Cardcaptor Sakura, also known as Cardcaptors, is a popular manga-turned-anime series which was directed by Mario Asoka and produced by Studio Madhouse. It has received great success over the years and has received several prizes. The manga publication started in May 1996 and the animation was subsequently aired in 1998. The franchise halted in the year 2000 leaving diehard fans around the country heartbroken. However, to celebrate the original Cardcaptor Sakura manga’s 20th anniversary, the first ever Cardcaptor Sakura film was released on January 21, 2017.
— カードキャプターさくら（公式） (@ccsakura_info) November 30, 2016
Cardcaptor Sakura was written and illustrated by Clamp, an all-female Japanese manga-artist group which was formed in the mid-1980s. The manga is very popular with each series consisting of 12 volumes. Nearly every page of the manga is noted for having flowers, bubbles or sparkles surrounding each character. No wonder it gained the Seiun Award for Best Manga in 2001! Many critics have praised the manga’s creativity and it is enjoyed by both children and adults.
Following the manga came the Cardcaptor Sakura anime television series with each episode lasting 30 minutes. To gain more audiences, an English dub of the anime series was produced by Canadian entertainment company, Nelvana Ltd. This gave people from English-speaking countries the chance to watch the animation and hugely increased Cardcaptor Sakura‘s fan base.
Animax, an anime television network also broadcast the animation with unedited English translation. The animation is an impressive display of scenes in which Sakura casts magic, complemented by regular costume changes or transformations. Clamp wanted Sakura to wear different outfits to add more excitement around the character. The anime won the Anime Grand Prix Award for Best Anime in 1999 despite the fact that it was shown on TV out of prime viewing hours.
— カードキャプターさくら（公式） (@ccsakura_info) February 14, 2017
Warning: Contains spoilers!
The original story of Cardcaptor Sakura starts in the city of Tomoeda, a place near Tokyo. The protagonist of the story is Sakura Kinomoto, whose name was changed to Sakura Avalon in the English adaptation of the anime.
The story starts with Sakura accidentally releasing Clow Cards, which are known as magical cards. Each of these cards has its own potential when activated. The cards contain beautifully drawn pictures which have been described as an artful blend of magical fantasy and reality. Sakura was chosen by Cerberus, the guardian of the cards, to retrieve them all. In order to complete this challenge, she must battle them by defeating the real-life personification of each card. Once defeated, the card becomes complete and is locked away.
After capturing all the cards, Sakura is tested by Yue, another guardian of the Clow Cards who acts as a judge, to see whether she is capable of becoming a real card master. Kaho Mizuki, Sakura’s mentor and also a shrine maiden, helps her in achieving her goal. She then passes the test and finally becomes the new Clow Cards Master.
Later in the story, Sakura falls in love with Syroan Li, a descendant of Clow Reed who is the same age as Sakura. Both of them confess their love for each other. The relationship between Sakura and Syroan is left unresolved at the end of the anime series.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Edition is the continuation of the first series. Here, Sakura is seen entering junior high school with her friends.
Sakura’s irresistible cuteness, which is often called “moe” in Japanese, made it a great hit both in Japan and the West. Sakura’s cute gestures and catchphrases coupled with a sweet voice by voice actress Tange Sakura played a major impact on the animation. Sakura’s innocent character captures the hearts of anime fans from young to old. The series is also partly to thank for the boom of moe animation in recent years with countless new series hitting the screens following Cardcaptor Sakura. Several video games have also been released based on the series featuring various genres such as role-playing and adventure games.
— カードキャプターさくら（公式） (@ccsakura_info) February 17, 2017
The popular shojo manga was serialized from 1996 to 2000 and was aired on NHK from 1998 to 2001, putting a whole 16 years between the now and the last episode aired on TV. 2017 is the manga’s 20th anniversary and in order to celebrate it, the first Cardcaptor Sakura anime film made a theatrical revival on January 21, 2017.
The film features the journey of Sakura to the home city of Syroan in Hong Kong. You will also be reminded of how she collected all the elemental cards across the land as a magical girl. The film has been highly praised for its incredibly high quality of drawings and animation. It is even said that the animation quality, as well as the original illustration, are not far off the quality of modern manga and anime which have the help of better technology.
In line with the release of the film, Sakura collaboration cafes were temporarily opened in Animate stores in 2016 including one in Fukuoka Tenjin, Sendai, Okayama, Tenoji, Kyoto, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku. Only open for a month in each place, this experience for a limited time gave diners a nice experience with the Sakura-themed memorabilia.
Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the best magical girl shows ever produced that provides something fun, clever, touching and exciting all at once. A new Sakura manga was also released just this year which has brought messages of happiness and nostalgia from different fans in the country, especially those who fell in love with the series in the late 90s. So anime fans, it is time for you to rejoice and find a showing of Cardcaptor Sakura near you. You will also receive a Cardcaptor Sakura postcard on purchase of your ticket.
Cardcaptor Sakura official website *Japanese only