Blu-Ray Review: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2

The unexpected wait to Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is over; but was it worth the wait? Well let’s take a look at Manga Entertainment UK’s Blu-Ray release of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2 and find out.

Synopsis:

Sakura continues to work on capturing new Clear Cards, though the cards and her staff of dreams are still a mystery.

She’s determined to learn about the mysterious figure that keeps appearing in her dreams, but she still has to worry about school, her friends, and her feelings for Syaoran! Right when she thinks she has it all together, she’ll find out that her new friend has a shocking secret.

Our View:

The quest to capture the clear cards, and to unravel the truth surrounding Sakura’s dreams, continue in this second half of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card and just like the first half it fulfils that nostalgia while providing a sense of déjà vu. A charming moe-filled magical girl story that is overshadowed by the similarities of the original series makes Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card satisfyingly disappointing with its only saving grace being the new characters and the mysteries they bring along with them.

Continuing the adventure from the previous part Sakura, along with close-friends Syaoran and Tomoyo, go about their daily activities while keeping an eye out for the new form of clow cards known as Clear Cards. Just like the original series, and in turn the first half of this new series, each Clear Card takes up a single episode that is mostly filled with ‘moe’ fun and cute moments.

The problems from the first half of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card also continue in this second half, with most episodes filled with mindless dialogue and cute banter before the card conveniently appears within Sakura’s reach. Gone are the days of research, exploration and sense of danger.

It’s a problem that plagues the entirety of the Clear Card arc and unlike the original it doesn’t provide that sense of build-up or surprise. Fortunately in this second half of the Clear Card series that ‘sense of excitement’ changes with the arrival of Meling; who is of course an old friend to the cast of characters.

At first this changes the pace of the story slightly, and even introduces some throwback moments to past events from the Cardcaptor Sakura Movie(s) and original TV series, but once again it relies too heavily on recapturing the events from the original story and presents them in a different manner.

A perfect example of this would be the sudden appearance of a card which fights Meling and Sakura; and as such they team-up ‘instantly’ in order to defeat and capture the card.

These disappointments continue until the fourth to last episode, in which newcomers Kaito and Akiho, are revealed to be more interesting than what first seemed. The build-up to these characters is spoiled by the second opening animation, which teases the truth about these characters, but the final four episodes further cement this fact. In this case Kaito and Akiho arrived in Tokyo with the specific task of locating Sakura and obtaining her cards.

Naturally I won’t spoil the details here but it gives Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card that much needed backbone and ‘finally’ differs itself from its original series; but at this point it is far too late… and I really mean late. Just as the secrets surrounding Kaito and Akiho are revealed to Sakura the episode, and series, concludes; thus leaving the story open to continuation with no sequel in sight. Overall Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is cute magical girl fun indeed; but it is very similar to the original story just not as well paced.

Extras:

Those looking for an extensive list of supplementary content will be disappointed as the only bonus features are textless opening and closing songs for the different songs that are included.

For a FUNimation related release it is surprisingly barebones; but at least it is better than nothing.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:19:36 (Disc 1), 1:14:51 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DolbyTrue HD 5.1 (English) & DolbyTrue HD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2 continues the adventure of Sakura as she attempts to seal the clear cards with her friends Syaoran, Tomoyo and Meiling and learn more about the cards and what it means for the future. In this case each episode focuses on a specific card but, as with the first half of the series, it is overshadowed by moe-fun such as eating food or making food. Some differences, such as the reveal of new forms of magic and secrets between old friends, make the Cardcaptor Sakura experience feel refreshing; but alas at this point it feels too late. Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2 continues to deliver the charm of the original story; but it fails to bring anything new to the table other than some surprising revelations that are left unanswered.

Episodic events aside this second part of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is presented to the same standards as the previous release, with both an English and Japanese audio tracks being included. As a fan of the original Japanese cast (and Nelvena English Dub) it is hard to become accustomed to the new English dub voice cast; but the series does have a strong cast of English voice talent handling the voices for the different characters on screen.

The Japanese audio version meanwhile is subtitled to the same standards as other FUNimation product products, with easily readable subtitles despite being the same colour when multiple characters are talking. Speaking of ‘Japanese’ content the second opening song has not been localised by FUNimation and as such displays with the original Japanese text and Japanese karaoke subtitles which are blocked by forced subtitle tracks.

It is a nice addition of leaving it intact, which seems to happen with most Crunchyroll related titles; but it is disappointing from a continuity perspective as the first opening song was translated into English. The ending credits, for both the first and second songs, have also been translated.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2 once again retains the aesthetic and feel of the original Cardcaptor Sakura anime series; but while it retains the core values it does seem repetitive, or should I say a cut(e) and paste, of the original series. Stay with this ‘new’ story however and you’ll be treated to a few surprising twists that make the entire series worth the wait; but these revelations are thrown out the window when the series ends without an informative conclusion.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card  generally may not appeal to newcomers (although it does have an approachable story) but it is one that mostly caters to the fans and this second half brings the story to its conclusion. Sadly it could have been so much better; but it is still good fun to watch.

Score: review-stars-3

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Part 2 is now available on Blu-Ray in the UK via Manga Entertainment UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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