Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Cardcaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #04
By Chris Beveridge
March 28, 2002
Release Date: January 08, 2002
Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #04
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Sakura challenges the Power Card to a game of tug-o-war, but thanks to Li, the game could be over in no time!
Then, Sakura goes to see her brother in a peculiar version of Cinderella that is brought to a crashing halt by the Mist Card. What will Toya do?
Next, after a fight with Sakura, Kero runs away and accidentally befriends a lonely child. Will Kero be able to see Sakura again if it means breaking a little girl’s heart! Finally, Sakura’s family takes a vacation where Sakura meets an old man in a mansion - who could he be?The Review!
The fourth installment of Cardcaptor Sakura provides more fun with the whole gang and one episode that's going to be really weird for parents to deal with, and will surely create many "discussions" with their kids afterwards.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Of course, being that this is the only language on the disc again, it's a pretty easy choice. Throughout the track we didn't notice any dropouts or distortions and continued to find the opening and closing songs to be the best use of the stereo channels. The majority of the dialogue is through the center channel while the remaining music and sound effects made decent use of the left/right channels.Video:
The shows quality continues to just shine through here with its lush colors and designs. There was maybe a hint or two of cross coloration in a couple of scenes throughout the disc, but overall these are great looking episodes. Colors are vibrant without being oversaturtaed, backgrounds are nice and solid and the animation level itself is still pretty solid with very few shortcuts being taken.Packaging:
Taking a break from the pink-heavy covers, we get more of the great artwork with a pale blueish purple background this time and some hints of pink throughout it. The little red riding hood style works good, though it looks crossed with a Gandalf outfit a bit. The back cover softens up the artwork a bit and meshes it with other pieces while giving a brief summary of the disc as well as episode numbers and titles. The back is actually pretty text heavy as it is with all the credits that need to be given. The insert provided contains a nice image of Sakura in her school outfit with Kero alongside the chapter listings. For the first pressing run, there's also an included pencil board as a thank you to make up for the discs delay in release. It's got a couple of really nice images from the show and is a neat little bonus.Menus:
The menu system here is really pretty barebones, but not altogether surprising. The main menu has some static artwork with no music and quick access to the few submenus that exist. Again, oddly enough, English Subtitles are defaulted to off.Extras:
The only extra included here (since I don't count the subtitles as an extra) is the art gallery which has twenty four pieces of conceptual artwork. Some of these background ones are just gorgeous to look at and very detailed.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This batch of early episodes has some pretty good material on it, with a lot of it dealing with Sakura's family.
There's some of the usual silliness associated with the cards of course, such as the one that shows up by moving around heavy park statues and then stomping around in the zoo and setting the animals free. The time at the zoo was actually pretty fun to see how school trips go and the kinds of activities they do on them. We also get to spend some time with Li away from Sakura and the rivalry issue, which leads to us actually liking him a bit more. Though he continues to be a very serious boy.
One episode that works exceptionally well deals with Sakura's brothers school festival. Yukito gives Sakura a couple of passes to attend since Toya didn't give her any like usual, so she and Tomoyo head off to it and experience all the fun stuff you can find at such elaborate festivals. Especially for young children armed with passes that entitle them to all the free food they can eat. The big event though is the school play that Toya is in. We get to see some of his classmates, mostly the girls, talking about him and Yukito and how they're rather aloof and always dateless. The female lead in fact has something of a rather strong crush on Toya.
This school play is rather fun. The story of Cinderella is told but with a twist; all of the gender roles are reversed. In other words, the men all play the women and the women play the men. And with Toya being the lead, he plays Cinderella, frock dresses and all. With him keeping his usual dark and uninterested look to the role, Cinderella takes on whole other worlds of meaning. His opposite, playing the role of the prince, manages to do quite well and the way it was played out one couldn't help but think of Utena with her in the princes outfit.
There's a really good one, once you get to the end of it. Anytime before it, it's almost creepy. While on vacation at a country house, Sakura ends up befriending an elderly gentleman down the street. He invites her in to have tea, play with the dolls in his dead granddaughters room and to even wear her clothes. They also play tennis and just hang around talking, all with her fathers knowledge but without him going to meet him. For a lot of parents who let their kids watch this show, it's bound to open up a lot of discussions about not doing that for real. It's just creepy watching her getting dressed up in these clothes, and wondering why this old guy even has them. Besides, a big clue to creepiness is when you have a big house and the entire first floor is practically empty. Big warning signs!
But as mentioned, it's one of those weird situations that can only be anime. The show doesn't focus as much on the cards in these episodes which is a nice change of pace and we do get to know more about Sakura and her family which is a plus. Though her father is annoying in the sheer variety of things he can do, I'm going to have to pick up some more skills before my daughter watches and understands these episodes!
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.