Cardcaptor Sakura Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Megan Lavey
Review Date: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Release Date: Wednesday, October 01, 2003



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:CLAMP
Translated by:Maria Simpson, Athena Nibley and Althea Nibley
Adapted by:

What They Say
When Sakura Kinomoto first became the Cardcaptor, finding the missing Clow Cards wasn't easy - she could never predict where or when they would show up. Now they seem to be turning up alarmingly close to home...as if they're looking for Sakura. Now catching the cards isn't just a matter of responsibility - it's a matter of protecting the ones she loves! The cards aren't the only ones watching the young Cardcaptor. There's a new teacher at Tomoeda Elementary, and she's taken a particular interest in Sakura and her friends. Could she be looking for the Clow Cards too?

The Review
Packaging:
As this is the third and final book in this box set, it keeps up with the same style that is kept for the first two books. It is styled similiar to a Clow Card featuring Sakura as the picture in the middle. This one shows Sakura in a green and yellow costume that is a cropped version of the original Japanese cover. This looks nice set against the green logo, volume number and title name. It might be a little too much green for some people, but it's Sakura, so it's pretty. The back is styled just like the back of a Clow Card and features the summary of the book in a black box.

Artwork:
The color pages here this time feature Syaoran Li, the newest character that was introduced in volume two. The front picture features a typical pose of him scowling and the back features him scowling as well - just wearing his Chinese costume rather than his school uniform. The bookmark also shows him wearing his traditional costume. Other than that, the artwork in this volume is the standard that we've come to see for this series. The characters are highly detailed with lots of flowers and sparklies surrounding them during moments of revelation. There's several large panels showing off individual features. Most of the action is shown in the two-part "Double Trouble" chapter, and it's easy to navigate through it. There's a lot of Nadeshiko in the book as well, and every time I see her, I wonder how they're able to draw that much curly hair and have it look good.

Text:
Most of the SFX is untranslated here and the honorifics are kept in. There's not a lot here that distinguishes from the way text was handled in the previous volumes. It was a good, clean read and nothing jumped out at me regarding the translation. There is one misprint I noticed - at the end of the volume, it says that the story will be continued in volume 3. It'll actually be continued in volume 4.

Review:
As Sakura enjoys time at home with Yukito and Toya, her friends notice that another Sakura is causing mischief around town. This prompts Kero-chan to teach Sakura how to use the Clow Cards for fortune-telling, thinking that the second Sakura is actually a Clow Card. Doing so enables Sakura to discover that the double is a card and is somehow connected to ILLUSION, WATERY and SHADOW.

At the same time, the double Sakura approaches Toya and lures him into the woods - and right off a cliff. The real Sakura, having finished the fortune and realizes that Toya is in danger, is now searching for him. But, she loses the prescence of the card and panics. Li comes across her, also in search of the card, and Sakura begs him for his help. Toya talks to the double Sakura and lets her know that he knows she's not his real sister. He falls unconscious just as Sakura, Li and Kero-chan find him. Sakura gets angry at the Clow Card and tries to attack, but the double simply stands there. Kero urges Sakura to recall the fortune and that enables her to identify it as the MIRROR card. Sakura captures the card and Toya is rescued. Sakura vows to capture all of the cards before they hurt someone she loves again.

The next chapter is a single story that once again delves into the past. Sakura goes to visit Tomoyo and winds up being told the story behind her mother, Nadeshiko, meeting her father, Fujitaka - as witnessed by Sonomi, Tomoyo's mother. Sonomi also keys Sakura into the type of person her mother was - someone with a huge soul that was quite the klutz. When Sonomi is called away, Sakura finds out the real reason why she was called to Tomoyo's - to capture a Clow Card that is keeping a treasure box of hers shut. They make short work of capturing the SHIELD card and Sonomi reappears in time to reveal what was in the box - Nadeshiko's wedding bouquet. But Tomoyo also has a special treasure in the box too.

The final story features the first part of another two-part story, featuring Sakura's new subtitute teacher, Kaho Mizuki. Sakura originally runs into her the day before trying to purchase a love charm at a local shrine to help her in her relationship with Yukito, then formally meets her in class the next day. Li doesn't care for Mizuki-sensei, but Sakura and the others don't care. They still think she's pretty neat. After school, Sakura, Tomoyo and Li head back to the temple to purchase a love charm and find themselves in the middle of a huge maze.

This book slows down in the action department, but introduces my personal favorite Clow Card and a new character. If you're looking for card capturing action, there's not much of it here - but Cardcaptor Sakura was never about just capturing cards.

The standards are still going on in this volume. Sakura has an immense crush on Yukito still, but other than a few token scenes spread throughout the book, it's not addressed that much. It is the catalyst that leads her to the shrine at the end of the book, though I think somehow she would have gotten there on her own eventually. Yukito and Toya have a very touching scene at the end of the "Double Trouble" chapters that will make fans of theirs very happy. Other relationships that have some very cute scenes include Tomoyo's affection for Sakura and the Nadeshiko/Fuhjitaka relationship.

So far, it doesn't feel like Li has a lot to do in this series. He doesn't quite feel like the rival that he should be for the Clow Cards, or that he's even made out to be in the anime. He still has his crush on Yukito, which make for some very funny rivalry scenes between him and Sakura. When he does get into the position where he could actually capture a card, he allows Sakura to do so. In a way, that's sweet of him because her getting the MIRROR card was her way of getting vengance for what happened to her brother. But other than that, Li isn't much of a rival. But slowly, he's turning out to be a friend.

The MIRROR card is my personal favorite in the series. While Kero-chan makes the observation that the cards are in tune with Sakura's personality, this is the first card we see that actually forms an emotional attachment to one of the cast. When MIRROR realizes what she's done to Toya and stands there looking so sad while Sakura yells at her, you can't help but feel sorry for her. The entire interaction between Toya and MIRROR and his follow-up conversation with Yukito keys us into a little clue that Toya probably knows much more than we think he does.

Comments
We come to the end of the first boxset of the original Cardcaptor Sakura series and also arrive at what can be termed a pretty nasty cliffhanger if you didn't wait to purchase both boxes at once. These three books do a really good job in establishing the main characters and quickly jumping into the action. But whereas the anime focused a lot more on capturing cards - due to the amount of filler in it - the manga is tighter and is heavily involved with the relationships between people in both the romantic and the friendship sense. You find yourself really caring about what happens to these people, and that's the absolute best quality of storytelling that you can ask for.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: All
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: N/A
Pages: 196
ISBN: 1-59182-589-X
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left