Card Captor Sakura: The Sealed Card

Japanese Title: Gekijouhan Card Captor Sakura: Fuuin Sareta Card
Also Known As: CCS Movie 2
Genre: Drama/Romance
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Studio Madhouse
Director: Asaka Morio
Vintage: 2000
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Four months have passed since the departures of Hiiragizawa Eriol and Li Shaoran from Tomoeda. Kinomoto Sakura, now in sixth grade, passes her time making movies for Tomoyo and preparing for the upcoming Nadeshiko Festival. Things are also changing around her, as Eriol’s old house has been demolished to make way for an amusement park. The opening of this amusement park attracts the youth of Tomoeda, including Sakura and Tomoyo. While enjoying their visit, Sakura feels a familiar aura: that of a Clow Card, and immediately dashes off in search of the source. True to her nature, Sakura fails to look in front of her, and encounters a jarring reunion with some old friends…

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Overall 9.25
(not an average)

A common criticism leveled at the original Card Captor Sakura was that its final episode was rather anticlimactic, given the tremendous rising action that had preceded it. Fortunately, Card Captor Sakura: The Sealed Card, the final chapter of the CCS Saga, completely nullifies that weakness by creating an ending that is not only fitting and appropriate, but also manages to match the series stride for stride in terms of rising action development. This, not the manga, nor the TV series, is the finest ending to Card Captor Sakura.

Plot was never CCS’s strong suit, and while Card Captor Sakura: The Sealed Card makes a gallant try, the plot essentially remains a formulaic romance story. Nonetheless, there were a few little surprises here and there, mostly in the form of small plot twists that came as a result of unexpected character decisions. Just like in the series, it is the characters that allow the anime to transcend its average plot. Backed by superb voice acting, each and every cast member is lovable and charming in that trademark sappy way that defines CCS. There is also a surprising amount of character development given the time constraints of a feature length film. However, in its purest form, CCS: The Sealed Card is the Sakura and Shaoran story, and it makes every step of their journey as emotional for the viewer as it does for the actual characters. Superb characterization drives this film through the happy moments, the depressing moments, and through the emotional climax.

Mind you, it is hard to evoke emotion in an audience without appealing to the eyes and ears. CCS: The Sealed Card fully realized this, creating a feast for the eyes and ears accordingly. The visuals are crisp, clean, colourful, and vivid; the costumes are some of Tomoyo-chan’s finest works. The visual effects are much better than its counterparts from the TV series, and the animation is smooth and realistic (in terms of physics). The only issue, and a very minor one at that, was that the lead villain’s design was very stereotypically CLAMPian (read: lots of lines and curls), causing it to be either hit or miss. Aurally, apart from the aforementioned stellar voice acting, the music was quite good but not anything particularly special (except for the remix of Shaoran’s Theme). However, the soundtrack did perform its most important task to perfection: complementing the on-screen action.

The Card Captor Sakura Saga is a franchise that has managed to transcend the stereotypes and pitfalls of its genre, raising the bar for all other mahou shoujo works that follow it. Card Captor Sakura: The Sealed Card, by supplying a superb ending, continues to exemplify CCS as being a cut above the rest. This film is a must see for CCS fans, mahou shoujo fans, or just simply romance fans. This is Card Captor Sakura, and CLAMP, at its full potential.