The ABCs of CardCaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura (abbreviated as CCS) was written and illustrated by CLAMP from year 1996-2000. So far, there are 12 volumes published and was adapted into a 70 episode anime television show. Due to its popularity, there were two anime films based on it released from 1999-2000.
The story is based on 10 year old Sakura Kinomoto who accidentally releases a set of magical Clow cards and has to collect them all before an unknown disaster falls on earth and mankind. Hence, she is given the title "Cardcaptor".
Guess what? This popular manga series was awarded the Seiun Award for Best Manga in year 2001, whereas the anime adaptation won the Animage Grand Prix award for best anime.
This is one of the very few series which does a good job in blending school life and magic together. I also like how CLAMP does crossovers with Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic.
A for Anime
MADHOUSE Ltd., a Japanese animation studio, adapted Cardcaptor Sakura manga into a 70 episode anime series. Of course, the CLAMP manga creators worked hand in hand with them, composing the screenplay as well as designing the costume set and the cards.
There are a total of 3 seasons for the anime. Season 1 comprises of episode 1-35, Season 2 from 36-46, and lastly, Season 3 from 47-70.
Furthermore, there are an additional 3 special episodes: "You're wonderful, Sakura-chan! Tomoyo's Cardcaptor Sakura Video Diary!" with Part 1, 2 and 3.
[Title translated in English language]
Due to CCS's growing popularity, the producers struck when the iron was hot and created two CCS movies (Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie and Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card) which will be further elaborated on later as you read (:
B for Book (Manga version)
Cardcaptor Sakura is written and illustrated by the manga artist group CLAMP. The first volume was released in Nakayoshi magazine on the 22nd of November, 1996. the series ended on its 12th volume on the 31st July, 2000. In 2004, the series was released again with a brand new hardcover look.
There are a total of 50 chapters. You can easily read the manga for free at http://www.onemanga.com/Cardcaptor_Sakura/
The words are in English language. ^^
As mentioned above, this series won the prestigious Seiun Award for the "Best Manga" in Year 2001, shortly after the series ended.
There are several differences between both the manga and anime. This is because due the producers have "stretched" the anime series to be longer, so there were some changes made to the story. All these shall be elaborated further below.
C for Clow Cards
There are a total of 19 different Clow Cards mentioned in the manga series of CCS. However, to make the anime series longer, the producers came up with a set of 52 different Clow Cards. Furthermore, there was another new Clow Card, "The Void" created specially for the second movie, "Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card". Hence, there are now 53 Clow Cards altogether.
Clow Reed had created all these Cards using his magic. All the Clow Cards are powerful and filled with magic. If left on their own devices, there would be an unknown catastrophe that would befall the earth. Hence, Clow Reed created Cerberus to be the guard and seal of the book containing the Cards.
Each Clow Card has its own distinct personality. They could be gentle or violent, difficult, and strong or weak. The strongest Clow Cards are The Earthy, The Firey, The Windy and The Watery, which are the four basic elements.
Sakura's favourite Clow Card would be "The Windy" which she had used to capture most of the other Cards. Windy's personality is kind, well-mannered and does not like fights. Hence, it barely takes any trouble to capture Windy. Only those Cards such as "The Fly" which uses Windy's powers are impossible to be caught by Windy. Another example of a Card with a kind personality would be "The Earthy".
In the second movie, it was revealed that there was a Clow Card that could balance out the power of the other 52 Cards. Just like the "Ying-Yang" symbol, there is a "positive" and "negative" balance for the Clow Cards. Clow Reed, who believed that the Clow Cards may get too powerful, created a new Clow Card, "The Void", which would not be affected by the powers of the other cards. Hence, it was pointless to use the Clow Cards against it.
In the end, Sakura eventually managed to capture all the cards and call them her own, which means that she is now the most powerful magician in the world, even surpassing Clow Reed himself.
E for Eriol Hiiragizawa
Eriol is a transfer student from England to Sakura's school, Tomoeda Elementary. This was after Sakura had defeated Yue and became the Master of the Clow Cards. After joining the school, Eriol quickly befriends Sakura and became Takashi Yamazaki's best friend, making Syaoran suspicious of his character.
Soon after he arrives, Sakura encountered many magical disasters which forces her to convert the Clow Cards into her own Sakura Cards, causing her to be weakened and become exhausted easily. All these scenes were created by Eriol himself. Eriol is always seen together with his companions Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon. All three live in the house once occupied by Clow Reed.
Finally, Eriol reveals that he is the reincarnation of Clow Reed, and has the powers of the latter too. He challenges Sakura to convert the final Cards, the Light and The Dark, before Tomoeda is plunged into darkness. With the help of Yue and Cerberus, Sakura manages to do so. Eriol later asks Sakura to divide his magic between him and Sakura's father, the other reincarnation of Clow Reed, so that Eriol will no longer be the most powerful magician on earth.
Even without the help of the Cards, Eriol is very powerful using his magic. Unlike the other 4th Graders, Eriol is a little older, although his real age was not revealed. Moreover, he has Clow Reed's memories, which means him more mature and powerful than the others.
After the series ended, Eriol was still seen helping Sakura in the second Cardcaptor movie. Sakura had wrote to him a letter and he had called her back to warn her about a new Clow Card. Unfortunately, the phone line was cut off by that Card's powers and Eriol could not elaborate more about it to Sakura.
F for Films (Movies)
MADHOUSE, a Japanese animation studio, produced two full length movies based on the anime adaption.
The first CCS movie, "Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie", was set in between the first and second seasons of the anime. In it, Sakura won a trip to Hong Kong and encountered a vengeful spirit who wants to find Clow Reed. The movie also shows us Li Syaoran's mother, sisters and their house for the first time ever. This movie was released on 21st August, 1999.
For the second movie, it was released on 15th July, 2000, a short while after the first movie. "Cardcaptor Sakura: The sealed Card" was created to be an ending for the whole anime series, whereby Sakura finally confess her love to Syaoran in the end. There was also a new Clow Card specially created for this movie- "The Void". In this movie, Syaoran had returned to Tokyo hoping to get a response from Sakura about his confession. In the meantime, Sakura was still struggling within herself on how to respond to him. However, both were interrupted by the appearance of this new Clow Card.
H for Hometown
Sakura lives in the fictional town of Tomoeda in Japan which is near to Tokyo. She attends Tomoeda Elementary School together with her best friend Tomoyo. Sakura is very athletic and joins her school's cheerleading team and excels at track-and-field activities. In fact, she loves gym class the most. Later, Syaoran, Meiling and Eriol joins her class at Tomoeda Elementary School as transfer students from Hong Kong and England.
J for Job as a Cardcaptor
Basically, Sakura studies in school during the day and would go out at night to look for the missing Clow Cards. She would meet friendly ones as well as trouble making cards. (It's not easy being a Cardcaptor)
That is why Sakura often oversleeps and is almost always late for school in the morning. Thankfully, she has Cerberus and Yue by her side most of the time to guide her while she captures the cards. Li Syaoran also plays a big part in helping her out sometimes. He had also saved her from danger before, and they had worked together before to capture some cards. Furthermore, her best friend Tomoyo who is always video taping Sakura in action, is there to support her all the time.
In the manga, she had to collect a total of 19 Clow Cards whereas in the anime, she had to collect all 52 different Clow Cards. Even after collecting them, she had to turn each and every one of them into her own Sakura cards.
After changing the cards into her own, she would normally fall asleep due to exhaustion.
K for Kerberus/Cerberus/Kero
Cerberus, nicknamed Kero by Sakura, is someone whom Clow Reed personally created and appointed to be the guardian of the book of Clow Cards. Clow Reed also appointed him to choose the next owner of the cards. Hence, Kero appointed Sakura as the Cardcaptor after discovering that she has potential in her. He also gives her advice and guides her throughout her adventures. Along with Yue, both guardians help Sakura out whenever they can.
Kero lives in a small drawer of Sakura's study desk. He adores playing video games and eating sweet stuff. In other words, he is mostly lazy and gluttonous, but knows when he has to help out as much as he could. Kero needs to draw energy from the sun, but needs Sakura to capture the Firey and Earthy Clow Cards first before he could change back to his original form, a large winged cat. Otherwise, Kero remains as an orange coloured plushie with wings.
He does not like Syaoran, Clow Reed's distant relative, and is at constant loggerheads with him. Syaoran normally retaliates by calling Kero a stuff toy, something which Kero hates.
Kero was living in Osaka before the cards were released, that's why he has a distinct Osaka accent whenever he speaks.