Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (2018) is the sequel to the anime Cardcaptor Sakura (1998-2000). You can watch the Prologue episode, along with the rest of the series, for free with (many, many) ads on Crunchyroll here.
I recently binge watched Cardcaptor Sakura on Netflix (though taking a break at episode 50 because I do recall watching most of it as a kid) and found out that there was a Cardcaptor Sakura sequel both in manga and anime form. I read good things, so I checked out the prologue episode. Here are some thoughts I had on it.
Major spoilers ahead for the entire Cardcaptor Sakura series – original, Clear Card, anime, manga and movies. You have been warned.
What I loved
Oh. My. Gosh. This is literally the fanservice and episode I always wished was available when I was a kid but never was. This is the stuff of doujinshi, of fanfiction, of what my little shoujo-fangirl heart always dreamed of.
As I watched it I had to constantly remind myself that this was actually canon, produced by CLAMP, not just some high-quality fanimation (is that a thing? I’m going to coin it: fan-animation; fanimation). Apparently it follows the manga and was the actual ending of the original manga series, which, I’m now going to have to read.
Side note: just looked up the manga. Yep!! Totally follows the original manga series, and the manga art is stunning. Now I totally feel cheated by the original anime series. Also, what the heck was teenage me doing, only watching the CCS anime and not reading the manga for?? What was I thinking?? Though, better late than never, I guess.
The new anime art is in a slightly different style and beautiful in its own way. (Arguably, compared to some of the later episodes of the original Cardcaptor Sakura series, it was infinitely better. In fact, the art for “Sakura, Syaoran, and the Invisible Thread” in CCS Season 3 was so poor I literally Google searched if they changed the artists. Perhaps they were just pressed for time when releasing the episode.)
I am led to believe this episode follows on from the last episode of the original series, and was released in 2018. Man, 18yrs later… That’s like, an entire adult later! And I didn’t see it until now.
But it was worth the wait. I have to admit, this confession and reunion was just so much more gratifying than the non-confession at the end of the original series and that end-in-midair-jump at the end of the second movie. I watched that scene and other FMVs (fan-made videos) of Sakura and Syaoran on repeat as a child / teenager. They did not satisfy, but they sufficed.
Now… I am so excited about this new series. I did some Wikipedia-ing and reddit-ing and Googling and apparently the anime has more fanservice and focus of S/S relationship than the manga, so if this prologue is an insight to the rest of the series I am in for a treat.
The only thing I’m concerned about is that it’s only 22 episodes long (way too easy to binge in one sitting) and it’s incomplete. Waaaahhh… last time I followed an incomplete manga, 17yrs later I gave up on it (-cough- Bleach -cough-). Now that I’m older, I should be able to take the incompletion in greater stride though, no?
What I didn’t like
On a more serious note though, it still contains some… very controversial romantic relationships, let’s just say. When watching the series, I honestly forget that these are mostly 10yr old kids. There are homosexual relationships (Touya/Yukito), creature/creator relationships (Clow Reed/Yue), but even the same age ones (Sakura/Syaoran, Yamazuki/Chiharu) are strange to me because they’re so young.
Probably the absolute worst ones for me, though, are the outright paedophilic relationships, including student/teacher relationships (Touya/Kaho, Rika/Terada, Fujitaka/Nadeshiko), and cougar with minor relationship (Kaho/Eriol).
Kaho and Eriol are subtly presented as lovers throughout the original series but in this episode they are shown walking away together hand in hand.
Kaho is, what? 30? And Eriol is 10. Terada was 30 and Rika was 10. Just because Rika is mature, and Eriol was a partial reincarnation of Clow Reed, that does not make a paedophilic relationship acceptable.
Edit: Just did a bit more research and it’s suggested that Terada is somewhere between 20~35, while Kaho is supposedly early-mid 20’s and Eriol is 11-12 (or at least he looks that age). Point still stands.
It’s just so messed up and yet the anime somehow sends the message that these types of relationships are okay – to be encouraged, even. Anyone who grew up with me will know that I am the biggest Sakura/Syaoran fan ever, but it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief and intentional ignoring of the fact that they are supposed to be 10yrs old to be okay with it.
I mean… I guess if this was set a few hundred years ago that would have been more acceptable?? But there is a large part of my brain that screams, “This is strange!” when watching it now.
Finally, I’m pretty sure CCS was one of my introductions into shounen-ai as a kid with all its homosexual references. I recall a phase when I was really into reading boy-love mangas in my teens. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it was part of my exploration of growing up. It also conflicted with my Christian beliefs, but I guess it was something that made me seek answers in the Bible regarding homosexuality more back then.
Now, being fully convicted of my beliefs about homosexual acts being a sin*, I find myself conflicted when I kinda want to support Touya/Yukito but at the same time it just feels off to me. It reminds me of their need — and my need — for Christ even more. Yet, in their world and belief system where they live in a fantasy magical realm, faith in Christ is not something they’d ever consider exploring.
Thankfully, they are made up characters, and it’s not possible for their souls to be lost. But it does make me reflect upon the state of Christianity in Japan and the salvation of the authors, as well as any other minds that may be influenced by the show.
Now that I think about it, it was probably due to all of these facets of manga contradicting with my own faith and beliefs that caused me to give it up entirely back then. I know how easy it is for me to be influenced by stuff like this, especially when it has a strong emotional pull, and I don’t want anything to get in the way of my relationship with Christ.
I’m thankful that I am at a stage where I able to think about it all more critically. For now, I will continue to enjoy this series for what it is, and if I find that it’s too influential in the wrong way, I will stop watching again.
All that being said, I’m mostly reading the manga these days. Haha. There are quite a few differences between the manga and the anime, though the overall anime follows the manga quite faithfully.
*While I believe the Bible makes it very clear that homosexual acts is a sin, the Bible also makes it clear that God loves all people and desire for them to come to a right relationship with Him through believing in Jesus Christ. I have a lot to say with regards to homosexuality and the Bible, and how Christians ought to love those who struggle with homosexual attraction. It’s just a blog post for another day.