Sunday, March 4, 2018

Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen - Episode 09 Review!!!

Episode 8: "Sakura’s Thrilling Aquarium Visit" aka Nobody leaves their rooms anymore to meet in person with the advent of smartphones aka can anybody get through one episode without getting soaked
I spent so much of this episode going “hanyaan” because it has so many elements that I love and only my most favorite characters featured. It’s the long awaited Sakura and Syaoran date at the aquarium episode, plus Syaoran’s first battle costume change and new magic time!

Yue has become addicted to smartphones and never leaves the house anymore.
Kawaii Tomoyo: I weally, weally, weally want to film Sakura's first date with Syaoran!
Favorite screenshot of the week: Nooo! Yue hung up on me again!
Sexy daddy Fujitaka pretending to read an English-language newspaper while worrying about daughter's first date with a boy. Thank goodness he sent Touya to spy!
We start off with a three-way video conference with Sakura, Yue, and Kero-chan. I love how Yue just swipes away at Kero-chan when he gets annoyed, but I also like Yue and Cerberus’ one-on-one conversations where they are sort of worried about their mistress because you get the sense of longtime camaraderie between the two. I kind of like the idea that Yue indirectly hinted at wanting to Kero-chan to follow along on Sakura and Syaoran’s date. I think Touya is rubbing off on him. And then it is Tomoyo who dissuaded Kero-chan despite pointing out it would be a great photo op from doing so via phone, saying, “Those two don’t have many opportunities to be alone.” Tomoyo points out if something happens, Syaoran would be there for Sakura. Spot on, Tomoyo. And she’s the one who really wanted to film the whole date. Papa Kinomoto Fujitaka is the best father ever and even gives free tickets from the aquarium to Sakura to go with someone she likes. By the way, Fujitaka was reading an English-language paper in the living room. As expected from a professor, and half of Clow Reed’s reincarnation. One of the article titles is: “Trial set for last Paris attacker.” I’m pretty sure it’s referring to the Feb. 5, 2018, news that the sole surviving terrorist attacker in the 2015 Paris attacks was standing trial at a Belgian court. Another article reads, “Olympics draw adoptees back to birth nation.” This is referring to Korean adoptee athletes competing in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea last month. Back on track, Fujitaka even knows that Sakura’s going on a date with Syaoran and that she packed him lunch. Well, Fujitaka probably ending up making half of it anyway. 

Suave Syaoran dresses nicely, arrives early, and compliments date's outfit.
Syaoran: Darnit, I knew I should have worn my favorite pink shirt to match Sakura's outfit today.
Sakura skips away to the bus station to see Syaoran, thinking she’s early, but the punctual Syaoran we know is back and of course early, and they depart 12 minutes earlier than their scheduled time by bus to the aquarium. Syaoran looks sporty in his red and navy letter jacket over white t-shirt, faded khakis jeans with cuffs rolled up and a green one-strapped backpack with a cellphone slot attached to the strap. All his bags are green. Sakura is wearing a pink tutu skirt with yellow hoodie over a white shirt and orange converse sneakers. And she’s only carrying a bento bag. Suave Syaoran 2.0 compliments Sakura on her outfit, and she says Tomoyo picked it out. Sakura stared like a love-struck girl during their bus ride. Can I just point out how I died that we have a bus-riding scene with Sakura and Syaoran finally. I really loved their train riding scene in the original CCS anime too. But sorry kids, who plans a date for 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning? 

Syaoran: OMG why does Sakura have the tickets! A boy has to buy the tickets on the first date! Sakura-papa, what the heck? This wasn't in the dating manual!
Sakura: "My dad said to go with someone I like."
Syaoran: OMG did she just confess to me?! Just like that, 9 episodes in? Director-san, can we just end the series here, now?
The two arrive at the aquarium, Sakura gives the entrance ticket to Syaoran, telling him her father told her to “Go with someone you like.” The two blush cutely, a kid passing by points out to his mom they’re blushing red. I really love Sakura and Syaoran idle chatter the most, especially Syaoran sharing that Meilin got stung by a venomous jellyfish. I was really hoping we get a full flashback scene, but we do get a chibi-Meilin imposed on the aquarium tank wailing from being stung by a jellyfish at the beach. I appreciated Syaoran’s shrewd observation that she was crying more out of desperation than out of pain. He knows her well. 

Sakura makes this cute pouting face when she's at the aquarium looking at a blowfish in CCS Episode 3 as well!
Rare, childlike happy Syaoran. Hanyaan.
Meilin the drama queen stung by a jellyfish.
Yandere Sakura: So Syaoran, you actually know how to text? And you didn't text me once all of last year.
Big brother is watching you!
So apparently, Syaoran really knows how to text, and with impeccable timing Meilin texts him, telling to take the lead since they’re on a date and not to be shy! Oh Meilin, always knowing the right thing to say and never losing her pushiness. I love how literally everyone (except for one sour patch brother) is cheering on Sakura and Syaoran’s “date.” Syaoran remarks that Meilin, though she doesn’t have any magical powers is oddly perceptive. Maybe she’s already dating Kaitou Magician and he’s helped install a spy microchip on them. 

Syaoran's vision.
And sometimes he smiles a bit sadly thinking of Sakura, veiling the deep guilt in his heart for the secrets he refuses to tell her yet. Syaoran: Yo, Wish-chan stop fanficing over here too!
This time, a polite, English-speaking Syaoran makes a debut. Syaoran notices a foreign couple trying to get to the penguin show, and he goes up to them and asks, “Do you need any help?” in English, telling them, “We’re heading there too. How about you come along with us?”  He interprets for Sakura, Sakura is thoroughly impressed this time by Syaoran’s fluent English skills, and Syaoran replies humbly, “Well, I did live in Hong Kong.” Sakura laments she’s horrible at English. Syaoran, of course, offers to help teach Sakura English. Atta boy!  Sakura thanks him (but little does she know what she’s in for). The man remarks, in English, “What a cute couple, huh?” Syaoran understands and blushes, clueless Sakura goes, “Hoe.” We go, “I know!”

The dating manual said girls dig instrument-playing, multilingual guys. Time to impress Sakura with my trilingual skills!
Syaoran plays piano AND speaks English?! Who are you?
American couple: "What a cute couple!" Sakura: Hoe?
The two always makes the same expressions when excited watching something. Children should be children, sometimes.
The two watch the penguin show, Sakura shares about how she caught the Watery Card there, before Syaoran came to Japan. He asks what she did about the crowd, and Sakura admits they snuck in. Syaoran looked suspiciously taken aback by this remark—well they always snuck in everywhere back in the days why is this news! The best part of episodes with Sakura and Syaoran alone is that Syaoran always sends these very tender glances at Sakura when she’s being happy and giddy and not looking at him. I mentioned before that the two would be so happy together if they are just left to their own devices and nobody bothered them. 

Sakura: Syaoran, look at the cute penguins!
Sakura: Syaoran, look at the tea room!
Sakura: Syaoran, the strawberry milk shaved ice is yummy!
And somebody, one grumpy old brother, decides to come bother them. Of course Touya just happens to be part-timing at the tea room in the aquarium as a waiter, allegedly filling in for another worker. Probably coerced a poor employee to take the day off that particular day. Yukito apparently volunteers to read books to children there in the evenings. In fact, my theory is that I thought it was strange that Fujitaka out of all people had free tickets to the aquarium from a colleague when both Touya and Yukito work there. Most likely, Touya got the free tickets to the aquarium since he knew Sakura and Syaoran were going on a date Sunday (by snooping in her room and seeing her circled calendar), got their father to pretend that he got the ticket from another professor, give it to Sakura, and then made sure he was working at the aquarium Sunday. All this so that Touya could monitor Sakura’s first date.

Touya: I knew the moment I met you you'll take away something important from me.
Syaoran: Ogre brother, we meet again.
Touya: You Brat! Don't you dare lay a finger on my little sister.
Sakura: Hoe.

Syaoran and Touya finally have a long-awaited stare off. Sakura forces Syaoran to order strawberry milk shaved ice. But Syaoran is the bigger man and even apologies to Sakura for being rude to her older brother. Well, more like worried that he didn’t greet his brother-in-law properly. Syaoran even admits, “My attitude could have been better too.” What did this guy do in Hong Kong, read the “Dating Manual for the Hopeless Guy?” Blushing Syaoran returns and he tries to ask Sakura to go out with him. More like, “I would like to g-go ou—” and a tank explodes blasting away Syaoran. We’ll probably get a lot more of this over the course of the season. I’m glad Syaoran’s enough of a gentleman to properly try to ask Sakura out instead of just assuming that they’re dating. Touya comes to the rescue, diving into the water and pulling down the emergency lever. Syaoran drags drowning Sakura out of the water and sets her down. And then Sakura laments that their lunch got wet, Syaoran dutifully retrieves it, while Touya gives him the evil eye. 

Syaoran: I wonder how many episodes this will take. Well, here goes nothing! "Sakura, will you--"
Syaoran: I knew it. I shouldn't have tried it in the first place.
Sakura: Oh my gosh Syaoran is princess carrying me like a shoujo heroine right in front of onii-chan. Bad move, Syaoran, bad move!
Syaoran: See, I told you your brother will jinx our date.
Sakura: Our lunch is wet! Syaoran: It's for the best. I was actually a bit scared after eating your tough onigiri last time. Leave the bento making to me.
Touya: Pervy brat! Syaoran: Pervy siscon!
I was glad to see the return of Tomoyo’s bodyguards and RV, plus a costume change, this time into a sky blue jester outfit evoking the Watery Card battle costume. We get Syaoran’s first new battle costume, inspired from his Chinese ceremonial costume of old days. I think one of the first times in New Trials we get a Syaoran battle costume change was also with a black under layer and green robes, so I’m glad Tomoyo and I are on the same wavelength. Something to note, Tomoyo’s HD camera takes better quality videos than whatever animation quality we’re getting for the rest of the episode. Can we have her direct all the actual episodes as well? 

Tomoyo's camcorder has better production quality than Madhouse.
Syaoran: Seriously? Are we doing this again? I purposefully left behind my ceremonial costume in Hong Kong because I wanted to graduate from these crazy hats.
Syaoran: Oh god, I got it. Tomoyo, are you filming this to send to Eriol?
The original crew sneaks into the aquarium at nighttime, Kero-chan sticks his tongue out at the guard, and I think Clamp’s been watching some Harry Potter. Sakura uses the Lucid Card, which functions sort of like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and is really cool. Then, the group stares into a pensieve, from which the new force pops out. I liked the slinky sound effect that the Spiral makes by the way. The whole time, I was nervous with all the glass around them and the poor fish, and yes, there was one shattered glass panel but I guess it could have been worse. 
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Sakura: I think I have cooler powers than Harry Potter, but I was always a bit jealous of his invisibility cloak.
Tomoyo: Guys, isn't that young Professor Snape in the pensieve? Or is it Clow Reed, I can't tell the difference.
Syaoran asks Kero-chan how the Watery was sealed (come on, has he never watched Tomoyo’s videos) and Kero-chan replies through the freezer. Syaoran summons ice magic with his ofuda, which I believe is a brand new power—he had fire, thunder, water, and wind before, right? Correct me if I’m wrong. I loved having Syaoran back in action and calling out, “Now, Sakura!” just like old days, and she deftly seals the Spiral.  

If CCS was a shounen manga, shots like this would take up 7 episodes, and we will have flashbacks to back stories for another 10.
Sakura: Ugh, producers allocated three minutes for all the action, and half of it is spent on Syaoran releasing his sword! Will I be able to finish this episode on time?
So, if this were a Shounen manga, we would have 17 minutes of fighting and three minutes of setup, but as is, I’m glad all the action got taken care of in the last three minutes of the episode, somehow. And to wrap up an already fantastic episode, Sakura reports her date this time to Yukito, how surely heard the spiel from Touya already. Sakura complains that Touya glared at Syaoran the whole time, and Yukito remarks, “What a trying brother.” Sakura looks at the photo of her and Syaoran in battle costumes and blushes and thinks it was a good day. Sakura’s white nightgown is really cute by the way. I think she changed into that because she knows Syaoran is spying on her through creepy Sakura-bear.  

Kero-chan is pooped after doing nothing, Sakura rejoices she captured the card so quickly that she has 5 seconds at the end to commemorate her first photo with Syaoran.
Awkward! Next time, I'm going to attempt a selfie with Syaoran!
Was this the most detailed summary to date ever? This episode hit all the right notes for me, so I guess it couldn’t be helped. The tone just reminds me a lot of what I striving for in Arc 1 of the New Trials of CCS, I suppose, which is why I enjoyed every minute of it. Just some key New Trials-linked details include: watches, bus, Touya and Syaoran and death glare, Yukito working with children, Syaoran speaking fluent English, Syaoran offering to tutor Sakura (oh doom), Meilin cheering on Sakura and Syaoran, matching battle costumes, and aquarium date on Sunday morning! If you remember, Sakura and Syaoran had a semi-date at the aquarium in New Trials Chapter 44: Like a Child. Actually, they were babysitting Subaru-chan. But my heart broke when I saw that little brown-haired boy point at S+S and say the “onee-chan and onii-chan are blushing!” because he looked just like Su-chan. It was like an alternate universe where Subaru isn’t an orphan, is healthy and has a mother.

Subaru-chan, is that you?
Subaru Shirose

Excerpt from NewTrials of Card Captor Sakura Chapter 44

Yawning, Sakura stood in front of King Penguin Park, waiting for Syaoran. It was exactly five to seven, Sunday morning; she was not only on time but early. She was dressed in a blue and white plaid jumper over a white cotton blouse and her hair was neatly pulled into two high pigtails at each side her head and tied with narrow blue and white ribbons.
“Kaijou-‘nee-san, why are you all dressed up?” Subaru asked, yawning also. “Ugly Hag” was replaced with Touya’s old nickname for Sakura, “monster.” Subaru was also dressed in fresh clothes—clothes Touya wore when he was that age, stored away neatly in boxes by Nadeshiko. “And why did we have to wake up so early?”
A familiar sound of barking came down the road. A pale golden-tan colored puppy with pointed ears came leaping down the road to the park and joyfully jumped into Sakura’s wide-open arms.
“Wolfie-chan!” Sakura exclaimed. “What are you doing here?” Then, she looked up expectantly.
“What is that ugly creature?” Subaru demanded.
“What are you talking about? Wolfie-chan is the cutest puppy in the world!”
Staring down at the panting puppy disdainfully, Subaru said, “Humph, you have strange taste.”
Finally, Sakura caught a glimpse of Syaoran, in pale beige pants and a crisp white flannel over a white shirt, strolling down the road. “You’re ten minutes late, Syaoran!” she called out.
Upon reaching Sakura, Syaoran replied, “I was planning on making you wait ten hours. Luckily, I’m too nice to do such a thing. I came as slowly as I could though.”
“Then why are you out of breath?” Subaru pointed out.
“Eh?” Syaoran flushed. He had run all the way there because he was afraid he might make Sakura wait. When he was in Sakura’s view, he had slowed down and pretended to take all the time in the world. Unfortunately, this little kid had seen right through his act.
“So you’re the Kaijou-‘nii-san’s important date, Li Syaoran,” Subaru commented. Hand on chin, he scanned Syaoran up and down. “Humph, better looks than I expected. But crappy personality.”
With a dark expression painted on his face, Syaoran pointed to the kid and demanded, “Who is this brat?”

So, I haven’t reread this chapter in years, and I complained about Clear Card S+S meeting at 9:30 a.m. I made the two meet up at 7 a.m. What’s wrong with me? I’m not really looking forward to an Akiho-centric episode next week, anyway. But I always end up enjoying episodes that fail to impress me through previews. Like Sakura’s episodes with her great grandfather I thought would initially be boring but ended up being some of the most moving episodes in the whole original series.

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible review!I Thanks for pointing out all of the NT connections. I remembered that S&S had an actual date in Chapter 44, but I completely forgot that they went to the aquarium. And while the line about Yukito reading to the children made me think of the gang's work at the orphanage, I didn't even realize the little boy's similarity to dear Subaru. You're right about Syaoran's first battle outfit in NT's Chapter 10 ("Syaoran’s outfit was similar in design, yet it was a darker forest green, made of thicker material, with navy blue trimmings. The Chinese clothes he wore under his battle outfit was black, instead of white. Also, he had on a navy blue cloak.") The previous times that Syaoran was present he was wearing his school uniform or camp outfit. And in this episode, he carries her the same way as he does in Chapter 10:

    I caught up with all of the posts in the Yahoo Group, but no one is talking about how The Spiral is rather similar to The Twister! I was pretty excited to see that!