Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #08 (of 18) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, March 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002



What They Say
The Sweet Taste of Victory! Sakura’s next challenge! To bake a cake… Easy? Not when the Sweet Card decides to lend a hand. And who knew that Cards could get injured? When Sakura’s friend Rei finds an injured Clow Card, everyone has a lesson in the value of hard work and self-reliance to achieve their victories - and just in time!

Sakura soon finds herself challenged by a monster cat and a fire-breathing dragon in a strange battle of gigantic proportions, and Kero and Li must walk a day in each-other’s shoes no thanks to the Change Card!

The Review!
This installment of the world of sweetness known as Sakura is pretty solid all around, with more of the stories that just continue to put that stupid silly grin on your face.

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 here is pretty much similar to the past couple of volumes where things are somewhat of a mixed bag. One episode will look clean and gorgeous, the next will have rampant cross coloration. The second episode here is the main offender with the cross coloration, but in the end that's generally the main problem with the transfer, so some people may not even notice it. Backgrounds look good if a bit fuzzy in a few of them and colors look good otherwise.

Packaging:
Sometimes I think it shouldn't be right that people can make such gorgeous looking drawings as the one we get here with Sakura in another of her Tomoyo custom jobs with the sakura leaves blowing all over the place. The back cover provides the usual soft images underneath the text along with the episode numbers and titles as well as production information. The insert provides a good shot of the girls in their cheerleading outfits as well as chapter stops for each of the episodes.

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. Thankfully with this volume, subtitles are defaulted to on!

Extras:
In the extras department, the main thing we get is the image gallery which provides ten pieces of conceptual artwork. We get a number of shots of the new character as well as Sakura in her various costumes and some background settings. Those getting the first pressing of the disc also get treated to a Sakura postcard, this time of Sakura flying at night.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As expected, we get another four self-contained episodes that bring Sakura and sometimes Li into range of another Clow Card and the fun ensues. But these continue to be the secondary aspects of the show, often taking place only in the second half with little mention in the first half. The first half is where a lot of the cool stuff goes down with all the friends and family, the ones that help build this show into a really enjoyable ensemble cast.

The opening episode was quite a bit of fun just in the whole baking aspect. With home ec being an important class, and everyone learning how to bake a cake, we get to see those good moments of her learning from her father how to do the decoration and everything else with it. This eventually leads into an amusing competition that Meilin brings about against Sakura to vie for the affections of Shaoran, who frankly just wants to impress Yukito with his baking. But as would happen, a Clow Card is involved, which ends up causing everyone's cakes to bake far too sweet.

This is something that ends up happening to several classes and people start getting concerned. Shaoron gets a whiff of the Cards though and he and Sakura go to investigate during a time when they're baking their own cakes again. This leads to a very amusing segment as the Card for this has an incredible cute faerie like form and a giggle to match. Their resolution for capturing it is just good fun.

My other favorite on this disc is the last one, where Li, Kero and Sakura are all chasing the Change card. Li's almost got it, but the thing proves to be quite the challenge, so Sakura ends up being in the right place to capture it as Shaoran and Kero both grab it to hold it down. This does the card some good though, as just before its captured it causes Kero and Li to change bodies.

Yes, it's an obvious set up. Yes, it's an almost standard episode for series like this. But it's also played out perfectly. Having Li talking with the Osaka accent and having Kero being upset at being Li stuck inside a plush toys body, one he can't even master for flying, is just dead on. They have to go twenty four hours like this and then embrace at the right time for the card to not become a permanant change to them, which gives us a good day of amusement as the two try to just get by. Kero as Li does a great job in showing off all of his video game skills in class and impressing the other kids, but it's Li as Kero who has the chance to really learn a lot as he ends up back at Sakura's house to spend the night.

There's a lot of fun again to be had on this disc and all four episodes were enjoyable and had their good points. It's hard to believe this brings us to episode #32 and that we're just about done with the first season. Just under halfway to go!

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Image 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.



Mania Grade: A
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: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cardcaptor Sakura