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Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Part 2 UK Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
The show even nearly 20 years later just oozes charm that a lot of modern shows could learn from…

The show even nearly 20 years later just oozes charm that a lot of modern shows could learn from…

What They Say:
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Part 2 contains episodes 12-22 of the anime directed by Morio Asaka and is the sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura.

Sakura continues to work on capturing new Clear Cards, though the cards and her staff of dreams are still a mystery. She s determined to learn about the mysterious figure that keeps appearing in her dreams, but she still has to worry about school, her friends, and her feelings for Syaoran! Right when she thinks she has it all together, she ll find out that her new friend has a shocking secret.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio has a HD Dolby Surround 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series– I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare, despite not saying 5.1 the Japanese release was high quality to the point there was no adjustment to the volume, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. It is interesting that the dub uses many actors from Tsubasa, whilst the Japanese actually uses a lot of the original voice actors/actresses from the original series – and 15 years later Sakura, Syaoran and Tomoyo sound exactly the same (which adds to both the nostalgia and charm level) Both language tracks do emphasize the characters well (though Syaoran and some of the kids might sound a bit older in English) and there was no slow down or issues with synching either way so a general good release.

Video:
Originally airing in January 2018 (so just under a year ago, ironic considering no original CCS media ever got to the UK in DVD format not including the Cardcaptors dub) – the video is a full screen showing which has no issues synching with the audio or subtitles when watching in Japanese – it is bright and colourful reminiscent from the original Card Captor Sakura but incorporates more modern animation and CGI – creating its own magic you could say – it’s flows beautifully and does feel it is back in the early 2000s but more colourful – it feels a bit more basic in that regard but that doesn’t make the visuals any less appealing and easy on the eye.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is pretty standard – both discs have an image of Sakura, Yue and Keroberos (big form) and a menu below each disc with Play, Episodes, Settings and the second disc has Extras. Easily selectable and like most Blu-Rays gives you the option to choose via a pop-up menu whilst in show some else (bar extras). Fast, quick, efficient and nice looking.

Extras:
The only extras for this release are the clean openings and endings.

Content:
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Clear Card continues onto its second half with pretty much the same settings as before – and whilst the premise is clearly similar to the original season, this half brings in more sinister doings and suggestions which could set up for an interesting (and hopeful) future season which makes it slowly break away from its predecessor, but also bringing that nostalgia button full and front, and trust me, that is not a bad thing. Also whilst it obviously uses stuff from the manga, they change quite a few things as well as bring back a character that wasn’t in the manga but was from the anime, and it gives it a great feel and surprise.

So as mentioned, the series does go back to its roots with the clear cards and how similar they are to some of the previous cards, but there is also a hidden meaning with the Kaito character and he seemingly wants these cards or Sakura’s power which is mentioned throughout as getting ridiculously stronger. However as Sakura is still a naïve young girl, she isn’t aware of what is going on mainly due to the manipulation of Kaito and also the fact that Kero, Yue and even Syaoran are consulting Eriol behind her back what is going on, mixing with the fact Touya seems to be getting powers again. However, intermixed with this are fun moments…notably the return of Meiling visiting Japan. Meiling was an original character from the original series who wasn’t in the manga and some people had issues with her due to being ‘in the way’ of the Sakura/Syaoran pairing at the time. However, she grew to be quite a fun and lovely character and by the second movie is a shipper on deck and here, she is awesome. Fun, sweet, comical but has also grown up and a bit more mature – she becomes Sakura’s confident for a few episodes about what Syaoran is hiding, but it is clear Meiling wants to help them out, and pretty much out right adores Sakura herself.

It does lead to a fun episode where Sakura sees cat ears on her and later on her other friends (Meiling also meets Akiho leads to a moment where she pretty much says the two of them are identical in personality – birds of a feather flocks together ^_^) but it becomes less fun when the animal ears (reminiscent of a book Akiho has…hmmm….) transport her friends into an unknown place, but fortunately Syaoran saves her in the nick of time and allows Sakura to get the card causing this (Mirage) – Syaoran’s role in this series is that he is clearly hiding something but isn’t able to tell Sakura, and it’s nice to see he clearly still is keeping an eye on her, even though Sakura is getting far stronger than he is.

Other fun moments include Sakura, Meiling, Akiho and Tomoyo visiting Tomoyo’s house (Tomoyo’s mother still clearly ADORES Sakura) and seeing the play that Akiho wanted to see, the one from the 2nd movie (embarrassing Sakura to death, and a very funny moment when they want to see Tomoyo on the screen…Tomoyo’s expression of ‘I love seeing Sakura on screen but myself is one of ‘uh oh’) but leading to another card and a great moment where Sakura and Meiling team up to capture another card reminiscent of the Twin card from the original season (and seeing whilst Sakura isn’t a fighter because of her natural agility she is able to match Meiling’s moves perfectly) – however the big thing before Meiling leaves (apart from asking Sakura if she can call her Sakura instead of Kinomoto…awww!) is that Kaito accidentally tells Akiho information he should not know. When she questions it, he is forced to use magic to rewind time and lose her memory. This is key as he has clearly powerful magic but what level we don’t understand but this is key when the last episode happens…

Sakura is also having the dreams over the mystery hooded figure that are shared with Akiho whilst Kaito is upping his plan (even the mascot of Akiho finally reveal itself as Momo) to get the Clear Cards) and whilst there are still plenty of sweet moments (Rika makes a cameo as she lends Sakura a picture book despite being in different schools) – Touya realises Sakura is doing dangerous stuff again (but keeping it and his powers secret for the time being), Yue and Kero realise Sakura’s powers are now dangerously powerful with Eriol contacting them (in between a really sweet episode where Sakura and Syaoran visit Sakura’s great grandfather and she uses the Record card to see scenes of her mother as a young girl, though it also shows that her powers are going too deep as she collapses after Nadeshiko warns her to not go too far).

It is here we learn of Kaito’s past and that he was expelled from a society of magicians due to potentially stealing a relic with strong magical powers, scarily to the point his magic is stronger than Eriol/Clow Reeds…but Sakura’s? Not sure…however Kaito actually cuts off them as the final episode sees Sakura and Akiho’s dreams become more often and the cloaked figure reveal itself before Sakura. It leads to a scene where Sakura tries to confront it, but it seems to be able to steal her magic from her. However, whilst it appears she is able to fall to her death (yes, this looked like it was going to happen, imagine my shock!) she spots the face of the cloaked figure appears to be Akiho….

…cue Kaito appears to rewind time so Sakura can’t remember that. Fortunately, Sakura is saved because of that and she does forget…the key being that Kaito is certain she will remember…leaving a cliff-hanger to see what happens next…

What is great about Cardcaptor Sakura is that it has always given that mix of sweetness with action, comedy, and also mystery. Here, the mystery is Kaito, and we are given enough so that he has a back-story, but not enough that there is a lot of mystery about him and we don’t know what his ultimate goal is aside from stealing Sakura’s power. It is clear he is very powerful but doesn’t want to unleash everything yet…most likely holding out until Sakura’s magic is strong enough for him to use for whatever his ultimate goal is. From this, Akiho looks like a very tragic figure – she loves Kaito yet is unaware of his manipulation and indeed his magic. With Sakura now seeing her face as the pawn in this, it could easily lead to a bridge between the two good friends, and though knowing Sakura this won’t be a problem, it will be interesting to see what Akiho’s mindset will be once all this is revealed.

True again, there is card collecting and some cards are similar to the original series (one is even identical, the Mirror, though it leads to a cute Sakura/Syaoran moment so I’ll forgive it) and the nostalgia does kick in with Meiling and Rika returning, though Yamazaki never gets to lie as much this season ^^ However, the depth of the story is making it its own thing now more so than just a carbon copy. Tomoyo for example isn’t as overboard as before and has some funny moments (I love Kero’s reaction when he hasn’t filmed footage for her – apparently Tomoyo when mad is something you don’t want to deal with) and the bits with Sakura’s great grandfather were fantastic (he basically gives Syaoran his blessing similar to how he eventually made amends with Fujitaka, Sakura’s father – as in the men taking away the girls in his life) so the tender moments with the cast make the series as sweet as ever, but they intermix with the overriding plot and for that it is a great experience.

The only real negative things I can say is that there are similarities to the original series so if you aren’t a fan of that then you won’t like this, but there is definitely enough things different to mix with the nostalgia that it has its own identity. As far as I know it has caught up with the manga (fun fact, the reveal of Akiho in the anime as the hooded figure is different to the manga so be interesting how the anime changes if there are more episodes) so no idea if we’re getting more of this, but I sure hope so….the Sakura/Syaoran relationship has managed to grow this arc and whilst the two are still shy and embarrassed around each other, it is super cute and follows true to a young romance and with everything else in between, I say it is its own entity and a quality series in its own right.

Summary:
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card whilst has a lot of nostalgia going for it and similar things to the original series, with the plot of Kaito and Sakura’s growing power with a lot of the secondary cast going behind her back to learn more, it has an ongoing plot which has a lot of questions still need to be answered, giving it a ton of intrigue and a lot of cliff-hanger moments that you wish could be answered. Hopefully they will as combined with the action, powers, and utter cuteness the series delivers along with the story, it is a charming series that holds up with the presence of the original and reminds you how lovable Sakura is and always has been. Highly recommended.

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Manga Entertanment UK
Release Date: July 15th, 2019
MSRP: £24.99
Running Time: 275 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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