Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #05 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • 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. #05

By Chris Beveridge     February 09, 2002
Release Date: September 11, 2001


Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #05
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Romantic Rivals?! Summer is nearly over but Sakura's tests never end! Sakura's school stages a test of courage in some scary caves, but when the Erase Card makes her friends disappear, Sakura and Li rise to the challenge! Then, The Glow Card creates a romantic mood with Yukito, only to have it spoiled by Li, Toya and her undone homework... If only The Move Card would leave her books alone! Finally, Li's cousin Mei Lin, arrives from Hong Kong to help Li capture the Clow Cards, but she thinks Sakura likes Li! No Way!

The Review!
I can't help it. I grinned for 100 minutes straight. My face hurts!
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:
Yet another transfer that for about 95% of the time I'm quite happy with and simply enjoy. The colorful nature of the show really shines through here with vivid clarity. Blues in particular remain very solid, particularly in the backgrounds and the reds held together quite well also. The main thing I noted with the transfer is the very muted cross coloration that shows up throughout the show, mostly in backgrounds and sometimes within the characters. It adds a bit of edge fuzziness to things and only minimally distracts if you're really looking for it. There were also a few surprising yet very minor nicks on this print.

Packaging:
The packaging style continues to look great, with a wonderful picture of Sakura in her colorful outfit on yet another pink cover. The consistency so far with the style of images used is great, and hopefully will continue for the remainder of the series, provided there's enough artwork. The back cover shows some animation shots and a good summary of things and lays out the technical information nicely enough. The insert provides another shot of things and this disc came in with an extra in the form of a very cute postcard.

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:
Other than the included postcard (which is limited to the first pressing I believe), the on- disc extras are made up solely of the black and white conceptual artwork gallery, which has some interesting design sketches of the newly introduced character to the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As with earlier discs, this batch provided me with four episodes that simply let me smile through and through. It's rare these days to find something like that.

As of this writing, we haven't seen disc four yet due to some unknown issue, so we're not sure if we've missed something or not. The show is still pretty episodic at this point and we didn't feel like we missed much, but I just can't be sure.

In general, the feel of the show is that things have gotten into a fairly decent groove since the arrival of Li. While Sakura and Li continue to compete against each other, it doesn't feel as adversarial as it did early on. In fact, the two at times start to feel a bit chummy during these episodes.

One particular instance of their rivalry showed up during the test of courage during an outdoor classes session at a beach campground. After their defeat and capture of the Clow Card that had been messing with people who were taking the test, the two arrive on the beach the next day to hear Yamazaki talking (lying?) about how Volleyball used to indicate that the winner would get the love of their dreams. Cut to an image of Yukito with both Li and Sakura sighing over him, and the two instantly go into a one on one match.

Conversely, in later episodes after Li's cousin/fiance Meilin shows up, Sakura and Li begin to work pretty well together in capturing a card that was going around beating up martial artists, especially after Meilin spent time threatening Sakura. Li looked positively apologetic during many sequences in that episode when he was around Sakura and Tomoyo.

Tomoyo unfortunately doesn't get to play dress-up with Sakura as much during this batch. I think there was really only one instance where she got a fairly new outfit on her and taped her encounter with a card. Everything else seemed to be Sakura (and Li) reacting on the spot to the sudden arrival of a Clow Card.

The introduction of Meilin is something I'm really not sure about though. Her swinging open the door, wearing her Chinese outfit and doing the whole Nihao! sort of rubbed me wrong and put me into a "Oh great, another Shampoo character". At least Meilin seems to be evolving more than that in the two episodes that she's here for. On the plus side, she's working as a great way to totally depress Li. It should be interesting when she discovers his fascination of Yukito.

The animation and design of the show continues to be one of its strongest points. Things still look just as gorgeous as they did early on, the animation is quite smooth and the colors are just wonderful. I've been enjoying, particularly with these episodes, watching the number of different ways the animators have taken to expressing emotions through the yes. From the tiny dots they all get sometimes to the massive head-swallowing girly eyes.

My only complaint about Cardcaptor Sakura is the slow release of it. I had intended to not watch Vol. #5 until Vol. #4 came out, but the need for more Sakura-goodness was too strong. Need more! If you're strong enough to wait, more power to you. If not, you're going to love this disc.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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