10 year-old Sakura Kinomoto leads a pretty normal life; she goes to school every day with her older brother, Touya (who teases her every chance he gets), gets dreamy eyed whenever Touya's best friend Yukito shows up, and deals with her best friend Tomoyo, who appears rather obsessed with Sakura. All this comes to a grinding halt one evening. While waiting for her father to come home, Sakura hears a sound from his book room. When she investigates, she finds a strange book titled "Clow" and decides to open it. Inside, Sakura finds a stack of strange cards. She picks the first one up, and reads the card's name, "Windy"...and with that the power of the card released itself causing a great gust of wind sending all of the cards in the book flying into the air, to disappear into the night.
Just as the last of the cards disappears, Sakura hears a small voice and out of the cover of the book pops a small lion. He introduces himself as Kerberos, guardian of the Clow cards. It seems he was asleep at his post, since all but one of the cards are scattered across Tokyo...uncontrolled and in their pure form they are a danger to everyone. Looks like Sakura has a tough job ahead of her, but fortunately she has Kero-chan's knowledge and Tomoyo's van full of costumes to help her catch all of the Clow cards before they cause any more damage.
After being surprised by Fancy Lala, I was pretty intrigued when I heard about Card Captor Sakura. A magical girl with NO transformation sequence, and a different costume every episode? Hey, sign me up! My interest became almost an obsession when I caught a few clips of the later opening songs...very nice music and impressive art. Now that I've seen the show itself, I see it's not everything I hoped for, but it sure comes close.
As I saw in the opening videos, the art is indeed very nicely done, and the smoothness of the character designs are a far cry from the usual hyper-shoujo art of CLAMP's other works...in fact if I didn't see CLAMP in the title credits, I'd swear this was another company entirely. While the songs I heard were really catchy and fun, the first few are not all that good (something to look forward to I guess). The story is pretty formulaic--Sakura finds a Clow card and has to figure out how to capture it using the cards she has from previous endeavours. While the show does pay attention to her progress in the card collection department, little else is used in a continuing storyline (so far). The characters are pretty much standard magical girls molds...with a twist. Sakura doesn't like having to run around chasing magic cards, but she doesn't whine about it. Tomoyo is a bit of a weirdo, but she sure helps out Sakura in any way she can (and, having rich parents who give her nearly everything, that's quite a lot of help), and Touya is great fun to watch...especially when he gets Sakura's heel slammed onto his foot for teasing her. ^_^
The voice acting is all very fitting, but I still think there are too many rather high pitched voices in this show...even for a magical girl show. I'm hoping to see further along in the show as I hear there are quite a few twists as the show gets along. While I rate this show above most other Magical Girl shows, it's still just a teeny bit under Fancy Lala in the fun factor. If you're a magical girl/shoujo fan, you'll probably really like Card Captor Sakura.
Herself the Elf sez: A bonus in this show is Touya, voiced by Seki Tomokazu (aka Ken from Weiß Kreuz). He's very cute and funny as hell...although I can't say the same for Sakura's 'love interest', Yukito (voiced by Megumi Ogata--aka Shinji from Eva o.O;). Not only is it rather bizarre and mildly distasteful to have a ten-year-old girl going out on a 'date' with a 17-year-old, but when said 17-year-old sounds like a woman.....aiya. Go find yourself a nice little boy, Sakura...your own age preferably.
Being shown on North American TV by Nelvana under the name Cardcaptors (they're trying to appeal to boys as well as girls). They have said that they'll release an unbutchered, subtitled version, so despair not.
Sakura wins a trip to Hong Kong for the winter vacation from a store raffle. Since her father is away on a business trip, Touya goes along with her as her chaperone. Yukito, Tomoyo, and Kero-chan tag along too, videocamera and costumes in tow of course. Once there they meet Li and Meiling, who live in Hong Kong and are introduced to their family. Unfortunately it quickly becomes clear that Sakura's win may have been in the nature of an invitation from a strange figure who appears in her dreams. As she is warned, people of power attract evil very easily. Will Sakura's Hong Kong Holiday turn into one of the greatest challenges she has yet faced?
This show just keeps surprising me the more of it I see. While it would certainly help to have watched at least the first 8 episodes of the TV series, all you really need to know is the basic backstory on the major players and you'll do fine. I wasn't all that surprised to find that they opted for a more serious, dark kind of story for the movie, as that seems to be how most movies made for a TV series tend to go these days. However, aside from the darker, rather suspenseful plotline, very little has changed from the series, which is a good thing (no need to mess with a good formula). The visuals are a little better than the TV series, but considering the high production quality of the series that doesn't mean a great deal...it still looks and sounds fantastic. Everyone gets at least a token appearance (we see Sakura's father very briefly early on) and all of the favourites get plenty of screen time. As a movie supplement to the series, this is fantastically written, with a well thought out plot and nice slow pacing keeping the whole thing very mysterious all the way to the end.
While it's obviously aimed for a younger audience, I am glad they did not try to dumb things down at all, so pretty much anyone will get something out of watching this film. Excellent writing, very well drawn, with a soft and very complimentary musical score, and the same characters we know and love make for an entertaining experience for all fans of the TV series. While I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to Sakura, I think that anyone who liked the TV series even a little should see this film. Highly recommended.