  15. Venus Rozen Power says:

    Ahhh, remakes, remakes, remakes. Only a few remakes have achieved to surpass their original animes. And I don´t think that a Cardcaptor Sakura remake could be one of those cases even though, it could still be enternaiting but not as good as the original, and as you said you said Cardcaptor Sakura is perfect as it is.
    P.D. Don´t feel so alone, here in Colombia you could find maaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy male Cardcptor Sakura fans.

  16. charizardpal says:

    Yeah lots of male fans for CCS, particularly since the Card Captors show, (for all of it's problems) made the anime more like a shounen manga, of the monster of the week format.

    And yeah I remember reading about CCS when the internet had first came out, and thinking, "whoa those episodes aired in Japan but not here? Wait a minute…Card Captors came from Japan? Sakura means cheery blossum? What's this anime stuff?" Nostalgic and still my favorite anime.

  17. Travis says:

    Well, they put the show out on Blu-Ray. It almost makes it feel new to watch it now; 1440×1080 is always better than 640×480. It looks really good. Now if they'd just do the movies it'd be perfect.

  18. Santi says:

    kapan episode baru dari captor sakura ditayangkan lagi di televisi indonesia?aku sangat-sangat menantinya

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