It has been observed before that I don't handle conflict very well. Most of the time, I try to avoid it as best as I can, largely because I have a very short temper, and I tend to say things which I regret soon enough.
Episode 15 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura and Kero's Big Fight", was therefore not exactly one of my favourite episodes. Which was a pity, since it slightly touched on some rather serious issues, but done respectfully and yet also in a light-hearted manner. Somewhat more relevant to my interests, it was also a step up in terms of animation quality from the previous episode, as objectively as I can determine.
Still, I wouldn't really place this episode in one of my favourite spots, which obviously isn't saying that it's bad. No, it just doesn't really have much appeal to me, relatively speaking.
Of course, Tomoyo not getting a whole lot of screentime might have been a factor.
The episode begins with a battle against the Storm, which I'd probably spin into some sort of obscure pop culture reference if I weren't drawing a blank right now. The Storm Card manifests as a relatively small tornado, which nevertheless rises to maybe ten meters high, and Sakura has to struggle against the wind to get to it. Meanwhile, Tomoyo is filming the action, as steady as a rock.
Sakura eventually gets forced back, but Syaoran presses onwards, before getting sucked up the funnel cloud (I'm assuming that the shape is not made of debris, since that would be painful), presumably on purpose. Once inside, he shoots forth a bolt of lightning down the funnel to… do something. I am not well-versed in meteorology, so I'll leave it to someone else to criticize.
The Storm is greatly reduced in stature, and Sakura seals it. The card itself goes to Syaoran, which I'd not quibble about, since not only did he do most of the work, he also has no other appearance in this episode. That's right, this is all you'll be seeing of him for now.
Returning home, Sakura is all depressed about how everything went wrong that day. Kero-chan doesn't help, being too caught up in his own thoughts of Vengeance or some such. Tempers flare, and Card Captor and Guardian Beast yell at each other for a while before turning in to bed.
The next day, Sakura decides to make peace, but promptly discovers that Kero-chan had dumped out the contents of a drawer to make a room for himself. One gets the feeling that she wouldn't have minded if he had asked beforehand, but he did not, and in this case, I think Sakura is definitely entitled to get angry. The two sling insults at each other for a while, with Kero-chan calling Sakura a "kaijuu", which I think strikes too close for Sakura due to her brother's teasing.
Later, a CHECK!Pointable moment occurs when Sakura reports this to Tomoyo:
Sakura: And he just threw out everything in the drawer!
Tomoyo: (sympathetically) I see…
Sakura: There were a lot of precious things inside! Like the letters you sent me before!
Tomoyo: (happily) I see! ♥
While Sakura is at school, Kero-chan finds a package on the table, and decides to take revenge on Sakura by being all disobedient and opening it. The sheer immaturity and lack of rationality apparent in this action is probably not something one should examine too closely, especially since Kero-chan is supposed to know much better, like not revealing his existence to the other Kinomoto family members.
The package turns out to contain chocolates. In a box. Shaped like wine bottles.
Kero-chan does not know what he's going to get. We, of course, do.
CHECK!Point: "Tomoyo-chan, Kero-chan called me a monster! A monster!" "If there was ever a monster as cute as you, Sakura-chan, then I'd love it to bits."
You know, Tomoyo, somehow I don't think that's exactly the sort of sympathy Sakura was looking for.
Kero-chan has, by now, finished off the last of the wine-bottle-shaped chocolates, which, as might be obvious by now, were alcoholic. I don't think the alcohol content in these sorts of chocolates is enough to cause inebriation, but I've never had personal experience with them anyway. Also, Kero-chan is a creature of MAGIC, who just happened to consume more or less his body mass in alcoholic chocolates.
And so, rather drunk, Kero-chan wafts out of the open window, leaving the tatters of the packaging and the empty box behind for Sakura to clean up when she returns home. Oddly enough, Sakura doesn't seem to be as angry as she should be when she discovers the mess, considering that Kero-chan just completely ate up a delivered box of chocolates, which I'd assume would be rather expensive. Later, when her father asks her what happened to said chocolates, she feigns ignorance.
Again, I don't think we're suppose to examine this too closely, because otherwise we'll be stuck her arguing about moral lessons about lying to one's parents in CCS.
Kero-chan laments about his life to a cartoonish dragon statue in front of a store. Said dragon remains thoroughly inert throughout the drunken ramblings, which does not seem to faze Kero-chan one bit. Finally, Kero-chan goes to sleep on a discarded sofa at the trash collection site in front of a house, which may or may not be a commentary on the habits of drunken hobos on the street.
When Kero-chan next awakes, he's in a little doll pram in a particularly "girly" room, owned by a little girl named Akane. She believes him to be a sort of cat, which I suppose is close enough, if one looks at the situation with a squint and a cocked angle. Kero-chan inadvertantly says "chau" (I'm assuming it's his slang for "chigau", meaning "no"), and Akane christens him "Chau-chan". When she leaves (after giving him some milk in a bowl, complete with spoon for whatever reason), Kero-chan goes through a mildly amusing tongue-twister playing on "chau" (the sound) and "chau" (meaning "no").
You can't really translate something like this without liner notes, which is probably why the subs didn't bother, leaving it as a direct translation.
Sakura wonders where Kero-chan went, since she left her window open the entire night in the hopes that he would come back. She goes around being discontent and mopey, which is noticed by Super Baito Touya.
CHECK!Point: Who ruffles her hair in a rare display of brotherly affection. I've noticed that Touya seems to be the sort who doesn't like to express his emotions, choosing instead to be the Strong Silent Gruff Apathetic type. From my admittedly limited social life, I believe that this is the common variety among young males, rather than the more showy versions seen in plenty of fiction, anime or otherwise.
Back to Kero-chan, after getting cleaned up (in the sink) and decorated with a ribbon, we learn that Akane's father had died some time before, which she describes as "flying away to heaven". Anything I can say to this would probably be extremely insensitive, so I'll just move on.
When Akane and Kero-chan are watching some sort of television drama (using the same BGM as CCS, I should mention) featuring a child meeting her long-lost father, Akane starts tearing up, and Kero-chan quickly turns off the television, dancing back and forth in front of it in an attempt (successful) at cheering Akane up.
Yeah, I'm going to just leave all the tasteless jokes unsaid, because CCS is treating this with respect, and so will I, dammit.
CHECK!Point: Which won't stop me from fanboying over Tomoyo reassuring Sakura that Kero-chan most likely regrets being angry at her, the same way Sakura regrets shouting at Kero-chan.
Sakura frets that Kero-chan has been missing since the previous day, and Tomoyo suggests that they go look for him around the city. Considering the size of said city and the size of the target, I'm not sure how they intended to accomplish this, especially taking into account Kero-chan's status as a being of MAGIC, and thus probably not bound by fatigue or any physical laws of nature. I suppose the problem then becomes finding a method to search an area with an expanding radius as determined by how far a foot-long magical creature can fly in a day or so.
Predictably, Sakura and Tomoyo are daunted by the size of the area they must search, using the resources available to two ten-year old girls. Mind you, one of said ten-year old girls is the heiress to a major corporate empire, while the other has a variety of magical abilities, so I can only believe that both are somehow prevented from using those resources for the purposes of this search.
Sakura looks inside trash cans, which makes a fair amount of sense considering Kero-chan's size and relative disregard for hygiene, and gets spotted by Yukito. This will be significant a short while later, when Sakura returns home to discover that she had forgotten to cook dinner that day, but Super Baito Touya had wordlessly taken over her duties. Apparently Yukito had called Touya out of worry for Sakura's distracted manner, which I suppose would be rather pronounced considering she did not immediately go hanyaa~n over Bishounen Yukito's appearance. This should have been enough warning sign to most people, but Bishounen Yukito appears less than observant with regards to this in times past. Either he has had a sudden burst of insight, or he has been faking it all this time.
At around this time, Kero-chan sends a fax to the Kinomoto household, assuring Sakura that he is all right. I assume that contacting her overrides any concern over someone non-Sakura picking up the fax.
Using the "reference number" (I'm thinking they mean the sending fax number), Tomoyo uses her laptop (placed on the floor) to track down the house Kero-chan is at. Putting aside all concerns over privacy issues and bad jokes about how Tomoyo must be skilled at espionage, I took this screenshot to illustrate that somehow, for some reason, Tomoyo's laptop theme has a little Kero-chan timer.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Deep in thought, Kero-chan fails to realize that he is floating, and Akane is fascinated by this. Kero-chan tries to act as though flitting around is nothing special, but things get a bit disturbing when Akane innocently mentions how she wishes she could fly, so she could see her father in heaven.
Things become a bit more disturbing when Akane proceeds to do so.
The culprit, of course, is a Clow Card, this time known as the Float. The Float card conveys Akane out of the window, and far above the city. This obviously terrifies both her and Kero-chan, who exclaims that if the Float doesn't let her down, she's really going to see her father in heaven.
Hey, I didn't say it, Kero-chan did.
Trust me when I say that this looks a lot cooler in motion.
For all I don't really like Kero-chan (mainly for being loud and immature), I have to admit that I should be fair and say that he does look very impressive swooping in to Akane's rescue, without regard for his own safety or what he's actually going to do when he gets there.
Of course, such coolness will not last, and Kero-chan quickly runs out of energy, drifting back down to the ground. However, he gets caught by Sakura, who just happens to be there with the help of the Fly. Apparently she rushed there as soon as Tomoyo narrowed down the location, and also managed to spot Kero-chan in time to catch him. I assume that Akane is somehow out of reach, since Sakura went for the magical Guardian Beast with wings first, instead of the rather normal little girl who cannot fly under her own power.
If you're wondering how Sakura can capture a Clow Card while aloft on the Fly, this is how: Sakura simply takes the Sealing Wand from under her, and makes use of hang time to initiate the Clow Card capture process. When it's started, she can use the Sealing Wand as a flight mechanism once more, without having to hold it in place to collect the card.
Whether or not this will hold consistently true in future episodes remains to be seen.
Bereft of her means of flight, Akane obeys the law of gravity, and Kero-chan struggles to slow her descent. There's the usual saying about how it's not the fall that kills you, but the sudden stop at the end, which most Marvel comics fans should understand with the mere mention of "Gwen Stacy".
At this point, Akane has passed out, either from shock, or from lack of air. No, it's not that important.
Back in Episode 1, Kero-chan managed to gently lower Sakura after the latter had been blown away by the Fly. I presume he's too fatigued to do the same this time.
Sakura tosses down the Wood card, which promptly grows into a large tree to cushion Akane's fall, before gently letting her down on the vines. Akane wakes up, and presumably treats it all as a dream. Considering she was unconscious during her fall, she might not get nightmares after this about, well, falling.
Perhaps the next day or a few days later, Akane is shown to be around the standard sign of someone moving house, which is the large moving company truck. Personally I've never had the occasion to use one of those myself, since my experiences in moving generally involve either friends' cars or oceans. In both cases, I never really had more than just books and DVDs, although I have to add that the total volume is probably a lot more than furniture would have taken up.
Akane's mother, previously conspicuously absent, had apparently taken a job which would allow her to spend more time with her daughter, but which would require moving. And so Akane has to say goodbye to "Chau-chan".
CHECK!Point: I just like Tomoyo's outfit here, and I have to note the curls at the ends of her hair. Overall the ribbons and curls don't really grab me that much, even if they're not bad as such, but I really like her outfit.
Sakura assures Akane that she'll take good care of "Chau-chan", and I have to wonder what Akane's mother is thinking about all of this, especially considering that "Chau-chan" looks nothing like any common domesticated animal in existence, what with the, yanno, wings.
Back in Sakura's room, Sakura reveals to Kero-chan that she had been working on converting her desk drawer (which Kero-chan had previously hijacked) into a little room for him. She also apologizes for making the room look a bit "girly", which I think raises a few questions about Kero-chan's gender identity. I mean, I've been referring to him as male for convenience and because it seems to be the accepted thing to do, but he has taken a bath with Sakura before. I believe that I may be overthinking this.
In any case, Kero-chan seems overjoyed with his new abode, and bounces on the cardboard furniture. Which, predictably, breaks.
CHECK!Point: "You broke it!" "It's your fault for making things so shoddily!"
And so the episode closes on further bickering, possibly as a message that it is All Right to have the occasional fight now and again, as long as it doesn't escalate too far, and one makes up at the end.
This episode's Kero-chan ni Omakase has him mention that it's been a while since he featured a battle costume, which would probably be more relevant if this one didn't turn up for all of maybe two minutes before the title card. Said battle costume is a blue-and-red witch motif thingie, and I only realized after all the screencapping was done that I failed to actually include a picture of it. So it goes.
The Kero-chan Check part deals with Sakura's non-school backpack, which has a motif of an egg with wings. This would probably technically be more of a reference (possibly a precursor) to Angelic Layer, where the titular Angels are shipped in egg capsules with a wing motif, but personally, I cannot help but be reminded strongly of "uguu~"