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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

WARNING: Huge post coming up about an anime series that’s meant for 10 years old girls. Read at your discretion.

I think one of the most amazing and surreal experiences you can have is revisiting childhood memories. No, not just revisiting, but immersing yourself completely in them, and see them in a different light. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks with my favorite anime of all time: Cardcaptor Sakura! I used to be totally obsessed with this series, and watching it all again (all 70 episodes + 2 movies + 4 special segments) in its original Japanese glory made me realize just how amazing it really is. Yes, it’s a show that’s meant for elementary school aged girls, but there are so many great things about it that I really think people of any age or gender would enjoy it.

The plot is simple enough, a girl finds a magical book filled with cards that each possess special powers, loses the cards, must go capture the cards, and eventually transform the cards into her own. Such a simple story line is one of the things I loved about the series. Some animes have such complex plots that it becomes confusing and hard to keep track of, and therefore detracts from the viewer’s enjoyments. This is never the case with Cardcaptor Sakura. Instead, this leaves plenty of room for the real theme of the the series, which is love and relationships. The series portray all kinds of relationships (friendships, familial relationships, childhood crushes, romantic love) without passing judgment. This includes the same-sex relationships and crushes, such as the relationship between Toya and Yukito, Tomoyo’s suggested romantic feelings for Sakura, and Syaoran’s initial crush on Yukito, and also includes Rika’s crush on Terada sensei. Unfortunately, such open-mindedness is still no go in the west, and pretty much all of this was edited out from the English version of the series, which is disappointing (only one of the many reasons the Japanese original is far, far superior). In addition, there is a good mix of action, comedy, and romance that appeals to a wide audience. Oh and um, I want to go to Sakura’s school. That is all.

After the plot, the most important element of any story is the characters. Let me tell you, Cardcaptor Sakura has such great characters and there are hardly any character that’s not likable. I love all the characters so much that I’m going to do a run down of my thoughts on the major ones, starting with the titular character, Sakura. Can anyone not like Sakura? The protagonist is cute, friendly, optimistic, fiercely loyal to her friends and loved ones, and faces her challenges with courage and intelligence. Of course, she also has her faults: always late in the morning, clumsy at times, a little clueless, procrastinates on her homework… but don’t we all? It makes her seem even more real and likable as a result.

Tomoyo: Tomoyo is the ultimate best friend. She is kind, sweet, intelligent, gentle, and so so devoted to Sakura. It is implied that she has romantic feelings for Sakura, but she knows that she’s not the one for her, and is content as long as Sakura is happy. She has great intuition and I love how she often uses her perceptiveness to other’s feelings to manipulate and infuriate people (in a really sweet way). And who doesn’t want a friend who makes super cute clothes for you all the time?

Kero: Oh how I would love to have a Kero-chan in my life. He is just too cute and funny. Though I think we’d fight over sweets a lot. I love him so much that I even made a life-sized papier mache sculpture of him wayyy back in the day (I’m still pretty proud of it!).

Li: Aww, Li-kun. He was too funny during his scenes with Yukito when he had a “crush” on him. And then he was just cute and sweet when he fell in love with Sakura. Li is also an example of the great character development in the series. I love how his attitude towards Sakura evolved from enemies, to friend and ally, and eventually to romantic interest. And speaking of character development, there is of course Meilin.

Meilin: Although she was admittedly annoying at first, Meilin evolves to become you can really respect. I’ve always had a soft spot for her, even during her early days. Even though she causes trouble a lot of the times, her intentions were always good and things were never boring when she’a around. She’s a strong girl and her determinative is admirable. Meilin is completely devoted to Syaoran and truly loves him, but she respects his feelings for Sakura even though it pains her. In the end she really matures a lot and is able to let go of her past feelings and becomes a great friend to Sakura.

Sakura’s family: Cutest family ever! (And props to CLAMP for showing different family structures!). Sakura’s father is kind, loving, a great cook, and still loves his deceased wife very much. Sakura’s mother, although she passed away a long time ago, is still very much a part of the family. Sakura’s dad changes her picture every day and everyone greets her each morning. It’s sad that she’s no longer there but also sweet how much her family still loves and cares for her. Toya, although on the surface seems to always make fun of Sakura, deeply cares for her and is concerned about her safety. This is evident when he works everywhere just to check up on her and when he doesn’t tell Sakura about him knowing when she uses Mirror because he knows she will just be more worried. Sigh… Toya makes me want an older brother sometimes. I also love it when they show the white board with everyone’s day schedule on it, such a cute detail.

Sakura’s friends: Sakura has such cute friends! I like how each of her friends have distinct personalities. Rika is shy, mature, and humble. Naoko love reading, ghost stories, and all things supernatural; she’s shown to be not very good at gym, though she is on the cheerleading squd with Sakura. Chiharu is cheerful and sweet and has the cutest relationship with Yamazaki. Ah… Yamazaki… one of my favorite characters. He is just too cute and funny with his made-up stories (see compilation video below). Though I have to say, as a gullible person, the first time he lied about the sloths, I actually believed him. He reminds me of Yufei, who also has a tendency to make up stories, mostly to me, since I’m such an easy and believing target. I don’t even know how many times I’ve fallen victim to his stories. But now I’ve grown used to it that I’m more like Chiharu when that happens, haha. Chiharu and Yamazaki are so cute together though!

Alright, that’s it for characters. Moving on to other things I love about the series. It has gorgeous art! CLAMP has a beautiful art style and this is no different. Impressive character designs and incredible details, even the Clow Cards themselves are so intricately drawn. The soundtrack of the series is equally beautiful. I was listening to it over and over again while studying for finals last semester; the catchy tunes can get stuck in your head for days (not a bad thing). And I even found this amazing guitar rendition of the third season opening song Platinum:

One last note: another reason I love Cardcaptor Sakura so much is that it transports you into a world without evil. There isn’t a single villain in the entire series, and even the characters you think are bad guys turn out to be good after all. What a beautiful, peaceful, loving world it creates. Even though I know that the real world is far from the one in the series, it’s nice to believe it once in a while and bask in its warmth and magic. We all need that escape sometimes.


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