Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 19 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?
There's a very important takeaway from this week's episode of Clear Card: Sakura is now one of the five most power magic users Kero has ever known. This comes up when Sakura uses Record to make a video of her reading to children at the hospital, but when she tries to view it, it turns out that she's made a recording of thirty years in the past. Sakura's just upset that she'll have to wait for Tomoyo's movie, to say nothing of the fact that she thinks she screwed up using the card, but Kero and Yue know better: it takes a very, very powerful mage to record footage of times gone by. Kero comments that he can only think of four people who could, leaving he and Yue stunned by the fact that Sakura is now one of that number.
With this kind of bombshell dropped in the final moments of the episode, you'd think that most of it would have been leading up to it. In that you'd largely be mistaken. While there are hints, such as shots of old photos on the hospital walls and Syaoran having a phone conversation with Wei about how he's reached a serious decision, most of the show is instead devoted to the actual reading that Sakura and Akiho give. They're reading a real picture book, Nankichi Nimii's 1943 Buying Mittens, which may account for the fact that we hear the entire story. It's a sweet little piece about a fox kit with cold paws being sent to buy mittens from a human town despite his mother's fears that people will hurt her baby, but it doesn't appear to add much to the overall story of Clear Card. That may, of course, change sometime in the next few episodes, because the moral of the book is that sometimes people defy your expectations – the fox mother expects the humans to try to hurt her child, and the human shopkeeper expects the kit to try to pay with leaves instead of money. Both are proven wrong, and both go home thinking about that fact. Given that Akiho may be the mystery mage, this could become an important lesson for Sakura (and possibly Akiho) to remember as the series nears its finale.
Unfortunately here it just seems like a way to take up time until the revelation of just how powerful Sakura has become. While there is something lovely about having a book read to you, that's not really the experience we're after when we watch a TV show, and it makes the half-hour drag. That Sakura and Akiho have clearly never read to a group of children before is a nice touch – they're visibly uncomfortable when the kids start actually reacting to the story – but it's not a large enough piece of the story to really make much of a difference.
The real highlights of this week are, therefore, both before and after the story. Sakura turning on the charm to get Syaoran to agree to participate in the reading is pretty funny, and the sheer devotion Akiho puts into prepping for the reading is impressive. (And since little kids aren't generally good at constructive criticism, it was probably a good plan.) Her refusal to write in the book is a nice detail to add in; many bibliophiles (myself included) won't mar a book in that way out of respect or for their own reasons, like a grandmother who was a librarian, for example. It's just a good piece of consistency for her character, and one that indicates that no matter what or who else she may turn out to be, she really means it when she says that she loves books.
With an episode count of twenty-two, things are definitely getting down to the wire for Clear Card. That makes episodes that drag like this one a bit worrisome, but it does look like things will start moving faster next week. Who knows what Grandfather will have in store for Sakura at his villa?
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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