Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?
It's nice to know that we've been watching the same show as Tomoyo and Syaoran, who finally touch on two of the major issues of the series this week. Tomoyo makes the observation that many viewers have already hit on: the clear cards are remarkably similar to the Sakura cards of the first series. Just why that may be is still unknown, but simply having that acknowledged makes it feel as if there's an important reason why they're so alike. The fact that Syaoran instantly senses something suspicious about Kaito doubtless aligns with that – when Syaoran calls Eriol to let him know what happened, Eriol reveals that the “D” which forms Kaito's middle initial is likely a title given by a somewhat shady British magic organization. Is it a reference to Elizabethan mathematician and magician John Dee? It feels like a possibility, but more importantly, Kaito draws his power from the same source as Syaoran, the moon, which may lead to a major conflict down the line. This also makes it likely that Akiho's stuffed bunny isn't so much Kaito in a different form as a medium for Kaito to channel through. Therefore it wasn't necessarily Akiho who made last week's cards react, but Kaito operating through the doll. This possibility makes him a much more frightening foe, because unless he can be attacked backwards through the link between them, he's able to keep his distance and retain immunity from Sakura, Kero, and whoever else is around.
On the whole, Syaoran seems much more concerned with whatever's going on than Sakura herself. While it's good to know that she was trying to sense magical power from Akiho when Snooze and Labyrinth appeared, she seems to have relaxed to a concerning degree upon ascertaining that Akiho's not the mysterious mage. Syaoran, on the other hand, is nowhere near calm about the whole thing, and just because Akiho doesn't seem to be trouble (which he may be reserving judgement on), that doesn't mean that she and others around her aren't suspicious. That Eriol shares Syaoran's concerns means that Sakura is probably not taking things as seriously as she should be, which creates a somewhat troubling dynamic of her being protected by a trio of concerned boys (Syaoran, Eriol, and Toya) while she flits around dispensing rainbows and sunshine. It's not an unusual setup, and her story has never been as invested in empowerment as some other magical girl stories, but it does feel like it paints a picture of a Sakura who is less in control of the situation than she could be.
Of course, Sakura's not the kind of person who wants to suspect others. She's open and cheerful, and her charm comes from how she gives her sunny best to everything she does. To cloud that role with suspicion could arguably change the character in ways that would ruin her, so the challenge is to allow her to grow up without making her into a totally different person. I think we will see that in the second half of the show (or at least I hope we will) as more about Akiho's role comes to light, and whether she's being used by Kaito or not. If she is, there could be an interesting parallel between Sakura being protected versus Akiho being deliberately kept in the dark about more nefarious actions that could be used to good effect.
This is the episode where I feel like Clear Card is finally finding its feet. It acknowledges some glaring issues, potentially sets up more of a foil figure relationship between Akiho and Sakura, and finally starts actively progressing the plot. I'm not sure that next week won't be a slide backwards, but hopefully this series has at last hit its stride.
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