This is a review for Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie, the first movie in the Cardcaptor Sakura franchise. This movie was created after the second season of the series, but takes place between the first and second season, so that’s where I’ll add it during my blogging.
It’s not technically part of the Cardcaptor Sakura HD project that I’m aware, but I thought I’d throw it in, since it’s part of the story.
In this movie, Sakura is lured to Shaoran and Meilin’s home of Hong Kong by a sorceress who wants to take revenge on Clow Reed.
Sakura battles the Arrow card, which is a pretty nasty card that is able to shoot multiple arrows at someone at a time. To start with, Sakura is only able to run away, but Shaoran is able to give her enough cover with this Thunder magic to allow Sakura to seal Arrow. That night, Sakura has a dream about a pair of ribbons binding her and pulling her under water. She also hears someone say “water is a thing that flows.”
Meanwhile, its the end of the winter term at school. After class, Sakura visits Twin Bells where she enters a draw Tomoeda town is holding. One of the balls seem to jump into her hands – and it ends up being the winning golden ball, which is a 5 day trip to Hong Kong over the winter break. Fujitaka is going on a business trip, so Sakura ends up going with Toya, Fujitaka, and Tomoyo.
The group goes out and sees the town, which Kero finds nostalgically magical. He also has suspicions about how Sakura won the draw, remarking that Clow’s favorite theory is that “there are no coincidences in this world.” That evening, Sakura once again has a dream about water, but this time she sees two birds and a woman in the dream.
The next day, the group visits Bird Street (or more correctly, the Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street), where Sakura feels an odd presence of someone watching her. Sakura then sees the two birds that she saw in her dream and chases after them, and uses Jump to follow them to an old well in between some buildings. A pair of ribbons come out of the well and entrance Sakura into nearly jumping in when Shaoran appears and stops her.
After Li stops her and the presence disappears, Sakura ends up falling into the well anyway. Back on Bird Street, Tomoyo runs into Meilin, who is looking for Shaoran. Shaoran and Sakura finally return, and Shaoran brings the group to his house so Sakura can change clothes. There, the group are introduced to Shaoran’s four older sisters…as well as Shaoran’s very proper and elegant mother.
Shaoran’s mother immediately can tell that Sakura has the Clow Cards, and tells Sakura that great power can also serve as an opportunity for hardship. She then invites them all to stay the night. That night, Sakura has yet another dream about the woman in the watery place. This time, the woman grabs Sakura with her ribbons, with the woman saying that she’s waited for her for forever. The woman approaches Sakura, and Sakura screams, waking her from her dream. However, this time she still has marks on her arm from where the ribbons grabbed her in her dream.
Mrs. Li then brings Sakura outside and conjures up a large version of Clow’s compass. Mrs. Li determines that Sakura has been beckoned to Hong Kong by the woman in her dream, but she also tells Sakura that only she knows the path she must take. When they leave the next morning, Ms. Li gives Sakura one last word of warning: beware of water.
Meilin and Shaoran then give the group a tour of Hong Kong. While out, Sakura spots the white birds again and chases after them again. Kero senses that the birds have very strong magic as Sakura follows them into an old shop.
In the shop, Sakura finds a book, which is making the sound of water. On the cover of the book is the well that Sakura was at before, with the lady in her dreams on it. Sakura then becomes possessed again and opens the book just as everyone else arrives. Water then rushes out of the book and transports everyone to the watery place from Sakura’s dream, where the woman appears.
The woman demands why Sakura is there and not “him.” Sakura flies away from the woman’s watery attacks until Shaoran is able to cover for her by using Freeze on one of them. The woman then reveals that the four others are traps in balls of water. Once again, the woman asks why they are there and not Clow Reed. Meanwhile, Kero swears she’s met the woman before.
Shaoran then uses Storm to enclose the woman while Sakura uses Sword to free Tomoyo and escape. Shaoran tries to free Meilin, but is unable to break the bubble. However, the woman soon breaks free of Storm, and encases Shaoran in a bubble. Sakura has to escape from a weakness in the woman’s magic above her, and out the book. However, the book is now gone.
Kero then suddenly remembers the woman. She was a fortune teller by using water. Howeer, Clow Reed showed up, and, being a superior fortune teller, the woman’s business took a dive. The tried to challenge Clow on several occasions but always lost. Having never gotten revenge of Clow, she encased her soul in the book when she died. However, since the book disappeared, they don’t have a way to get back. However, Sakura remembers the well on the cover of the book as the one she was at before.
That night, Sakura tries to enter the well, but a barrier appears around it. Kero doesn’t think Sakura can break through it with her current power, but then Mrs. Li shows up and is able to create a hole in the barrier long enough for Sakura to get through and enter the well. The well ends up being a dimensional tunnel which has entrances to several different dimensions. Sakura uses her power to find the correct entrance and enters. She then makes her way back to the woman’s lair by following the white birds.
Once again, the woman demands to know where Clow Reed is. Kero tries to tell her that Clow has died, but she doesn’t believe him. She then uses the life-force of Toya, Yukito, Meilin, and Shaoran to escape her dimension into real Hong Kong out of the well, and Sakura follows suit. The woman, confused by her now modern surroundings, attacks Sakura with her water magic until she captures Sakura with her ribbons and takes her to an unfinished skyscraper.
There, Sakura tries to tell her again the Clow is dead, but the woman won’t accept it, and floods the area with water. Sakura realizes that, far from hating Clow, the woman actually loves him. Sakura then hears the voice again saying that ‘water is a thing that flows.” Sakura then uses the Arrow card to fire arrows to bust up the place, allowing the water to flow out.
Sakura then tells the woman that it must hurt losing someone she loves. Finally, the woman seems to accept that Clow Reed is dead, and vanishes, leaving behind a gift Clow had given the woman, and Sakura realizes that the voice she heard was Clow Reed’s. Toya, Yukito, Meilin, and Shaoran then appear.
It’s soon time to return to Japan, and the woman’s strong desire to tell Clow Reed that she loved him gives Sakura renewed motivation to tell the person she loves the same.
While I think that Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie is a decent movie, and has some several interesting good points, it also has some serious flaws in it as well.
I think on the good side, it’s interesting to see a world outside of Clow’s magic for a change, and the realization that, while Clow’s magic is powerful, it’s not the only magic that has been or is used out in the world. It was also interesting to finally meet Shaoran’s family, and see the level of level of magic he has to live up to.
On the more negative size, I’m not sure how I liked having a movie about Cardcaptor Sakura being so little about, well, capturing and using Clow Cards. Sakura captured the Arrow card at the top of the movie, seemingly for the sole purpose of using it at the end, even when there were other, possibly better, cards to use (just using Watery to clear out the area would seem to be a first obvious choice).
Then, the cards that Sakura used seemed limited to, besides Arrow, Fly and Jump, with Shaoran using Storm as well. If we’re going to have a battle between Clow’s magic and someone else’s magic, it would at least be interesting to see a wider variety of cards used.
I think, having gotten that all out of the way, I think the story was reasonable. I guess the woman-wronged-but-who-actually-in-love story isn’t exactly a new one, but it worked OK here, and opened a small window into Clow Reed’s past.