Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part One
Anime Studio: Madhouse
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Magical Girl / Family
Released: February 11th 2019
Language: Japanese / English
Length: 275 Minutes
Extras: Prequel OVA, Clean OP and ED, Episode 9 Commentary
The power of the Clow is back with a brand-new adventure! Join Cardcaptor Sakura as she faces a new power, new friends, and reunites with some familiar faces. As Sakura settles into a normal routine, she prepares to face her newest challenge junior high! While her classes are challenging, things start looking up when Syaoran reappears and says he’ll be staying for good. But when she has a strange dream about a mysterious figure and wakes to find her Clow Cards completely clear, she must return to her duty as Cardcaptor. Ready to take on these cards with a new key and new wand, Sakura will face this mystery with the help of her friends and seriously cute outfits!
Cardcaptor Sakura was a mainstay in my childhood anime routine, and despite the changes to the original script, I do have a fondness for the dubbed series. As such, I was excited to see this one announced, and have been eagerly awaiting the DVD/Blu Ray release. After watching it, I am happy to say that, so far, I haven’t been disappointed.
This is a dual language release, meaning that those who want the nostalgia of the English language series can enjoy it in the same manner as the old release. There are a few changes to the original run, of course. The dub cast is different to the 90’s one, which may take some getting used to. This is balanced out by not suffering the same level of cuts to the show’s themes this time around though. In particular, I was happy to see Toya and Yue’s relationship touched on a little better in this dub.
The animation here is really nice. It’s very reminiscent of the old series, but the modern touches in terms of details give it a new edge. This means that it creates a great balance of making it feel like long term fans will remember without feeling dated as a result. For all the little updates though, some things remain unchanged. The episodes follow the same formula that they always have, and never really try to alter this. The character dynamics also remain unchanged. This is perhaps at its best with Sakura and her brother Toya’s endearingly realistic sibling relationship. The costume changes that were such a big part of the franchise also make a return, which was really nice to see. I remember wanting so many of them when I was younger, and it’s great fun seeing what Tomoyo comes up with this time. Throw in some moments that are clear nods back to older episodes, and you have a nostalgic dream here.
The music is something that has definitely been improved upon this time around, with the background pieces proving a lot more standout. For a prime example, you need only look to the Nightmare On Elm Street-esque piece that plays while Sakura is in a library in one of the later episodes. You can add a suitably chirpy opening theme and a quirky ending one to that too.
Of course, the show isn’t perfect though. It does lean heavily on nostalgia, and we’re being honest, those who don’t remember the original series will likely find it to be a good show but nothing special. If you’re hoping for it to break new ground, you’ll also likely be disappointed. And if you disliked the original run? This won’t be changing your mind. The repetitive nature of the episodes also means that it’s not a show you can binge watch without feeling like you’re watching essentially the same story over and over.
With all that being said, as a fan of the franchise, I don’t hesitate to give this release a solid 4 out of 5. It balances nostalgia with enough modern touches to fit with the current market and presents a decent overall story that will leave you eagerly awaiting the second part.