Reviewby Allen Divers, Dec 10th 2003
Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card
Special Edition DVD
Sakura Kinomoto has come a long way since first being chosen to be a cardcaptor. She's captured all the cards, made new friends and gained some insight into her own heart. Now, she faces her ultimate challenge, finding the strength to confess her feelings to her true love. While struggling with her heart, a mysterious force has begun stealing her cards and threatens to take away what she truly cherishes. Can Sakura find the inner strength she needs to take on this final challenge?
Card Captor Sakura built a solid reputation for itself among North American fans, surviving even ‘Cardcaptors’, its bastardization in the Saturday morning arena. Proving that the original is usually the best, the subtitled version of the original episodes out-sold the dubbed version and managed to actually thrust the highly unpopular Cardcaptors series release on DVD into oblivion. Card Captor Sakura The Movie 2: The Sealed Card picks up where the last episode of the TV series ends, ending one of the best of CLAMP's works adapted into animated form. Taking a different spin on the Magical Girl genre, Card Captor Sakura shines in its final outing to the big screen, bringing the entire series to a smooth conclusion.
Movie 2 makes its way to fans in two forms: a regular edition featuring the widescreen presentation of the movie and a special edition with a pencil board, anamorphic video, the Kero-chan video extra and 9 minutes of extra footage. Also in the special edition is a booklet featuring movie artwork, the original movie trailer and a full art gallery. Both share an all-new dub, cast especially for this release.
What really makes this release stand out is the inclusion of an English dub. The first movie featured the English TV cast and followed the format established by the Cardcaptors version of the series. Under the Cardcaptors guise, the original script was scrapped in favor of a script closer to what North American TV executives felt would play well to a Saturday morning cartoon audience. This time around, the producers of the new English dub wanted to stay as close to the original Japanese as possible. Pioneer turned to Bang Zoom! Entertainment, no stranger to CLAMP shows, to handle the chores of producing the new dub. The English script, written by Clark Cheng, stays as close as possible to the original intent of the Japanese. The direction of the actors also stays close to the original Japanese portrayals with the English actresses for Sakura and Tomoyo doing a great job of matching both the emotional impact and much of the original tone heard in the Japanese version. Even Sakura's trademark expression "Hoe!" remains. For the many who have been listening to the 18 volumes of Japanese-only Card Captor Sakura, the dub is actually a pleasant experience.
The visuals of Card Captor Sakura translate quite well to the big screen. Benefiting from a larger budget, the animation and artwork familiar to fans of the TV series take on new life in this format. The animation stays strong and exciting through all the action sequences, and the artwork complements the emotional impact felt by the characters. Although based on a story not found in the original CLAMP manga series, the setting, dialogue and character designs all fit within the established world of CLAMP's beloved original. Elaborate costumes have always been a part of the appeal of Card Captor Sakura. Retaining and even heightening this aspect, this movie has new, more extravagant costumes for the characters. Fans are certain not to be displeased by the frequent costuime changes endowed upon Sakura (and Shaoran, too).
The Sealed Card follows the familiar path established by the TV series. Picking up where the TV series left off, Sakura winds up facing her biggest challenge since capturing the Clow cards: confessing her love. Love, like in most CLAMP stories, remains the focus of the story, pushing the drama all the way to the end of the movie. Since nothing can ever be simple, things get complicated when another Clow card makes its appearance and Sakura's cards begin to disappear. While there is quite a bit of action and plenty of comedy (thanks to Kero and Touya), the focus remains on Sakura and her searching for an answer to her own feelings.
The Sealed Card proves to be a fitting conclusion to the entire Card Captor Sakura series. Concentrating on the things that made the series great, The Sealed Card is filled with fun adventure, witty comedy and strong emotions. This mix that permeated the manga and the tv series helped redefine the entire magical girl genre, leaving a strong impression with fans everywhere. Despite this well-done conclusion, Card Captor Sakura will be missed.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : A
Story : A
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : A
+ A strong finish for a great series
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