What to know about Card Captor Sakura's Clear Card Arc

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Jan 12, 2018, 6:03 PM EST

Like Sailor Moon before it and all of the other influential magical girl series out there, Card Captor Sakura is an integral part of the genre. You know how the story goes. A young woman happens upon some sort of artifact or magical item and a mascot and finds herself charged with being the savior of a group of people or even the world.

Ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto was just an elementary school student at the start of the series, but she was charged with saving the entire world after setting the sentient Clow Cards free from the magical tome that concealed them. Spanning 70 episodes with a movie and a rabid fan base, the gentle yet reassuring magical adventure is a classic in the shoujo genre, with plenty to offer fans of action, romance, and everything in between.

Despite the fact that the series ended nearly 20 years ago back in 2000, it received a recent Blu-ray release complete with new English dub track so a whole new generation of fans can find something to love. It also received a sequel series for the first time since its original manga run in 2000 known as Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card. It’s been serialized in the Japanese anthology magazine Nakayoshi and has now officially come back to TV as an anime series as of this month. It’s continuing where the original series left off, and fans around the world couldn’t be more excited to see Sakura, Kero-chan, Tomoyo, and Syaoran return to TV once more for a new chapter in the character’s life.

But what of new fans? What about viewers who weren’t privy to the first 70-episode run in addition to the two films after that? Two decades have passed, almost since Sakura debuted, and there are a bevy of new anime fans no doubt interested in what the show has to offer. If you’re one of the new potential viewers out there, here are some important things to know before you settle in.

You’re definitely going to need to watch the first series.

There’s really no way you’re going to be able to appreciate anything about the Clear Card Arc without having seen the first Card Captor Sakura series. Even if you have a basic understanding of what the show is about, the complex relationship between Sakura and her “new boyfriend” Syaoran is nuanced in a way that you’ll want to have watched its formative phase first. You’ll need to get to know Sakura’s best friend, her family, and even that “little yellow bear thing” with wings, Kero-chan (Cerberus.) Don’t make the mistake of heading into this sequel series with no prior knowledge of the show, because you will be disappointed.

This may sound obvious, but many anime series offer jumping-on points to new viewers when it comes to reboots and sequels, and Clear Card does not appear to be doing that, relying on your knowledge from the previous journey to tell its story. So even if you just sit down and read the Cliff’s Notes or read the manga (it’s quicker), arm yourself with knowledge before going in.

The titular Clear Cards are the main focus of the series.

Card Captor Sakura is all about collecting special cards, obviously, with sentient and powerful beings trapped within them. The first series found Sakura capturing an entire set of them, though they all had special imagery and titles bestowed upon each. This time around, the entire set of cards have become transparent, with no identifying information. Sakura is unable to utilize the cards to power up as she once was able to. If you’re averse to the “monster of the day” format many shoujo series feature, you may find that this show isn’t for you.

This isn’t a childish series.

While Sakura may be young and seemingly innocent, there are surprisingly mature themes explored within the first series that will likely extend to this one, such as Sakura’s relationship with her mother, her best friend Tomoyo, and her feelings for Syaoran. It can be sugary sweet at times, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s no substance here.

There’s still an OVA you haven’t seen.

Before the Clear Card Arc series airs, you may want to research the OVA (original video animation) episode that premiered at Anime Expo 2017 earlier this year. It’s a 30-minute prologue to the series that offers a sort of introduction to the show that’s well worth catching up with if you’re able. It offers a neatly-wrapped, easy-to-digest look into what's to come, and if you're a fan who's returning for more Sakura, you'll appreciate it even more. 

This is a huge event for magical girl fans. 

Give the new Card Captor Sakura series credit where it's due. Just like the return of Sailor Moon with the new Sailor Moon Crystal adaptation, fans have been waiting to see more of Sakura either in print or on TV for years. There may be nearly as many Sakura fans out in the world as there are Moonies, so don't underestimate how important of an update this truly is for anyone who loves magical girl stories or is a magical girl at heart. This is a magical time for everyone involved, so make sure you respect the fans and what they're all here for: more of the heroine they love, and seeing her happy. And isn't that what we're all here for in the end?

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