Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 17 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?
Now that it's occurred to me, I wonder why it didn't before – could Kaito be trying to save Akiho as his end goal? We learned last week that he can reverse time in small increments, and this week he makes a comment to Momo (who turns out to be sentient after all) about the rate at which Sakura is collecting the new cards. Add to that their discussion after he puts Akiho to sleep at the end of the episode, and I'm beginning to wonder if Akiho deciphering her mysterious book isn't as much a risk to her as to Sakura, if not more so. If Kaito is working toward saving his young charge, that puts things in a very different light, as well as potentially drawing a thematic link between Clear Card and Tsubasa, where Sakura becomes the savior of Akiho's time.
However you interpret Kaito and Momo's discussions, this is the most plot progression we've had in weeks, and gripes about timing aside, it does precisely what good storytelling should by giving us new ways to look at the information we already have, so that we can come up with new theories about the endgame. Sakura's recognition of the mage in her dreams that dissipates upon awakening, as well as the fact that she borrows a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from Rika, once again points to Lewis Carroll's classic children's book as a thematic element of the story. Spoiler alert for 1864, but Alice's journey turns out to have been a dream, and time is a component of that – not just the way that time passes differently in dreams, but also the White Rabbit's obsession with being late and his pocket watch. This could indicate that Kaito and Momo are both the White Rabbit, which begs the question of whether Alice is both Akiho and Sakura or if one of them is playing a different role. (It may also be worth considering one of them as book Alice and one of them as Alice Liddell, the girl Carroll based the character on.) It isn't a direct retelling, but there are now enough pieces and themes lining up to make the comparison worth noting.
Similarly to how Carroll sandwiches Alice's dream between scenes of her waking at the start and end of the novel, this episode uses the Alice imagery to both open and close the episode. Unfortunately, the middle isn't quite as good, although I am impressed that they went over baking the cake in such detail. (Is this the result of the current popularity of foodie shows?) I should note that their recipe is significantly more complex than the roll cakes I've made; I'm not sure why Tomoyo needs meringue for it, but points to her for whipping it by hand. It's too bad that the cooking and the cakes look better than most of the faces during the middle section of the episode; this is another week where details and perspective are unfortunately lacking. (Akiho's massive hand at the end is another example.) While things look good when it's really important, like the cake monster and the use of Spiral, the visuals are still a step down overall.
Now that the plot's finally taken off, it looks like the plan going forward is to keep things that way. Yue and Toya seem set to play a larger role next week, and Kaito is clearly feeling pressure to get things moving, even if we don't know precisely why yet. In the meantime, I'm fighting the urge to make poor Akiho a T-shirt like the ones my sisters and I used to joke about making for Molly (Naru) back when Sailor Moon was on Toonami – one that reads “Official Energy Source for the Negaverse.”
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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