Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: N/A
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: N/A
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     May 22, 2004
Release Date: October 01, 2003

Cardcaptor Sakura Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Translated by:Maria Simpson, Athena Nibley and Althea Nibley
Adapted by:

What They Say
Once upon a magic night, an English sorcerer mixed Western wizardry with Eastern enchantments to create a magical deck of cards called the Clow Cards. These cards were hidden inside a dusty old book for decades, their powers virtually wasted. Then one fateful day, a young girl named Sakura Kinomoto discovered the book in her father's library. When she opened it, however, the Clow Cards were gone - and so was life as she knew it. Now Sakura is the Cardcaptor, her mission, to collect all of the missing cards before diaster befalls the Earth. Joined by Kero-chan, the diminutive Guardian Beast, and Tomoyo, her best friend and self-proclaimed wardrobe consultant, Sakura must track down the cards one by one and do whatever it takes to stop them. It's not going to be easy, but Sakura is clearly the 10-year-old to do the job.

The Review
This will be a double look, as I cover both the book cover and the artbox under this heading.

The cover itself is simply gorgeous. It is styled similiar to a Clow Card featuring Sakura as the picture in the middle. She's in her pink costume holding up a Clow Card of her own. The card itself is in shades of deep crimson and gold.

And now it's time for Megsie-chan's logo check!

This logo is very different from the first one the series used and the one used for the Master of the Clow series. Still, I am really attracted to it. The shades of green are really pretty and the font works for me. The back is styled just like the back of a Clow Card and features the summary of the book in a black box.

Now for the artbox.

Oh wow. This is a better box than a lot of the boxsets that is available for anime currently. This is a very sturdy box that even withstood me accidentally dropping it on the floor in the bookstore. A picture of Sakura in one of her costumes is on one side and the other features a montage of Sakura in her Tomoyo-made costumes. The Tokyopop logo and the information pertaining to the collector's edition are in the gold part of the spine and goes along really well with the style used for the books. It feels good to the hand and while I don't have the books in it right now, it is visible because it's so pretty.

This is really some of the best artwork that CLAMP has to offer. It's very lush and detailed. The only complaint I have is that sometimes, there's so much going on in a panel that it's hard to follow the action. This is especially apparent when Sakura captures the Watery Card. The color pages at the beginning and end of the manga showing Sakura in her cheerleading uniform and one of her costumes is also pretty and awesome. The bookmarks, which were included in the original tankoubon, are also done well. Mine will not be removed from the book.

The SFX is untranslated here and the honorifics are kept in. This was a pretty good read, though I started laughing when Kero-chan goes "Zoinks!" at the end of the volume. There's a few other text quibbles I have, basically in some of the slang used. However, it's not enough to knock it down an entire letter-grade.

Given a new translation, Cardcaptor Sakura is republished in a form that many fans will be happy with.

Our story opens as Sakura, with Kero-chan in tow, on a mission to capture the Windy card. As she succeeds, the screen fades and we see Kero-chan watching the action on TV (apparently a tape Tomoyo made of the adventure) as Sakura wakes up. As she goes through her morning, we're introduced to her family, Fujitaka her father and Toya her brother, best friend Tomoyo and Toya's best friend (and Sakura's crush) Yukito. As Sakura does so, she relates how she became a Cardcaptor after unsealing Kero-chan from the Clow book in her father's library. As Sakura comes to the end of her recounting, her elementary school and her brother's high school (which are next door to each other) is attacked by a bird.

The bird flies off and Sakura has a dream that it's injured. This leads her to be able to capture the JUMP card the next day after she nurses its injuries.

This is followed by a one chapter story where she captures the WATERY card. This really serves to show how much of a crush Sakura has on Yukito and also shows that Sakura is a magical girl with a brain!

The book ends with a two-part story on the ILLUSION card, digging deeper into the relationships between Sakura, Tomoyo, Toya and Yukito. This also has Sakura's mother, Nadeshiko, as a key player in the chapter - even though she's been dead for seven years. Sakura's very human desire to see her mother nearly gets her killed, and it's pretty heart-breaking when Toya goes back and relates what things were like when they were younger. The shot of three-year-old Sakura looking scared and alone while next to Toya nearly made me cry.

This is a very good introductory volume that introduces the majority of the cast. We come into the story already two months in, which allows the reader to have a good dose of action while getting being told the back story. It allows for a much quicker ride into the actually capturing cards part.

One of the things that I noticed is that it is never explained how the cards disappeared. In the anime, it is made very clear that Sakura released all of the cards, causing them to scatter. That's how Kero-chan was able to guilt trip her into becoming a Cardcaptor. In the manga, however, it looks like the cards got out on their own while Kero-chan was asleep on the job. Sakura finding the book just served to unseal him. While this may or may not be important, it throws in an added little mystery as to what made all the cards scatter to begin with.

While my memories of the original volumes TOKYOPOP published are extremely hazy, all of the relationships survive fully intact here. I noticed that Tomoyo seemed to be blushing at Toya several times. That's a little nuance I've not picked up before either. I can emphasize with Sakura and her crush on Yukito. A lot of little girls have fanasty crushes on men who fit their ideal of "Prince Charming." A lot of big girls have the same crushes.

The characters are nicely developed, and I kept laughing at some of the quirks - especially Yukito's affinity for lots of food. As the series heroine, Sakura is a lot braver and street-smart, in a way, than Tsukino Usagi from Sailormoon, one of the other big magical girl titles that's been popular here. It's really hard not to like her or the supporting cast. Who wouldn't want a father like Fujitaka after all? He's cute, he's got a good job and he cooks!

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of those titles that is easy to recommend for any age. It's very easy to follow and I wouldn't mind giving it to my seven-year-old niece to read. I think she would like the pretty costumes and the interaction between the girls. However, it is also very good for someone my age, who goes "awwww" at the cute stuff and sees that there is a larger story going on here.

This volume of manga, whether or not you want to proceed or not, is a great way to introduce someone to manga. There's three self-contained stories that end on a note that if you wanted to put down the manga at this point, you could. There's excellent storytelling and the characters are nicely developed. This is mahjou shoujo at its best and TOKYOPOP did a fantastic job with this series on its second go-around. Highly Recommended.


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