Clamp, the famous group of four female mangaka, is known for churning out an eclectic collection of works. Their works range from the dark and serious X, to the comedic detective series Clamp School Detectives, and to the very confusing Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. However, Clamp has an undisputed series that magically took their fame far and wide: Cardcaptor Sakura. It doesn’t hurt that it’s their cutest series ever, too (sorry, Chobits).
Where do I begin with this great series? Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the most acclaimed magical girl (魔法少女 mahō shōjo) titles. It is appealing both to younger and older audiences regardless of gender, has meaningful and complex relationships between the characters, and is great at portraying innocence in a dark and complicated world. And yes, it also has a cute, memorable, and catchy opening song: “Catch You Catch Me” by GUMI.
Clamp’s illustrious history started out with drawing doujinshi (essentially self-published works, in this case, manga). The group finally adapted parts of the Vedic mythology as their first professionally published work as a manga named RG Veda (pronounced as Rigveda). Did you know that they originally started as a “circle” that consisted of eleven artists? It’s sad to say that their number dwindled over time.
The mangaka group is also famous for naming the characters in their manga after their own pen and/or real names. For example, Mokona, one of the artists, is also the name of this cute magical critter below:
Some of Clamp’s works share the same universe and sometimes are parts of a larger interconnected multiverse. For instance, Sakura Kinomoto, the main protagonist of Cardcaptor Sakura, is not the same as Princess Sakura of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Yes, they do share essentially the same appearance (no, the different drawing style should not be a factor) and personality. However, the two Sakuras are part of a multiverse that connects the realm of CCS and T:RC.
Cardcaptor Sakura is a story of Sakura Kinomoto’s fantastical journey in capturing magical Clow Cards and encountering people with various mysterious powers. The cards are in fact fractions of magical power of a great wizard named Clow Reed. As the story goes deeper, Sakura finds herself in the middle of a web of destiny in which many people she cares about are also involved. She needs to become stronger and be worthy of the powers she has collected.
Do not worry though, she is not alone in her quest. She meets many allies who help her capture the cards. Kero, her very first ally in capturing the cards, is the card guardian before the cards were let loose. Also known as Kerberos or sometimes Kero-chan, he is often seen as a small lion-like plushie with stylized wings. However, his real form resembles more of a full-grown mountain lion with majestic wings, equipped with head and chest armor pieces.
The second major ally is Shaoran Li (also spelled Syaoran), a sorcerer of Sakura’s age who specializes in Eastern/Chinese style magic. Shaoran came from Hong Kong in pursuit of the cards. Initially, Shaoran views Sakura as a rival and thus acts hostile towards her. Overtime, he warms up to her and learns to care for her deeply.
In a way, the series is a play on the magical girl genre because Sakura does not transform into her costumes. Her cute and elaborate costumes were designed by her best friend and cousin, Tomoyo Daidouji.
Oh, did you know Sakura’s Japanese voice actor is also named Sakura? It’s true: her name is Sakura Tange, and aside from voicing our titular character, she has done voices for other anime as well. Some of her credits include Sousai X (Gatchaman Crowds series), Mei Daimyouzamurai (Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara), and Eucliwood Hellscythe (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? as one of the character’s many voices). Aside from providing her voice to characters, Tange has also created many singles and a few albums as part of her singing career.
GUMI is the singer for this lovely opening song. I really adore her voice in it. GUMI is a pseudonym used by Megumi Hinata, a singer, lyricist, and producer who has done many interesting works. Other than singing, she has produced songs for various artists such as Eir Aoi, Dir en grey, Nami Tamaki, and Chieko Kawabe. You may know her other pseudonym as a singer, meg rock. She has sung the opening songs “incl.” from Joshikousei GIRL’S HIGH, “clover” from SoltyRei, and “Itoshii Kakera” (愛しいかけら) from UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie.
Hope you learned a thing or two from our #ThrowbackThursday post this time. “Catch You Catch Me” remains one of my favorite anime songs of all time, and Cardcaptor Sakura occupies a special place in my own anime history.
Sound off in the Comments section below and let us know what you like about the series!
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