Reviewby Chris Shepard
DVD 1 - The Clow
Curiosity is part of any 10-year-old's life, but Sakura just broke the seal on a magical book and released all of the mischievous spirits imprisoned on the cards inside! Kero, the "Guardian of the Clow Cards" is horrified to find all of the cards gone and tells Sakura she must become the "Cardcaptor" and retrieve the spirits before they work their mischief in the world.
Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the many titles to have recently have caused an uproar in the anime community. When Nelvana, a non-anime company, bought the rights to this show and announced they'd be dubbing it for TV distribution, fans of the fansub version being traded around went into a panic. Many people thought the show would be mangled to death and well, they were right. I haven't seen the U.S. TV version, entitled " Cardcaptors", but from what I've heard, it's a complete disaster. They skipped the first several episodes (where characters are introduced), made a secondary male character one of the main characters while turning it all into some kind of mediocre fighting show that made no sense. Thankfully, Nelvana hadn't gone completely bonkers. Due to the overwhelming fan response they got, a deal was worked out with Pioneer for a separate uncut subtitled version to be produced. I hope somebody out there is taking notes...
So how does the DVD itself stack up? The anime itself is colorful and looks great on the DVD. I had no problems at all. The packaging is very attractive as well, containing a highly detailed picture of Sakura filled with bright colors keeping in line with the general mood and animation of the show itself. This one definitely stands out. Extras include a text-less version of the catchy opening song as well as the Pokemon-esque song for Nelvana's "Cardcaptors".
Being a magical girl series, nearly every male over the age of 10 (at least those who haven't gotten used to this through other anime series) is bound of to feel a little out of place when they first start watching this. I say it's time to expand your horizons! If you can stomach the fact that the series features bright colored, thick outlined 10-year-old girls with magic powers, you're in for a very fun show!
"Fun" is what best describes this anime. Nothing serious has happened yet and there hasn't been any real plot twists but I still really enjoyed watching this. Young Sakura is extremely likeable and with good character introductions it was easy to get into her. She's bright and cheery, although not too overdone, and is someone you can't help but root for. Sakura also has a best friend named Tomoyo who's been all four episodes in some way or another. She seems likeable yet so far it seems that all she does is tag along and provide Sakura with a different costume every time she goes after a card spirit. Tomoyo hasn't been fully developed but hopefully we'll get more acquainted with her in a future volume.
If you're worried that this is tedious and boring show, you're wrong. There's plenty of action that never becomes mindless. While I'm guessing that this is only to introduce us to the characters and to help us get used to them, these first four episodes mainly follow the same rough formula. Sakura runs into one of the escaped card spirits and must somehow fight it in order to capture it to bring it back into card form. A main antagonist has to show up sooner or later, I'm sure of it. It's something to look forward to.
Being very brightly colored as I previously mentioned, the animation is very good as well. Tons better than most of the children's anime shows you're used to seeing. I was really able to get into the first fight in the first episode, where Sakura has to somehow capture a gargantuan sized eagle bird all while on roller blades. The animation is fast and the action is exciting.
With all the dark themed serious anime that is so abundant on DVD in the U.S., it was nice to finally find a series that was just plain fun that you can just sit back and relax and enjoy. At first glance it looks as if Cardcaptor Sakura is geared strictly to young girls, however it contains elements that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age or gender, providing they are open-minded enough. It's a shame that Nelvana did not create a dubbed, uncut version that was more true to the original. This DVD would be much more attractive to younger audiences if it included a dub track. Oh well. Be sure to check out this series, it's very addictive!
Overall : B+
+ Addictive and just plain fun.
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