So why not a proper review?
Because I’m lazy, and because Steven wrote two.
Is Cardcaptor Sakura really the best mahou shoujo show of all time?
Probably. I haven’t seen them all, but none that I have seen are better. Unless Satoshi Kon or the Lain team decide to make their own magical girl stories, I doubt that anyone will ever improve on it. ((These comments were written in 2005, long before Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.))
How does it compare to all the anime series you’ve seen?
It’s one of my top five. (The others are Haibane Renmei, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil and Shingu.)
Harry Potter is eeeeeevviiilllllll! Is there sorcery and reincarnation and portentious Engrish incantations and other creepy occult stuff in Cardcaptor Sakura?
CCS will turn your mustache purple and knot your underwear in topologically impossible ways. You won’t like it. Please go away. Burn a book or something.
Sub or dub?
In Japanese with subtitles, absolutely. By all accounts, the English dub is an abomination: Nelvana didn’t just translate the dialogue but also changed the characters and the story, destroying the anime in the process. (I haven’t seen it myself and I don’t plan to, obsessive completist though I am. I’ve got better ways to waste my time.) Whether you rent or buy CCS, be sure what you get is “Cardcaptor Sakura” and not “Cardcaptors.”
Also, if you don’t watch the sub, you’ll miss Aya Hisakawa’s Kero-chan.
Are the movies essential?
No. The first one, Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie, seems like an extended episode from around the midpoint of the show, after Shaoran and Sakura become friends. It’s a good story, but you don’t need to see it to understand the rest of CCS.
The second one, The Sealed Card, is a disappointing epilogue to the series. In the last minute it makes explicit what was implied at the end of the TV show, but the preceeding 80+ minutes are tedious. It doesn’t add much to the CCS universe, and I don’t recommend it.
Is Leave It to Kero on the standard edition of The Sealed Card?
Nope. It’s only on the special edition. Grrr.
Cardcaptor Sakura is a CLAMP creation. Is everybody gay?
Same-sex attraction is an element of the story, but it’s subtle. Youngsters Sakura’s age will probably miss it, and that’s fine. The two most important characters are perfectly straight, insofar as the term can be applied to pre-pubescent fourth-graders.
Is the second narrative arc inferior to the first?
I knew immediately who the new character was and I figured out his game nearly as quickly, so the last twenty-four episodes were a bit anticlimactic. But there was no drop in quality. Even though I knew what was going on, each episode was still interesting, and the ultimate resolution was as satisfying as that of the first arc.
Should I get Cardcaptor Sakura for my kids?
If they’re old enough to read subtitles and you don’t have a problem with same-sex attraction, certainly. Otherwise, wait until they’re older and can maintain a little distance from the characters. Watch it with them.
Should I get it for my parents?
Sure. Why not?
Is there anything important to remember?
There are no coincidences.