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Cardcaptor Sakura #4: Sakura Fight PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Friday, 24 September 2010 00:00
Cardcaptor SakuraAh, the volume that nearly sunk the US release of Cardcaptor Sakura - but more on that later. Another notable event for this volume is the first episode where there's no card to capture - but that doesn't mean there's any lack of fun...

13 - Sakura and the Elephant's Test of Strength
It's late night at the Penguin Park, and something is on the move - invisible, but very powerful, and the evidence whatever it was having been there is plain to see come morning, when the penguin slide is found uprooted and on its head. When she sees a news report on the "mystery", Sakura's quick to suspect that a Clow Card could be involved - but less keen about taking one on that can upturn playground apparatus. A school trip to the zoo also means she doesn't have the chance to investigate right away anyway - except that whatever card upturned King Penguin has followed them to the zoo...

Telling tall talesThat ain't right

14 - Sakura, Tomoyo and Cinderella
It's time for the school fair at Yukito & Toya's high school, and Yukito's invited Sakura along for the day - so not only does she get to spend some time with him, but she'll also get to see her brother performing in the school play. As Cinderella. It also seems that Toya's skills - including needlework and cooking, on top of dressing in drag - have caught the eyes of the high-school ladies, with one in particular being pressed by her friends to make a move on him. But things of a romantic nature - both on and off stage - are interrupted when another Clow card makes its presence felt...

SurprisePrincess Toya

15 - Sakura and Kero's Big Fight
While Li's powers have come in useful once or twice, there's the small problem that the Clow Cards choose their master from those who try to capture them - and Li's greater powers mean he's been able to claim cards for himself. The frustration at not being able to capture the cards themselves is starting to cause friction between Sakura and Kero - friction that soon boils when Kero pushes his luck a little too far. But when Kero then goes missing, Sakura's attentions turn to how to find him...

Ready for her photoshootKero's new owner

16 - Sakura and the Rainbow of Memories
The summer break has given Sakura and her family an excuse to take a holiday, and Yukito's tagging about for the ride - they're on their way to a remote country house, the perfect place for some peace and quiet. While wandering around the area, though, Sakura meets the elderly owner of a nearby mansion and strikes up a friendship with him. As their holiday comes towards its end, Sakura begins to think about what sort of gift she can give him, as thank-you for how nice he'd been to her while she was there - perhaps this is a time when the Clow cards could come in useful..?

Kindly old manEmerging from the shadows

First, that history lesson I promised. Not too long ago, former Geneon staffer Chad Kime appeared on Anime News Network's ANNCast podcast to talk about the rise and fall of what was probably the favourite anime company for most US/UK fans. Lots of details and number were talked about, but one of the most interesting bits was when they started talking about Cardcaptor Sakura. Beating all expectations, the sub-only uncut release (this version) originally massively outsold the edited Nelvana dub version - something that no-one had been expecting. All that changed, though, with this volume, the release of which was delayed over music rights issues. Geneon carried on releasing the subsequent volumes to schedule, with this volume eventually appearing a while later - but by that time, the damage had been done. The delayed volume 4 pissed off the fanbase enough that sales from there on tanked, and while Geneon saw out the full release of the series I believe it ended up costing them quite a bit of money. Ah, the perils of a fickle fanbase: sometimes they just don't understand the damage they're doing.

But that's historical curiosity - let's move on to what we have on hand. The first three episodes on the disc cover the usual territory, with one-half slice of life and one-half card capture. The highlight of these episodes is probably in episode 14, where we get to see Sakura's brother in drag playing the role of a princess - an interesting piece of casting, to be sure (and on slightly more sane that Yukito cast as a tin of tuna). As you'd expect, there's plenty of fun to be had along with the usual scenes of Sakura in action.

The final episode on the disc, though, breaks from the usual formula for the first time in the series, and looks at the holiday relationship between Sakura and the old man who lives in the mansion next to their holiday home. This is one of those stories that perhaps highlights the cultural differences between Japan and the Western world - in the UK, the thought of a young girl not only speaking to a strange old man but going to visit him, at home, unaccompanied would raise so many child protection issues that the poor old guy wouldn't know what hit him. It would be interesting to see what the BBFC would make of it, and I have to admit that I've been influenced by the British media hysteria over such things enough that the setup of the story did make me a little unfomfortable - but this is a kids' show and there's nothing to fear. If anything, the episode is another look at the history of Sakura's family, just done a bit more subtly than when Sonomi was first introduced last volume, and it's worthwhile viewing for that reason alone. While there's no card chase in the episode, there is an opportunity for Sakura to use one of the ones she already controls to bring a little happiness into someone's life, and if that doesn't give you a case of the warm fuzzies, then you may well be clinically dead.

All told, then, another decently enjoyable volume of Cardcaptor Sakura - not that I expect anything else from it. Damn near impossible to find now, of course, but if you can get your hands on it (and you'd have to pry mine from my cold, dead hands) it's well worth nabbing.

Rating - ***

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