By:Ann "Lisendral" Noey and Robert "DarkSong" Piekut Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 Release Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000
The Review! DS: First, a disclaimer. This review is being done by a pair of rather enthusiastic CCS fanatics who decided rather than saving money by ordering it online, got their copies at local "brick and mortar" stores, so they could get it soon as possible - and taunt their friends on IRC with the news they had their copies. Seeing the recent woes with getting stuff purchased online in a timely fashion, we decided it would be worth paying the extra to get our Mahou Shoujo fix. But we will try to be objective in this review. Really, we will!
Lise: Wow. After all that, I guess the only thing I can say is "ditto". ^_^
Lise: First of all, I blame DS for my recent addiction to Card Captor Sakura. He hounded me for months to "check it out, try it, you'll like it!" (He sounded like any good pusher would.) It took a few sick days and nothing new to watch for me to work my way up to watching yet another Magical Girl anime. After watching the first half of the first season (fansubbed), I was hooked. I have to rank it in my top five choices for anime.
DS: This is one of the series that I personally have been looking forward to on DVD for a LONG time. Having all of the first season fansubbed allowed me to really fall in love with this show - I rank it as my second-favourite series and am VERY happy to finally get hold of the first disc
Technical Review: DS: Despite the worries of seeing the Nelvana name on the packaging, and the horror that is "Cardcaptors" still fresh in my mind, those worries got eased by the knowledge that Pioneer was doing the real work, and I expected their typical great job. And, for the most part, I wasn't disappointed.
Lise: The first thing I have to say is "Ow! Bright colors hurt eyes!" The splash screen is done in very bright, but not obnoxious, colors. I'm assuming it was designed in such a manner to appeal to the young children that may be subjected to watching this by their anime fanatic parents.
The Scene Selection menu is laid out in a nice fashion, though not as easy to manipulate as I would have liked. The breakdown of chapter selection is nice. Basically, you have the options of Opening, Part A, Part B, Ending or Preview for each episode.
The Extras menu was a little less intuitive to navigate, and the subtitle option is as far away from where you start. For being released as a Region 1 DVD, I would expect them to default with Subtitles on (considering it is a Japanese language only release). Also, the only character they feature is Kinomoto Sakura. I can only imagine that they'll continue with the Character Feature section and introduce the other main players in future discs.
DS: in the Extras section - along with the oddly placed subtitles controls - we get the textless OP and the dreaded WB Kids OP sequence. Now, the textless OP is VERY nicely done, and looks beautiful, with the exception of the one scene where Sakura looks at Yukito - she's rather fuzzy there, for no apparent reason. I did not see this happen in my fansubs, so I'm at a loss to explain why that might be the case.
Lise: When I watched the textless OP I didn't notice any degradation in video quality at any point of the sequence. I'm not sure if it is a difference in the discs or in the players that were used.
DS: I've got no comments to make about the WB Kids "Cardcaptors" OP they included, beyond that the images are sharp, and the audio is good.
Lise: The only comment I have to make is WHY were we subjected to this propaganda with a hideous OP song? I know, it's because they want us to buy the copy of Cardcaptors as well, I'm sure. I think I'll pass.
DS: My only real grief with this disc lies with the subtitles. For the most part they're pretty good - I've read in various places that the person that did it is well regarded for accurate and suitable translations. I've got to say that I MUCH prefer the translations on the fansubs I watched. For example, when Sakura sits down to eat, she says "itadakimasu" - which roughly translated is kind of like saying grace before eating. On the disc, it's translated as "I'll have some now". While it's not technically incorrect - it just looks wrong. And the way they handle Sakura's kawaii little "HOE!" - sometimes they ignore it, sometimes they translate it as something they see fit. But how do you translate a little noise like that?
Lise: Well, I have the same complaint about almost every DVD I watch that has subtitles: Not all of us have a picture tube that gives the correct aspect ratio, so couldn't they add a pixel or two to the letter borders? That aside, I have to agree with DS on the translations: I'd rather have the fansubbed translations with the occasional blatant misspelling. The translation on this disc seems to have a tendency towards the "tragically hip". Case in point: Tomoyo is translated as saying "Slick move." Now, as all good little CCS fans know, Tomoyo would NEVER say this. Every time I see that translation, I will cringe. (FYI: according to the fansubs, I don't speak Japanese so this is what I have to go on, Tomoyo says "He's smooth." "Sneaking presents to you! He is smooth!")
DS: And another thing on the translations - We see Sakura's mother's name written as "Nadeshiko" - rather than a more commonly seen "Nadesico". However, they spell her brother's name as "Toya", rather than "Touya". Nitpicky? Perhaps, but I'd prefer to see a bit more consistency.
Content Review: DS: Well, it's CCS - in my opinion THE best Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) anime title out there, bar none. Done by the genius women of CLAMP, it features gorgeous artwork and a storyline that will sweep you up and keep your attention focused for the entirety. What is labeled and marketed as a simple child's show - once you start watching it - becomes a much deeper and richer tapestry showing life in loving family that has a couple of quirks. You get to see all the characters grow and mature, and discover little secrets along the way.
Lise: Many people have an issue with CLAMP titles. Generally it's just not dynamic enough. I will admit that the first four episodes are somewhat bland... But having seen a majority of the rest of the series, it is a fine backdrop for what is to come. Most everyone will find a character that they can identify with or appreciate.
DS: It comes in a nice sturdy white Amaray case - my preference when it comes to keepcases. The cover artwork is an interesting contrast of keeping the Japanese writing on the spine and the back - with a liberal dose of Nelvana/Warner Brothers "Cardcaptors" propaganda. I found it easy enough to forgive that, knowing that this case contained "the real thing". I especially liked the front cover artwork, and would love to have a copy of it without the text and logos.
Lise: Normally, we would have some sort of episode summary, but I have a strong dislike of giving out spoilers, and without the spoilers, it seems rather repetitive. A quick summary for all of the first four episodes would be this: Sakura frees the cards by mistake, Cards are strewn all over Sakura's hometown, mischief ensues, she discovers the work of a Clow card and attempts, generally succeeding, to capture it.
DS: Hmmm, got to agree with her - there's no good way to do an episode summary on it. So go get the disc and watch it yourself! ^_^
Conclusion: DS: As I said earlier, I've been looking forward to this for a while now, and overall I'm pleased with what I've seen. Only problem is, with the typical Pioneer bimonthly release schedule, and 4 episodes per disc - that's 17 more disc, and 2 years before the series is completed. I'd like to see the pace accelerated, but NOT at the cost of sacrificing quality.
Lise I'll briefly second what DS has said. Card Captor Sakura is definitely something I'd like to see brought out in a speedier fashion. I believe that CCS should be marathon-ed, but only if you have a supply of insulin handy.
Review Equipment Lise: Panasonic DVD player, Sony 21" TV, RCA cabling, Sony Receiver (non-THX). DS: Apex DVD player, Zenith 25" TV, S-video cabling, Sony Receiver (non-THX) and Toshiba MD-1402 DVD-Rom using PowerDVD on homebuilt computer system.
Mania Grade: A Audio Rating: A-/ Video Rating: A/A Packaging Rating: B+/ Menus Rating: C+/ 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