Sakura captures a new card and looks forward to her winter vacation. While buying a notebook for her homework, she enters a contest on the spur of the moment and wins a trip to Hong Kong. Soon Sakura, Tomoyo, Touya, Yukito and, of course, Kero-chan are seeing the sights and having a great time in Hong Kong. But why is Sakura having nightmares about a mysterious figure, and what is this strange aura she senses? Sakura may have more of an adventure than she bargained for.
summary by Madoka
Highs: New setting gives new energy; moving story
Lows: New characters provide no development
The first of two Card Captor Sakura movies, Card Captor Sakura: The Movie, takes place between the first and second seasons of the series. While it shares some elements of a normal episode, a new setting and a moving storyline makes this movie a worthwhile story.
With Sakura and her friends in Hong Kong, the change of scenery is definitely refreshing. The animation is far superior to the series, with an exotic feel and attention to detail. Most of the series takes place in school, her house or the park, so a new locale gives new energy. Even though the story sounds like a standard mahou shoujo plot (Sakura must defeat an evil villain, her first and only real villain) the story is presented with a sincerity and dignity that other shows of its type usually lack… that means you, Sailor Moon. The villain, incidentally, is voiced by Hayashibara Megumi, who is right on target with her emotions and superb voice acting, as always.
The new setting also comes with a few new characters, which is the only part of this movie that I feel does not live up to its potential. These characters, Shaoran’s family, could have been used more effectively for providing insight into one of the major characters of the show. It’s obvious how much Shaoran wants to impress his mother and gain her approval, yet he never truly interacts with her. She merely exists to point Sakura in the right direction when she needs help. Seeing some interaction with Shaoran would help long-time viewers understand more of his background, but that chance never comes.
Ultimately, nothing in the movie has an effect on the series, so this anime seems to exist outside the whole story of Card Captor Sakura as told by the series and the second movie. But with the moving story capped by a great vocal song at the end, this is a worthy addition.
See also Card Captor Sakura: The Sealed Card
Card Captor Sakura: The Movie can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.