I must state for the record that I did not, in fact, want to do this episode summary, entirely because I am still not quite in the mood for it. However, since I have no other ideas about what to do for my twice-a-week quota, I may as well, in the vernacular, suck it up. This post shall stand as an example of what an episode summary looks like when I am less than willing to produce one.
Somewhat appropriately, the subject of Card Captor Sakura episode 19, "Sakura and the Summer Holiday Homework", deals with the results of procrascination. It also appears to be drawn by the B-team of animators, and all in all, is not one of the better episodes. It does introduce a certain character in the last five minutes, though, so at least there's something to look forward to.
Sakura carefully writes in her picture diary on What She Did During The Holidays. This is something which I've never actually seen before in real life, possibly because it may well be something uniquely Japanese; not the concept of a diary, but the idea of a picture diary, a record of events with self-drawn illustrations that is meant to be turned in as homework, thus precluding the "secret innermost thoughts" part of a diary.
Kero-chan descends from upon high and the foreshadowing from last episode pays off when Sakura reveals that she has not, in fact, done any of her summer holiday homework prior to this. Let he who is truly innocent cast the first brickbat, for I was, and am, still much the same. Occasionally I suspect that the homework given to students over the holidays is specifically tuned to the exact amount required for sleepless nights spent in cold sweat a few days prior to the start of school.
Possibly as a sort of proto-anti-cheating measure (first seen in computer gaming as "Type in the seventh word of the second paragraph on page fourteen of the manual"), the picture diary requires the writer to fill in the weather for the day. Sakura intends to use weather reports on old newspapers to do so, which seems to me to be placing rather large amounts of faith in the accuracy of weather forecasts, but hey, it's her homework.
Shock and horror occurs when she discovers that she is but one day too late, and the newspapers had been removed for recycling. Cue Fujitaka with a handy little device showing the weather and local air pressure reports for the past three months, which was supposed to be used for some sort of research, although what it has to do with archaeology is beyond my rudimentary knowledge.
All this appears to illustrate two facts of the CCS-verse: firstly, Sakura is very, very lucky. This appears to be an inherent part of her character, even coming into play (pun unintended) in Tsubasa Chronicle when she sits down to play a high-stakes card game she has never played before. (This crops up fairly often: an obvious innocent who doesn't even know the rules plays with a group of experienced card sharpers, and it will be considered a subversion if the newbie loses.)
Secondly, Sakura's end-of-holiday homework scramble has become something of a family tradition, as Touya describes it. Everyone is evidently fully expecting it, and also expecting to get roped in to help.
This is also probably Yukito's first summer with the Kinomotos, as Touya takes the opportunity to explain this to him when he comes across Sakura building a… box of some sort.
CHECK!Point: Don't tease your sister when she's holding a bludgeoning weapon, Touya.
Touya reminisces about the previous year, when Sakura made a papier-mache penguin-shaped coin bank. No, I don't know why they chose to have that moon-and-star formation, or if they realized what it looked like. The coin bank turned out to be completely useless, due to not actually having a place to put coins in.
But hey, papier-mache penguin.
This year, Sakura intends to make a birdhouse. Touya guesses that she'll forget to create an entrance.
CHECK!Point: Sakura protests this besmirching of her crafts skills, but glances down and confirms that yes, she had forgotten to make an entrance.
Point and match, Super Baito Touya. In a display of generosity, he offers to do her crafts homework for her, in exchange for five chore duties. Well, it's not like Sakura has much choice in the matter.
Sakura calls Tomoyo, who admits that she has also not finished her homework, although in this case it's entirely likely that she deliberately left off doing one part of it so she can accompany her Sakura-chan. Yes, Tomoyo is my absolute favourite character, but I still wouldn't put it past her to do exactly that.
I'm also a bit puzzled about the way Tomoyo is holding her phone. Maybe it's a perspective issue.
The two of them head to the library, which is packed with kids suffering from similar fates.
There's a short bit of what would probably be an amusing comedy trope (which I can't find on TVTropes yet) where both of them attempt to walk into the study cubicle at the same time. Walk, bump off each other, glare. Walk, bump, glare. Walk, bump, glare.
CHECK!Point: Tomoyo watches their antics with her usual niko-niko smile.
Syaoran gives up first, saying that his fortune for the morning warns him that "bad things will happen" if he associates with girls. Romantic problems seem to be a staple Bad Fortune, at least in anime; Syaoran probably doesn't view it in exactly that way, since he's probably not thinking about romance at the moment. (Little does he know.)
Personally I'm surprised that Syaoran reads his fortune in the morning, but I suppose it's a cultural thing.
Sakura and Tomoyo finish their math homework, and Sakura is left with her book report. Apparently the shortest book they are allowed to read is Piglet Story ("Kobuta monogatari", which does literally mean "piglet story"), and I have no clue what the heck it's supposed to be.
Sakura asks Tomoyo which book she read for her book report, and Tomoyo points to a book about the size of The Lord of the Rings.
Sakura is nonplussed.
Personally I have, in fact, read stupendously thick books (or at least books which I thought were stupendously thick) back in fourth grade (equivalent), but I skipped through a lot. Specifically I read the complete works of Lewis Carroll (or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, if you prefer), or rather the specific works Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, A Tangled Tale, and Phantasmagoria. I tried reading Sylvie and Bruno (and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded), but I couldn't get past the first chapter of it. It was only after I re-read the omnibus when I was older that I could go through the whole thing from beginning to end.
Mind you, I also read stuff like the 592-page HERO System 5th Edition Revised Rulebook for fun, so I'm hardly normal.
Sakura checks with the librarian, who uses a very old computer which audibly renders each line on the screen (you remember the ones) to find out that there is one copy of the book left in the library, but someone else must be reading it, or it was misplaced on the wrong shelf. Considering that several episodes ago we had a laptop with a graphical user interface (and a Kero-chan theme), I'm assuming that the library needs more funding for computer upgrades.
The two girls decide to look for the book.
Which is, of course, being held by Syaoran.
He mentions that Japanese kanji and "Hong Kong" (I'm assuming he means Traditional Chinese) words are different. This is kind of correct and kind of incorrect at the same time, and I'm not entirely certain of it myself. I suppose Syaoran has been taught Japanese in some way that conveys absolute fluency when spoken, but still carries difficulty when written.
It's possible, mind you. There's an example in Azumanga Daioh where Tomo has no idea how to write a certain kanji, and Chiyo writes it for her. I have the same problems with Chinese sometimes, and I'm sure spelling the harder English words (try "scirocco", or "necessary") causes problems for those without a handy dictionary nearby. (Considering the number of times I've seen "ridiculous" misspelled…)
Syaoran places the story of the piglet down, replaces the dictionary he was using, turns back, and discovers that it has disappeared. His expression goes into the determined scowl used to indicate Something Strange going on, most likely Clow Card-related.
I get the distinct feeling that the Clow Card of this episode was created metafictionally after one too many lost car keys.
Tomoyo discovers the book on a high shelf, and momentarily goes off to collect a standing stool, during which time the book rather blatantly disappears. This is a cue to the audience that the book is indeed being influenced by a supernatural force, and since this is CCS, the force is a Clow Card.
(I wonder what a Clow Card called "The Force" would be like.)
Several more search attempts are made. I have to wonder why Sakura seems intent on looking for this particular book, when she would likely save some time getting and reading a slightly longer book which is nevertheless easier to find.
Syaoran finds the book being used by a little kid to do a house of cards, except with, yanno, books. This can be trivially easy or frustratingly difficult, even for very young children, and so I'm not sure why the kid is even bothering. From the way he built the structure, it's likely that he'll have no problems with the usual poker cards.
And now, to make it even more blatant, the book grows some sort of pink wings. Its disappearing act involves a bit of floating, followed by vanishing, which makes me wonder why it bothers with the wings in the first place.
Sakura, Tomoyo, and Syaoran all try to grab the book. Needless to say, it eludes them in various ways.
Finally, Syaoran spots the book on the back of a bicycle passing by outside, in a case of serendipitous timing. He rushes outside, chasing the bicycle (whose rider is unaware of this) and its Clow Carded payload.
Really, you should have expected something like this by now.
Sakura and Tomoyo catch up to him, and Kero-chan identifies the card as the Move. He dismisses it as a not-very-useful card, being that it can only move small objects for short distances, but I can already imagine several uses for small-scale teleportation, mostly involving the idea that it doesn't matter how big the object is, or how far you want to move it, as long as you know where to push.
The Move leads them on a merry chase around a small area near the river, probably for its idea of humour. After humiliating themselves for a while, Kero-chan tells Sakura to sense the Move's next location.
Cue ominous music while Sakura concentrates, and brief snatches of sound and conversation are heard. The effect really is quite creepy.
Sakura grabs card and book, happy that she can now do her book report. The question of whether she needs to go back to the library to check the book out properly is left unaddressed.
The previous exertions had also led her to lean a bit too far out, and she starts slipping down the riverbank. Syaoran attempts to catch her, but both of them end up in the river anyway. At least Sakura tossed the book to Tomoyo before she fell in.
I realize that I've been calling that body of water a river, despite it not being higher than the characters' shins. I have no idea what the proper word for it is (stream, creek, brook?), which proves once again that I am a city-bred guy who functions best on pavement rather than actual, yanno, dirt.
With two-thirds of the little group now soaked, Syaoran invites Sakura (and by extension Tomoyo) over to his house to change clothes, lest she catches a cold.
At Syaoran's place, Sakura and Tomoyo meet the Alfred-esque Wei, who exists only in the anime continuity (as mentioned before). After giving some exposition about Syaoran's family (matriarchal, father passed away, relatives all in Hong Kong), Syaoran arrives with the book, and appears oddly disturbed by Sakura in her borrowed T-shirt.
This is why.
The T-shirt was Meiling's present to Syaoran, and she was not expecting to find it on another girl. This predictably results in a less than stellar first impression, on which we close the episode.
This episode's Kero-chan ni Omakase, for once without a "Kero-chan Check" segment, explains what the Piglet's Story is about, namely a young pig named "Kobutarou" (a somewhat lazy pun on "kobuta", meaning "piglet", and "tarou", a stereotypically common boy's name suffix) who is searching for his mother, and "grows up to be a fine pig" along the way. Presumably the possibility of bacon is not brought up.