Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episode 20

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

Countless iterations of the Spiderman origin story have made the idea that power comes with responsibility a cliché, but that doesn't make it any less true. Equally important is the notion that those aware of what power can do to them ought to let others in on the secret, and that's where things are getting sticky in Clear Card. Everyone except Sakura and Akiho seems to have a better idea of where the girls' increasing powers might send them, yet no one seems particularly inclined to fill them in.

In the case of Akiho, this may be more excusable. We've been cause to wonder what was going on with the new girl since she first entered the story, and now things are starting to come together. From the mysterious book about “Alice” to her shared dreams with Sakura, it's beginning to look like Akiho isn't so much her own person as one created to be a variation on Sakura Kinomoto. That could explain their complementary names (spring and fall, plus the aural similarities in their surnames), similar hair styles, and the way Kaito has been treating Sakura. The recurring clockwork imagery and the fact that Akiho seems to be viewing the dream of the mystery mage from the outside makes me wonder if she's an automaton of some kind. She recognizes the mage's robes as her own, but she's also clearly not seeing them as the mage, which may indicate that she's not the true Akiho, but a body created to hold her spirit. Did Akiho die and Kaito is trying to use Sakura's powers to recreate her? That might explain his protectiveness and all of the vague comments about “progress” that appear to be coming to a head this week. That would make sense, but it also makes this feel like it may be far more complicated than necessary, because if there's anyone who would lend a hand in this situation, it would be Sakura.

So that raises a much more alarming question: will “rebooting” Akiho mean that Sakura has to die? Given her collapse this week after the dream and the fact that her mother's ghost tells her that she will be lost if she pushes her powers, that seems like a very real possibility. It would explain why Kero, Yue, and Syaoran are all so concerned as well, and Eriol's meeting with the other two guardians this week indicates that things are getting serious. Eriol has clearly been monitoring things from his end, but it's likely that he never expected matters to move so swiftly. On the other hand, if Sakura's death was a possibility all along, why on earth did no one tell her? Yes, she's only thirteen, but we've also been told several times that she's incredibly powerful; wouldn't it make more sense to bring her in on this secret?

The answer may lie in the fact that no one wants Sakura to be tempted to sacrifice herself for Akiho. It's a common magical girl move, from Nurse Angel Ririka to Sailor Moon Crystal, it's the thing to do when all hope seems lost. Given that Sakura is living in a magical girl story, the characters may not be aware that things typically work out for the best when the ultimate sacrifice is called for, but it's still not a choice anyone wants to see Sakura make. That's presumably why her great-grandfather was part of this episode, discussing his regrets about Nadeshiko. He may have seen this happen once before, and he isn't willing to let it happen again.

Does that mean that the key Sakura will receive next week once belonged to her mother? Has Grandpa been aware of the truth all along? Things are finally taking off, and the answers should just keep on coming from here on out.

Rating: B+

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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