Taking place after the series ended, we get a little more time with the cast of characters that we fell in love with as we learn a new secret of Clow Reed.
What They Say:
Sakura bravely faced the many challenges needed to finish the capture and transformation of the Clow Cards into her own Sakura Cards, but can she reveal her deepest feelings to Shaoran? Before she can face that challenge, someone begins stealing her cards and erasing vasts parts of her town as well as the people! Sakura’s real challenge has begun…
THe audio presentation for this release brings us two flavors of two language tracks as we get the original Japanese language and the English in both stereo and 5.1 mixes. The stereo mixes are done at the standard 192kbps while the 5.1 mixes get bumped up to 448kbps, which is nice to see they didn’t skimp out on. Though we get the 5.1 mix for it, there isn’t a lot of material really thrown to the rear channels, but what we do get works well and generally the forward soundstage comes across in a cleaner fashion. The majority of the show is dialogue driven and bits of ambient music, though nicely done and quite good sounding, are pretty much forward forward soundstage based. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and the end action sequences are great to listen to.
Originally in theaters in 2000, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Similar to the first movie, this one comes across very well with this print, taking the traditional look of the Sakura TV series and giving it even more of a realistic feel with the bigger budget. This results in some great looking scenes with even more layered colors and higher detail. The colors are a fair bit less vibrant however during the majority of the normal scenes, but when you get to the action with the cards and monsters, the colors really become more vibrant. The print appears to be free of cross coloration and had only a few minor moments of noticeable aliasing during some panning sequences. Otherwise, this is a great looking transfer.
Pioneer originally released this in both regular and special edition forms, though we only kept the special edition one after all that years. For this release, the front cover is much softer and more pink than the regular edition as it has Sakura in the same dress with the wings out but set against a pale background with Kero and the cards floating around. The back cover is laid out like the regular edition and just lists the more varied extras that are included. This edition is also in a clear keepcase, which means there’s artwork on the reverse side. The reverse side has a great two panel spread image of Sakura and Shaoran against the black sky with lightning crackling around them while in their final dress outfits. The cover from the regular edition is included in the keepcase as a pencil board, so you get both forms of the cover in one package. The insert is actually a booklet entitled Tomoyo’s Photo Album. This full color piece is very nicely done with each page having various pictures and some text from Tomoyo about it. The picture section themselves are found in the gallery on the disc plus some that aren’t, and they’re also glossier than the rest of the page giving it a real photo album feel. This is a really great closing extra for the last release.
The main menu is a nice animated piece that has Sakura in her princess outfit laying across the screen while color leaves blow about, and blow even more as transitional animations when you move to submenus. There’s little on the disc so moving around isn’t all that necessary outside of setting up languages, so it’s not too much of a slowdown hit with the animations. Access times are decent and menus load quickly once accessed.
While the regular edition had no extras, there’s some good material here. The trailer section has several of the theatrical trailers, the TV commercial and even the special internet trailer. The art gallery, as mentioned before, contains about 21 pieces of very high quality CLAMP style goodness, pretty much what we’ve come to expect for artwork for this series. But the real extra here, one that doesn’t even list in the menu until you go all the way down, is the Kero-Chan Theatrical Event. This twelve minute piece is so worth the price of admission.
The small feature takes place with mostly Kero and Suppie, though most of the main characters make a token appearance or at least voice themselves briefly. Kero’s enjoying himself and chatting up Suppie in Sakura’s room when Sakura brings in some takoyaki for them. Since she learned that Suppie can’t handle sweets, she’s made something that’s good but shouldn’t affect him. He’s nervous, but once Suppie gets eating the takoyaki, the two of them wolf it down. Until they get to the last piece, which through comical means ends up flying out the window. And then the chase for the last takoyaki piece begins. It’s almost like the old Looney Tunes shows and it just fits in so perfectly after everything else that has gone on. I’ve watched it three times now (and it’s both subbed and dubbed and uses a very well placed 5.1 track as well) and just laugh continually through it. This is a great little extra.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the Cardcaptor Sakura TV Series had come to a close, it was done in a way that provided some closure for events but left a lot of things open. That was frustrating on some level, but there was also the fact that the kids are of a certain age and things can go only so far. With this movie, we get to see events that take place some time afterwards from the series as the gang is drawn back together, this time in Japan unlike the first movie that took us to Hong Kong, and we get a little further with the relationships to see where it goes. It also draws back to an interesting idea with Clow Reed himself, which was a pretty welcome thing to do since it even takes Eriol by surprise to some degree.
Though it takes some time to actually get there, the second movie “The Sealed Card” (or “The Enchanted Card” in the original Japanese release), there is the proper payoff with this movie. With Shaoran having gone back to Hong Kong, it’s been over four months since then and life has moved on pretty well in Tomoeda. Sakura and her friends are now in the sixth grade and there is definitely something a bit older and mature looking and feeling about Sakura, in how she carries herself and the way her face doesn’t exhibit quite the same level of “childness” that she did when the TV series first started.
At school, the class is getting ready for the yearly festival where they put on a show and all sorts of events. This time around, fellow classmate Naoko has written the play that they’ll perform in and Sakura has landed the role of the princess. While she’s nervous about learning all her lines, she’s sliding nicely into the role and practicing as often as possible while still doing all her usual activities, from schoolwork to family to dealing with Kero.
With her friends, things are much the same in everyone gets along and does things together. With Tomoyo, she’s gotten roped into an amusing little gig where they re-enact various capture scenes by using the CREATE card to bring the illusion to life so that Tomoyo can videotape it properly and edit it to music. Watching the opening sequence done this way is interesting at first and then turns into quite the cute moment, especially when Tomoyo starts listing off all the other cards she wants to create videos for. Tomoyo is most definitely one of the unique characters around.
Life in Tomoeda has quieted down since Shaoran returned home and Eriol and company returned to England. Eriol’s mansion has been torn down and the area where it once stood is now part of a new amusement park and festival grounds area. But unknown to Eriol, a fifty-third card had been created and kept sealed under the mansion. With the mansion gone and all of Sakura’s cards converted, the sealed card is no longer sealed and is now freely roaming the area.
Through the card, we learn that it was created as the mirror opposite of power of the combined fifty-two cards. With all the positive power of the Clow Cards, now Sakura Cards, the Chinese belief of yin and yang came into play with Clow and he put all the negative energy into this one sealed card. With the card free now, and in the form of a sullen quiet little girl, it’s become determined to regain all the Clow Cards back for herself as she considers them her lost friends.
In the middle of all of this, Meilin and Shaoran return from Hong Kong for a weeklong visit. We learn quietly that it was Tomoyo who invited Meilin who brought Shaoran and… well, it’s quite cute how the two girls continually try to push both Shaoran and Sakura back together into various situations where they’re by themselves. The two end up working together on dealing with the sealed card once its presence becomes formally known since it exhibits something of Clow’s presence, and the movie moves towards a series of action sequences that bring things to a conclusion.
In a way, the movie feels like something of a retread of the final three episodes of the TV series but with a single villain instead of Eriol and his two servants. A threat to the entire city puts everyone at risk in both storylines and all of Sakura’s friends get taken away as the danger increases. There are some subtle changes, but the bulk of it really does feel the same. This isn’t terribly bad since the focus isn’t on Sakura mastering what she has, but rather dealing with what she could lose, since matters of the heart figure heavily into the movie from start to finish.
If there’s a major difference between the movie and the last three episodes, it’s most definitely the pacing. The movie feels almost lazy for the first half as Sakura moves throughout her days. It picks up when Shaoran arrives and then the card starts making its presence known, but there’s just this feel to things where it’s laid back and just moseying along for awhile. With the rapid pacing of many of the TV episodes, it’s an interesting change, especially just coming off of the end of the series where the last three episodes kept building up the energy to the end.
While in some ways you want more out of it, the second Cardcaptor Sakura feature does things just right and provides the best kind of closure one can get when you remember that you’re dealing with sixth grade kids in lead roles. The charm and warmth of the TV series is fully evident throughout the movie though there are some repetitive aspects in the overall plot. Those watching the last TV volume and going right into the movie may want to add a bit of time between the two and let the events not mesh as closely as they might otherwise. This movie is a lot of fun and kept me smiling through the majority of it and ended with the best line. That said, I’d still love to see CLAMP return to this series properly (not more Tsubasa) and give us some Cardcaptor Sakura: The High School Years. But that’s just my unrealized fantasy.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Kero-chan Video Extra,Japanese Trailers,Art Gallery
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Geneon Entertainment
Release Date: November 18th, 2003
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.