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This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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Episode 20 of Card Captor Sakura, "Transfer Student vs. Sakura", introduces probably the most popular anime-original character in CCS, Li Meiling, voiced by one Yukana Nogami, before she decided to change her listed name to simply Yukana, and voiced notables as Teletha Testarossa (Full Metal Panic), Reinforce Zwei (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS), and Honoka Yukishiro/Cure White (Pretty Cure). This does mean that whenever Meiling opens her mouth, I suddenly hear traces of Rein Zwei in there somewhere.

It makes for some odd mental images.

Not many Tomoyo screenshots this time, but plenty of Meiling ones, since this is her primary debut episode (not counting the cameo in the previous). Also, plenty of comedically super-deformed facial expressions, keeping the overall feel of the episode light-hearted, despite the Kung Fu Action going on.

I don't have a great deal to say in this summary, because it's fifteen minutes to midnight on Friday, and I just managed to eke out enough time this week to write this entry. I'm looping Ievann Polkka to keep awake; tomorrow I shall no longer be sane.

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This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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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.

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This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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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.

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This entry is part 17 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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You have no idea how deep I had to dig through the strata of books and DVDs to find this one. While I accept part of the blame for accidentally messing up not just order but also series, I have to frown significantly at Pioneer, or at least the ghost of what was once Geneon which was once Pioneer, for not including numbers on the CCS DVDs.

The… fifth? Yes, I think it's the fifth… DVD of Card Captor Sakura is titled "Vacation Daze", in the predictable pun about how three of the four episodes in this disc deal with Sakura's summer vacation. I suppose that one is more likely to remember the more hectic parts of one's holidays, as evidenced by the blurb:

Summer is nearly over but Sakura's tests never end! Sakura's school stages a test of courage in some scary caves, but when the Erase Card makes her friends disappear, Sakura and Li rise to the challenge! Then, The Glow Card creates a romantic mood with Yukito, only to have it spoiled by Li, Toya, and her undone homework… If only The Move Card would leave her books alone! Finally, Li's cousin, Mei Lin, arrives from Hong Kong to help Li capture the Clow Cards, but she thinks Sakura likes Li! No way!

Way.

I'll leave the in-DVD extras for next time, but the out-of-DVD extra consists of a postcard of the CCS girls on the beach, meaning Sakura, Tomoyo, the trio of Chiharu, Naoko, and Rika, the soon-to-be-introduced Meiling, and the definitely-not-introduced-yet Kaho Mizuki as the only adult present. The caption is "Fun In The Sun", and all this would probably be more appropriate if I were reviewing it half a year from now, when it's actually summer in the northern hemisphere.

For now, we'll deal with what would technically be the staple beach episode of the series (well, this season anyway), entitled "Sakura's Scary Test of Courage", referring to the kimodameshi activity which happens on lonely, spooky nights, usually organized by friends of a certain couple trying to get them together. If anime is to be believed, summer is a time of beach excursions and scary stories.

Also, natsu-matsuri, but that's the next episode.

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This entry is part 16 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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I will dispense with the uncomfortable delaying tactics often used when one is about to say something unwelcome, save for the perhaps rather obvious build up to what might be interpreted as a desperate plea for mercy upon my somewhat suspiciously sincere person, and say that this episode summary will not be up to the usual standards of the former ones, and admit with all celerity that this is entirely my fault for not actually having anything to say about this episode.

I could give a variety of excuses for this. For one thing, there is a distressing lack of Tomoyo, and thus I am unable to dole out the CHECK!Points as freely as I used to, since we cannot bask in the presence of Our Slightly Creepy Goddess if she is not there to bask in. Also, no Clow Cards are captured in this episode, to the great disappointment of any wannabe mentions of the violations of physics as enacted by the MAGIC of the Clow Card du jour.

Instead, episode 16 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura and the Rainbow of Memories", deals with nothing much in particular in terms of action or character development, choosing instead to focus on a certain aspect of character backstory. It's a quiet, touching little episode, the perfect way to relax after a long day in the Real World.

But there's very little to say about it.

And so I must ask for the indulgence of any and all readers to bear with me until we get to an episode where I can once again release my full, if still rather meagre, capabilities of commentary, without feeling guilty about making fun of something which the series treats with respect, or descending too far into the depths of 4chan-induced memetic parody.

Mind you, before I can do that, I do need to figure out where the rest of my DVDs went. I know where they are in theory, but they're all messed up in order, thanks to a hasty job trying to rearrange my bookshelves into some ironic semblance oforder. The books and DVDs are already three deep; I think I need more shelves.

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This entry is part 15 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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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.

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This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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Episode 14 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura, Toya, and Cinderella", suffers from what is either their fault or mine. Essentially, while watching the episode, I had the distinct feeling that the B-crew were the ones animating this, considering the number of warped background character designs and animation mistakes (for example, Tomoyo's hair ribbon changes colour between scenes… you bastards). Everything just seemed a bit lacking, as though all my love for the show was due to what was in my head, rather than what was actually on the screen.

However, I also noted that prior to watching this episode, I had just marathoned The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and eight years of progress of anime technology (along with the obvious realities of producing a seventy-episode anime versus a fourteen-episode one) would certainly make a difference. Perhaps I was merely judging too harshly with regards to mere surface quality, and the actual contents were in line with the higher class of filler, for which I should be thankful.

And so I cannot actually say whether this episode was good or bad, until I have reacclimated myself with the rather unique world that CCS is immersed in. Until then, please enjoy Osamu Dazai's [No Longer Human] the sight of Super Baito Touya as a… well, it appears that there is one thing that Touya is not good at, and that is wearing a dress.

Consider all jokes about "relationship", "Yukito", and "pants" already made.

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Sakura and Kero.

There's a sort of anecdote I like to mention when the conversation turns to Card Captor Sakura, and the evangelization thereof. Well, I say "anecdote", but it's something which has happened more than once, for some inexplicable reason.

The setting is a discussion about anime, and favourites thereof. I obviously mention mine.

"Oh, Card Captor Sakura?" the answer comes. I'm going to generically assign a male gender to this straw man, since in the four cases this has happened it was always with a guy, although I suspect this is mostly because I don't meet a lot of girls at all. "I don't like shows based on card games."

This generally causes me some pause.

"No, I haven't seen it before, but I don't want to. I mean, the main character collects these cards, like Pokemon, right? And there's also a rival collecting cards, and the cards can be used to fight each other, like Yu Gi Oh. That's a card game. Too merchandise-driven; I don't like it."

Upon which I have to patiently explain that while the summary may technically be true, and the series does have a lot of merchandise released, CCS is in no way a "card game" anime. This generally starts with the phrase "What the hell are you talking about?", and goes downhill from there.

Card Captor Sakura is, as has been mentioned before, one of the very few fandoms I will defend unto the death. (The other two are The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Discworld.) As a guy in his twenties, this seems to raise some eyebrows. I've come into a few conflicts with other fans, mostly from their disbelief that a guy could ever appreciate a show aimed at preteen girls, or at least appreciate it in a wholesome manner. I've been the target of some misandry based on my participation in CCS fanfiction, which is quite distinct from the general contempt shown to fanfic writers. (The cesspool of anonymous flaming here is Fanfiction.net, as might be expected.) To be fair, the vast majority of the fans I've encountered are great people, albeit a bit taken aback by the presence of this specimen of a rare male CCS fan.

CCS also has, as mentioned before, the odd position of not actually being criticized by those who have seen it, or at least not criticized with the same sort of intensity as more current shows. Witness the backlash to the popularity of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or Lucky Star, or indeed any of the recent shows by KyoAni.

And CC Yoshi's recent post about CCS made me wonder: what was it about the series which makes it my favourite?

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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.

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Title screen.

It is apparently very true in my case that any reference to Card Captor Sakura would be enough to send me into paroxysms of bliss. Part of this is, I think, the relative age of CCS, especially when compared to recent outings like Tsubasa Chronicle and XXXHolic. CCS is a popular anime, but I believe Chobits beat it out for even more popularity, and I can barely find any other CCS fans anyway, compared to the overwhelming representation of stuff like Gundam.

And recent references to it (which are not in Tsubasa Chronicle) are rare. References to my other anime fandom, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, are fairly easy (some would say too easy) to encounter, since it is a new anime. The time of CCS was before the time of huge Megami posters and easy trading of pictures on imageboards, or even prior to the explosion of English-speaking anime blogs, which probably does not help its case.

This is, incidentally, one reason why I'm blogging CCS. It feels like some sort of repayment for allowing me the passion to create this anime blog in the first place, and I figured that instead of wishing that some other blogger cover the series, I may as well do it myself.

But that is beside the point of this post, which is the release of CLAMP's new CLAMP in Wonderland video, titled, imaginatively, CLAMP in Wonderland 2. For those unfamiliar with the concept of the CiW videos, they are short (maybe five minutes or so) music videos featuring pretty much every CLAMP creation at the time of release. The first one was vintaged 1994, three years before mine beloved CCS was released, and featured characters from (among others) Magic Knight Rayearth and CLAMP School Detectives (I think; it's been a while since I saw it, and I forget where I put it) set to "Anata dake no Wonderland" (by Junko Hirotani). Since I'm not so much a fan of CLAMP as a specific fan of CCS, it provided me with some entertainment, but was ultimately not as memorable as I hoped it was.

Yeah, I'm selfish. I admit as much, since I did rail in the beginning of this post against the lack of CCS material on Teh Intarwebs, but am guilty of being just as ignorant of the Old Days Of Anime.

This one, though, caters to people like me, and shares much the same appeal as Tsubasa Chronicle or, more accurately, Kingdom Hearts: these are the settings we recognize, the characters we are familiar with, the series we know. Like the debate on the merits of Lucky Star, points of familiarity work wonders with regards to enjoyability.

This post will be an exercise in seeing how many screenshots I can squeeze out of a video less than six minutes long. Also, expect it to be edited fairly often as I gain more information about who the unrecognized characters are.

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