A popular Japanese children's anime. It features Kinomoto Sakura, a normal 10-year-old girl (blood type A) who one day accidently releases the mischievous Clow Cards; they were not properly protected by the Guardian Beast, Kero-chan^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Kerberos :). Sakura becomes a magical Card Captor whose mission is to gather all the Clow Cards.

This series is some of the most kawaii mahou shoujo anime I know of. Fantastic acting and very fluid, detailed art. You gotta love Sakura's costumes. Kero-chan is also the cutest pet, because even though he looks like a teddy bear, he acts like a pig :).

CCS was recently dubbed and brought to America. Since I live in Quebec, I've seen the French dub. Let's just say the quality was, er, somewhat lacking. I'd talk about it, but my brain has blocked out that part of my memory to protect itself. And there are not even any Sakura dolls at my local Toys-R-Us. *sigh*

An interesting bit about Cardcaptor Sakura is that it's not just popular with the shoujo demographic (young girls), but it's pretty big with the Japanese gay community, the doujinshi crowd, and other eccentric people.

CLAMP is known for throwing in hints to strange relationships in their manga, and the otherwise innocent CCSakura anime contains enough love-love glances to inspire a drinking game. Most of the references are yaoi (lit. means "flowery," but usually means gay prettyboy in the anime/manga world for the flowery backgrounds in such scenes), occuring between Sakura's schoolmate (and fellow Cardcaptor) Lee Shaoran and resident-bishounen Touya. Then there's Daidouji Tomoyo and Sakura, Sakura's older brother and Touya, etc, etc. The only normal relationship in the show is Sakura's puppy love crush on Touya (everyone seems to have a thing for him).

CLAMP started as a doujinshi crew, and these references that pop up in their work are thought to be how they "keep it real" and hold on to their doujin roots without getting too offensive, as well as practically throwing possible plots in the hands of other doujinshi groups.

It makes the show a lot more interesting for grown-ups and those who miss Absolutely Fabulous. 'Course, I watch it for Tomoyo and to see Kero-chan with his bubble pipe commenting on fashion at the end of each show ("Kero-chan Cheeeeeck!"). I would never, ever participate in or condone a Cardcaptor Sakura Love-Love Drinking Game. ^_^;

In Hong Kong I picked up a couple of bootleg multiple-game cartridges for the GameBoy. One of these cartridges contained an RPG of CardCaptor Sakura (which is very popular in Hong Kong as well). Unfortunately, it's all in Japanese (hirogana script, specifically) which I can't read, but based on what I could tell by the interface and from what my otaku neighbor could translate for me, it's pretty much just a tamagotchi where you make decisions in Sakura's life. Kind of creepy if you think about it; you're with her when she gets up, goes to school, meets her friends, shops for gifts, takes a bath, goes to bed... and somehow I doubt that it's mostly 10-year-old girls playing it.

(NOTE: This is most often spell "Card Captor Sakura" on the Internet (note the space between "Card" and "Captor"). But both the Mixx Entertainment and Kodansha bilingual translations gives the title as "CardCaptor Sakura", with no space, so I'm sticking with that title.)

A magical girl series, both manga and anime, produced by the lovely ladies of CLAMP. First is a description of the anime series, followed by a description of how the anime and manga differ, and then a more detailed description of the major characters. How the original CardCaptor Sakura differs from the dubbed English version CardCaptors, someone else can write that up, but you can go to http://www.cardcaptors-uncensored.com/ if you really want to know.

Sakura, a kawaii, genki 10 year old girl, accidently scatters the Clow Cards, which where in a book in her basement. Immediately afterwards a little stuffed toy thing pops out of the cover of the book and thanks Sakura for waking him (he'd been taking a 30 year long nap), and then freaks out when he discovers that all but one of the Clow Cards is missing; he's Kerberos, the Guardian of the Seal, and it was his job to make sure the cards stayed in the book. He tells Sakura that the cards are magical creations of the great magician Clow Reed (rhymes with "glow", not "plow"); each card was alive, had a non-card shape/form, and had great magical powers. "If the seal is broken, disaster will befall this world", so he performs a ceremony to make her a Cardcaptor, and later that night she goes out to capture her first rogue card.

The enchanted dohickey which all magical girls have is the "Seal Key", a key slightly smaller than Sakura's thumb which she wears on a string around her neck. When she says her incantation over it, instead of transforming her, the key transforms into the Seal Staff; her clothes remain the same, so her best friend Tomoyo provides her with her battle costumes. Once she has constrained or immobilized a card which is in it's false form, she uses the staff to return it to it's true card form. She also needs the staff to use the cards she already has captured.

After she gets her first eight cards, a rival shows up, Syaoran Li. A distant relative of Clow Reed, he was sent by the Li clan of Hong Kong to collect the cards, once it was realized that they had escaped. He considers Sakura to be too weak for the task of collecting the cards, and tries to take them from her. He is stopped by Sakura's older brother Touya, who is extremely pissed that Syaoran was messing with his sister. Syaoran continues to be Sakura's rival, but doesn't try stealing the cards from her again.

Some more time passes, and Meiling Li, Syaoran's fiance(!) and cousin(!!), shows up, because she missed him. She has no magical powers (which is unusual for the Li clan), but it very good at martial arts. She sees Sakura as a threat to her relationship with Syaoran, and thus constantly tries to outdo her; she also tries to compete with Sakura in card capturing by helping Syaoran catch them, but since she has no magic, she usually ends up getting in the way.

There's a lot more to the story than that, but I can't reveal any of it without giving away surprises and plot twists.

Alright, now for the differences between the anime and the manga:

  • There are more cards in the anime than in the manga. The anime has 52 cards total; I can't remember how many are in the manga.
  • The order in which the cards are caught are sometimes changed. Also, the manner in which they are caught is sometimes changed.
  • In the manga, Syaoran doesn't catch any of the cards, but he does so in the anime. In the anime, whoever does the most to subdue the card becomes it owner.
  • Meiling does not exist in the manga.
  • In the manga, Syaoran lives by himself in Japan, rather than with the Li clan butler Wei.
  • In the manga, Sakura doesn't scatter the cards. Rather, she finds the Clow book when it's already empty; they escaped while Kerberos was sleeping.

The characters. The dub names are in parentheses.

  • Sakura Kinomoto(Sakura Avalon): Cute, nice, kind, modest, cheerful, energetic, athletic; considered by many to be one of the adorable characters in anime. She is very brave when facing the Clow Cards, and the only thing that really scares her are ghosts. Her big flaw is that she is completely clueless about people; this manifests itself primarily in her having no clue when someone is in love with her (even when it should be screamingly obvious), and her being very gullible.

    Sakura has a big crush on her older brother's friend, Yukito. However, she eventually ends up with Syaoran at the end of the series.

    Sakura means "cherry blossom".

  • Tomoyo Daidoji(Madison Taylor): Sakura's best friend and classmate. She's the daughter of a very rich woman, but she isn't snoby like a lot of rich kids; in fact, she's even nicer and kinder than Sakura, and doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Smart, talented, and a great singer, but not athletic like Sakura. Her least favorite food is bell peppers (a girl after my own heart :-)

    Tomoyo is very obsessed with Sakura, and clearly thinks that she's the coolest person who ever lived; that much, everyone can agree on. However, some people (like me) think that Tomoyo is madly in love with her; others think that they're just friends. Since this is my write-up, I'm going to go for the madly in love theory. ;-) My arguments for Tomoyo having feelings of romantic love towards Sakura are on the Tomoyo Daidoji node.

    Even though she's in love with Sakura, Tomoyo never displays any jealousy. She encourages Sakura's crush on Yukito, and later, when she decides that Syaoran would be the perfect match for Sakura, tries to set them up, even before Sakura shows any interest in him. It's a shame that she didn't go after Sakura herself; I'm one of the small minority who think that Tomoyo and Sakura would make a perfect couple.

  • Syaoran Li(Li Showron): 10 year old boy of the Li clan of Hong Kong. The most powerful magician of the Li clan (even at the age of 10), he is extremely serious, rarely smiling and frequently scowling. After joining Sakura's class as a transfer student, the first things he does is earn the enmity of Sakura's brother, and getting a huge crush on Yukito; as Tomoyo notes, "He's your rival for both the cards and for love!" He starts out disliking her and being her rival, but eventually becomes her friend, and soon after falls in love with her.

    The Sakura/Syaoran pairing is one of the most popular ones in anime fandom, especially in fanfiction. I personally don't see what all the fuss is about, since I'm a big Tomoyo/Sakura fan, but I guess that Syaoran is such a cute bishonen, and Sakura is so cute and adorable, that the thought of them together just melts people's brains.

  • Meiling Li(Meilin Rae): Syaoran's cousin and fiance. A while before the start of the story, Meiling lost her pet bird while it was raining outside. Syaoran went out, in spite of the rain, and got her bird back for her. At that moment, Meiling got a huge crush on him, and made him promise that, if he didn't find anyone he loved more than her, that he would marry her. Thus they are, technically, fiances.

    Meiling starts out as bossy and arrogant. However, this is just to cover up her insecurities, which are rather large, since she is one of the few members of the Li clan who have no magical powers, and is afraid that she'll lose Syaoran to someone else. She is the character who matures most over the course of the series.

  • Kerberos(Keroberos): The Guardian Beast of the Seal, and the obligatory cute anime animal of the series. He looks like a stuffed toy lion with a spherical head and beady eyes, and has small white wings on his back. This is not his true form, which he claims is "totally awesome", but he can only assume the tiny form unless Sakura has both The Firey and The Earthy cards.

    Kero has a rather high opinion of himself, freely speaks his mind, and can really hold a grudge; he's never forgiven Syaoran for calling him a "stuffed toy", refers to him as "the brat", and bites him on the finger whenever he makes him mad. He also loves food, especially sweets, even though he doesn't need to eat. However, underneath it all, he's really a nice guy.

  • Touya Kinomoto(Tori Avalon): (Touya means "peach blossom arrow) Sakura's older brother, 17 years old and a junior in high school. He constantly teases his sister, calling her a "monster", but he really cares for her; woe be unto anyone who does anything to her. ("Only I can mess with her")

    Touya's best friend is Yukito. Touya and Yukito and in love with each other, but it takes the entire series for them to confess their love to each other.

    Touya has a very strong 6th sense, which lets him see ghosts, and also lets him vaguely sense the Clow cards; him seeing ghosts and telling Sakura about them when she was little is the reason she's afraid of ghosts. He can also sense that there's something not quite right about Kero, who pretends to be a stuffed animal in front of him.

    Touya means "Peach blossom arrow".

  • Yukito Tsukishiro(Julian Star): A 17 year old boy, Touya's best friend; very nice and sweet to just about everybody. As Sakura puts it, "He's good at sport, and smart, and he can do anything!"

    Yukito means "snow rabbit", and Kero gives him the nickname "snow bunny".

A great source of information on CCS (and my primary source for this write up) is http://www.miraclegenki.com/cherryblossoms/

Just a couple notes:

Dejiko seems to have confused Touya, Sakura's brother, with Yukito, Touya's significant other (and object of affection of pretty much every character in the series). CLAMP is known for strange relationships, but they aren't really much into incest. Well, I suppose even that is debatable, but Sakura/Yukito isn't that pair in this series (which one is, unfortunately, is a rather large spoiler, but I will note that as of this writing, neither character has been mentioned in this node).

Li Syaoran's name is a point of debate among fans. A more proper romanization would be Li Xiaoran. Mixx, who is translating the manga, came up with an inteesting compromise: anyone in the series who would ordinarily speak Chinese will promounce the name as Xiaoran, whereas Japanese-speakers will promounce it as Syaoran. This is similar to the phenomenon surrounding Shampoo's name in Ranma 1/2.

It should also be noted that Li is his family name; his personal name is in fact Xiaoran. This was changed in the dub.

Anime Details

There are 70 episodes of the Cardcaptor Sakura (カードキャプターさくら) anime, which began screening in Japan on the 7th of April 1998 and concluded with the final episode on the 3rd of March 2000. It is safe to say there will never be any more episodes produced.

There are also two cinema-release movies for the series. The first, simply titled "Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie" (カードキャプターさくら 劇場版) played in Japanese theatres in late August and early September, 1999. The second, "Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card" (カードキャプターさくら 封印されたカード) played in theatres in July 2000.

The episode titles in romanized Japanese/English are:

Season 1

01. Sakura to Fushigi na Mahou no Hon / Sakura and the Mysterious Magic Book
02. Sakura no Setekina Otomodachi / Sakura's Wonderful Friend
03. Sakura no Doki Doki Hatsu Date / Sakura's Heart-Racing First Date
04. Sakura no Kuta Kuta Nichiyoubi / Sakura's Tiring Sunday
05. Sakura to Panda to Kawaii Omise / Sakura, Panda and the Cute Shop
06. Sakura to Okaasan no Omoide / Sakura and Memories of her Mother
07. Sakura no Kaitou Hatsu Chousen!? / Sakura's First Attempt as a Thief!?
08. Sakura no Rival Toujou! / Sakura's Rival Appears!
09. Sakura to Fushigi na Brooch / Sakura and the Mysterious Brooch
10. Sakura to Hana no Undoukai / Sakura and Sports Day of Flowers
11. Sakura to Tomoyo to Ookina Ie / Sakura, Tomoyo and a Mansion
12. Sakura no Owaranai Ichinichi / Sakura's Never-Ending Day
13. Sakura to Zou no Chikara Kurabe / Sakura and the Elephant's Test of Strength
14. Sakura to Touya to Cinderella / Sakura, Toya and Cinderella
15. Sakura to Kero no Daigenka / Sakura and Kero's Big Fight
16. Sakura to Omoide no Niji / Sakura and the Rainbow of Memories
17. Sakura no Kowai Kimodameshi / Sakura's Scary Test of Courage
18. Sakura to Yukito no Natsumatsuri / Sakura, Yukito and the Summer Festival
19. Sakura to Natsuyasumi no Shukudai / Sakura and the Summer Holiday Homework
20. Sakura to Tatakau Tenkousei / Transfer Student vs. Sakura
21. Sakura no Nagai Marathon Taikai / Sakura's Long Marathon Race
22. Sakura to Yasashii Otousan / Sakura and her Kind Father
23. Sakura to Tomoyo to Suteki na Uta / Sakura, Tomoyo and a Wonderful Song
24. Sakura no Chiisa na Daibouken / Sakura's Little Adventure
25. Sakura to Mouhitori no Sakura / Two Sakuras
26. Sakura to Suteki na Sensei / Sakura and the Wonderful Teacher
27. Sakura to Omoide no Jinja / Sakura and the Shrine of Memories
28. Sakura to Omajinai Card / Sakura and the Enchanted Cards
29. Sakura no Amai Cooking / Sakura's Sweet Cooking
30. Sakura to Kega wo Shita Card / Sakura and the Injured Card
31. Sakura to Namae no Nai Ki / Sakura and the Nameless Book
32. Sakura to Kero to Syaoran to / Sakura, Kero, and Shaoran
33. Sakura no Samui Ice Skate / Sakura's Freezing Ice Skating
34. Sakura to Yukito to Hiru no Tsuki / Sakura, Yukito, and Midday Moon
35. Sakura no Suteki na Christmas / Sakura's Wonderful Christmas

Season 2

36. Sakura to Yuki no Shingakki / Sakura and a Snowy New School Year
37. Sakura to Kieru Tomoyo no Koe / Sakura and Tomoyo's Lost Voice
38. Sakura no Tanoshi Ichigo Kari / Sakura's Fun Strawberry Picking Adventure
39. Sakura no Furafura Netu Youbi / Sakura's Dizzy Fever Day
40. Sakura to Yume no Naka no Sakura / Sakura and the Sakura from the Dream
41. Sakura to Syaoran to Suna no Umi / Sakura, Li, and the Sea of Sand
42. Sakura no Makkura Gakugeikai / Sakura and the Blacked Out School Arts Festival
43. Sakura no Sayonara Meilin / Sakura and Farewell to Meilin
44. Sakura to Kero to Fushigi na Sensei / Sakura, Kero, and the Mysterious Teacher
45. Sakura to Saigo Clow Card / Sakura and the Final Clow Card
46. Sakura to Saigo no Shimban / Sakura and the Final Judgement

Season 3

47. Sakura to Fushigi na Tenkousei / Sakura and the Mysterious Transfer Student
48. Sakura to Mezameta Hoshi no Kagi / Sakura and the Awakened Key of Star
49. Sakura to Kiken na Piano / Sakura and the Dangerous Piano
50. Sakura to Shaoran to Mienai Ito / Sakura, Shaoran and the Invisible Threads
51. Sakura to Ookina Nuigurumi / Sakura and the Huge Stuffed Doll
52. Sakura no Hitsuji Chuuihou!? / Sakura's Sheep Warning?!
53. Sakura to Panic Jitensha / Sakura and the Panic Bicycle
54. Sakura to Omoide no Calendar / Sakura and the Calender of Memories
55. Sakura to Fushigi no Kuni no Sakura / Sakura in Wonderland
56. Sakura to Kero to Okashi na Deai?? / Sakura, Kero, and a Candy Encounter??
57. Sakura to Shaoran to Elevator / Sakura, Syaoran and the Elevator
58. Sakura to Futari no Dai Pinch / Sakura and Two Emergencies
59. Sakura to Tomoyo to Ball no Wana / Sakura, Tomoyo and the Ball Trap
60. Sakura to Taisetsu na Otomodachi / Sakura and her Precious Friend
61. Sakura to Card to Present / Sakura, Card and a Present
62. Sakura to Fushigi na Omikuji / Sakura and the Mysterious Fortune
63. Sakura to Pool to Ookina Nami / Sakura, the Pool, and the Big Wave
64. Sakura to Fubuki no Ski Kyuoushitsu / Sakura and the Snow-blowing Ski School
65. Sakura to Yukito to Kieyuku Chikara / Sakura and Yukito and Disappearing Power
66. Sakura no Ichiban Suki na Hito / Sakura and Her Favourite Person
67. Sakura to Shaoran to Tsukimine Jinja / Sakura, Syaoran and Tsukimine Shrine
68. Sakura to Kako to Clow Reed / Sakura, the Past, and Clow Reed
69. Sakura to Arawareta Clow Reed / Sakura and the Reappearance of Clow Reed
70. Sakura to Hontou no Omoi / Sakura and her True Feelings

Sources: http://www.tcp.com/~doi/sakura/ for titles 1-35,47-54,57-70.
Episode titles 36-46,55,56 are original romanizations and translations as I couldn't find this information anywhere. Apologies for any slight errors.

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