Sakura is an energetic fourth grader living with her father and older brother. One day she hears a mysterious noise in the basement and goes to investigate. There she finds a book that she had seen in her dreams, called The Clow. Suddenly a burst of wind disperses the cards within the book and the guardian of the cards appears before Sakura. Keroberos tells her that she must find all the cards before they wreak havoc around the world. Can Sakura become the Card Captor and collect all the cards before it’s too late?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Not your typical magical girl show; Sakura is a likeable heroine
Lows: Length and repetition weaken the story
With no transformation sequences, no short skirts for the standard bit of fan service and no menacing evil villain, Card Captor Sakura separates itself from the eye candy of most mahou shoujo series. Action takes a backseat to the real focus of the show: the relationships between friends and family. Even with definite undertones of both shounen and shoujo ai, this show effortlessly handles the concept of different kinds of love without being crass or intrusive. Although the heroine is only in elementary school, Card Captor Sakura tackles serious ideas without trivializing them.
Sakura is much stronger than the typical unsure, crybaby female leads that plague most shows of this type. Voiced by the seiyuu of the same name, Tange Sakura, Sakura the character shows a personality that has the power to make or break the series. She definitely makes it. Likeable yet realistic and willing to face her fears, she serves not only as a good lead for the show but also as a plausible role model for younger viewers.
There are some elements consistent with the magical girl genre, however. The majority of the show follows a Card of the Week formula. As this is a seventy-episode series, seeing card after card being captured inevitably becomes repetitive. As the story progresses, however, the later episodes in the third season break this formula somewhat and are paced much better than the first and second seasons. My only criticism about the third season of the show is the too often used “about to say something important but suddenly interrupted” plot device that prevents the story from advancing as smoothly as it should.
However, the overall story and its focus on relationships are worth the time investment for mahou shoujo fans. If you’re not already a fan of this type of show, Card Captor Sakura may be the series that converts you if you are willing to give it the chance.