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  • Forfatterens bildeStephanie

Why “Cardcaptor Sakura” is one of the Best Anime Ever Made [Spoiler]

Oppdatert: 13. des. 2019

Originally posted on the r/anime subreddit [06.01.19]


There is a lot of anime to watch right now. This winter season, for an example, not counting the 36 continuing shows, has 41 entirely new series. This may seem like a good thing. More shows means more niche stuff is going to be produced, which means more for everyone. However, that's not exactly the case. With more shows being produced, the standard for what is considered a "must watch" or a "masterpiece" has been heavily muddled. This is why I want to urge you to watch one of, if not the best anime ever made:" Cardcaptor Sakura".

But what makes "Cardcaptor Sakura" so great? Because this show isn't just the cream of the crop regarding Shoujo or Magical Girl shows, it's the cream of the crop regarding anime as a whole. If someone asked why I think anime is so great, I'd recommend them this series. But why? How is it that a magical girl show from the 90's manages to be such an amazing series? To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves, what makes a great anime? Since this is such a broad question, i'll use broad definers. Things like fluid and little re-use of animation, relatable personalities in characters, detailed character designs, and an intriguing plot are a few things I feel almost everyone can agree are some defining characteristics of a great anime. So, does "Cardcaptor Sakura" have any of these? Oh, you bet it does.


As a kids show from the 90's, the fact that the show rarely re-uses animation is really astounding. One may point to the fact that (almost) each episode has a transformation and capture sequence, but all of these are animated with different costumes every time it is used. So while the movements seen on screen are the same, they had to be animated separately for each episode. This also leads me into my next point, detailed character designs. All of Sakura's battle costumes are highly detailed and complicated, as well as adorable. Syaoran's ceremonial outfit also fits this, especially with his cloak and sword.

Relatable characters is probably the thing that this show does best. With it's strong focus on character relationships, it's no wonder why they're all so likeable. The main reason for this is simply the fact that it's 70 episodes. With so much time, of course the relationships are going to feel more important and impactful. The slow burn of Syaoron warming up towards Sakura and eventually falling in love with her, the way you get to see, not just hear that yeah, Toya and Yukito are really close friends, or even smaller relationships, like Rika and their homeroom teacher, or Tomoyo's mom's feud with Sakura's dad over his marriage to Nadeshiko. But all of these minor relationships and even the minor characters like the owner of Twin Bells, Sakura's grandpa and Yamazaki's running gag of telling lies, all help this series with its greatest strength: it feels real. All these characters and their view of one another all help Tomoeda feel a lot more like a small japanese town, and not just a bunch of buildings on a screen. When Masaki apologizes to Fujitaka over the way he's treated him, and you hear the amazing work of the seiyuu in this show, it feels real. And that's not something that is very easy to accomplish. When you walk around in a big city and see hundreds, if not thousands of people walking around, it can be hard to imagine that all of these people have their own goals, dreams, emotional baggage and thing to do. Sadly, this is the way most modern anime do it as well, with giving little to no time to the smaller side characters and their lives. But "Cardcaptor Sakura" does this perfectly. Sure, I don't know exactly what is going on in the lives of all of Sakura's classmates, but I don't need to. What I need to know is just enough so that they feel fleshed out enough so that they could actually exist. Even if it's just a little characterization, that's all that's needed. And all of this helps Tomoeda feel like a real, living breathing city.


But now we're at one of the most important things: an intriguing plot. So, does "Cardcaptor Sakura" have this? Oh, it absolutely does. While I am willing to admit that "find the cards" doesn't sound like the most interesting thing ever, but the way it is executed in the show makes it. The introduction of Syaron as a rival character to Sakura is done very well, with the viewer really getting the impression that he has actual experience fighting magic. This is in stark contrast to Sakura, who up to episode 8, hasn't really been able to do much except rely on Kero for advice and shout "windy" a few times. I mean, he shoots lightning out a sword, that is a huge contrast to the more passive and friendly looking cards Sakura had in her arsenal. And on the topic of Sakura not being able to do much, that is also a huge theme in the show. In my opinion, It is around episode 33 (where they go ice-skating) that we first see Sakura being able to handle herself better. However, she still has the support of Syaoran. In actuality, we don't see Sakura start to manage things by herself shortly after in episode 35 (where she obtains The Firey card). Another thing that helps the plot feel more mysterious is that before the Final Judgement, Kero-chan looks up at the moon says "Yue..." in many episodes. We don't know what that means. Yue? The heck is that? The show gives barely any hints as to what or who Yue is, and when he finally appears, it feels like a real payoff. Not only did Yue beat Syaoran easily, but he seemed to have the upper hand almost the entire time during his battle with Sakura. It's not before Sakura is at the brink of death that she's able to use her invincible spell to defeat Yue and become the new master of the Clow Card.


Now, before we go to the conclusion and wrap this up, I want to talk about the great soundtrack this show has. Both the three opening songs and ending and songs, as well as the various insert songs that are used throughout it. "Cardcaptor Sakura" is one of the few anime where I can say that they actually have a consistently great soundtrack. Not one good OP or maybe a few background songs I mildly enjoyed, this entire soundtrack is amazing. I don't have much more to back this up besides my personal opinion, but I mean it. Every single piece of music in this series is really freaking good, with my favorites being "Catch You Catch Me" and "Fruits Candy", though I really do enjoy all of them.


So, in short, what is it that makes Cardcaptor Sakura such a great show? Well, it's mostly a combination of factors. But the fact that all side characters at least have a reason to be there besides "the main character needs friends" and that they all feel like actual people helps the city of Tomoeda feel real. I'd almost compare it to "Durarara" in that sense (weird comparison, I know). And cute moe girls of course, that's basically the reason I checked it out in the first place. So that's what I have to say about "Cardcaptor Sakura", and my reasoning for it being (2nd) the greatest show of all time.


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