Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1

By CLAMP. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Nakayoshi. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics. Translated by Devon Corwin.

I won’t lie, it can be a bit disappointing to see CLAMP return to the well of old hits. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle was a menage of most of their series with a few new characters, xxxHOLIC ended only to return as an ongoing sequel, and now we have that old standby, Cardcaptor Sakura, getting a sequel with the characters in middle school. Now admittedly writing brand new material is not a guarantee of success – Gate 7 is an excellent example of that, and is still on hiatus. As a result, I can’t blame the creators for returning to a guaranteed draw. That said, there’s not really much here that’s new or innovative – instead, it’s the same old favorites back again. Sakura’s here, her family, Tomoyo, and yes, Syaoran has returned as well, and can now go to school with his “we’re too young to be dating” girlfriend once more. Except… the cards are changed.

Sakura’s having prophetic dreams of mysterious hooded enemies, and they’ve essentially blanked all her cards. But she gets a powerup as well, so now (you knew this was coming, admit it) she will have to go around collecting cards again, though they seem to be the Cool Millennial version – they’re transparent and fancy, and the sweet, mild ‘Windy’ has now apparently become ‘Gale’, and there’s a ‘trapped in a room’ card that becomes ‘Siege’. The cards sound more mature. Tomoyo is mostly delighted, as this means she gets to film Sakura in new costumes – though she misses her catching the first card, which seemingly devastates her. (As with the first series, Tomoyo’s motivations tend to be deeper than they outwardly seem. Also as with the first series, Tomoyo is the main reason I’m reading this.) As for Eriol, he still seems to be keeping things from Sakura, no doubt “for her own good”, but sigh. Didn’t we learn this lesson before?

I mentioned the gang’s all here, but that’s not entirely accurate – while most of Sakura’s muggle friends have returned to her school, Rika has gone to a different school and will presumably not be appearing. Given that her relationship with her adult teacher, complete with a pseudo wedding ring, was easily the creepiest aspect of the original series, it’s no surprise that CLAMP decided to quietly push her out the door rather than give it more attention. (Kaho is still with Eriol, but that’s far vaguer, and in any case Eriol is one of those “I’m really decades older than I look” sorts.) Everyone else gets a “greatest hits” appearance – Sakura’s father is still kind and widower-ey, and mentions he hasn’t seen Nadeshiko’s spirit lately. Touya and Yukito are still very vaguely gay, and while Yukito seems a bit more savvy as to his true nature, it’s still Yue in the driver’s seat when that nature is needed. And Yamazaki is still making up amusing and obvious lies for Syaoran to fall for.

If you enjoyed Cardcaptor Sakura, there’s no reason not to read this – it’s cute and fun. I do hope that it at least tries to go to some new places, however.

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