Fourteen-year-old Sakura starts junior high school along her friends, including Syaoran, who had just returned to Tomoeda. After having a dream with a mysterious cloaked figure, all of Sakura's cards turn blank and are rendered powerless, thus she starts her quest to find out what is wrong. In doing so, Sakura and her allies discover and capture new transparent cards using a new key.
'The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.'
Nostalgia, while is a strong tool to make a sequel successful with high ratings, is not enough if you are banking only… and only on it.
The act of watching the sequel of a beloved show itself brings on enough nostalgia. The older audiences feel happy inside, thinking of good old days when the original show used to air and how they enjoyed it and talked about it with their friends; or enjoyed the show alone while cuddling up with their house pet,
and parents moved around doing daily chores, smiling secretly at their kids’ lit-up faces.
Your etc. is part of that older generation audience, and is a huge admirer of CCS. And precisely that is the reason Clear Card-hen has disappointed me. Big time.
Regarding Story and Character, I am going to be in rant-mode now, please bear with me.
Yes, of course I shall compare this to the original saga. The original saga was not simply about a girl who can do magic and plays around with cards. It had decently paced narrative with immense character development, surprisingly good exploration of love, gender identity, sacrifice, family and most importantly, efficient magical world-building without expanding it in an out-of-control manner, in only 70 episodes.
On the contrary, Clear Card-hen has a pace that certainly reminds you of all the bad fillers of shounen animes, the SOL way! Even after 16 episodes, the story reaches nowhere, taking quite a test of patience. When a season is only 22 episodes long, this is certainly not the ideal way to advance a narrative. The new narrative has such limited amount of new elements - only introducing new characters do not imply the story will immediately feel new. While there were SOL-ish elements in CCS, this sequel has stretched that into “I-will-read-a-WHOLE-story-to-kids-and-use-up-an-episode” level.
Why are the episodes consuming so much time by revisiting the same locations to catch similar cards? Was a new location so hard to design? No. The answer is, “remember, we had <done this and this> here? Now we are here, doing <placeholder for similar this and this>, so lovely memory… etc etc”.
In a dynamic medium like Anime, if one does not follow the audio-visual rule “show, don’t tell”, then it quickly becomes a boring tale. The lunchtime banter among friends or “remember that?” between Sakura and Kero / Tomoyo/ ANYONE added surprisingly little to the actual story.
This show does not give detailed attention to an important factor like character development, given the fact that it takes place some years later. What happened to the MC? Mind that, Sakura is fourteen now. But her behaviour still does not feel like older than that of CCS. Her “Oyeeeehhhhh”, the frequency of which is much more than her younger years (how??) and endlessly thanking and praising Akiho-chan, while is very cute for the first couple of times, quickly becomes a repetitive aspect of her behaviour. Sakura can do better.
The only possible answer to this is that Madhouse is trying to grab the attention of the new younger audiences of Japan and around the world, for whom this sweetness of Sakura is new. But while nostalgia is the trump card, it is surprising to see Sakura herself not maturing with time. Even Anime-only Meilin has come a long way, she does not behave as she used to. Syaoran, while having frustratingly less dialogs except in the last three episodes, has grown up from that brat-y type of CCS.
As for the other characters, well, we come to know very little about the old characters and even less about the new characters, rather than seeing them saying endless thank you to each other and praising each other. Meanwhile, Syaoran boy keeps saying just “yeah” to everyone.
Romance of Syaoran and Sakura certainly took a backseat, which it shouldn’t have, after all those build-ups in CCS series and the movies. Interaction of Touya and Yue, while remained interesting, was SO short that I am sure many viewers were left feeling unfulfilled. A tease? Okay. But Touya’s secret power, which he will unleash whenever he feels right, serves no purpose in this season except being all words.
Akiho is a puppet and is painfully and repetitively so. Had the season been longer, we could have dived deeper into her and Kaito’s backstory, but the conscious decision of the director and animators to keep everything as the material for the next season is hardly the right way to keep the audience interested throughout.
The OP1 “CLEAR” and the ED2 are my favourites. Background sound is not as adorably cheesy as CCS, but not exceptional either.
The art is beautiful and the animation feels refreshing. It’s 2018, and it’s Madhouse, so of course! This is a good update.
I was elated as the show started, and was quite forgiving in the beginning. It was great to see Sakura and others again! But then, I grew tired of waiting for the big reveals, new magic by new characters, new power of old characters and so on. Nope. It never really took off.
To me, Clear Card-hen has clearly gone overboard with nostalgia and the SOL trend. Only the last two episodes are comparatively decent ones. The season leaves everything so open-ended that one is bound to feel cheated by the brains behind this show; ‘okay, so you simply want me to watch another season, you never had any intention to make it a concise, self-sufficient narrative’.
Will I watch the next seasons? Yes, I will. But this “hen” needs to step up the game. Else it is nothing more than an okay-kind nostalgia-fest than being the true successor of arguably the most interesting magical girl show.
Having just seen the original Cardcaptor Sakura, I was immediately rewarded with a sequel. My expectations were lower than normally. CLAMP has been rebooting franchises in the past just in the name of milking them, without the sequels ever accomplishing anything. Moreover, I had some major problems with the original CCS to begin with. Saying that, I have been somewhat positively surprised by both: MadHouse and CLAMP themselves.
When it comes to the original CCS, it was simply too long, dragging, and always afraid to go anywhere and to do anything. The romantic subplot became the main reason for its fans to follow the series, but
CLAMP failed to deliver so bad they even had to make a sequel movie just to offer some sort of canon pairing to it. Unfortunately even this "conclusion" was practically a copy-paste of the generic, open ending mainly seen is harem series. With this sequel, CLAMP has seemed to finally learn what the fans want, and offer at least some amount of content like that.
The writing is still a mixed bag. The slice of life moments vary from heart-warming picnics to explanations on how to use a microwave. Needless to say, the latter type of slice of life silliness is awful to watch. The comedy writing can be equally hit and miss. The weird sounds Sakura makes, and the scenes where her brother teases her are all great to watch. Any other comedy doesn't really relief anything. The romance aspect has changed from annoying to rather cute with the sequel. Our main couple's awkward blushing really does serve the atmosphere of the show overall.
The actual story is bit more believable than last time, and also the events around our cards are often way more original and memorable: take the walking trees for example. However, the balance of the show is pretty weird. Half of the time it feels like the cardcaptor side is just an excuse to fill the series with slice of life silliness, but on the hand, the same can be said about the school and family life of Sakura who seems to so often have her thoughts in nothing but the cards and current events. The fact that she has to hide her magical girl side from so many other characters is really splitting the show in two which limits the writing and makes it repetitive, moreover, makes the people who do not know her secret seem stupider than they are.
Our characters are still pretty much kids. Long time skip would have been a good idea, considering that the series was on hiatus for over 15 years anyway. Sakura is identical to the character we saw in the movie 2. Outside the romance, there isn't much development on her character. Still, some of her behavior is simply stunning. Like that dancing scene from episode 9. She radiates happiness so much it's practically impossible not to feel the same when watching her. Syaoran acts rather inconsistently in this. His dialog 50% of the time consist of him replying "yeah" to whatever anyone says to him. The other 50% of the time he seems to be the same character as before except the whole "annoying brat" aspect of him has been removed completely. Great decision right there. Tomoyo still sounds like she will die if winds blows on her too hard, and once again only exists because Sakura exists. At least her singing scenes are great to watch. Touya is obviously real bro because he is so skilled at teasing Sakura, and creates some funny comedic situations by doing so.
Having watched the original anime from bluray, I can't be but surprised how much better the sequel looks and sounds like streamed. Some of the scenes were clearly created in the purpose of being screencapped. The moe faced comedy segments are just really good addition, and practically the whole production is -- art-wise-- an improvement. Especially some of the card "fights" were just ridiculous color effects in the original. In this one, everything is pretty and serves the show. The OST on the hand is also pretty weird. The BGM mainly reminds me of those cheesy tracks you can hear in children adventure games when you enter a shop to buy consumables. Not all that good decisions were made when these tracks were picked. The ED1 "music video" is still simply amazing. One of the best ED's in recent years.
There really isn't all that much the sequel adds to the franchise outside the overall length of it. The source material is of course ongoing and all. That's hardly a problem, tho. This series has been made for the fans to enjoy it, and as far as I can agree any series accomplishing what it tried to do: this one hit a homerun. The series often comes with such a charming atmosphere it almost looks like Kobato the early years. Unfortunately, it suffers from quality differences so bad that the show is definitely more enjoyable to watch than it is good, but personally, I am still very pleased with it.
Been almost 17 years since the original series graced us and LA watched it not knowing it was anime, now Cardcaptor Sakura finally got it's sequel and LA was hyped let alone what new adventures Sakura would go up to, for what it's worth, Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen was a good sequel that expanded on Sakura's magical world...just with a few upsets.
Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen leaves off directly after the Sealed Card movie & the first season with Sakura now entering middle school with a cloaked figure appears in her dreams and Sakura's cards turns blank however she now collects the new "Clear" cards with
a new key to "secure" them all...but who is the cloaked figure and what's up with the new cards?
So by the synopsis itself, it has the same notion of collecting "new cards" much like the original series but with some mystery elements thrown in, mainly the mysterious cloaked figure. The "new cards" however is something like the upgraded versions of Sakura's and Clow Cards but the "upgrade" does signify Sakura's development as a character as well as her entering middle school, but it also signifies Sakura's romantic development to Syoran even further with this as well to a certain extent. With this, Sakura's tactical prowess has been greatly improved this season using her new cards to great efficiency as she collects more and more and LA wasn't expecting some cards to not be used (like some from the original series) but Clear Card-hen DOES implement these new cards quite well.
On speaking of Syoran, Syoran greatly develops as a character mainly on steeling his resolve in helping Sakura and not getting her hurt in a ways and though both Sakura and Syoran are "twice shy" in terms of romantic relationship, well to be honest they are 14 years old so LA kinda gets the twice shy thing but nonetheless Syoran and Sakura develops together both in a slight romantic sense as well as partners in the new threat they face.
We also have some new characters in Clear Card-hen and the only thing to note of if not going into spoilers would be of Akiho Shinomoto voiced by Minori Suzuki, who quickly becomes friends with Sakura who is VERY similar to Sakura as well and yes Akiho is a MAJOR part of the plot but again spoilers but nonetheless since Akiho and the new characters have significance in the plot, they are implemented well into the plot if only because of their importance in the plot and aren't one-off characters.
So, LA does have some small gripes in this season and that some of the episodes are fillery to say the least especially with some of the cards just dedicated to getting cards and sometimes rushed in some cases where Sakura gains one right after the other, but LA will defend the "filler" episodes as at least those episodes some sprinkle in subtle hints to the mystery at hand as well as slowly develop Sakura, Syoran or Akiho in many cases. ALOT of people might be angry at this season at how slow the pacing this season is and LA says yes this season is slow paced BUT LA will say it's at least consistent it's slow paced nature and it keeps to it for the most part and LA will say that is kinda how this season wanted to be and LA won't fault the season for that. The next thing would be of Sakura's denseness of the situation she is in and though to be honest many of the other characters KEEP her in the dark thus makes Sakura's denseness justified and "for the plot" but Sakura as a character goes with the flow either way to make people happy at the expense of her own, so yeah LA can kinda see why the characters keep her in the dark either way add in the new threat this season complied to this makes it even more justified, though Sakura isn't just dense and that's it as again, Sakura's tactical prowess is nothing to laugh about let alone she knows something is up and sometimes is close to it, but she just doesn't get into the bigger picture and likes to focus on the threat at hand instead to protect everyone. Lastly would be of the new cards which are pretty much "upgraded cards" of the Clow Cards just with similar but different names attached to them, they do have a metaphorically meaning like LA said at the start of the review, but it makes many of the cards Sakura secures to be ALMOST copy and pasted from the original series ALMOST as Clear Card-hen gives securing these new cards with a new twist OR trying something new to it all which kinda makes it worth it.
In terms of animation, once again done by MADHOUSE, well the animation is like a modernized, yet beautiful rendition of the original series' animation yeah LA knows it's almost 2 decades difference and the original series has it's own notable animation for it's time but nonetheless Clear Card-hen's animation is beautiful to say the least right down the each frame, from the solid updated character designs, beautiful backgrounds (and oddly this season, it was fixated on food porn for some reason) and great battle animations. LA really didn't see any sense of derpiness in ANY of the episodes either and the comedic moments don't count as they used intentional chibi animation for comedic effect, soo either way the level of dedication the animation had gone into this season by MADHOUSE was amazing.
Voice acting, well the original cast is back so the voice cast is utterly amazing but the MVP easily goes to Sakura Tange...as Sakura having reprised her role after 17 years and still having the same inflictions as her first major role is AMAZING. LA would say the same thing to Aya Hisakawa, Junko Iwao and Motoko Kumai respectively as Kero, Tomoyo Daidouji and Syoran. New cast members like Minori Suzuki and Natsuki Hanae as Akiho and Yuna D. Kaito was great additions to the cast and for Minori Suzuki mingling with Sakura Tange, Junko Iwao and Motoko Kumai, well she had great chemistry with them especially Sakura Tange!. In all, the voice cast with the new and old was GREAT, LA loved this voice cast.
The finale though gave Sakura something about Akiho but with how it ended, at least I think Sakura is in the loop even after the events. Unfortunately, Clear Card-hen still has MANY plot threads left after the ending from Kaito and Akiho themselves and how it all adds up, Touya's growing power and his deal into all this, Sakura's power and what that has to do with Kaito and Akiho, just none of these are answered by the end of it. Be it if it's the manga itself or Clear Card-hen could only adapt what it could but still I will say this is probably the biggest detriment to the season soo far.
Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen was a nostalgic blast to the past to an anime series that hold a dear place in LA's heart as one of LA's favourite animes of all time and though Clear Card-hen was a long time coming LA was happy with this season of Cardcaptor Sakura from both it's strengths and weaknesses. Clear Card-hen had it's many upsets from it's fillery moments, same as the first verse with the new cards and it's slow paced nature but they were remedied by it's mystery elements, subtle hints, the new card metaphors and character/romance/plot developments progressing with it's new major plotline it had going for it. Clear Card-hen obviously learns and brings in the flaws from the original series more than half the screentime the original series (remember it had SEVENTY episodes compared to the 22 of Clear Card-hen) had such as learning from the formula and giving it a twist to getting the new cards and adding in the mystery element into the mix this time (though the original series did it to near the last 1/3 of the series but still LA sees Clear Card-hen doing it better) but since the formula has a new twist, it IS still the same formula of collecting the same but upgraded cards and fillery moments the original series had and though that is a detriment it's something LA can't fault this season for as it's slow paced nature makes those 22 episodes worth it for what it had, the one thing I can fault is the non-conclusive ending it gave itself and we don't even know if there is gonna be another season out or OVA's might finish it, but where it is now, the finale and how it ended is the biggest black mark on this season.
However with all that, Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen was one of LA's favourite animes of Winter 2018 because of "nostalgia" but LA genuinely did enjoy watching the series and having nostalgia of the original series as this season adds to it by referencing it as well. Now does this season beat out the original series, well no, it falls off the mark if only little, maybe because it's just a strong nostalgia keeps LA from giving Clear Card-hen the original series' place but still Clear Card-hen is a good sequel to the original series and though this season has it's flaws, many are remedied by this season's strong elements of the series in making every episode worth it (well everything besides the ending), be it the plot, animation, character development and voice acting, but Clear Card-hen definitely SECURED LA's place one of LA's favourite anime of Winter 2018 and a good sequel to the original series.
One of the most promising series of the year came a little weaker than expected, compared to the original series. The 1998 Cardcaptor Sakura is arguably the best mahou shoujo anime ever, so this Clear Card Arc needed to at least stand up to their 20 years old prequel, but Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen is a little disappointment. Small spoilers ahead.
In a story where Sakura never confessed to Syaoran as in the Fuuin Sareta Card Movie, this totally resets as it never happened. 13 yo Sakura Kinomoto reencounters Li Syaoran after a few years and they're entering middle school, but a new danger awaits
as new enemies come making the Sakura Cards useless and now our dear Sakura-chan must seal new cards called Clear Cards who have the same equivalent on the Sakura Cards.
This of course is basically the old series repeated, but have many flaws that dimishes the experience of waching this new arc, as it not rushed and have the big error of not closing the arc that makes the ending is so lame and open that it actually makes you wanna see a second season, not because the arc is great, but because it leaves things open and unresolved. Such is the case of Toya and his powers coming back doesn't even have an explanation, just a good talk to Yukito's real form, Yue; the old Clow Cards and Sakura Card arcs have decisive conclusions.
Also the SakuraxSyaoran romance is very weak and they still have the same struggles to confess each other, when they were 10-11 yo, it was understandable, but not now after spending quite a lot time, on the very few SakuSyao moments, it actually delivered, so it's very puzzling that Clamp didn't insist bigger on this. However, I haven't read the manga yet.
Madhouse really improved the art and animation, all the characters look fluid and cute, specially Sakura-chan as always, the colour panel is a little brighter IMO, but this doesn't affect anything of the overall quality of the animation. Despite many nostalgic fans may want to see the old animation back, this is a very good improvement, one of the very few, actually.
The same excellent CCS soundtrack is back, and it really gives you the old feelings by moments, the new pieces are equally great that it never fall out of place with the classic pieces. The OPs and EDs are hits and misses, the first OP Clear is really bad quality, but Rocket Beat is a huge improvement, not Platinum level, but CC Sakura standard. Jewelry and Rewind are charming EDs, but still a bit lower ranked than the classicals Groovy or Honey or Fruits Candy.
The old seiyuus are back and simillary delivered perfectly, Sakura Tange, Aya Hisakawa, Motoko Kumai, Junko Iwao and the rest really nailed and despite having a big 20 years of difference and possible voice tiredness, they made a really great job keeping the old spirit of the series here.
All the characters are the same, but Clear Card made their personalities a bit more exaggerated, Sakura is still cute, adorable and gentle to everybody, Syaoran is still stoic and calm, but have huge problems to express his feelings to Sakura-chan, Tomoyo is the one that really hit low in Clear Card, too exaggerated, trollish and obsessive to Sakura, so much that I started to get upset of Tomoyo, even more than in the original series. Kero and Yue are still the same and care deeply to their master, Toya and Yukito keeps the same, as the rest of Chiharu, Yamazaki, etc.
The new characters are Akiho Shinomoto who, as Tomoyo says, is the same as Sakura Kinomoto, it's like Akiho was clonned with the same mind and personality of Sakura-chan, in spite of that, she's very loveable and caring. Yuna D Kaito is the butler of Akiho who has a strange clock which can time travel with it and use it for dark purposes, and with the help of Momo, his familiar and plushie of Akiho, they left open.
As a personal recommendation (or mandate), you must have watched the original Cardcaptor Sakura, the two movies and the Two Bears OVA prologue.
If you're watching this series without watching what I mentioned, you may enjoy the series, but a true Cardcaptor Sakura fan will feel very disappointed by the reasons that I've mentioned above. I'll be honest, I really enjoyed the new theme and cards, along with the obvious slice of life-y situations that make Sakura-chan endearing. As a final recommendation, this arc could have very great if Madhouse have went for the 40ish episodes, rather than leaving a very inconclusive story.
Final Score: 8/10, just for the potential and the technical aspects of Clear Card.