Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?
This week, Clear Card shakes up the formula by having Sakura meet a card that wants to be her friend. Flight, which looks like the feathered garment that celestial maidens typically have stolen by humans to make them stay on Earth, is the friendliest card yet; it makes its appearance by basically asking to play tag. Sakura isn't prepared at first for Flight to be that nice (and how will the thorny vines of Action hurt it less than Gale?), but once she figures it out, it's clear that she's found a card who will enjoy working with her. Given that “capture” isn't a particularly positive word, this is truly a nice change of pace.
That's not the major reveal in this episode, however. Much more important is Syaoran's new trick – by doing the appropriate hand gestures, he has learned to pull a sword from his hand. We're not sure when he learned how to do this, but it's obvious that he intends to use this power to protect Sakura from any dangers that these new clear cards might pose. He's definitely not comfortable with the way things are. While Sakura's just going with the flow and Tomoyo's happy to just film Sakura catching cards in cool outfits, Syaoran's much more wary. He's more than simply unhappy that he can't sense the new cards; he flat-out doesn't trust whatever's behind their appearance, and I get the sense that he's thinking the cards may be excluding him on purpose. Not in a “neener neener, you can't come” sense, but rather that they don't want him involved in whatever they have planned for Sakura. Whether it's because they're afraid of him or because they just prefer to have Sakura as ignorant as possible isn't yet clear, but Syaoran's knowledgeable enough that I don't think we can just write his concerns off. The fact that next week will send Sakura to Akiho's house, which is conveniently where Eriol stayed, may feed into Syaoran's concerns - it's just a little too convenient that she'd be living in that particular house, isn't it?
In the meantime, we do find out what the Record card does this time – hang on to your hats, it records stuff. Crazy, right? Actually, its photo-and-hologram function is more like a combination of a 3D printer and a paparazzo in the way it zooms around frantically snapping pictures before printing them holographically, making me suspect that it will best be used for decoy purposes. That may assuage some of Syaoran's fears and be useful going forward, especially if there's a motion option. I also love the design of the card's physical manifestation – it plays with different methods of recording by having the look of an old film camera with a quill pen attached to its frame. Design-wise, the ribbon-wing form of Flight on Sakura's back is also especially nice; not only does it fit with the designs of Tomoyo's costumes, but it also would have been immensely appealing to me as a little girl, adding a new item to my list of “things that might make me fly if I try really hard.” That's the kind of appeal that sells merchandise, but it also feeds the imagination, which is more important in a children's show.
The fact that Clear Card is just such a kids' show probably fuels its continued slow and lighthearted pace even seven episodes in. That's still fine even from an adult perspective, because the art is so beautiful, the nostalgia factor is perfectly recreating the characters from the original show, and there are enough kernels of plot progression to keep us interested. But it's also worth remembering that many of us aren't the target demographic, and sometimes that's going to make things feel less exciting than we expect. Of course, given Syaoran's new power and Akiho's place of residence, I could be totally wrong about the stakes to come. There's definitely a major plot reveal lurking in the not-too-distant future, and that could shake everything up even as soon as next week.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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