Gekijouhan Card Captor Sakura
Also Known As: CCS Movie 1
Genre: Action/Romance
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Studio Madhouse
Director: Asaka Morio
Vintage: 1999
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Kinomoto Sakura was just your average 10 year old girl, until her encounter with a magical book and its guardian: an orange stuffed animal. She is now Card Captor Sakura, the magical girl entrusted with capturing the Clow Cards in order to prevent calamity from befalling the Earth. During summer vacation, Sakura begins having strange dreams that feature a mysterious woman hovering over a pool of water. The paranormal events continue as she wins a free trip to Hong Kong in a local contest! The trip features reunion and confrontation, and showcases how the power of emotion can transcend centuries.

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen 
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
7.00
8.00
8.00
9.00
8.50
Overall 8.25
(not an average)

The first Card Captor Sakura movie, like many theatrical versions of anime series, is basically a longer episode of the regular Card Captor Sakura series. Naturally, it is of limited value in terms of plot/character advancement. However, skillful use of existing characters and convenient positioning in terms of plot makes Card Captor Sakura: The Movie not only an enjoyable stand alone experience, but also a fairly useful transition piece in terms of the greater Card Captor Sakura canon.

For the most part, Card Captor Sakura: The Movie is standard fare. You’ve got all the major characters from the series, and you’ve got a standard villain that’s creating havoc. Like in the series, dream sequences are utilized to tie the plot together. There is redemption in that the movie offers more insight into the lives of two key elements that are largely ignored in the series: the workings of Li family and the personal life of Clow Reed. Furthermore, the positioning of the movie (close to the end of the Clow Card Arc) makes this new information more relevant and poignant. The ending may be too idealistic for some, but at least it’s somewhat unique.

One thing about these theatrical versions: they’re almost always stronger in terms of aesthetics. The graphics are crisper and the animation smoother. Some of the art, particularly in the scenes where characters are juxtaposed with water, is marvelous. Musically, the majority of the soundtrack is on the same vein as the Card Captor Sakura series soundtrack, with one notable piece: the absolutely remarkable (yet completely unrelated to the events of the movie) “Tooi no Kono Machi de” by Kaitani Naomi.

In the end, what Card Captor Sakura: The Movie really amounts to is a shinier, longer episode of the TV series with a fantastic ending song. Mind you, this isn’t a bad thing: this episode isn’t filler, but actually contributes to the series in quite a few key areas. Fans of Card Captor Sakura are going to watch this movie anyway, but non-fans should really give it a try. It’s a nice sweet film that the whole family can enjoy.