|It's canon! Syaoran is an excellent pianist. What is he not good at?|
“Filler episodes" of CCS are always the best! I don’t even consider them really filler because Ohkawa Nanase-sensei is in charge of script, so I suppose it’s Clamp’s expanded vision of the CCS-verse that they could not include in the manga. We start off with Sakura daydreaming of Syaoran eating Syaoran’s bento the other day at the flower-viewing gathering, then bumping into Akiho to do grocery shopping. We are finally introduced to Akiho’s “Momo-chan,” Kero-chan’s bunny equivalent aka Moonstone from New Trials. I mentioned before that Moonie-chan is probably a mixture between Mokona, Usagi-chan from Wish and more recently Momo-chan.
|Meilin: Poor Syaoran's still got it rough.|
One of the highlights of this episode was the comeback of Meilin (or at least hearing her over phone). Thank goodness for smartphones so we see Meilin in action. The best part was her banter with Kero-chan, mocking him by eating her peach manju in front of him, teasing Sakura about how she’s always spacing out, but still a bit concerned about how Syaoran’s doing in Japan. Meilin’s awesome as ever, and she hasn’t lost any of her sass. And she tells Sakura of course Syaoran is enjoying school since “he’s near a certain someone, after all.” Since her introduction Meilin was a bit nagging and overbearing, but she also was very shrewd and observant. I love her little sigh and offhand remark, “I guess Syaoran will still have it rough for a while,” because of how dense Sakura is. And best news, she said she will visit Japan over summer vacation! I also like her nice porcelain tea cup.
|Cutest dad award!|
|Touya: Gotta show Yuki Sakura's latest masterpiece!|
|Pretty Nadeshiko with an umbrella!|
Even Kinomoto Fujitaka has also become moe-fied—he looked cute huffing and puffing on the hot gratin made by Sakura. Fujitaka is as busy as every with university work and says he might have to spend the night, so I don’t feel so bad I made him so busy in New Trials either. Mischievous Touya points out Sakura’s mistake slicing cucumbers and even takes a photo of it to send to Yukito. Sakura’s premonition of the mysterious cloaked figure is getting more elaborate than ever. So, on top of being in sort of dreamscape, there is clock imagery going on as well. I wonder if the final battlefield is going to be a dream plane rather than Tokyo Tower or the shrine, as was predicted with Yue and Eriol’s appearances. On a side note, I think this was one of the prettiest photo-of-the-day of Nadeshiko to date. I don’t know why, but no matter how many times it’s shown, I always feel giddy when Sakura crosses the bridge and sees Tomoyo waiting for her. The butterfly—I suppose it was meant to be the Record—really reminded me of the Dream Card more than anything else. After class ends, the girls discuss which club Akiho should join.
|Ninja Tomoyo: Li-kun, urgent matters! Assemble at music room ASAP!|
|Yandere Tomoyo: Akiho, I heard you humming along the other day. Admit it!|
The best of this episode is the music room scene. Leave it to Tomoyo to know that Syaoran plays piano. Note, Tomoyo runs like a ninja, arms flying out behind her to chase after Syaoran going into the next door classroom (how did she even notice him) and brings the group to the music room she borrowed for lunch break. Akiho apologizes for butting in and humming along to Tomoyo’s singing during the flower-viewing gathering the other day, being the polite girl she is. Tomoyo and Sakura both tell Akiho they heard her singing along, and everybody encourages Akiho to sing.
|Syaoran: Who told you I play the piano? Darn Meilin.|
|Syaoran: I'm not very good so don't blame me if it sounds bad!|
Tomoyo then says she heard that Syaoran is actually very good at the piano and asks him to accompany them. Syaoran is taken aback and demands where she heard this from, and Tomoyo replies, from Meilin. Syaoran looks very troubled and annoyed like good old days. Of course, Sakura is amazed that Syaoran can play the piano, and Syaoran blushes like he used to and being modest as he always was, says he is not very good and not to blame him if they can’t sing along to his accompaniment. Of course, he’s very good (possible better than Eriol?!) and looks very hot playing the piano. Sakura probably asks to herself, why did she have to learn piano from Eriol back when she wanted to record a song for the Clow Cards, when she would have learned from Syaoran all along? Or maybe Syaoran is Eriol’s apprentice after all and learned from the master himself.
|Of course I'm the next Lang Lang.|
|I'm Li Syaoran, what did you expect?|
|Legit duet off with Tomoyo and Akiho! Who is the winner?|
|Sakura only has eyes for piano-playing Syaoran.|
Tomoyo and Akiho sing a song called “Misty Moonlight” and harmonize beautifully, but truthfully I wasn’t paying attention because I was distracted because Syaoran was playing the piano! They even animated his fingers and all instead of lazy panning out shots. It makes more sense that Rika transferred out because I believe she was the piano player of the group. and we wouldn’t have this precious moment with Syaoran otherwise.
|Sakura: Hanyaan! Syaoran's so good at the piano!|
|Syaoran: I should have shown off my skills in Season 1 if it would impress Sakura so much.|
Another part I enjoyed this episode was Syaoran and Tomoyo’s unspoken communicative skills, like Syaoran asking if he could borrow the music room a little longer, and Tomoyo automatically ushering Akiho and Chiharu out of the room. Chiharu’s “hmm” was so funny when Tomoyo says Sakura and Syaoran have something else to do. Chiharu even has the audacity to wink at the two as they close the music room door. Sakura seals the Record Card without much hardship, but it was good to see Syaoran standing by her side and the two cooperating together for the first time in a long time. Also, that portrait of Beethoven making the picture-taking motion with his hand is the creepiest thing I’ve seen in CCS so far!
|Syaoran, as observant as ever of Sakura.|
|The fantastic duo back at it again!|
|Creepiest Beethoven portrait ever!|
|Syaoran, you're my ally now, right? You better not betray me!|
Then, Syaoran makes the shocking confession that he couldn’t feel anything, and it was nothing like when they were collecting the Clow Cards. And he makes a very troubled expression—so if he’s hiding something from Sakura, that would make him the best actor ever.
|Frowning Syaoran is back!|
|Syaoran also makes this kind of troubled expression when he's worried about Sakura.|
There was something about this episode that reminded me of elements of New Trials of CCS more than any other episode so far. I was already alerted that Syaoran might be playing on the piano this episode over by members of the Facebook group, but I didn’t realize we would get a full scene of him accompanying Tomoyo and Akiho on the piano. I loved it the whole scene, from Syaoran being very modest about his skills, to being an awesome pianist, to him being embarrassed at being complimented. Of course Meilin boasted about Syaoran’s talents to Tomoyo and not Sakura. I can die happily, knowing it is canon that Syaoran IS musically talented, no matter how much he sucked at the recorder in elementary school. Music plays such an important part of New Trials, but the reason I made it feature so heavily in the storyline was because I thought it kept up with the spirit of the original series as well. Syaoran is not only good at piano but he can sight read on the spot too—I’m sure he never heard the Japanese song “Misty Moonlight” before. Even Kero-chan during the “Leave it to Kero-chan” segment remarks “Who knew that kid was so good at piano” at the end.” Anyhow, Sakura must have a brother-complex too—Syaoran shares so many similarities with Touya. It was also good to see Syaoran being so expressive again after being pretty inscrutable in the episodes so far.
|Syaoran is still a pushover whenever it comes to Sakura.|
|Sakura's dream sequences are getting more and more complex.|
The other point was the imagery in the dream sequence with the mysterious cloaked figure and the clocks. It reminded me of the Ending Theme 4 I made to NewTrials years back. Also, Tomoyo’s mother’s company making not only toys but smartphones, headphones and other technological equipment apparently. I’m looking forward to a Sonomi-related episode next episode, and Sakura’s new battle costume looks especially cute with all the stars!”