Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Episodes 13-14

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

How would you rate episode 14 of
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ?

Nineteenth-century New England author Joseph C. Lincoln may have been on to something when he wrote that “it may be true that Love is blind; it seems equally true that all the rest of creation has its eyes wide open to see the sightless god upon his way.” That applies incredibly well to Sakura and Syaoran's relationship in episode fourteen of Clear Card—they're both aware of their own feelings for each other, but they're only tangentially aware of each other's feelings as they make slow progress from friends to something more—and no one wants to see that progress speed up more than their friends. Meiling may be leading this particular cheer squad for her friend and cousin, (that flourish when she steps aside so Syaoran can see Sakura's hair!) but most of the gang seems equally interested. Done less well, that could form the backbone of a truly irritating romantic subplot, but the show handles it quite nicely. Sakura and Syaoran's uncertainty and quiet emotions contrasted with their friends' more gung-ho approach feels very much like the way thirteen-year-olds behave, making moments like Syaoran cutting through the illusion and stopping time to help Sakura that much sweeter.

More interestingly, this allows Sakura to get her bearings and save the day. Since there's no card in sight when Sakura suddenly finds herself on an otherworldly savannah with friends rapidly turning into animals, she begins to panic, which leads to the weather worsening to reflect her anxiety. Syaoran is able to calm her down so that she can get everyone home safely, by wishing for it to happen. It's the most traditional magical girl moment she's had in this season, because the Mirage card operates on what she wants to see. The power to save everyone lies not in her key and magic, but instead in Sakura's strength of will. That's what got Syaoran to her side, but it also cost him. When Sakura uses her inner strength, she's able to set the world to rights like a true magical girl.

In some ways, that makes the Mirage card feel extraneous, and that may be intentional. In episode thirteen, which marks Meiling's return to the show as more than just a video chat, Sakura begins to see cat features on Meiling long before the card ever appears. In fact, Meiling's altered appearance stems from Akiho reading a book, that highly suspicious clockwork-covered text we saw when Sakura and Tomoyo visited her house. In the book, Akiho reveals, someone turns into a cat, and no sooner has she said that to her incredibly suspect servant than we see the exact same thing happening to Meiling. This along with Akiho's stated objective of collecting rare tomes seems to indicate that the clear cards may just be red herrings; the real danger is in the pages of the book.

The possibility that the cards aren't a distraction also exists; they could be the old Sakura cards attempting to power up in order to enable Sakura to defeat Akiho and Kaito. If the new enemies were aware of this, they may be the ones who forced the cards to clear and scatter, making it more difficult for Sakura to oppose them. That in turn could have triggered the return of Toya's power, something he discusses with Yuki (and Yue) in episode thirteen. If Sakura and the town are being threatened again, it would make sense that he'd “recharge” in order to be ready in the same way the cards powered up. That Sakura still hasn't noticed what's going on with her brother either speaks to her natural obliviousness or how focused she is on her own problems; either way, something needs to give on that front soon.

I admit some major concern for Syaoran after episode fourteen. He's clearly trying far too hard to fight with Sakura, something Meiling mentions that his parents are concerned about. His collapse, should it happen, could be the trigger for Toya to step in, but it's obvious that whatever the end goal, Syaoran's pushing himself too much. That's where old Joseph C. Lincoln's words about love may come in handy; Sakura's only partially aware right now, but luckily for her, there are plenty of other people keeping their eyes open to make sure that things work out.

Thank god for Meiling's return, right?

Rating: B

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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