Friday, February 5, 2016

Catch You Catch Me: 15 Years Later

2:04 AM

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15 years later, Cardcaptor Sakura is still getting things right.

Love fades with time, people say. These same people probably never watched Cardcaptor Sakura.

It’s been 15 years since the last Clow Card was changed into a Sakura Card, but that hasn’t stopped Cardcaptor Sakura from moving from Japan to the rest of the world, from Animax replays to online streams – from just an anime to the dormant ruler of the heart of everyone that watched it.

Dormant, until someone so much as mentions it. There is a sharp inhale. The heart skips a beat. Eyes shine. And then there is an eager declaration of love.

Cardcaptor Sakura is the childhood diabetes-flavored favorite that you’ll have to pry from people’s cold dead hands. But looking back, there’s a pretty good reason everyone loves it: the show got so many things right that most series struggle with today.

You do not mess with Cardcaptor Sakura. Here’s why.

Who are you calling straight?
There’s no such thing as heterosexual through and through in the world of Cardcaptor Sakura, or even in the multiverse of CLAMP, the goddesses who brought her and her friends to life. CLAMP lives and writes by the idea that nothing stops love from happening – though this love may not always reach a happy conclusion.

Sakura’s brother Touya loves his (boy)friend Yukito and vice-versa – though Touya did date Ms. Mizuki, who Sakura ends up having a crush on. But Sakura also likes Yukito, though she ends up liking Syaoran, who also liked Yukito. Tomoyo loves Sakura, while her mother Sonomi has some very strong feelings towards Nadeshiko, Sakura’s late mother.

(There’s no need to say just how interesting the show’s Love Dodecahedron is.)

CLAMP doesn’t just stop at Not Straight though – the show even has a character with no gender at all! Nakuru Akizuki, also known Ruby Moon, goes as a female simply because girls’ clothes are cuter.

The best part about all of this is that none of the other characters even bat an eyelash at any of it! It’s as if they’ve just gone and accepted that people can like who they like and be themselves. Gasp.

You smile, I smile
Instead of spiraling into the angst of unrequited love, everyone in the show comes to the conclusion that hey, if the person I like is happy, then I’m happy too.

Meiling breaks off her engagement with Syaoran when he realizes he loves Sakura, just like she promises – and when she runs off to Tomoyo’s house to cry, she admits that she can’t even find it in herself to hate Sakura. She leaves Japan friends with both her and Syaoran.

When Sakura finds out Yukito loves her brother, she only breaks down when she’s alone with Syaoran later on. Syaoran doesn’t do anything but hug her and tell her that she’ll find someone someday.

Tomoyo is on an entirely different level of saintliness, however. She says it straight out to Sakura herself: “If the one I love most is happy, then so am I. It would be wonderful if they loved me back, but it isn’t necessary.”

Tomoyo spends forever supporting Sakura’s crush on Yukito. When Syaoran realizes he likes Sakura, Tomoyo does nothing but encourage him as a friend – she even teams up with Meiling to get the two together alone when Sakura realizes she likes him too.

Now that’s what you call friendship.

Villain? What villain?
The show doesn’t have any villains. Period. In the first half of it, the Clow Cards are usually just the troublemakers of the week – and as soon as Sakura catches them, she ends up treating them as friends. Kind of.

The second arc doesn’t waste time telling you that Mysterious Transfer Student™ Eriol Hiiragizawa is Bad News – his ominous monologues atop various rooftops and outside Sakura’s house give the game away fast. But even then, he doesn’t turn out to be such a bad guy. He’s only the reincarnation of Clow Reed giving real situations for Sakura to easily and safely transform the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards.

Sure, he makes Sakura’s life a little more dangerous. But what’s life without a wave pool nearly drowning your friends? Or a spontaneous avalanche on a field trip? Or an endless night from which no one you love will ever awaken? Boring, that’s what!

Sarcasm aside, Eriol and the Clow Cards (even The Nothing, the antagonist of the series’ second movie) do become Sakura’s friends, regardless of the obstacles she encounters because of them – and proving that you can grow up awesomely without having to hate people or fight them over everything.

Nice girls finish first
Everyone loves Sakura. This is not up to dispute. It’s an openly stated fact. It doesn’t matter who you are – you, like every single character in the show, will like Sakura.

Syaoran is cold as ice when he and Sakura first meet, but defrosts when she proves herself and even befriends him. We all know how that ends.

Yue initially refuses to accept anyone succeeding Clow Reed as his master. But after Sakura defeats him says she’d rather be his friend than his master, he slowly learns to love her as much as anyone else. Meiling goes from aggressive rival to a “precious friend.” Syaoran’s strict mother gives her a kiss on the cheek after knowing her for a day!

Even The Nothing, the embodiment of emptiness, decides to join Sakura when she comforts the card in its loneliness (even after it committed temporary mass murder) and gives it the chance to join her as a Sakura Card. With Sakura’s acceptance, The Nothing becomes The Hope.

Everyone loves Sakura because she’s nice. Sakura is near flawlessly kind and compassionate to everyone, regardless of how cruel or cold they can be. In her heart she just knows: everyone’s got feelings – and they all deserve to be respected and even loved.

The magic words
There are a million reasons why everyone, regardless of age or gender, seems to like Cardcaptor Sakura. But its universality really has to be chalked up to the way it maturely deals with Sakura’s growth in the face of adversity.

When Sakura destroys a laptop containing all of her father’s research, she has to realize that not everything can be fixed by magic. When she’s trapped all alone in unyielding darkness, she has to find it in herself to figure her own way out.

When faced with the very real possibility of a world where everyone has forgotten their feelings for the person most important to them, Sakura breaks free from where she’s trapped to finally defeat Yue – without compromising on her refusal to hurt others.

Throughout the entire series, Sakura faces times where the people around her are at risk of getting gravely hurt – showing us that there is danger everywhere, even in the anime’s fluffy, rose-tinted world. There is rarely a time when the odds aren’t against her.

But that doesn’t stop her from doing what she thinks is right. Sakura moves forward, with a courage and determination that become one “invincible spell” like no other. When she says these words, you know them to be true:

“Everything will definitely be all right.”

Article by PaCho
Art by Kristen A.
PaCho is the nickname of a full-time fangirl who has the extraordinary ability of being able to cry at any given opportunity. Sometimes instead of crying, she complains about the government, goes on some trips, takes some okay photos, and writes stuff.
Kristen is an (1)8 year old Chinese food-lover and cat enthusiast who dreams of one day becoming an archaeologist. Kristen, unbeknownst to most, can play ode to joy in the recorder perfectly, is an honors student and a great singer. You should also know that the last sentence was a big fat joke.


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