Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episode 16

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 16 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

This week makes up for the last in terms of action and plot, although the trade-off is that it feels kind of rushed. We pick right back up with the card wreaking havoc on Tomoyo's family estate, and it's really too bad that Sakura doesn't have a “Repair” card, because this sucker tunnels all over the place like a giant version of Bugs Bunny, leaving huge hummocks of land in its wake. That makes it somewhat surprising that the card isn't something like “Dig” or “Tunnel,” and I admit to being sad that it didn't look more mole-like, but the real takeaway is how much power Sakura has over her cards. To stop this new one, she encloses the entirety of the estate in Siege, something Kero isn't even sure is possible because of the space involved. That it works says a lot about both Sakura's own magical strength and how much the cards themselves respect her, something we see again in Flight's jubilant behavior.

This fight is over before the commercial break, which does make it feel a little too fast, especially since the length makes it apparent that if a little more flashback were eliminated last week, this could easily have fit there. Was it drawn out to try and entice viewers to stick around? Maybe, because the slow plot progression is definitely beginning to wear on me at least. Finally getting some confirmation of the true villain is very welcome, but it also feels like something we should have had sooner.

On that note, the baddie now seems to be exclusively Kaito. This week he reveals that he's much more involved in Akiho's life and friendships than she's aware, in part because of his handy little power to turn back time – when he reveals that he knows too much about Sakura's family, he rewinds the clock, leaving Akiho confused and off-balance. This all makes Akiho feel much more like a pawn than a willing participant in whatever's going on. She seems to know that something is wrong, because her fixation on falling asleep at friends' houses feels like much more than mere embarrassment, and when Kaito invokes his spell, she's both scared and seems like she's definitely seen it before. Why Kaito needs to work through Akiho may be as (relatively) innocuous as her being the right age, but it's becoming increasingly evident that if she knew what was really going on, she wouldn't like it.

Kaito's increased sinister vibe isn't helping her peace of mind either. This week he compliments her on her singing before making a comment about Tomoyo being a good singer too – and there's something kind of worrisome about that. For as much as he's using her, Kaito does appear to care about Akiho, so this begs the question of whether or not he'd do something to Tomoyo in order to help his favorite pawn. Right now I wouldn't put it past him, and I'm sure he'll be listening in through Momo (which is all but confirmed when he meets Akiho on her way home) to see what he can do.

All of this may be why the second card capture this week has to be carried out by Sakura and Meiling together. As Kaito grows more possessive of Akiho and antagonistic toward her friends, Sakura and Meiling are strengthening their friendship. Even though Meiling goes back to Hong Kong at the end of the episode, she's now on first name terms with Sakura, which she feels gives her the right to tell Syaoran in no uncertain terms to knock it off with the stupid stuff. The actual fight against what turns out to be a humanoid card is choreographically interesting, the most exciting card capture we've had in a while. It's almost enough to make you forget that faces are simplified to the point of being mouthless for much of the episode.

The preview for next week doesn't look like anything different from what we've been getting so far – no markers of major plot developments or anything. But evil roll cakes is a promising visual premise at least, and given Kaito's skill in the kitchen, maybe it will be more than it appears.

Rating: B-

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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