Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episode 21

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 21 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

It's the penultimate episode of Clear Card, and while it looks like next week will give us a conclusion, it seems doubtful that we'll get anything particularly final. That's not the best of news, but it is a very good sign that we get some solid answers this week. The most important piece is the reiteration of just how strong Sakura herself really is as a mage: it's confirmed that she's been creating each new card she's captured. While that has certainly been hinted at in previous episodes as some cards coincided just a little too closely with what she was talking/thinking about at the time, the Mirror card this week is very plainly the result of her discussion with Syaoran about that very subject. That she can then use the card to reflect magic precisely as she wishes to is simply a further proof of her overwhelming power.

Syaoran noting this aloud (or at least so that we get to hear it; poor Sakura's still totally in the dark) marks another change in the story. We've had hints and comments about how amazing Sakura is, but this is the first time everyone is acknowledging the fact this season – from Eriol and Syaoran to Toya and even their dad. It isn't really all that surprising that Sakura's father would have figured out that weird stuff has been happening to his daughter since the fourth grade – he may not be home all that much, but he talks to his kids and he does pay attention. (Plus Sakura's really not that good at hiding these things. What are the chances no one's heard Kero talking, seriously?) That he's decided to mostly let Toya handle the situation could smack of poor parenting choices if he wasn't aware that Toya also inherited a little something from their mother. While this may not strictly be the first time that we've heard about Nadeshiko being a little out of the ordinary, it is perhaps the most significant mention of it, because it comes in the same episode as Grandpa giving Sakura a treasure of her mother's: a key.

It's pretty obvious that this key is significant, even if Sakura wasn't wearing one around her neck. The fact that it comes from England is a major point worth noting, because that's where Kaito hails from and as has been mentioned before, he's got a “D” in his name, signifying serious magical power and ability. Given his blue theme, the fact that Nadeshiko's key has a blue stone may also be important, to say nothing of the possibility that Kaito has assumed that Sakura had it all along. Keys and clockwork don't always go together, but anyone who has ever owned an old clock knows that they need to be wound with a special key (that, granted, doesn't look anything like a door key), and locked tomes are another staple of magic in stories. Going back to the idea that Akiho might be an automaton or something similar, Nadeshiko's key could be very important to whatever ritual Kaito is planning to enact.

So here we are: we know that Kaito is nigh unstoppable. He's stolen an artifact from England, which could be either the Alice book or Akiho herself, a theory supported by the brief shot of him holding what looks like the mystery mage and walking away. Sakura has been creating the clear cards herself, but remains utterly unaware of the fact, and her guardians Yue and Kerberos have only just learned about the extent of her power. Toya and Syaoran are both totally (albeit quietly) freaking out. And we only have one episode left.

Whatever ending we get next week isn't likely to be conclusive. Hopefully it will at least give Sakura an awareness of her own strength, because she really deserves to know at this point, and she's not going to be able to fully use her powers if she doesn't understand them. If there's one thing I want from this series, it's for someone to be honest with Sakura about it, because she knows that something's bothering Syaoran. But in the meantime, and perhaps even after next week, we can always go back to the beautiful image of our favorite couple embracing in the sunset sky. As far as images to tide you over go, that's a pretty good one.

Rating: B

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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