Friday, April 30, 2010

The New Trials of Card Captor Sakura Season 4 ED Theme

One of the most common comments I receive in email is "I wish New Trials was made into an anime," which I feel very flattered about and yet rueful. It is fun imagining what New Trials would look like as an anime, because unlike when I write original stories, when I write this fanfiction, I am often envisioning scenes in animation and transcribing them into words. Hence, it has been fun coming up with songs to associate with New Trials "soundtrack," if it were indeed an anime. Since we have moved into the middle of Arc 4 of New Trials, it was fun making an ending theme for the "last season" of New Trials and culminating everything that New Trials is into a couple minutes.

紅茶 - Koucha/ Kōcha "Black Tea"
坂本真綾 Maaya Sakamoto
Album: Lucy (2001), Everywhere (2010)
Composer: Yoko Kanno
Lyrics: Maaya Sakamoto

The clock-tower that tolls the end of love is waiting for the next hour
Can't stop this moment

The cherry-blossoms at the subway entrance will bloom again this year
So I guess we’ll grow older by another year
Spring has drawn near

As a sign of eternity,
The two of us at that time waited for a night when the meteors would come and made a wish

Embracing each other, saying things will never change
I was thinking I had obtained everything
What remains in these hands is but one thing
You were my first boyfriend

It felt like we could go anywhere we wanted by bicycle
I even remember the taste of the black tea I drank by the street-side on a cold day

It’s not that I’m lonely
This is supposed to be a choice I made myself
Yet there are times I want to do nothing but cry

What is there in the future beyond here?
How many more heartbreaking goodbyes will there be?
The clock-tower that tolls the end of love is waiting for the next hour
Can't stop this moment

Embracing each other, saying don't go anywhere,
I was thinking I had obtained everything
What remains in these hands is but one thing

You were my first boyfriend.

Lyrics referenced from Miyuki Mouse and Korean translations.

Maaya Sakamoto's 2001 album "Lucy" is probably here strongest collaboration album as a whole with Yoko Kanno (though she has had many other stronger individual songs). She wrote most of the lyrics on the album, including the lyrics for "Koucha," and if you pay attention to the lyrics, the album sort of unfolds like a love story. "Strobe no Sora" is the third song on the album and can be described as vibrant, upbeat and hopeful, which is why I chose it as the ending theme for Arc 2 of New Trials. In contrast, "Koucha" has a twinge of bittersweet nostalgia. (Ironically, the last song on the album is titled "I Throw a Vase from Atop the Hill." Koucha is one of my favorite of Maaya's non-anime songs because it has such a haunting yet lovely tone. I was glad to see the song included in Maaya's new 15th anniversary compilation album "Everywhere" because I think it deserves more recognition.

Because I envisioned this as the ending theme to arc 4 of New Trials, I felt obligated to include symbolism and whatnot in the video. I actually had two main themes going on. Because of the refrain in the chorus, "Everything is fading with the bell, ringing to me it's time to go," I had to use Cinderella theme. This is not the first Cinderella reference linked to Maaya and CCS; the B-side to Card Captor Sakura opening 3 single, "Purachina" (Platinum) is "24" (both Yoko Kanno songs), which is a homage to Cinderella. It's an adorable song, with lyrics in English. And of course, you can't forget the hilarious CCS episode where Touya and Yukito participate in their class production of Cinderella for the cultural fair. Cinderella is a good old happily-ever fairytale but really is an allegory of the persistence of time, as the spell breaks after 12'o'clock. What happens when the clock-tower strikes midnight?

The other theme was the rain scene, which I don't know if you recognize from the end of Chapter 59: Thundercloud. I mentioned that I get inspiration from many different things when writing New Trials, and I think this is a situation where I drew the scene before writing the scene. The idea probably started with me wanting to draw Sakura and Syaoran sharing a green umbrella in the summer rain. Most of the key S+S artwork in this AMV is from over a year ago, because
I conceptualized this video before my first ending theme for New Trials to Maaya Sakamoto's "Strobe no Sora" and then didn't have time to work on it. My first New Trials AMV was the Arc 3 season finale trailer. I never studied film or animation or anything of the sorts, so it's been a fun process figuring out how to do things. The first New Trials trailer was painstakingly made frame by frame in Windows Movie Maker on my old laptop which really didn't have enough RAM capacity to render videos, so working with Sony Vegas makes editing so much easier. I still dream of having a large screen monitor and all the proper equipment for digital art and video editing, which is sort of out there for me because I am far from the art field and in the meantime have to work with the small screen of a widescreen laptop which seems to stretch out everything I draw.

I probably had the most fun making the 10 second preview for the "Next Episode of New Trials," Episode 62: Sakura and Syaoran and the Fashion Show (aka Chapter 62: Designs in Crime), same as how I had most fun making the preview for Episode 1: Sakura and Syaoran and the New Beginning (named after the fashion all CCS anime episodes are named--it's all Sakura + something something). I love how Irino Miyu's voice has matured, and it's a pity I can't bring Makino Yui and Irino Miyu and make them act out S+S scenes.
My next goal is making an opening theme to New Trials with Utada Hikaru's "Sakura Drops," which I think I have wanted to make since 2001, but back then, I didn't have any video editing skills whatsoever. Most of the main characters of New Trials make an appearance in the ending theme. Can you identify them all?


  1. do you intended to say that the series is going to end soon? oh oh oh . . T_T

  2. Wowwww, I was completely at a loss for words as I was watching it. It's soooooo beautiful! And the song!! Yeah, I've been listening to Sakamoto Maaya's new album lately too <3 it's so amazing how you used Makino and Irino's voices for the episode preview----very clever (:

    Keep it up Wish-chan! Looking forward to the next chapter (or whatever else you have for us)!

  3. @nadh... I do plan to end it sooner than later, but there is still quite a bit of Arc 4 to go through. >.<

    @jiri-chan, thank you very much. Glad to see lots of Maaya fans! I'm hoping to focus time writing the next chapter which is probably 25% done at this point.

  4. I never thought of putting Maaya to NT until you started talking about her. I always thought of ayaka songs for NT. "Koi Kogarete Mita Yume", "Konya mo Hoshi ni Dakarete"..."Koucha" definately fits though. They did a poll right before "everywhere" came out on her official MIXI and "Koucha" was actually #1! So this is a song that anyone that has loved can relate to. Great job on the video! Makes me so sad and mad at Syaoran at the same time LOL

  5. Actually, Ayaka is a singer I really like as well! She's so talented. Love Konya. :) And I am so jealous she married Mizushima Hiro who is so dreamy and handsome; they're a perfect couple, though it's a pity she can't sing for a while because of her throat.

    Glad to see Koucha is popular! I would love to see the poll.

  6. I just read your latest chapter and it really made my day:) I've been a fan of yours since I first stumbled upon NT a couple of years ago. You are an amazing writer and really hope you will continue to share your work even after the end of NT! Can't wait for the next chapter!


  7. Good job! Can't WAIT for the next chapter. What a cliffhanger! You are seriously SUCH a god writer. Thanks for blessing us all with your work!!

  8. I just stumbled upon your blog. I love the new trials. XD I've been reading it for many many many years. I recently decided to re-read everything all over again. I can't wait for the next chapter. Your fanfiction is the best I've ever read, maybe even the best story I've ever read. It's sort of sad that it's starting to come to an end though. I do wish your story could go on forever. : )

  9. AHHHH I love New Trials! Great job! Please, please update soon, I am going crazy!!

  10. I've started to read this fanfic from all over again from the beginning. You built this story nicely from the prologue and I've to say you did better by the time. C'mon Wish-chan, are you going to make us wait until Syaoran's birthday?

  11. I love love love your story!
    I can't wait until the next update. :) :)

  12. I read this story a long long LONG time ago, and a few days ago, I stumbled upon it again. Then I proceeded to reread the ENTIRE story over the course of 4-5 days...and I fell in love with it all over again. I am SO happy to see that you are still writing because I ADORE this story. Please update as soon as you get a chance.

  13. I love your fanfic, it's absolutely amazing! When wil the next chapter be updated? Thank you for writing this story!

  14. I don't get the chance to read very much nowadays but I've been reading & loving your story since I was eleven. Please update soon!

    No matter how old I am, I think I'll always have a soft spot for one of my favourite childhood anime series.

  15. I'm surprised there hasn't been a new blog post in almost three months. Waiting on tenterhooks for the next chapter ^-^

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