The problem with writing Card Captor Sakura episode summaries is that I cannot exactly be objective about it. Since it's my absolute favourite anime of all time, I have to rely on my passion for it to draw out each and every summary which you have seen thus far in this category. Emotions, however, are fickle things, and easily influenced by outside interference.
For the past two months, I have been suffering through renovation works on the apartment below mine, which means that very loud drills and hammerings have been a constant accompaniment to the hot and muggy climate filled with all sorts of unpleasant polluting particulates. This is not a conducive sort of mood to review an episode of my favourite anime with anything resembling rational thought. Instead, I have become a sort of slightly crazed caricature of my usual mellow self, filled brimful with undirected bile which cannot be siphoned off without a week or so of blowing things up in violent games.
But I have this anime blog to feed, ravenous beast as it is. Open wide…
As mentioned in the last summary, the in-DVD extras for the fifth disc of Card Captor Sakura is another art gallery, filled with line art of Meiling with various expressions, a bit of Yamazaki, a few of Sakura's battle costumes (not necessarily from this DVD), and assorted inanimate objects. This would probably be a lot more interesting to me if it weren't stuck at its current resolution size.
Episode 18 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura, Yukito, and the Summer Festival", is one of those Requisite Anime Settings for any series of significant length per amount of plot set in Japan: the natsu-matsuri, which translates quite directly to "summer festival". For the most part, these have a set of components that are available more often than not, to be put together however the plot wishes. We have the noise, the heat, and the crowds. We have the stalls, some of which sell food, some of which offer games of alleged skill. In the more specific sorts of summer festivals, we have the bon-odori. Occasionally there are even fireworks.
And of course, we have the sight of characters in yukata, which, as Konata notes in Lucky Star, would probably trigger a flag in dating sims. Presumably this is akin to seeing someone in a formal tuxedo or evening dress; we see them every day in more casual clothes or uniforms, and a switch of attire to something more fashionable may be a welcome change in scenery.
This episode is rather slower in pace, but heavy with portentous foreshadowing. It is as though this is an intentional decision to best portray the lazy days of summer holidays, all while carefully not thinking about the sullen, looming pile of summer homework squatting in the corner like some infernal harbinger of despair.
Such as it is.
In a dull blue filter which lends an air of surreality to the proceedings, Sakura is surrounded by small orbs of greenish light. They swirl around her, dart back and forth, and generally perform all sorts of aerial acrobatics. Sakura, for her part, is content to observe the performance…
… until Kero-chan scares her awake, causing her to freak out, and consequently forget her dream.
I suspect that Kero might be doing this intentionally as an experiment to see how long it takes before Sakura is traumatized for life. Because I believe firmly that if I wake up every day to something like this, I'd need therapy too.
Sakura goes through the usual morning routine of Life Is Good, throwing open the window to what I swear is stock footage of a slow pan over the neighbourhood, with a small flock of unidentified white birds flapping slowly in the middle distance. I think I've seen this at least three times now.
Kero-chan drifts innocently over to her, and asks casually about her summer homework.
I dare anyone to say that they have not done what Sakura does. I think that until I managed to truly control my impulses after the age of eighteen, the earliest I ever got started on holiday assignments was one week before the end of break. Even after that, it takes a conscious effort of will to pretend that the holiday had not in fact started yet, and not needing to go to classes was a minor abberation in the grand schedule of life.
Heck, this blog is proof that I have merely evolved my procrascination skills into a weekly endeavour.
Kero-chan comments that the end of summer vacation will be the coming of hell. You see what I mean about foreshadowing.
While out buying groceries to make okonomiyaki, as evidenced by the negi in her bag, Sakura notices a poster advertising a festival at the local Tsukimine shrine. This will be referenced later.
Somewhat more relevant to Sakura's interests is the minor detour to Yukito's house, where he is apparently perched on the roof doing… something. Sunning himself, perhaps. It is, he later mentions, a nice day out, and so what better place to be than on the roof?
Well, apart from all the other possible places out of doors which do not carry a risk of falling and breaking one's neck, I mean.
Yukito invites Sakura inside for some tea and snacks, upon which Sakura regales him with assorted tales which the audience is not privy to, possibly because it doesn't really matter. Yukito offers to walk her home, and on the way, they run into Super Baito Touya.
Yes, there is exactly nothing of consequence plot-wise in this sequence. It's mostly just a sort of iyashikei portion which would probably have been useful for de-stressing purposes, but since I have to write about it, the effect is somewhat diminished.
Later, when Touya and Sakura and preparing the okonomiyaki (Yukito having been invited to share in the end results), Sakura mentions that there will be a festival over at the Tsukimine shrine, and that she was thinking of inviting Tomoyo to go as well.
I have never seen this happen before in Real Life, although this may be because we don't usually use super-Ginsu cleavers, and we are certainly not Super Baito Touya, who is so surprised at the mention of Tsukimine Shrine that he can manage to embed the cleaver into the chopping board, without also slicing off a digit or two.
Sakura and Yukito just look at him in mild puzzlement, instead of cowering in fear at the disturbingly calm tone Touya uses to explain it away as an accident. People, he is being eerily terse, and he has a bladed weapon. This is not reassuring.
Touya pronounces ex cathedra that he will accompany Sakura and Tomoyo on their festival trip. While Yukito explains for the benefit of viewers that this is because two little girls alone in a crowded festival is dangerous, there is the whiff of further foreshadowing regarding the Tsukimine shrine.
Yes, I know that the statute of spoiler limitations is technically over on this series. Bear with me.
CHECK!Point: And for our first CHECK!Point of the summary, we have Sakura in her yukata. Anime has taught me that yukata, and kimono in general, are not easy to put on, and the obi in particular is tricky to tie. I'm assuming that either Sakura's obi is the clip-on version, or her father or brother helped her tie it.
Hey, it's Super Baito Touya. He can do anything.
CHECK!Point: What, you expected Tomoyo's first appearance in this episode to pass by unCHECK!Pointed?
In Tomoyo's case, it's possible that one of her maids knows how to tie the obi. Or that her mother tied it for her. Ojou-sama, and all.
CHECK!Point: Tomoyo thanks Sakura for inviting her along, as well as the opportunity to film Sakura in her yukata. Sakura is nonplussed, when she really should have known better.
CHECK!Point: This episode doesn't have a whole lot of Tomoyo, so I'm taking every chance I get to CHECK!Point her.
Sakura tries out one of those stall games which involve picking up a rubber ball via a fragile string, or something along those lines. She fails the first time, and so Yukito gets it for her.
I really have no idea what that rubber ball is. Is it some sort of elastic yo-yo or something? Sakura says that it's cute, which I will let pass without much comment, because it's not like people can't be attached to basic shapes like cubes.
Enter Yamazaki and Chiharu. Naoko and Rika are, for minor plot convenience, unable to attend the festival due to piano lessons. And so we have the opportunity to display a standard romantic couple attending the festival as per anime tradition, albeit about half a decade younger than usual.
Yamazaki proceeds to say something about how the rubber ball things were made of glass Once Upon A Time. I really don't know what those things are for, much less whether he's telling the truth this time, but the balance of probability based on past statistical trends was borne out once again when Chiharu confirms that it's all Original Research.
It's just… what is that rubber ball thing for? What significance does it hold? Am I thinking too deeply into this?
Segue into Syaoran showing great skill with an air rifle game stall. I've never really figured out if it's actually a lot harder than it looks, like most other things, but I'd probably not have the heart to aim a rifle at something I'd want. My collector mentality for these sorts of things would view any dents or scuff marks most unkindly.
The huge pile of prizes around Syaoran implies rather heavily that even if he is skilled enough to hit everything on his first try, considering the very limited amount of ammunition given per try, he has probably been spending quite some time and yen here. Also, I wonder if he has any idea on how to transport all of it back home by himself. Maybe he'll give the prizes back.
For some reason, Chiharu and Yamazaki strike me as good candidates for their own spinoff show, perhaps maybe six years in the future, developed into something which is to the standard harem romantic comedy anime as CCS is to magical girl anime: somewhat standard on the surface, but with a subtle series of twists which make it into something undefinably different: nothing to do with a unique plot or style, but just a certain stance towards various subjects, treating them with a good mix of humour and respect. Chiharu already has the role of the Childhood Friend, and it might be fascinating to see her try to deal with Yamazaki's irreverent disregard for the truth, coupled with his inherent charisma which takes the bite out of his frequent lies.
At least, if Chiharu doesn't kill him first.
A chance comment by Tomoyo on how Sakura would like a bunny doll prize at a ring toss stall, with Yukito agreeing, leads to a… well, by this time I'm assuming that it's a contest to see Who Is Better, and the plushie is just a secondary objective. I mean, Syaoran probably would go all-out to win the bunny plush for Yukito, but Touya can offer so much more than a plushie generally acts more reserved.
For some reason, despite Action Star Syaoran and Super Baito Touya being pumped in every other skill conceivable, ring tossing appears to be beyond them. Swarms of rings were tossed, and not one managed to find a peg, which I would consider highly unlikely, especially since the two of them appear to have unlimited cash to spend in this endeavour.
However, I am also the player in pen-and-paper roleplaying games who rolls stupid amounts of critical failures every time, so I am well aware of the effects of suspension of probability.
CHECK!Point: Tomoyo whispers to Sakura to take this chance to wander off and confess her love to Yukito, while she stays behind to "watch the exciting battle", and stay out of the way of the confession. This is I Want My Beloved To Be Happy in full force, people. This is why I love that girl.
Sakura takes some time getting around to the point. Meanwhile, little tiny blobs of light, just like in Sakura's dream at the beginning of the episode, hover around the area. Yukito believes them to be fireflies, which I haven't actually seen in action before in Real Life.
The two of them admire the lights for some time. Sakura gathers up her courage…
… and is interrupted by Syaoran and Touya, bearing plushies.
Yeah, it always happens, doesn't it.
Syaoran presents his bunny to Yukito (the plush bunny; hush, peanut gallery), while Touya does the whole tsundere thing while giving the plushie to Sakura. Really: he avoids looking at her, and says something in a deliberately casual manner about returning it if she doesn't want it. If the genders were reversed (and the ages near parity), it would be a textbook example of tsundere behaviour.
I wonder if there's a male equivalent, or if "tsundere" is gender-neutral. Well, this uses the "current" definition of tsundere anyway (the girl trying to hide her softer side by pretending to be "spiky" or "harsh"), as opposed to the "original" version (the girl slowly going from "spiky" all the time to somewhat less so).
And as a finale, Sakura captures the Glow card. Apparently no actual effort is needed in this, other than to unpack the Sealing Wand and hold it vaguely in the air. One of the easier cards to collect, possibly because it does not seem to have any purpose other than to, um, glow.
The gang then go off to eat shaved ice, but offscreen. No indication is given about whether there are fireworks. I suppose that's all we're getting for this natsu-matsuri, then.
This episode's Kero-chan ni Omakase goes into some detail on Sakura's yukata, which I probably should have paid more attention to, but then I was lost in a haze of pink "moe~" that I snapped out of when Kero-chan went into his own battle costumes, marking the part I don't really care about.