Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episode 12

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

We've all but confirmed it – the mysterious mage is Akiho. The catch is that she doesn't seem to be aware of this herself. She tells Kaito that she's had “another” dream and proceeds to describe a series of nighttime visions wherein she's looking down on someone who has something she really wants. Kaito comments that with each dream she's learning a little more about the scenario, but something in the way he says this implies that he already knows what's going on; he's just waiting for her to figure it out. Presumably the “dreams” are his doing, and he's grooming Akiho to either remember something about herself or do something at his behest. At this point, I wouldn't put it past him to be manipulating her for his own ends, but I can't discount the possibility that she's actually a powerful being in her own right who has simply forgotten her true identity. Whatever the answer, since she's clearly doing more than just dreaming – she actively tries to steal Sakura's key this time, and the last scene of the episode shows the mystery mage outside Sakura's house – things must be reaching the tipping point.

Another indication of the increased urgency at hand (for Sakura anyway, since Syaoran and Eriol clearly already know more) is that Mei Ling is coming back next week. Since she's been the only one to really talk to Sakura about her experiences with anything resembling honesty, she's likely coming not so much to visit as to lend her support. Hopefully this will put an end to everyone dancing around our heroine with what they may or may not know, because it's really getting annoying at this point. Magical girls (or in Sakura's case, magic-using girls, since she doesn't have a transformation) don't have to be brilliant or always in the know, but they are supposed to be the heroines of their own stories, and right now it feels like Sakura's dancing around that role without truly filling it. This may come down to the somewhat rote way she's been getting new cards, but whatever the reason, it definitely needs to change soon.

But before we get to that, let's have a ball sports festival! What's that, you ask? Apparently it's time taken out of the school day to play sports that involve balls? But then why is badminton included? That's definitely not played with a ball! In truth, this is a convenient way to get everyone outside so that the Hail card can attack in a remarkably unsubtle way – even the teachers notice that the only place it's hailing is over their school. This causes Sakura to realize that her card selection is heavily weighted toward water, air, and earth magic (counting Gravitation as earth), which means that she doesn't have the appropriate tools to fight Hail. This seems important in more ways than giving Syaoran a chance to show off what he's learned, although he looks strangely reluctant to do so after his initial attack. Is that because it takes more out of him than he wants us to know? Or is the spell particularly dangerous? Maybe he just doesn't want to let on how powerful he's become in case the bad guys are watching. Whatever the reason, his reaction before he casts his second fire spell stands out as the most important part of the fight.

This episode ends on a much more sinister note than any of the ones before. With Akiho basically revealed as the mage (and as someone with an affinity for giant snakes) and the troubling revelation that Kero has been sleeping a lot more, as well as Toya's prolonged absence from home, there's a lot to be worried about as the series heads into its second half. There's a distinct possibility that everything up to this point has been setup for what's about to go down. This is Clamp, after all – they aren't exactly known for sweet and happy stories.

Rating: B+

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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