Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?
This episode makes me wonder just how sentient the clear cards might be. We've seen Sakura capture more than one card at a time before, but this time Snooze and Labyrinth seem to be actively working together, with Labyrinth helping Snooze to avoid capture. Good thing Sakura can think outside the box (although Kero may disagree), even if she thinks that rollerblades are a good idea when entering a world made out of stairs.
It's tempting to subtitle this episode “Sakura in Escherland,” but sadly that would have been much more interesting than the episode we got. Akiho's visit to Sakura's house had a lot of potential to advance both the overarching plot and her character, but most of that was squandered in favor of the two girls bonding over cooking and old pictures. While it was neat that those photos were stills from the previous series (albeit a little disconcerting since the art styles are fairly different), Akiho's apparent lack of interest in learning anything beyond trivialities about Sakura feels an awful lot like stalling. We do get at least one major revelation; it seems that Kaito and Momo the bunny are not the same person, because we do see them together at the end of the episode. It's possible that Akiho keeps a stuffed Momo lookalike to throw people off, but that feels less and less likely as the series goes on, so I keep waiting for some other kind of shoe to drop.
That's the issue with this series right now – not that it's intended for children, but that it's either holding its cards too close to its chest or simply doesn't have any overarching cards to play. Given that CLAMP is behind this, I'm inclined to go with the former theory, but since next week's episode marks the exact halfway point, this protracted pace isn't working out – and eight-year-old me wouldn't have been thrilled with it either, especially since Sakura isn't even wearing her costumes for most of the captures. It feels like the show is trying too hard to appeal to both old and new audiences, without striking a comfortable balance of nostalgia and new story. Granted, it's a daunting task to fulfill, but right now it does feel like a thin excuse for the lack of plot progression.
All of this is especially disappointing because the timing was just right for a major reveal: Sakura and Akiho were alone in the house, which the beginning of the episode went to great pains to make clear, and it was approaching twilight, a good time for magical or sinister activities. The fact that Snooze was following Akiho specifically also seemed portentous – could she have been faking her slumber and somehow guiding the new card in order to learn about Sakura's powers? While that may turn out to be the case later, it might have gummed up the process of Sakura capturing Snooze, since it wouldn't technically be “without master.” But we could still find out otherwise, especially since it looks like the mysterious mage may be returning next week – and I have to admit that I'm hoping we find out something, because right now I'm frustrated with the way this plot isn't unfolding.
It's worth mentioning that there were some odd choices in the dialogue this week, although that may be due to how the subtitles chose to word things. The two cases that stand out are Akiho saying that she's never had anyone over to her new house and Sakura asking Akiho if she's ever worn a dress. These are weird because Sakura and Tomoyo were just at Akiho's house two episodes ago (which they acknowledge), and Akiho is wearing a dress when Sakura asks the question. Presumably the intention was to say that Akiho hasn't had anyone to her new bedroom, and Sakura was asking if she'd ever worn a party dress. It isn't difficult to figure this out given the context, and given the pressure of simulcasting deadlines, it isn't worth blaming anyone for the confusion, but it is unusual enough to stand out.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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