Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #03 (of 18) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001



What They Say
Sakura lead with your heart! The Sword card takes control of Sakura's friend and attacks! Still, Sakura is able to use her head and her heart to save everyone. Next, Sakura discovers her mother was best friends with Tomoyo's mom, and learns important lessons about friendship. However, none of these lessons prepare Sakura or Li for the challenge of the Time Card. How can you battle something that can turn back time? Episodes 9-12.

The Review!
With the third disc, we get brought up to episode twelve in this seventy episode series. And for the third disc in a row, I'm practically smiling through the entire disc. I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy this show.

Audio:
The Japanese language track came across sounding great. The opening song in particular comes out sounding wonderful (even if it does get hard to sing along with at a few points!). The rest of the track sounds quite good for a TV series, though there isn't a lot of directionality for it. Dialogue sounds solid and distortion free.

Video:
Other than a few slightly soft areas of the opening with a few jaggies, this is a great looking transfer. Fresh vibrant colors almost leap off of the screen. The dynamic and fluid animation in most of the episodes tied with the lush coloring makes this series one heck of a treat to watch on our HDTV. So far the series hasn't slacked off in terms of animation from the early episodes where quality tends to be higher, so we're very pleased by the end result.

Packaging:
A third gorgeous cover for the series. The ever cute Sakura in her cat style suit complete with ears gives a wink and a wave of the paw with this bright cover. These are the same kinds of colors you get inside the show. Pioneer really needs to do some marketing to get good sized posters of these covers made over here. The reverse side provides some animation shots mixed together as well as the disc summary, episode numbers and episode titles. The insert provides another cute picture of Sakura, Tomoyo and Tomoyo's mother. Our package thankfully included an extremely cute postcard for Girl's Day with three of the girls wearing their various kimono's. It's just soooooooooooooo cute.

Menus:
The menus are pretty simple and straightforward with a static piece of animation and the few selections that are available. The layout works nicely and access to the submenus and back is very fast. About the only thing that bothers me is that subtitles are defaulted to off when it should be defaulted to on. Or it should read my players preset preferences.

Extras:
Not counting the limited postcard, the only other extra included is about 29 pieces of conceptual artwork. There's a number of cute ones in there as well as the more mundane.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's so hard to write anything about Cardcaptor Sakura without commenting on its inherint cuteness. It's not to its disadvantage though in being cute. And with this batch of episodes, while we do more forward with Sakura working towards capturing more of the cards, we also get more of a look into the family side of things.

The first two episodes deal with a couple of things. Sakura's still somewhat down about Li's, well, his entire presence. So Tomoyo and Rika try to cheer her up by taking her to a really cool shop. The three girls all decide to go, and after spending some time admiring all the neat almost antique style items, they all decide to buy a different brooch.

Rika's just happens to be possessed by a Clow Card, which provides some rather entertaining action sequences once its donned and the SWORD card becomes in control of her. From there the show goes in a pretty formulaic route. But in a cute way. :)

The next episode deals with Sakura and Li working together somewhat in defeating the card that's causing their day to continue repeating, much to Sakura's despair as she's got a test that day. There's some fairly amusing moments during this episode, but I found my enjoyment of it fairly well less than expected due to checking out how badly cut the TV Cardcaptors version was, since this was one of the very few I had seen on broadcast. The dub Cardcaptors is evil.

The remaining two episodes focus more on family as well as a surprise. I won't go into those much as they really need to be seen to enjoy and I don't want to spoil it all. Suffice to say I really enjoyed the changes.

What I did find to be amusing is Li's reaction to again meeting up with Yukito. While outside on the school grounds between the two schools, Sakura gives Yukito some chocolates in thanks for helping her the previous day. Seeing this, Li gets all quiet and confused and then runs off and runs back with chocolate to give Yukito as well, all the while blushing. There are more instances of this later when there's a family gathering at the school athletics festival which also provide a few more moments of massive blushing on several peoples parts.

Can you guess what never made it onto US broadcasts? Heh. Very amusing, very well done, and highly enjoyable stuff. Cardcaptor Sakura proves again with another four episodes that while it is indeed sugary sweet, it's just addictive and enjoyable. Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: 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