Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen – First Impressions Review

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Shoujo, Comedy

Episodes: 4 out of 22

Production Studio: Madhouse


18 years ago, the last episode of the original Cardcaptor Sakura anime premiered on television. The series came to a close after 70 episodes; its ending not only marking the end of an era in magical girl history, but also a definitive point in many of its viewers’ childhoods – including mine. Til today, Sakura Kinomoto remains the most iconic magical girl in anime history, so it’s no real wonder why this new installment was met with so much hype and anticipation.

But did it live up to the fans expectations? After watching the first few episodes, here are my thoughts.

There’s always a huge concern when studios revisit old but iconic anime. Mainly, it tests their ability to preserve the series in a way that pays tribute to the original, while subtle changes are made to reflect modern values and technology. While I went into it with a bit of skepticism, my fears were immediately quashed within the first few minutes.

Part of the reason is the way it retains its traditional episodic method of storytelling as well as the return of the original voice acting cast. Expect the appearance of many familiar elements which may make little sense to new viewers, but makes for a great nostalgic trip for long time fans. e.g. Tomoyo’s ever-ready wardrobe at Sakura’s disposal and Sakura’s optimistic attitude towards the challenges that stand in her way.

As a fan myself, I was also delighted to know they nailed it down to the way the animation is framed and paced which adheres more to the old standards of Shoujo. Although there are some noticeable differences to the new character design, I’d say they’ve been more than respectful to the original series and very little feels out of place.

Tomoyo crashing Sakura and Syaoran’s long awaited reunion in Episode 1

On the other hand, since the story takes place further into the future from the original series, it gives the studio the perfect opportunity to reimagine things a little as the setting of the story naturally evolves. To those who didn’t read this arc in the manga, it’s a fresh breath of air to finally see Sakura and her friends move onto Middle School, Yukito and Toya onto college, and of course, the long awaited reunion of the series’ main romantic couple.

Judging purely by plot, there is also an interesting premise here that introduces a lot of new elements to the picture. Romance seems like it’ll play a larger part in this arc, as well as Yukito and even Syaoran’s character developments. I’ve only watched four episodes, but the set up so far seems solid. There’s also a sufficient number of episodes to flesh it out well, so I’d say buckle in for a good time.

 

TL;DR

If you are a fan of Cardcaptor Sakura, this is a series you won’t want to miss. Although there are some changes to the art style, that’s the only thing that is barely noticeable. The studio has been greatly faithful to the original series in all other aspects, and it definitely shows a lot of potential.


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