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Moe Check! ยป Archive for CCS Episode Summaries

This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

Title screencap.

Pioneer (now Geneon), in their infinite generosity and wisdom, had apparently decided to package the Card Captor Sakura DVDs with titles, but no volume numbers. Well, I'm grateful that they released it in the first place, rather than leave it to Nelvana's butchered version. But still.

I'm not sure if the new re-release is better. I don't even want to think about how much I could have saved buying them all now, rather than one DVD at a time.

So volume one is called "The Clow", contains four episodes, and it has the following blurb:

Curiosity is a part of any 10-year old's life, but Sakura just broke the seal on a magical book and released all of the mischievous spirits imprisoned on the cards inside! Kero, the "Guardian of the Clow Cards" is horrified to find all of the cards gone and tells Sakura she must become the "Cardcaptor" and retrieve the spirits before they work their mischief in the world.

Not too inaccurate. The Clow Cards seem to limit their presence mostly around the Tomoeda area, though, which is quite considerate of them. In any case, the extras on this DVD are Sakura's character info blurb, the creditless first opening animation, and the Nelvana Cardcaptors opening. Which, um, is kind of painful to watch. But enough of that.

The first episode of CCS, "Sakura and the Mysterious Magic Book", sets up most of the necessary character introductions, and has Sakura defeat her first monster-of-the-week. You can already tell that the show is pacing itself for the long run.

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This entry is part 2 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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Episode 2 is one of my favourite episodes in the series, if only because of the Tomoyo screentime. Yes, I'm a Tomoyo fanboy, possibly because I, like Kyon, am kind of attracted to weird girls. Tomoyo's weirdness is only the surface of it, though; if you put aside the rampant Out-Of-Character situations that pop up now and then, she turns out to be the most fascinating and likeable character in the entire show, in my opinion. However, I'm obviously biased, so take that as you will.

I don't have a whole lot of CHECK!Points in this recap, largely because I tried screencapping everything I thought was moe, and ended up with pretty much every scene with Tomoyo in it and nothing to say about them but Tomoyo-chan moe~. So we'll just take it as a given that every time Tomoyo comes on screen, add in a CHECK!Point. It's the Moe Check drinking game, or something.

In this episode, "Sakura's Wonderful Friend", Tomoyo learns of Sakura's brand new title of Cardcaptor, and decides to use stage direction and expert camcorder skillz to replicate a true mahou shoujo series. Especially the henshin sequences, apparently.

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This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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Episode 3, "Sakura's Heart-Racing First Date", doesn't deal as much with the whole "first date" aspect as much as Sakura's various amusing facial expressions. I'm not even sure it counts as a "first date", since we only know that Sakura considers it to be one, while the other half of the date, Yukito, probably doesn't. (At least, I hope he doesn't.)

In this episode, we also see the start of Touya's five million part-time jobs, and a few hints that Clow Reed may be a lolipedofin.

Or something.

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This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

Title Screenshot

And that's the last "wood" joke you'll hear from me in this entry.

Episode 4 of CCS, "Sakura's Tiring Sunday", shows us the consequences of not following the user manual, or ignoring tech support. Well, actually it's just Sakura forgetting to write her name on a pair of cards, causing them to go wild. Or something.

I have to assume that the writing of the name is more a symbolic ritual than anything, since Sakura writes "SAKURA" in English on the cards (why English, instead of kanji or hiragana, is never really explained), and I'm pretty sure there's more than one Sakura around. Some may even have magical powers as well, unless we're not allowed to crossover with Fate/Stay Night or Da Capo, in which case never mind.

Overall, a fun little episode, but not especially earth-shaking or portentous.

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This entry is part 5 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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Volume two of Card Captor Sakura is called "Everlasting Memories", possibly in a reference to episode 6. But for a change, I'll be putting aside the various DVD items for this post, and instead talk about the episode itself.

Episode 5, "Sakura, Panda, and the Cute Shop", apart from sounding rather awkward, shows signs of (dare I say it, what am I saying, of course I do) lower production values than other episodes. This is mostly noticeable in the animation and character designs, where it appears to have been drawn by an outsourced studio (rather than the "in-house" Madhouse Studios) or the B-team of animators or some such. It's not utterly deformed and horrible (like some of the broadcast episodes of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and its sequel, or Utawarerumono, or even the infamous bits of Lost Universe), but when looking at the episode closely for making AMVs or blog posts, it's fairly obvious.

In addition, there were also plenty of strange and unexplained actions and occurences in this episode. It's not the worst offender, but it's up there somewhere. Yes, I know about the whole "it's MAGIC" explanation, and even now, as before, I still don't entirely buy it.

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This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

Title Screencap.

Am I the only one curious about the nekomimi ghost? Oh, really? Never mind, then.

Volume two of Card Captor Sakura, as mentioned in my previous post on episode 5, is called "Everlasting Memories", probably based on the events in this episode, and contains episodes five to eight. Since I deferred talking about the DVD itself last time, I'll get around to it now.

The blurb for this volume is as follows:

As if capturing 40-foot tall plush dolls (the Jump) wasn't hard enough, now Sakura has competition! Li, her new classmate, has come from China to capture the Clow Cards for himself, so their relationship isn't entirely friendly… Still for ten-year old Sakura, everything else pales in comparison with meeting her mother's ghost! Can her heart take it?

This makes it sound as though Sakura has a cardiovascular problem or something.

Extras in this DVD are scarce: there's only really the creditless first ending animation. With this many DVD volumes to fill (eighteen in total), there's not a lot Geneon (then Pioneer) can do to make up for it, I would think. We have the various creditless openings and endings, and, um, that's probably about it, really. Especially considering the gap between show production and DVD release.

Episode 6, "Sakura and Memories of her Mother", has the appearance of not one, but two battle costumes. Also, there's a lot of flashy lights, although not really up to epileptic levels.

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This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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You had to have seen that joke coming. (If you're not sure, that's the Codec frequency Solid Snake uses to contact Otacon in Metal Gear Solid. Yeah, gamer joke.)

Episode 7 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura's First Attempt as a Thief?!", apart from being punctuated, deals mainly with Sakura and Tomoyo infiltrating an art gallery to, as usual, capture a card. There's a lot of use of the word "kaitou" here, which is often translated to "phantom thief". (Literally, the kanji are "strange/mysterious/suspicious" and "thief/robber".) I would assume that this refers to the sort of gentleman thief who uses smarts and tricks and illusions to effect near-magical getaways, and which seem to be a fairly popular anime trope, on both sides of the protagonist/antagonist line.

The kaitou in Yoshinaga-sanchi no Gargoyle, Hyakushiki, states (whether he personally believes it or not) that the duty of thieves such as himself is to "liberate" various valuable items and put them "where they belong". I suppose in this case, it kind of fits.

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This entry is part 8 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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I believe the last time I said that volume two of Card Captor Sakura only had the creditless first ending animation for an extra. When opening the DVD case for the last episode on the disc, however, I discovered a postcard that was packaged inside the case. Basically, it's this picture (which I posted back during Valentine's Day), except with a few changes to the background, a large "Happy Valentine's Day" at the top, and a small CCS logo at the bottom right. So there's an extra, um, extra. I may scan it in if I ever get my scanner working again.

Episode 8 of CCS, "Sakura's Rival Appears", introduces Li Syaoran (also often romanized as "Shaoran", and it really is the same thing; I'm just used to "Syaoran"), perpetually-scowling kid from Hong Kong who seems to have a better grasp of Japanese than most ten-year old Hong Kong kids. (Not to mention the whole bit about his name being technically in Mandarin instead of Cantonese.) While he does turn up as a rival, I think it's safely far past the statute of spoiler limitations to say that he doesn't stay as a rival for very long.

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This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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The third DVD for Card Captor Sakura is called "Friends Forever", which probably refers to all the various adventures Sakura inadvertantly leads her friends on, thanks to the Clow Card. Well, it's a nice enough sentiment, even though it's probably been associated by now with all the "frenz 4eva" stereotypical chatspeak.

The blurb on the back of the case reads as though someone is trying to string together the plot summaries for three admittedly episodic, er, episodes, and trying to make it seem exciting:

The Sword card takes control of Sakura's friend and attacks! Still, Sakura is able to use her head and her heart to save everyone. Next, Sakura discovers that her mother was best friends with Tomoyo's mom, and learns important lessons about friendship. However, none of these lessons prepares Sakura or Li for the challenge of the Time Card. How can you battle something that can turn back time?

We'll just leave aside the whole thorny debate of that "best friends" bit for now.

Extras in this DVD are a postcard enclosed in the DVD case, as well as an "Art Gallery" in the DVD extras portion. The Art Gallery is pretty much a bunch of black-and-white sketches (some pencilled, some inked) of various things, ranging from Sakura to her classmates (Chiharu and Rika in particular) and her battle costumes and random views of Tomoeda. There are twenty-nine of these sketches in total, seemingly thrown together for no reason other than to have a DVD extra.

The postcard itself has Sakura, Tomoyo, and Meiling (who hasn't even turned up yet, and won't for two more DVDs) in kimonos (well, Meiling is in a qipao) in a fairly traditional Japanese setting. There's a large "Happy Girl's Day" caption on top (in pink), and I should probably scan the thing in if I ever figure out how to make a clean scan of reasonable size that won't seem utterly pixellated. Or maybe I can see if the picture is already in my CCS collection… no, doesn't look like it. May as well wait until Sagubooru comes back online.

Anyway. Episode 9 of Card Captor Sakura is "Sakura and the Mysterious Brooch", and appears to have a rather artsy animation direction, with a lot of Dramatic Still Scenes and high light exposures. Everything just seems a tad too bright, and slightly blurred. It feels like a precursor to a SHAFT production or something. I'm not sure if it's "good" or "bad", but it's certainly eye-catching.

Also, there's a great deal of Tomoyo CHECK!Pointing that I had to leave out, since otherwise we'll be staring at thirty-plus screenshots of Tomoyo-chan throughout this summary. So again, whenever Tomoyo comes onscreen when you watch this episode, have another mental CHECK!Point.

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This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

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If this episode summary seems somewhat less than entertaining, it's probably because I'm feeling rather under the weather at the moment. It's nothing serious, just a persistent cough and cold, but it does place me in the frame of mind that is not quite the optimal balance of discomfort and clarity of thought which seems to accompany some of my Finest Work (or so I'm told). Apparently my snarkiness is directly proportional to how irritated I am.

Sadly, this cold appears to have stolen a great part of my vocabulary. I may descend into monosyllabic grunts by the time this summary is over.

Episode 10 of Card Captor Sakura, "Sakura and the Sport's Day of Flowers", deals with, unsurprisingly, Sport's Day and flowers. I remember Sport's Days back in high school (equivalent) or elementary school (equivalent) as being rather, well, boring affairs. For some weird reason, the Track and Field events were reduced to simply Track events, and the Field events were done before the actual Sport's Day event. What we random students did, therefore, was sit in the hot sun for several hours, while periodically (every half an hour or so), several of the more athletic members of the student body ran varying distances. And then we clapped. And then we waited some more. Being a decidedly unathletic sort, Sport's Days were pretty much just one in a long line of Things Which Do Not Interest Me.

Apparently Sport's Days in CCS-verse Japan are more interesting. For one thing, we didn't have cheerleaders.

This episode summary is also fairly light on the CHECK!Points, but in this case, it's because there really isn't a lot of CHECK!Pointable stuff in the episode. The art isn't bad (unlike episode 5), but events in the episode just did not result in a great deal of screenshots that would make one melt into a puddle of hanyaa~n. Still, it's not utterly dry either.

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