“Sakura and Meilin’s Friend" aka "Kero-chan's Doomsday."
Truthfully, I find I didn’t care much for the first half of this episode, and how the new card was sealed. All I could think about was the property damage happening, and the windows crashing in the green house. I know, I once warped Tokyo Tower in New Trials, but that was a one-off, and Sakura and crew made sure to restore it to original form, which I think is a part of social responsibility. The animation and the character design for the most part was quite weak this episode, except the last five minutes, but I don’t really mind if that means the budget is being used for especially significant episodes, such as the “Hug” episode. So, who is Sakura and Meilin's "friend?" Syaoran? The Struggle? Weird episode title.
|Sakura: Kero-chan, it think we are going to get sued for private property damage!|
|Sakura: Kero-chan, can it be the Clear Cards are just a ploy to get me to learn English vocabulary?|
I really didn’t get the card names this episode, Swing and Struggle. That being said, Sakura captures the first card of the episode, the Swing, following the earthquake from previous episode. Some trees and windows at Tomoyo’s mansion get smashed, the maze ruined and soil overturned. But all Tomoyo cares about is that Sakura and Kero is okay—and that Kero-chan captured magnificent footage for her. She says, “I can’t wait to see it later; oh ho ho.” This makes Kero-chan with his suction-cam sweat profusely. I do find Sakura’s relationship with the Flight Card cute—the only card with a personality so far.
|Yandere-Tomoyo: Kero-chan, if you missed a single moment of Sakura's action, off with your head!|
|Queen of Hearts Tomoyo: So, which one you dared to fall asleep during one of my screenings?|
|Akiho the Narcoleptic Dormouse: I can't believe I fell asleep at a friend's house again!|
Sonomi, and the four girls gather for afternoon tea, Akiho is mortified she fell asleep while visiting a friend again. So, since Sakura is Alice in Wonderland, Akiho is actually the Narcoleptic Dormouse, which makes sense since Kaito is like the Mad Hatter. As the girls get ready to leave, Sonomi relays that Sakura’s great-grandfather is curious as to how Sakura will spend her summer and that he would like to see her again at the villa (foreshadowing a future manga chapter)! Sakura says she will get in touch with him through her father!
|Akiho: My best friend forever is Sakura-chan.|
|Kaito: Reality check, Sakura's best friend is Tomoyo, her most important person is Syaoran, her first crush is Yukito-san aka Yue, my homie, and her father's an architect. Question is, who am I?|
Yuna D. Kaito is waiting for Akiho as she walks home from Tomoyo’s place humming a little tune. Creepy Kaito says she sings beautifully, embarrassing Akiho. Akiho talks about how she couldn’t make friends because her family was always moving because they were searching for books. Oh gosh, I hope Kaito hasn’t kidnapped Akiho and brainwashed her or something. I do feel sorry for the girl this episode—she’s a complete puppet of Kaito, it appears. It’s creepy that Kaito asks who Akiho is closest to, and she replies Sakura. Sakura is so popular, there’s not enough of her to go around! And Kaito remarks that he hears Sakura’s father specializes in archeology and that he may have some interesting books. Akiho isn’t as clueless as you think, and she asks Kaito if she ever mentioned Sakura’s father to him before. Kaito seems to catch himself and whips out his pocket watch. A magic circle shaped like a clock appears beneath him, and he changes, “Tina, Rie Triax” or some gibberish, then says, “Time, in accordance with the covenant, turn back time.” And Akiho doesn’t remember what just happens and they chat happily along home, and you can’t help wondering how many times Kaito has brainwashed her in this manner. Akiho might just snap one day if time’s been turned back so many times in this manner. And also, the fact that there is another time-turner in the series, aside from Syaoran (with the help of the Time Card), is also alarming. In fact, I’ve see Syaoran stop time in the series, but never turn back time.
|Kaito: Muggles, they're so difficult to deal with.|
|Kaitou: The British Ministry of Magic is going to freak out when they find out I stole a Time-Turner.|
|Akiho: Kaito-san, you were a Death Eater, after all! I should have suspected, knowing you speak parseltongue.|
|Akiho: Who's Tina-chan, Rie-chan and Trixie-chan? Are you two-timing on me behind my back?|
|Kaito: "Let's do this over."|
Sakura and Meilin walk home together, and Meilin remarks on Akiho and Sakura’s similarities. I don’t see it, personally. Then, Meilin goes all Yoda-profound and asks Sakura what the people she knows are like, and Sakura replies, “They’re all good people.” Meilin then says, “When you believe all the people around you are good, you attract only good people. And when you believe all the people around you are bad, you don’t notice when you meet good people.” I wonder if she’s talking about Kai. She adds, “But you know, sometimes, watching good people makes me feel sad.”
|Meilin: So, this thing is supposed to be modeled after me or something?|
|Sakura: Syaoran taught me martial arts! Or not.|
|Meilin: Syaoran's useless this season! Leave it to the most important Li!|
Then they get attacked by a humanoid card, similar to the Twin Card. It reminds me of the “angels” from Angelic Layer. This card feels more robotic, or mechanical because it makes clinking sounds, as opposed to the Clow Cards which were more ethereal, fairly-like creatures. Anyhow, the card attacks Meilin, who fights back fiercely with her martial arts skills, but it knocks her over. The card attacks Sakura, but Meilin comes to the rescue again—go Meilin! Meilin gives the card a punch, and you see its shoulder flicker. Meilin recalls taking the Twin with Syaoran, and Sakura figures out that the stones on each shoulder is the force’s weak point. Meilin says to copy her moves, and the two girls destroy the Struggle together. Kero-chan wakes up from a nap in Sakura’s bag.
|Bruce Lee's daughter?|
|Meilin: I'll teach your martial arts. Just follow me.|
|Good old days when Syaoran was gruff and Meilin the mean girl.|
|Meilin: Sniffles. My cheek will get bruised and Kai will freak when he sees me.|
Back home, the two girls take a shower and Sakura’s blow-drying her hair, while Kero-chan is despairing at being asleep during the most important moment. Turns out he wasn’t worried about Sakura and Meilin, but that Tomoyo might find out he didn’t get the action on video! Kero-chan’s best line of the day: “What if Tomoyo finds out I didn’t get it on video!” Sakura wonders if that’s what Kero-chan should be feeling bad about, while Kero-chan is lost in deep despair on how he should tell Tomoyo. Sakura is worried about Meilin’s cuts, Meilin brushes it off, and Sakura offers to blow-dry Meilin’s long hair Meanwhile, Kero-chan wonders: “Should I apologize in advance, or should I bring it up casually tomorrow, like it’s no big deal.” Oh god, Tomoyo, what did you do to poor Kero-chan to make him so distraught? Yandere-Tomoyo is also a sadist.
|Sakura: Don't feel bad, Kero-chan, for napping while we captured a new card.|
|Yandere-Tomoyo: Off with your head! Oh ho ho.|
|Princess Meilin: Servant, cold air only, or else you'll damage my hair cuticles!|
|Meilin: So, you actually want to do this for Syaoran, don't you?|
Sakura apologizes to Meilin for putting her in danger, but that it made her happy that she got to do something together with Meilin. Meilin is relieved, because she had been wondering how to scold Sakura if she continued to apologize and said she was happy to have caught a card with Sakura for the first time. Meilin returns to what she had been saying earlier, that watching good people makes her feel sad sometimes. “There are lots of different types of good people,” she says, but that people around her are always thinking of everyone else’s happiness and hope to make everyone else smile. “That’s a good thing, but if all you think about is other people, you stop caring for yourself.” She’s worried that both Syaoran and Sakura are too busy caring about others and not caring for themselves. She points out that this is especially the case for Syaoran, adding that he is stubborn atop of everything. She tells Sakura to find her own happiness first and make him open his eyes. Sakura wonders if she can do this, and Meilin asks, “You don’t think you can?” Sakura says she feels things are a lot different, not just with the new cards, but that something important is different. Meilin says that Sakura has the most powerful magic words. And Sakura smiles. “I’m sure everything will be all right.” Meilin says in impeccable English, “That’s right!” And Kero-chan is still glooming whether to apologize to Tomoyo or save his skin for the time being.
|Meilin: Take care of yourself first!|
|Meilin: You have your magic words!|
|Sakura: "Everything's gonna be alright" feat Sweetbox|
|Meilin: "That's right!"|
Meilin leaves, Kinomoto Fujitaka also sees her off, catching a private cab for her. Sakura asks if it’s okay not to see Syaoran before she leaves, but Meilin goes, “Eh, if anything happens, he’ll come to Hong Kong.” And she said she almost accomplished everything she came to Japan for. She then whispers in Sakura’s ears if she can call her “Sakura” and Sakura replied “Of course.” Meilin had been calling Sakura "Kinomoto-san" up till this point. And Meilin declares she achieved 100% of what she came to Japan for. Umm… What about checking on Syaoran? So, Syaoran departs for Hong Kong on bus, and Meilin by cab. Taxis in Japan are super expensive.
|Sakura: Meilin, you're leaving already? But we haven't seen Syaoran in two episodes!|
|Meilin: So, who's your BFF, Akiho or me?|
|Sakura: Actually, it's still Tomoyo.|
|Meilin: The goal of my visit was to be in an episode, without Syaoran usurping the spotlight.|
|Sakura: Free at last! In another land, I'm a princess too.|
Just when we think the episode is going to wrap up with no Syaoran, Meilin gives Syaoran a call before leaving. Syaoran tells her that he told her he would take her to the airport. And Meilin replies she can go by herself and that both of them are worrywarts. Meilin brags that she will be calling Sakura by her first name from now on. Syaoran asks how that came about, Meilin replies they fought together, and Syaoran gets all worried that something happened again. Meilin goes, “Why don’t you ask Sakura yourself!” I love how Meilin’s the only one who can still consistently make Syaoran lose his cool. Meilin tells him, “I don’t know what you know or why you came to Japan, but if anything happens to you, I know who will be the saddest.” (Eriol.) She adds, “I’m Sakura’s friend, too. If you make her cry, you’ll regret it.” Syaoran goes, “Ah,” his form of yes. This is a theme I do try to touch upon in New Trials, so I'm glad the characters of Clear Card are also evolving along from the original series as well, transitioning from simplistic notions of friendship and love, to more nuanced relationships.
|Meilin: I know who will be saddest if anything happens to you, Syaoran.|
|Meilin: Hiiragizawa Eriol. (And Kai.)|
This episode started pretty weak but ended very strong, with the phone conversation between Meilin and Sakura, and Meilin and Syaoran. I’ll really miss the breath of fresh air that Meilin has been, and her ability to say whatever’s on her mind, and also glean some insight into the otherwise secretive Syaoran. Syaoran's outfit of the day (more like past two weeks) is so nice too, with tan pants, off-white sweater with green collars, that it's a pity we don't see more of him wearing it. And did he redo his bedroom curtain's pink from green in elementary school days? I mistook it for burgundy in the evening light the other episode. Oh Syaoran.
I will leave you all with the words of Mizuki Kai to Syaoran in New Trials of CardCaptor Sakura Chapter 73: “It’s okay to be selfish sometimes, Syaoran. You always sacrifice yourself and make others around you look bad. And I don’t think that’s what Sakura wants.”