Believe it or not, the magical girl genre actually got its start in the 1960s when two iconic series were created, Sally The Witch, and The Secrets of Akko-chan. Both of these stories featured young female protagonists who were able to use some form of magic to help others while still showing the daily struggle of young, modern girls.
The magical girl genre looks a little different today. Modern magical girls in anime and manga are characters like Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians, Cardcaptor Sakura, and the young girls from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Pretty Cure or PreCure.
We are going to focus on one of these iconic and influential magical girls, Cardcaptor Sakura. As iconic as she is, it’s okay if you don’t know a lot or remember much about her.
For starters, the series is about a young girl named Sakura Kinomoto who stumbles upon some magical cards called Clow Cards and accidentally releases them across Tokyo. We follow her on her quest to capture the cards and restore balance to both Western and Eastern inspired magic.
We go into more depth and detailed information about Sakura Kinomoto and Cardcaptor Sakura so check it out if you have more questions. But, if you think every magical girl and their stories are the same, you are mistaken my friend. We have also broken down Cardcaptor Sakura and what makes her different from other magical girls, so feel free to check that out as well.
The stylization of the character designs and the overall feel of Cardcptor Sakura and related works definitely speaks to the cohesion of CLAMP’s works. But what or who is CLAMP? Not a lot is known about the specific members of CLAMP due to their private nature but we do know that they are an all female manga creator group that currently has four members.
CLAMP has been called some of the best known manga artists from Japan both in and outside the country. Any fan of Japanese culture in North America or Europe, for instance, will surely recognize their name. They are also credited as helping bring the manga boom to America in the early to mid 2000s.
The CLAMP group has brought us not only Cardcaptor Sakura and Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card but also Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Chobits, and Magic Knight Rayearth. They also supplied the character designs for Code Geass as well. For those who want more information about CLAMP, we have an article chock full of interesting tidbits, like what the CLAMP name means.
One thing that really resonates with fans of Cardcaptor Sakura and other magical girl series like Sailor Moon is the attention that is paid to the outfits and costumes of the characters. Not only do they break up the monotony of a long and drawn out adventure, but they provide fans with an endless supply of cosplay possibilities.
Unlike other magical girls and heroes, Cardcaptor Sakura does not have one hero costume, nor does she have a costume that levels up with her progress. Sakura has actual costumes that are made by her very rich and very supportive best friend Tomoyo, and they change for every battle.
Another great thing that Cardcaptor Sakura does and that Sailor Moon does as well is how the characters have an eye for fashion. I am not talking about their battle clothes or their school uniform, but their casual clothes. Usagi Tsukino as well as the rest of the cast of Sailor Moon, much like Sakura, often look like they are starring in clothing ads for popular looks of their day.
There are of course the recognizable costumes like her school uniform that doesn’t really change much and a few costumes worn in the opening theme. With the help of cosplayers, we made a list of the top 7 Cardcaptor Sakura costumes.
Not good with a sewing machine? Another fun way to interact with Cardcaptor Sakura is through the theme cafes and events that are held. Although the original Cardcaptor Sakura manga and anime came out in the early 2000s, the continuation series, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, came out more recently in 2017. This second series puts new energy into the series and the fandom.
We can see this new energy play out in the theme cafes that have popped up around Tokyo since the release of the second series. In 2018 a Cardcaptor Sakura Cafe opened up near Tokyo SkyTree in Sumida, Tokyo. The cafe was “run” by our lovable yellow mentor Kero-chan and his favorite takoyaki, or battered and fried octopus balls, were featured heavily on the menu. There were also sweet things like fruit salads, foamy drinks with latte art, and ice cream. Check out TokyoTreat’s review of the kawaii 2018 Cardcaptor Sakura Kerochan Pop-up Cafe.
Another Cardcaptor Sakura theme cafe opened in 2021 focusing on the Clear Card series. Again, takoyaki was featured for a Kero-chan inspired dish but there were a lot more options for those not fond of octopus. Check out YumeTwins’ review of Cardcaptor Sakura Cafe “Colorful à la mode” here. Looking for other kawaii places to eat in Japan? Check out this guide to Harajuku cafes.
From the characters, to the storyline, to the makers and the fandom, what is your favorite thing about Cardcaptor Sakura?
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