Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episode 18

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 18 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

Although there are many spin-offs and plays on Lewis Carroll's original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice in Clock Land is not one of them. But, fun fact, Salvador Dalí did illustrate an edition of Alice, complete with his signature melting clocks. That's worth mentioning not just because it definitively proves that pretty much everyone has illustrated Carroll's famous text, but also because it confirms that Clear Card is working with the idea of the story rather than an actual book. Given what Carroll's heroine has come to symbolize in literature and film, that's something we needed to know in order to more fully figure out what's going on with Akiho, Kaito, and Momo.

The answer in this episode is still “not much,” but that's now feeling more like build up than a stalling tactic. Both Sakura and Akiho have visions of the giant cogs of the dream world (Sakura without actually losing consciousness; Akiho has to stop her from falling down some stairs), and in Akiho's case, she's clearly not sure what's going on. This, despite her strong associate with Carroll's heroine, suggests that she may not be Alice herself – Alice is fully conscious of what's going on and is active in her own journey. Akiho's very unawareness may mark her as a different player, as might her love of Alice-themed books: maybe she's not reading about herself, but about someone she loves or needs to meet. Given that the Alice theme is now well-established, that could cast her as Lorrina, the sister Alice is with before her tumble into Wonderland, or possibly as the other girl the White Rabbit interacted with previous to Alice's entry on the scene, the unseen Mary Anne. That would cast Sakura as Alice and could have some very interesting implications for the story going forward.

Meanwhile, Toya seems like he's on the cusp of confronting Sakura about what's going on. He's totally aware that she's sneaking out of the house to do something magic-related, and his peek into her room suggests that perhaps he's getting a little tired of her (lame) attempts to fool him. When Yue tells him that he sometimes can't sense Sakura's powers (when she's in the cog world?), Toya isn't pleased. There's a strong implication that he's saving up his returning power in order to save his sister, or at least help her, so it would make sense if he's getting ready to more actively monitor the situation, which would lead to him talking to either Sakura or Syaoran about how much he knows. He may not be Syaoran's biggest fan, but it would make sense for him to try and keep Sakura in the dark a bit longer – Toya's clearly playing a longer game than anyone else, possibly to stay out of the sights of Kaito or whoever's pulling the strings.

Things are starting to come to more of a head. There's much more acknowledgement of the fact that the new cards seem to line up with the older ones, and those cards are making a more visible mark on the world – the Blaze card leaves burn marks on top of the torii where it perched, which, like the flipped penguins a while back, is likely to garner attention. Sakura's friends are aware that their cake decorations went missing and that they all fell asleep during class, so something is going to have to give relatively soon. Whether it's Sakura, Kaito, Akiho, or Toya who pushes the plot to that point isn't decided yet, and it really could be any of them. It all may boil down to the question of who is Alice and who is the Queen of Hearts in story's world.

Rating: B+

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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