Cardcaptor Sakura is a popular and beloved manga series written by the all-female artist group Clamp. Published in 1996, the story of 10-year Sakura Kinomoto becoming the chosen titular Cardcaptor and collecting the mystic Clow Cards has become a timeless classic in otaku circles. Gaining an anime, two movies, and an often despised English dub, Cardcaptor Sakura celebrated its 20th anniversary on April 1st.
To celebrate, we shall take a stroll down memory lane and choose twenty of the anime’s finest moments. From the stunning fights with the Clow Cards to the more personal moments of the characters, Cardcaptor Sakura has become the second best known “magical girl” anime after Sailor Moon, and is Clamp’s most successful franchise. So, let’s grab our Clow Wands and take off to look back on this nostalgic franchise.
Disclaimer: This list features my personal, biased opinions and eternal love for this anime, and does not necessarily represent the whole of the website.
20. The Clow Cards Are Unleashed (1×01)
What better way to kick off this list then by going back to the beginning. In the first episode, 10-year old Sakura Kinomoto stumbles upon the mysterious Clow Book in her father’s library. How it got there is a mystery, but when she opens the book and accidentally releases the magical Clow Cards, Sakura is assigned by the cards’ guardian Kero to recapture them. The startling escape of cards is spectacular, and Sakura’s first trial to capture the Fly Card in her pyjamas and rollerskates immediately had me hooked, particularly when it turns out using the Fly Card makes Sakura’s magic staff airworthy.
19. Syaoran Li Arrives (1×08)
One of the most popular characters in the series is Syaoran Li, a Chinese warrior who appears in town to capture the Clow Cards as Sakura’s rival. He puts up a rude, aggressive attitude around the kinder, ditzy Sakura, but immediately becomes shy and smitten when Sakura’s crush Yukito Tsukishiro arrives. Sakura and Syaoran cross paths again when the electrifying Thunder Card appears, and while at odds, it is their teamwork that allows them to subdue the thunder wolf and cement their later friendship.
18. Sakura Gains Wings (1×51)
An ongoing subplot of the third season involved Sakura’s friends crafting their own teddy bears for their most loved ones. Sakura’s plan to give her teddy bear to Yukito as a gift ends up taking an unexpected turn when the bear suddenly springs to life and becomes jumbo sized. Realising its ear is enchanted, Sakura has to use both the Fly and Sword Cards to stop it, but can’t use both simultaneously. She overcomes this by transforming both cards into new forms, allowing her to use both. Most spectacularly, the Fly Card now appears as a pair of angelic wings on her back, which she uses to fly and stop the rampaging teddy.
17. Kero the Drunk (1×15)
Ah, Kero, the wise guardian beast of the Clow Cards. And also a big-mouthed, childish glutton who is nuts about video games and candy. In this episode, Kero and Sakura have a huge falling out, leading Kero to devour an entire box of alcoholic chocolates. Getting drunk, he flies off into town and ends up in the care of a young, independent but lonely toddler called Akane. The rest of the episode has a more mature tone, Kero spending time with the Akane while Sakura frantically looks for him. Both reunite when the mischievous Float Card kidnaps the little girl, and their bickering is put aside at least until the end of the episode.