“Everything will definitely be alright” – 5/5 stars!
Attention! This series contains: unbreakable spells, penguin slides, cameras, cute handmade outfits, pink wands, high tech gadgets, yummy cakes, ghosts, stuffed bears, festivals, kimonos, sakura season and a set of nineteen magical cards.
*Review of the original 12 volumes*
*There will be some spoilers and comparisons to the anime throughout the review! Proceed with caution!*
I can’t even express how much I love this series. I watched the anime version of Cardcaptor Sakura when I was younger and it easily became my favorite anime of all time. Recently I found that it was available on Netflix and I decided to watch it for fun, but all my childhood memories came to life stronger than ever. This basically triggered in me a huge desire to read the original manga. I’m very happy to say that my first experience reading manga was very positive and I became even more in love with the story.
In case you don’t know what the story is about, it follows an elementary student named Sakura Kinomoto who accidentally sets free a set of magical cards – each one with it’s only special power and personality – that were guarded by Cerberos. The cards are running free and are causing chaos, so now she is responsible to get them all back and seal them again. With the help of Kero (Cerberus) and her best friend Tomoyo, she begins her mission to bring peace again to her town, Tomoeda.
It was interesting to see that there are a lot of differences between the manga and the anime, but I still think the core of the story was respected and kept. In the manga series we only have nineteen cards, while in the anime we have fifty-two (plus the seal card that only appears in the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie, so fifty-three)! Most of the characters are present in the original work, but there is no mention of Meilin or Wei – contrary to the anime -, so Syaoran travels and lives alone in Japan.
For me, Sakura is one of the best female main characters ever. She was such a huge inspiration to me when I watched the series for the first time, reminding me to always do my best and to be kind to everyone. There were times she was afraid, but that never stopped her from catching the cards and helping her friends. A true queen! Then you have Tomoyo, Sakura’s best friend and cousin… and she is also in love with her. I’m not even going to get started on the amount of incest relationships going on here between cousins because we don’t have an entire day, but I will say I feel bad for the poor girl. She is perfectly okay with Sakura’s love interests, because the most important thing for Tomoyo is her happiness. It was kind of sad that Tomoyo didn’t have her own shot at love, at least with another character. And as a side note, I wish I knew what happened to Tomoyo’s dad, but I know the authors keep it a secret on purpose!
I also found the manga version a little bit more “shocking” than the anime version. They definitely toned down on the animated series when it comes to relationships, because the manga version got crazy sometimes! There are not one, but TWO relationships between adults and elementary students! This was really shocking to see, and even though the first volume came out in 1996 and times were different back then, I still wish the kids kept the relationships within their peers. But what I REALLY wish happened was a bigger development in Touya and Yuki’s relationship! They’re absolutely perfect for each other and I wish they would develop more of their love story here, but to be honest there are not a lot of differences in the anime.
Now the main romance…. where do I even start? Are there even words to describe how perfect it is? This is a true slow burning, innocent and the sweetest romance ever… and all started from rivalry. Things are confusing at first because not only do they start their relationship as rivals on capturing the Clow Cards, but also when it comes to grabbing Yukito’s attention. They are both attracted to him, so the romance between them two only starts to blossom later on, on Syaoran’s side – because Sakura is completely clueless and it’s hilarious! We are presented with a lot of sweet and innocent moments between them, and their romance was definitely one of my favorite things of the manga.
I’m also glad that we get a lot of explanations that are never mentioned in the anime series. For example, we get to know the reason why Sakura feels all HANYAN around Yukito and Mizuki, while Syaoran is only attracted to Yukito. And there is also a major plot twist involving Sakura’s dad that I would never have expected!
I had to take a moment and wonder why I have such a strong love for this series. Sure, I watched the anime when I was younger so it’s natural I have a soft spot for it, but this never happened with any other tv show I watched when I was a kid. I really thought about it, and I realized that the manga is full of a lot of my favorite tropes. There is a strong female heroine who is a regular girl just trying to do her best; there is a slow burn cute romance that started from rivalry; there are a lot of references to yummy food and cakes; there are so many real friendships; there are special, inspiring outfits handmade just to catch the cards; the innocence of it all; and of course… Sakura’s magic is any little girl’s dream.
I swear I could talk about this series forever. I know I’m going to read and reread this for a very long time because I’m so in love with it. And now it’s time for Clear Arc! I confess I’m holding back a bit because the series is not finished yet! I know I will want to finish it in one sitting, so while I wait… I’ll just rewatch the anime 😉