Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #14 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #14

By Chris Beveridge     March 14, 2003
Release Date: March 11, 2003


Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #14
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The Clow Cards are Fading Away! Eriol continues “playing” with Sakura, devising more complicated traps for Sakura to overcome. First Sakura must survive from drowning in a sea of sheep, and then try and chase down a runaway bike. Sakura later learns that it’s her Great Grandfather’s birthday and works hard to let him know how happy they are. And then Sakura is given the opportunity to learn everyone’s true feelings when she is thrown into Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

The Review!
A true teasing volume as the series gets closer and closer to its end point, there’s so many revelations just at the tip of the tongue.

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 transfer for this volume has gone down a few notches with this volume, particularly the first couple of episodes where the cross coloration has increased significantly. Colors look vibrant, though there’s still a general softness to things. Aliasing is also very minimal throughout. The new opening and ending is also in place for these episodes, though the eye-catch appears to be the same as the previous volume.

Packaging:
Continuing with the pink, Sakura gets to show off the latest Tomoyo creation, one of the sillier ones she’s done, at least in regards to the hat. The artwork overall is just as good looking as past volumes. The back cover provides a collage of artwork in the background as well as the usual summary and production information. The discs episode numbers and titles are also clearly listed here. The insert provides a nice shot of Sakura and those who may be her adversaries for this season behind her.

Menu:
The menu system here is really pretty barebones, but not altogether surprising. The main menu has some static artwork with no music. Access times felt a bit slower in a few areas this time though, such as returning from the art gallery or at the end of the textless opening.

Extras:
The extras included in this volume is a brief twelve page line art gallery as well as a textless version of the third ending sequence, Fruits Candy.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In a way, this volume was an exercise in fist shaking for me. With each episode, I know we’re getting closer and closer to some of the truths being revealed, and while each episode is quite enjoyable, I keep wanting to hit those revelations so I can finally talk to my wife about them.

The bulk of the disc continues with Eriol and his servants causing problems for Sakura that forces her to convert her cards over. She goes through a particularly amusing segment in the first episode after she and Li track down where they feel Clow’s presence the most in the playground. After she goes down into the ominous hole in the ground, it seals up and keeps Li and Kero up there. At the bottom, Sakura tries to figure out what’s going on when hundreds of plush life-like sheep start falling on her. It’s just such a Sakura moment that the laughter it creates is infectious.

Sakura also starts to learn more about her cards in these episodes, as she remembers how she ended up overcoming many of them and in the end really befriending them. When she gets to a point where she learns some of them may die, she starts taking some serious measures to get them converted. This ends up going awry after Eriol gets himself involved in things, though Toya gets a rather smirkish moment as he senses part of what may be going on. Toya’s sensitivity to things continues to be the small dark secret of the series.

The best episode on here though is when Sakura’s father gives her a calendar that Nadeshiko used to have to keep track of various events she had coming up in her life. This becomes a hugely treasured item for Sakura as she starts to become somewhat more familiar with her mother and the things she considered important. One of those things is everyone’s birthday, which is clearly listed here. What surprises Sakura is that her great grandfather is listed and it’s that day. Though she “hasn’t met him” before, she gets it into her head that she has to do something for him, and with help from her father, she comes up with the perfect package. While this is the true essence of Sakura’s character, the results provide some very good results in the adult arena, the kind that may even get a few people weepy.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the Sakura in Wonderland episode, which has her being sucked into the Alice in Wonderland novel. There’s a number of good bits throughout it and some things that Sakura should realize, but as Tomoyo says, she’s sort of clueless that way. A lot of that episode just felt like a revisit of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, to the point where that awful music was in my head again.

Barring that, this volume brings us much closer to the end of the series and to the brink where things start to become known. There’s plenty of hints here and some solid setup for things to come. But if you’ve been buying the show for this long, you know exactly what to expect and you’ll get it here.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Production Art Gallery,Textless Ending #3

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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