An incredibly iconic Magical Girl manga written and illustrated by CLAMP and published between 1996-2000, with an anime adaptation airing between 1998-2000.One day, an ordinary elementary school girl named Sakura Kinomoto wanders into her father's basement and accidentally opens a mystical tome containing a deck of tarot-like cards. The magical cards are scattered throughout town, each one possessing its own unique power and posing the risk of causing some serious mischief if left unchecked.Kerberos, the guardian spirit of the book, immediately drafts Sakura into becoming a "Cardcaptor" by giving her a magical wand capable of sealing and controlling the power of the cards. Now, with the aid of her best friend Tomoyo, Sakura must recover and master all of the missing cards before they can cause some real trouble.One of CLAMP's most iconic manga series, it was adapted into a seventy-episode anime and two movies, which added a lot of new elements in the process. Alongside Sailor Moon, it is widely considered to be a Trope Codifier for the Magical Girl genre, whose influences are still felt today.The anime was dubbed by Nelvana and Ocean Studios as Cardcaptors with much Bowdlerization in the process. The US version changed many details and even episode order to shoehorn secondary protagonist Syaoran Li into the main character slot (as a co-protagonist with Sakura) in an attempt to make the show appeal more towards young boys. The UK release kept the original episode order, which undid some of the meddling. An alternate dub from Omni Productions aired on Animax stations around the world.Geneon, who released a subtitled version of the TV series, took over the dubbing of the second movie, making it far more faithful to the original. The manga was originally licensed by Tokyo Pop and is now out of print. It has since been rescue-licensed by Dark Horse Comics.The series has now been license rescued by NIS America, and the first movie was rescued by Discotek Media. In the former's case, the Animax dub will be used for the release, while in the movie's case, the Nelvana dub (which was visually uncut) will be retained.It has its own wikihere.Compare Sailor Moon, which is the other "major" example most people in the West (that didn't grow up in Europe) think of vis-à-vis Magical Girls. Contrast Revolutionary Girl Utena, Princess Tutu, and also Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the most notable Deconstructions of the whole genre and concept.See the character page for more information.
The original manga features nineteen cards. The anime has Fifty-two. Which is a full standard deck, though some were only shown in the first movie.
Syaoran's role in the story. He manages to capture some cards for himself and has a chance at being their master, thus making him a legitimate rival for Sakura. The reason the expansion works instead of falling apart is because Nanase Okawa, writer of the manga, wrote and oversaw the anime as well.
Meiling is an anime-exclusive character. Wei and the rest of Syaoran's family get more time as well.
If Sakura loses to Yue at the Final Judgment, everyone connected to the cards will lose the memories and feelings tied to the person they love most. It almost happens, too. Luckily, Kaho Mizuki comes to the rescue with her Shrine Bell, giving Sakura a second chance.
In the episode "Sakura and her Kind Father," while capturing a card Sakura accidentally breaks the laptop containing the research her dad had slaved over for days. The whole scene is played in an actual heartbreaking way, as she realizes this is something she can't fix with magic.
Some of the cards are merely mischevious and annoying, but others can actually endager people's lives. In the Grand Finale, Eriol invokes this deliberately when he puts a sleeping spell over all of Tomoeda and if Sakura and her guardians lose to him, everyone in their surroundings would almost surely be rendered into a magical sleep forever.
Alleged Lookalikes: Sonomi comments on Sakura's similarity to her mother, even though Touya has more of a resemblance - in fact, Sakura seems to look more like Sonomi, and Tomoyo (Sonomi's daughter) resembles Nadeshiko a bit as well, with her long hair. In fact, she mentions that Sonomi requested that she kept her hair long because it reminded her of Nadeshiko.
Always Someone Better: Sakura to Meiling somewhat, is purer in personality, bests her at many aspects such as athletism (somewhat inadvertently) and ultimately wins over Syaoran's affections without even meaning to.
Syaoran seems to consider Sakura his better counterpart, ultimately taking his designated role as master of the cards, due to having greater wisdom and care for them that assisted in her judgements. As Sakura insists however, her own flaws and dependence on Syaoran may prevent her from being a full-on example of the trope.
Used in abandon for Ship Tease most prominently throughout Season 3. As Sakura drains herself by creating her own cards, she usually faints from the best possible position to fall into Syaoran.Luminescent Blush ensues. And Yukito repeatedly fainting for Touya to catch him. Eventually it starts going the other way after Touya gives Yue his powers.
Episode 28 - the first time Sakura hugs Syaoran. Already completely exhausted, the shock of it proves too much for the poor kid.
The Dream Card Episode.
Animation Bump: Very noticeable in the Sealed Card. More $$$ in the budget, no doubt.
Antimatter: Card number 53's negative powers pull a Magical Variant of antimatter annihilation on anything it targets.
In order to fight a dragon summoned by The Create card, Sakura has to use The Big card to make herself equal size. She's not happy about this.
When she counteracts her shrinkage while trapped in Alice In Wonderland.
Her revenge fantasies of someday being taller than Touya also tend to invoke this.
The Jump tries this in its début episode because it's an aggressive card like The Watery though unlike Watery, it's also extremely stupid and so it ultimately fails. Instead of physically growing, The Jump makes a giant version of itself using innumerable plush toys surrounding its body.
Author Avatar: Tomoyo, and it's not at all subtle. In fact there's even a Bonus video that jokingly suggests the whole series was single-handedly filmed by her. And that somehow includes even the sequences where no cameras were present by any conceivable means.
Beyond the Impossible: The price for sealing card #53 'Void' was the 'precious feeling' of the most powerful mage. This ended up being Syaoran due to the other candidate being exhausted at the time. The card was sealed and transformed but Syaoran didn't forget after all. Probably because The Nothing was merged with The Nameless Card to become a Sakura Card (The Hope), which was made from Sakura's love for Syaoran. Thus, it acted something like a very effective Curse Escape Clause; the "price" was still paid in a fashion.
BFS: Syaoran's sword. Luckily, it is a magic sword, or a skinny little boy like Syaoran probably wouldn't even be able to pick it up, much less wield it effectively.
Touya has one for Sakura to the point where he can tell the difference between her and The Mirror. Lampshaded by Yukito in which he tells Touya he has a 'little sister complex'. The fact that he met Syaoran when he was trying to bully Sakura into giving him the Cards she had caught until then really doesn't help.
Syaoran himself shows traits of this towards Meiling, possible inversion since his age comparison to either of them is unspecified.
Big Eater: Yukito and Kerberos both have formidable appetites. Sakura can put it away too.
Big Fancy House: Tomoyo is the most prominent, but other characters have their own, too.
Blessed with Suck: Yue. Though powerful, strong, and intimidating, being the moon means he's only as good as his Master/Mistress. The balance of his creation also predisposes him to the little inconvenience of imminent death while his brother can go about as he pleases.
Bloodless Carnage: The episode of the Shot Card, the most brutal scenes in The Sealed Card and especially the Final Judgement.
Bowdlerization: The Nelvana dub removed all of the (perfectly innocent and totally non-explicit) same-sex relationships from the show, to say nothing of the 31 episodes that were not aired at all.
The episodes omitted by WB had been dubbed and still aired in particular regions such as Europe (though is lacking one episode due to the two part finale being merged into one episode). Note it also gets rid of most heterosexual relationships as well. As a result of deleting most of Sakura and Syaoran's romantic infatuation, a lot of the final episode is omitted and the dub is given a much more Bittersweet Ending.
Break the Cutie: The whole plot of the story is about trying to do this to Sakura. Nowhere more dramatic than the Second Movie. And...it completely fails.
Bruce Lee Clone: Bruce Lee's name in Japanese would be Li Syaoron. Referenced in Tsubasa Chronicle when Fay writes Li's name down as "Little Puppy".
Butt Monkey: Meiling. Syaoran, Kero and even Sakura have their moments as well.
Syaoran essentially becomes the other Butt Monkey once Meilin is introduced, having to bear all the collateral damage of her Genki Girl tendencies.
Double take there. The universe just loves to find any conceivable opportunity to embarrass him outright, as if to prove he's Not so Above It All. Repeatedly. Poor, poor Syaoran...
And poor Yamazagi, every time he's caught lying. Apart from being strangled, dragged and stomped on a regular basis, on one occasion he was buried neck deep in sand and was used as target practice with a volleyball.
Cannot Spit It Out: Three separate characters even. Ruby Moon kept interrupting Toya, and lots of things happened preventing Sakura and Syaoran from spitting it out. Kero=Bad for spitting stuff out.
Crash into Hello: Sakura's crashed into Yukito at least twice, met Kaho exactly as described on the Trope page, ended up running into her brother just as she confessed taking his share of cake. In the Sealed Card she runs into Syaoran around a bend, and then later into Yukito (again) while crying.
Cross Dresser: Both the plays in the TV series have the main characters playing Gender swapped roles. Hilarity Ensues. And yeah, it's CLAMP again.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass - Sakura herself. Despite being extremely naive and occasionally outright ditzy at times (believes every last one of Yamazaki's ridiculous stories and is completely oblivious to the fact that her two best friends are infatuated with her) she has moments of remarkable inspiration, particularly when it comes to the use of her magic.
Syaoran meanwhile is more of a Crouching Badass Hidden Moron. He's normally cool and collective, but has occasional bouts of poor judgement or naivete, he also falls for the pathological liar's lies 100% and is somewhat inept around romantic emotions.
Cultural Translation: The Nelvana dub renamed the characters' residence from Tomoeda to Reedington and implied it was an American town, despite the Japanese text remaining, as well as the Tokyo Tower.
Cut-and-Paste Translation: Nelvana, with "Cardcaptors", was responsible for much of the cast getting a Dub Name Change and removed all romantic subplots of any kind (not all convincingly). The US broadcast on Kids' WB!! attempted to widen the show's appeal beyond its original demographic by switching the focus from strictly Sakura's point of view and pushing the idea of Sakura and supporting character Li Syaoran being more like partners by rearranging and splicing episodes and tweaking scripts. This would have actually been convenient in later episodes, which play a lot more from Syaoran's perspective and give him a rather prominent partnership with Sakura, unfortunately the unwanted romantic context of most of this footage actually led them to take out a lot of the character's relevance. And even with all the butchering they did, they couldn't remove the subtexts. It's still pretty obvious how Syaoran and Sakura feel about each other.
Cute Bruiser: The Power and The Fight. Also, Meiling and Syaoran, and even Sakura when she uses The Power card.
A Justified Trope in episode 6 when Sakura encounters the illusion card, which, on the date her dead mother's birthday, adopts her form, and thus lures Sakura into falling off a cliff. Before hitting the ground nonetheless a translucid hand (presumably that of her real mom) appears out of nowhere and slows down her fall. And as a backup Deus Ex Machina Yukito just happened to be passing by at that precise moment to come and pick her up.
Meiling could be incredibly stupid at times, usually ending up as the Butt Monkey, or worse, seriously endangering herself and others. On one occasion she went after the Fight card despite the fact that she had no magical powers. Or the occasion where she was in possession of the Shot Card. Syaoran could have been killed.
Sakura also played this trope on numerous occasions, and it has been used for Syaoran to end up in an embarrassingly intimate scenario with her exposing his Dere-Dere side. The most prominent example is when she tried to convert all the cards at once despite lacking enough power, which, apart from being a very reckless thing to do, sent the Dash card panicking as it was not transformed without a sufficiently strong need. And in that episode, Sakura also uses the Jump Card despite the fact that her powers are so drained she's sure not to make it safely enough.
And in episode 69 she even tries to fight Eriol, who has retained all his powers from his previous life as Clow Reed.
She had to learn the hard way that putting off writing your name on the card you've captured is not at all recommended.
The Sick Episode where she was burning with high fever and tried to capture a card by herself barely able to stand. Cue the rival party to the rescue.
The Dividual: For logistical purposes, The Light and The Dark are generally regarded as a pair. Sakura even complies with their request to be sealed together.
Dogged Nice Guy: Syaoran in his 'dere dere' moods. Taken to extremes around Sakura in later episodes, though she rarely sees it as anything more than him being a kind friend to her.
Dub Name Change: Nearly every character except Sakura suffered from it in both the English and French dubs. It was that kind of era.
Dramatic Irony: The audience learns fairly early on that the New Transfer Student Eriol is the reincarnation of Clow Reed, while the other characters are left in the dark until the finale. That being said, the audience is left to wonder for quite some time why the guy who was spoken of so highly all this time is now acting like a creepy antagonist.
The Eeyore: Even after revealing their soft side, Syaoran and Yue are still rather humorless and snarky in tone. Spinel Sun also seems to count as one.
Energy Beings - The Card Spirits, though they usually take the form of humanoids (often, though not always, beautiful women) or strange animals. Of special mention is the Illusion Card, which even in its true form is formless; it can be commanded to take the form of anyone or anything. Sakura uses it to take the Sword Card from Rika by having the Illusion card transform into their teacher, whom Rika has a crush on (and in the manga an actual relationship with).
Clow's mother is Syaoran's great, great, [...] grandmother. Sakura's father is one of Clow Reed's reincarnations. Put this all together and Sakura and Syaoran are actually veritable cousins, depending on how you look at the reincarnation aspect of family trees. This being CLAMP, one must wonder whether or not this was deliberate.
Rarely if ever mentioned beyond its introduction, but Sakura and Tomoyo are second cousins.
Evil Sorcerer: The first movie had Clow Reed's former student Madoushi, particularly in the dub (where she was also his girlfriend at one point).
Evolving Credits: A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example. Partway through season one, Li is added to the opening following his introduction to the story. He appears for just one second along with the other supporting characters. Everything else in the intro stays the same. In the American uncut DVD release, this version of the intro was never used.
Yamazaki. There was one scene in the manga where he opens them. Just one though.
There was a special in the anime that Sakura, Mei Ling, Syaoran and Tomoyo wondering about why his eyes are always closed. When they realize he actually opened them earlier in the episode and actually found the thing (a blue mailbox) he had been talking about, they conclude that he only opens his eyes when he tells the truth. Actually, he only opens them when someone steps on his foot.
In the episode when Sakura catches The Power card Yamazaki's eyes open for a moment when he and Syaoran are startled by the loud noise and the ground shaking at the zoo.
Clow Reed in the anime. The only time his eyes are open is in a bonus art pic, where they are shown to be blue.
The Faceless: All characters who appear in Sakura's foretelling dreams. Their faces are shown over time (except Yue). Also Eriol and his guardians in scenes where he watches from the shadows.
Interestingly in the bonus extra episode after the second movie, only Kero and Suppie's faces are shown, while the faces of the rest of the cast, including Sakura, are deliberately not covered by the camera.
Sakura also exists as an interesting light variation, in that despite being Syaoran's rival, she looks up to him greatly and is largely convinced of his superior intelligence and competance. Her extremely affectionate treatment towards Syaoran would naturally also play into his own opinion of her. In addition Sakura is also kind and supportive to Meiling (which leads the latter to accept her as Syaoran's true love).
His difficult temper is also exaggerated sometimes
Tomoyo's fawning over Sakura shifts to somewhat bizarre lengths later on (not that it was subtle before however).
As a somewhat aversion, Big Kero seems to become more "Little Kero-ish" as the series progresses.
Foreshadowing: In episode 27 (of the original series) Li mentions to Sakura that people with magical power are drawn to each other while warning her to be careful around Mizuki. Moments after this she argues that she can't help what she feels around Mizuki or Yukito. This is reinforced when both she and Li admit that they were drawn to Yukito at first sight exactly the same way Sakura was drawn to Mizuki when they first met.
Free Sample Plot Coupon: In the first episode, while the rest of the Clow Cards were freed, the Windy remains (Sakura having had it in her hand when she read its name).
Friend to All Living Things: Sakura in a rather swift period of time can endear herself to almost any living entity due to her everpresent compassion and innocence, even Syaoran's strict and stoic mother (Li Yelan) can't resist after just one day with her and even gives a very motherly kiss. Note that at that time Syaoran was still seeing Sakura as a rival...
By the end of the story, this is true of every single character in the show, even the bitter and lonely Nothing Card, which becomes The Hope.
Generation Xerox: Sonomi loved Sakura's mother Nadeshiko, and her daughter Tomoyo follows the trend with Sakura. And in both cases it ends up unrequited.
Also averted in the way they react to it though: Sonomi dealt with it by developing a seething hatred for the man Nadeshio married, thinking of him as the one annoying bug Sonomi couldn't keep away from Nadeshiko. Tomoyo dealt with it by practically cheering the prospect of Sakura being happy together with Shaoran; Tomoyo's personality, unlike her mother's, was not adversely impacted by rejection.
The dub also tried to edit out most romantic links in the show, naturally the gay and inter generation ones with most vehemence. Since the original edit's plot revolved greatly around romance by it's closing points, this naturally was impossible to take out entirely (American and Canadian audiences were likely baffled as to why Syaoran was perpetually blushing for no explained reason).
Hey, You!: Often used by Syaoran in early episodes and chapters, who does not refer to Sakura by any actual name. This is ended however after her Disney Death in ''Sakura, Shaoran and The Elevator' leads him to yell her first name in anguish. Sakura having heard this, asks to continue this trend and to call "Shaoran-kun" by first name in return. Notably Sakura, much to her joy, is discovered to be the only person outside family that Syaoran refers to by first name (or allows the referal of his own). This trait is not present in the English dub, where both characters refer to each other by first name from the beginning.
Some manga translations switched. The german version, in Volume 1 until 4, Sakura and Syaoran refer to each other by first name. Volume 5, though, switches it to Syaoran not using her name at all (until Sakura falls down a crack in the ground and he yells her name) while Sakura calls him Li.
In the Japanese, this also applies to Touya and Yue. Both avoid calling (most) other characters by name—likely because it would require them to acknowledge their level of affection for the person in question. Similar to Syaoran, but these two take it a step farther by even avoiding intimate pronouns whenever possible.
In a Single Bound: Jump Card, period. Can cross HUGE distances (whole city blocks), roof hop with ease, reach heights to the top of Tokyo tower and always lands soft from any height with exceptional accuracy. It can literally land on a dime. Syaoran too, for that matter: Even without magic, he seems to have springs for legs that allow him to reach impossible heights, even to the tops of trees and in a series of jumps gets to the top of a several storey high Ferris wheel with no problems.
Informed Attribute: We're told multiple times during the anime that Tomoyo has an incredible voice; she gets several solos, Sakura swoons every time she sings, and her voice is the key to capturing at least one Clow Card. Despite that, her voice... doesn't really seem to be all that special. Unless that's intentional, and the point is that her voice is amazing for an elementary school student. Her voice sounds better in the Hebrew dub.
In Medias Res: The manga begins with Sakura in the middle of finding and capturing a Clow Card, and a later flashback shows how she found the book and was tasked with being a cardcaptor. The anime begins before that flashback takes place.
Innocently Insensitive: Sakura rarely has cruel bone in her body, but is ridiculously naive and terrible at reading emotions. She obliviously exasperates Syaoran's crush on her, and she is occasionally rather inconsiderate toward Kero (though Kero himself dishes this back at times as well). She also never has the foggiest clue that Tomoyo is in love with her, let alone the fact that by cheering Sakura and Shaoran on, Tomoyo is making a huge sacrifice for her sake.
Intoxication Ensues: Suppie (Spinel Sun). Eating anything which has sugar in it in any amount results in a massive out of control drunken spree that sends him on a sugar binge. As a side effect a drunk Suppie becomes much cuter and hilarious. But...
Breath Weapon: Eventually he starts firing these, and then hell breaks loose.
Kansai Regional Accent: Cerberus, the Beast of the Seal who guards the Clow Cards, spent a while in Osaka and picked up the accent. Lampshaded by Sakura as soon as she heard him speak for the first time.
The only canonical two couples who are cousins never kiss and (in the case of Syaoran and Meiling) eventually break up. Likewise, Nadeshiko and Sonomi were cousins, but it was one-sided on Sonomi's part.
Knight Templar: The Nothing Card of the second movie (one of the few real villains in the series) after centuries being hidden and alone, is vehement on being reunited with it's fellow cards, whether they want it or not, and also has nothing against erasing huge populations of innocent beings in her frenzied search. In a rare case for the trope, she gets the point in the end and reverses everything after being caught by Sakura, so she can be accepted willingly as a friend. Ruby Moon, while mostly working with Eriol in assisting Sakura, seems to gain a self proclaimed rivalry with Yue to potentially murderous ambitions.
Tomoyo: You have the perfect timing, as if I was watching a wonderful comic combo...
Literal Cliffhanger: The final scene of the anime at the end of the Sealed Card movie, though after everything that's happened, it's a very mild example. It was eventually subverted: A lesser known fact is that the minor Cliffhanger at the end of the anime was indeed settled by the Bonus Art Poster◊ that came out in the DVD. Also see What Happened to the Mouse? below.
Logical Weakness: The Clow Cards' weaknesses are fairly straightforward, in keeping with the power held in them. For example, Sakura traps the Water Card by trapping in an industrial-sized freezer, with Wind speeding up the process.
Lolicon: Yoshiyuki Terada. But he waited until Rika was older, and given that in the manga he went as far as buying her an engagement ring, his feelings for Rika appear to be genuine and not based on sexual perversion.
Long Distance Relationship: Happens at the end, and gets subverted in the manga, where it is revealed that Syaoran finally moved back to Tomoeda after three long years in Hong Kong, apparently just to be with Sakura at Seijuu Junior High
Love Dodecahedron: Meiling has the hots for her cousin Syaoran, who is at first in love with Yukito - but then so is Sakura, who also has Tomoyo after her...but Yukito sees both of them as siblings, and instead prefers Sakura's brother Touya, whose ex Kaho is in a relationship with Eriol, who seemed (at least, to Syaoran), to like Sakura, who eventually ends up with Syaoran.
The Matchmaker / Shipper on Deck: Eriol. He is actively responsible for helping Syaoran realize his feelings for Sakura, and for letting Sakura know that Yukito only loves her platonically as family. Closely followed by Tomoyo, Meiling who really make selfless sacrifices and even Yue who clarifies the Law of Magical attraction vs real love and even Wei he encourages Syaoran to give Sakura the teddy bear. More fanfics than you can spend time counting have used the fact that Syaoran's mother has a special liking for Sakura (in the movie she also has Syaoran be her bodyguard), to make her into this in their script.
Meaningful Name: Anyone with the kanji for "moon" in their name will have a magical connection to the moon; Nakuru Akizuki and Yukito Tsukishiro both have doubly meaningful names. Lampshaded by Kero in episode 47 of the anime when he starts enquiring about the kanji for Eriol's name.
Mercury's Wings: The Nothing (or alternatively, The Hope Card) from the second movie has wings on its head.
Meta Guy: Tomoyo, who is very Genre Savvy; she asks in the second episode if Sakura knows any cool poses or owns any special evil-fighting clothes, and offers to help.
Missing Mom: Sakura's mom, Nadeshiko died when Sakura was only three. On a few occasions her ghost appears, once as a trick by a Clow Card and another when she checks on her ill daughter and helps relieve her fever.
Mistaken for Gay: Syaoran thought he had a crush on Yukito, but it later turned out he was just attracted to the high amount of moon energy inside him.
Mobile Maze: In the Maze Card episode, Sakura cannot simply fly out of the maze because the walls will magically grow too high to fly over, and if Shaoran tries to cut through the walls with his sword, they will magically re-form again.
Moment Killer: Too many to list, but Syaoran's attempted love confessions and Toya trying to tell Yukito the truth about himself, and then in the Sealed Card Sakura's own attempts at love confessions. In fact one occasion Sakura was interrupted by The Nothing in a play while playing the part of the princess about to tell the prince how she feels.
Mood Whiplash: The Sleep Card episode. For the most part, it is a cheerful glimpse into Sakura's dad's university life with Sakura ever so eager to help. And then, just after she seals the card, disaster strikes.
The Movie: Two of them in fact; the first one is literally named after this trope. The first one happens exactly half way through the TV series, and the second one concludes the anime.
Mukokuseki: Rather prevalent on everyone, although Syaoran and Meiling get to look somewhat more "asian" (likely due to being Chinese). Sakura is the most blatantly noticeable in this regard, though, since she's got big round green eyes, reddish-brown hair (that seems to vary a bit depending on the lighting present) and a very fair complexion... and she is still, in theory, 100% Yamato in ancestry.note Well, okay, 98% Yamato thanks to her relation to Clow Reed, although Reed's own ancestry is confusing as heck, and both sides of her family have been in Japan for centuries now. Heck, at times she almost doesn't look related to her brother or father at all. Selling her as a caucasian in the dub (with the family name change to "Avalon") was not particularly difficult.
Mundane Utility: Because the flower shop was closed, Sakura once used The Flower to make an armful of flowers she wanted.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Most of the time, no one gets even slightly injured. Not even after being buried under tidal waves, falling from just about any height (even landing hard on some occasions), rocked by gigantic earthquakes, hit by explosions of antimatter type magic, repeatedly slammed into walls and even steel girders, pierced by razor sharp crystal shards, almost drowned by huge water spouts, surrounded by raging fires and so on.
But the worst offender is when Sakura is not even scratched after being hit and sent flying by a fast moving roller coaster.
Yue to Sakura in the Final Judgment. Although not terribly violent, it's still significantly darker than anything before that point. Sakura cries out in pain as she's thrown into steel girders and hit by sharp crystal shards, unable and unwilling to fight back.
Syaoran's battle with Yue beforehand isn't suggested to be much better, if less graphic. We hear a loud offscreen yell in pain before he reappears battered and bruised and barely able to stand. Naturally Sakura, Yue's next opponent is pretty irked.
The Clow Cards and Yue. They've only survived for so long because they were running on batteries.
Averted with Keroberos. In the Japanese manga, he says he is 'self-sustaining' because he can supplement food as energy when he doesn't receive the amount he needs from Sakura. An odd version of this trope because both Cards and their protectors have technically survived the death of their creator.
Practically anything done by the Clow Cards is undone once they're caught.
Not so Above It All: Poor Syaoran, no matter how hard he tries to act dignified and stoic his mystique is always destroyed by some affectionate soul, usually Sakura, reducing him to an (adorable) piece of jelly.
Not So Stoic: Syaoran started crossing the line regularly after Meilin came along, though by the end of Season 2, once he's fallen for Sakura he probably spends more time in this trope than out of it. And then we have Yue, who's even more stoic, but even he can't resist Sakura's Moe and Cheerful Child tendencies. And let's not forget Touya.
Not the Fall That Kills You: Anyone with magic who falls, Repeatedly! Only Touya gets injured in a fall. No matter the height, others always break the fall with hardly even a small scratch! At worst!
Syaoran himself suffers quite a lot from not recognizing his own feelings and (later on) even Selective Obliviousness. Ironically for all his experience with this trope he is left clueless against Sakura's incredible Genre Blidness.
Official Couple: Sakura and Syaoran. CLAMP made doubly sure that this pairing is backed up by PLENTY of canon. Tsubasa wouldn't happen if this pairing didn't come true, period. Tsubasa also backs up Touya and Yukito's relationship, and pretty much every other CLAMP pairing, gay or straight. While creating some of its own on the side. An interview with CLAMP involved an offhanded comment that Syaoran and Sakura are, like most CLAMP couples, 100% soulmates and didn't end up together for a "normal pairing" like some people thought; Syaoran and Sakura would have fallen in love even if Syaoran had been a girl or there had been an age gap.
Pinky Swear: Sakura and Syaoran. He's too overwhelmed to refuse!
Power Incontinence: Clow sets in motion the events of the plot partially because while being strong enough to predict the future with intense accuracy, he couldn't control it. Sakura, being stronger, can also predict the future but can turn it off, unlike Clow. And that's the one sensible part of an incomprehensibly huge Gambit Pileup.
The Power of Love: The whole story is built around this trope. Prevails in spite of everything. In the manga it succeeds in bringing Syaoran back to Japan to be with Sakura. The anime takes this to the next level very literally when Sakura creates the nameless card with a winged heart. Later this card merges with the Nothing at the last minute to form the Hope card, and ensuring that Sakura and Syaoran's love survive intact even against the otherwise unconquerable.
Among others, the ending is the most notable case in the series. The manga explicitly states (when Yukito consoles Sakura when she makes the teddy bear for Syaoran) that overcoming the Long Distance barrier testifies to The Powerof Love. The impact of long distance is toned down in the anime with characters frequently and liberally using air travel (e.g Meling, who makes 7 trips in total) whenever needed (and not needed), unlike the manga. The anime instead shows the triumph of The Power of Love by having them capture card #53, which actually threatens to take away one's deepest love, plus its genocidal tendencies.
This is also an interesting case in that not only are there many events that didn't appear in the source material, but even those events that did appear in the manga were almost always retold, keeping the fundamentals the same but reordering them, changing the locations, etc. Example: in both versions, Windy is the first card Sakura acquires, but whereas the manga has her capturing Woody next (off-screen) and then Jump, the anime has her capture Fly second. note The Fly encounter itself is a good example of this too. In the manga, Sakura first encounters it at school, then at home, failing to capture it each time, then finally at home again, where she captures it by figuring out that it's just injured and agitated. The anime just has her encounter it at home on her first night of being a Cardcaptor, and she captures it by restraining it with Windy - something she tried in the manga, for that matter, but which didn't work because Fly is another Wind elemental card.
Syaoran's characterization in the anime doesn't support the manga type of ending - he doesn't live alone and is essentially a mature kid looked after by Wei with his family members actually showing up. In the manga, he is a loner, there's only a passing reference to his family and he's practically a fully independent adult in a child's body. And a bunch of formalities and work in the manga (details never mentioned) is replaced by the ability to make vacation visits in the anime.
Reincarnation: In the manga, Clow has two reincarnations: Eriol and Fujitaka. In the anime, he only has Eriol.
Relationship Sabotage: Among the other challenges of capturing the Clow Cards, there is a serious risk of everyone losing all their feelings for those whom they love the most. In the manga this turns out to be just a big Macguffin for capturing the cards, but in the anime, it is really a serious problem.
Keroberos and Spinel Sun. Ruby Moon sees Yue as one.
Rule 34: Expected for a series as fondly remembered as this.
Running Gag: Tomoyo, every time she talks about videotaping Sakura or her latest costume, which is about half a dozen times an episode. All the more funnier because it comes at the most (in)appropriate moment.
(In the middle of Snow Card's fierce blizzard): "At this rate...at this rate...I can't film Sakura!
Toya calls Sakura a monster. Sakura proceeds to grind his foot into the floor.
Screw Destiny: Sakura & Syaoran's love seems destined to be doomed by Card #53, until the Power of Love (literally) pulls a feat of Card redemption.
Second Love: Both Sakura and Syaoran's first love was Yukito. They eventually end up with each other, though. Yukito is Second Love for Sakura's older brother, Touya When they break up, Kaho tells Touya that next time they meet, they'll both have Second Loves. She's right; Touya has Yukito, and Kaho has Eriol.
Ship Tease: Done endlessly and mercilessly throughout the series, especially during the later stories. Instances such as Sakura, Shaoran and the Elevator exist as little more than episode long ship teases. What many consider the biggest folly in the Cardcaptors dub was trying to erase nearly all of these scenes (though due to some of them being in pivotal scenes or necessary transitions, some light instances such as Syaoran's blushing were kept in the dub).
Shrinking Violet: Rika Sasaki, but not to the extreme. She's mostly like that when around Terada.
Solar and Lunar: Kerbros and Yue not only represent the powers of each, but their personalities, coloring, and their manner of life as well (Kero can generate energy, while Yue can not)
Spell My Name with an S: Tangentially related; the merchandise can't decide whether it wants to use Chinese or Japanese spellings, so we get "Syaoran" and "Meiling" on the same things.
To pontificate further: "Syaoran" is Japanese Romaji with the Kunrei Romanization method (seldom used outside Japan and not often even there). "Shaoran" is Romaji with the more widely-used Hepburn system. Shaoran's Chinese name would be romanized as "Xiaolang", meaning "little wolf". "Meirin" would be the appropriate Japanese Romaji for Meiling's name (which means "Strawberry Bell", amusingly enough).
Interestingly, NIS America, during their license rescue, brought the hammer down as they are occasionally wont to do... and decided to cleave for the Chinese readings of the Li family names over everything else. While this makes the most sense from an English-language perspective, it's also the first time a product release has ever formally referred to the male lead as "Xiaolang" and throws some fans off-balance. (Hilariously, this means "Meiling" remains unchanged, comparatively.)
Sphere of Destruction: Card #53 (The Nothing) is notorious for doing a special version of Beam Spam with this, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of holes all over the city.
Stalker with a Crush: Tomoyo, to some degree. Much gentler and reasonable than the standard, of course (If you consider being with your best friend stalking.).
Meiling is this until she realizes that Syaoran loves Sakura.
Star Power: The whole second series is about Sakura having to transfer the Clow Cards from their old energy source (The Sun and the Moon, which her predecessor used) over to her power source - the power of her star.
Survival Mantra: "Everything will be alright." This actually enhances her powers on occasion. The Hope Card appears to be the personified form of this. And is specifically referred to as her 'invincible spell' in both the manga and anime. When she says it you know everything's going to end well.
Sword Fight: Averted with extreme prejudice during the Sword Card episode. Syaoran tries to start one, but Sakura instantly rules it out. He basically missed his only chance to use his sword as anything other than a wand.
Third grade teacher and student romance, complete with engagement ring. To their credit, they'll be waiting until she's older. And in the anime it's a one sided crush from the student.
Kaho's and Touya's relationship is an aversion; though they met when Kaho was Touya's student teacher, they only confessed romantic feelings after Kaho's teaching position had ended.
Played straight with Fujitaka and Nadeshiko; Fujitaka was a teacher in the high school Nadeshiko attended. It's implied that they started living together even before she graduated.
Theme Naming: The Kinomotos all have plant-related names: Sakura means "cherry blossom", Touya has "peach" in his name, the "fuji" in Fujitaka means "wisteria", Nadeshiko is a pink variety of dianthus. Kinomoto itself means root of the tree.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomoyo with either Sakura or Meiling. Also Nadeshiko with Sonomi, Chiharu with either Rika or Naoko.
Also happens with Yue, who started out cold and rather cruel towards Sakura because he didn't want to have to accept having a new master after Clow Reed died. Once again Sakura's kind and gentle nature allows her to break through the harsh exterior. The moment he comforts her when she learns he and Yukito had been in danger of vanishing really shows how he's grown to love her too.
Train-Station Goodbye: Airport goodbye. With Meiling, twice. Also the TV Series Ending and the last chapter of the manga, when Syaoran has to go back to Hong Kong and Sakura meets him at the airport.
Tomoyo seems to be one to her own mother Sonomi, compared with Sakura. Sonomi was obsessed with Nadeshiko when they were younger, and seems to have transferred her affection to Nadeshiko's daughter. Despite barely having time for her own family, Sonomi manages to make time to attend Sakura's school sporting events and even chaperone her on vacation. Anytime they're on screen together Sonomi fusses over Sakura and practically ignores Tomoyo note This may be an Observer Effect or Unreliable Narrator; since Sakura is the main character, there'd be no point in Sonomi being in the scene if not to interact with her. Tomoyo even tells Sakura at one point that Sonomi grows Tomoyo's hair long and styles it like Nadeshiko's in order to remember her. At least one scene in the anime depicts Tomoyo with Sonomi, who has arrived home in worry after hearing she has fallen suddenly sick ( though she actually lost her voice due to a Clow Card) and is shown doting over her in a similar manner as Sakura, even babying her a little. This does at least give the idea of how loving she is to her daughter by normality, which we don't get to see because the series is from Sakura's POV and not Tomoyo's. Add to that Sakura herself is extremely protective and kind towards Tomoyo, maybe she doesn't have it quite so bad.
Kero sees himself as this compared to Yue for both Clow Reed and Sakura, and calls out the latter on this when she treats him more regimentively than Yue (albeit largely due to her being intimidated around Yue as well as her occasional Innocent Insensitivity towards Kero).
CLAMP takes full advantage of this trope in this series. Not only with the mission clothes (not even one is used more than one time!), Sakura's everyday clothes and accessories are numerous too, and while they repeat from time to time, they usually changed every season. You could think that CLAMP would take a break by letting Sakura and her friends use school uniforms more often, but even the school wardrobe was much more varied than in most anime and manga series, with different types of uniforms for Spring and Winter, coats, hats, P.E., swimsuits, special uniforms for sport competitions, two different cheerleader uniforms (one for practices and one for competitions)... heck, the school even had special clothes specific for some school trips! (And most of these come in both girl and boy versions.)
The little segment "Kero-chan ni Omakase" was added later to the anime to show off the great variety of clothes and accessories.
In interviews, CLAMP deliberately approached the Unlimited Wardrobe trope for Sakura to make her, as both a character and a Magical Girl, stand out among other characters in the genre who are limited to either one uniform or the same uniform with touch-ups, a la Sailor Moon, especially since unlike most magical girls Sakura doesn't have a Transformation Sequence that changes her outfit.
The anime omits way too many plot points from the conclusion of the manga, leaving it at a less Sugar Filled Ending.
In the anime not all of the 53 cards were shown being captured. The Through for example.
In the final ending of the TV series Syaoran does not permanently move to Tomeda (the second movie rectifies this).
The teddy bears. Sakura never gives Syaoran one in the anime.
Touya's motorbike. A Chekhov's Gun in the manga, as Touya gives Sakura a ride with it so she can make it to the bus station in time to give Syaoran her bear. The manga also explains why the motorbike disappears; it's because Sakura wouldn't be able to keep up with a motorbike on her rollerblades.
Kaho's Second Love (in the flashback to her relationship with Touya, she tells him that next time they meet, they'll both have new loves). In the manga, she's in love with Eriol.
The splitting of Eriol's magic and the revelation of Fujitaka Kinomoto being the other half of Clow Reed are missing as well. As a result Fujitaka doesn't get to be reunited with his wife's spirit again.
The Cliffhanger-esque ending of the Sealed Card didn't go down too well with many fans either, especially when compared to the last frame of the manga. While using the Jump Card clearly indicates what will happen, it's not the same as seeing it happen.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: While many of the Clow Cards do have formidable abilities, it's hard to see things like "The Sweet," "The Cloud," and "The Glow" be used for anything devastating in battle or stealth. "The Song" is also, in essence, a music recorder.
White and Grey Morality: This show has no villains; in the first arc, the Cards are portrayed more as mischievous beings than truly evil troublemakers (if somewhat inept to their occasionally dangerous powers) and are all subject to Defeat Means Friendship, and in the second arc, the "villain" is quickly hinted (and revealed at the end) to be much more of a Trickster Mentor. All the intelligent characters are presented as decent people, which underscores the "Humans Are Good" part of the trope.
White Hair, Black Heart: Yue is a rare variety that starts off antagonistic but eventually grows to care for Sakura once he accepts that she's not Clow, but doesn't have to be.
Tomoyo, in addition to being Genre Savvy, is extremely perceptive of the motives and secrets of people around her. This is even lampshaded in the manga when Eriol comments that her powers of perception are more valuable to her and her friends than magic.
Syaoran as well, who is extremely serious and non nonsense in tone and has vast intellect regarding the cards and their heritage. He is suggested to be well educated as well. That said, Ping Pong Naïveté and Not so Above It All moments come at his expense a lot more.
Eriol is this, but that kind of comes with the territory of being the reincarnation of someone who was Really 700 Years Old by the time he died and remembers all of it. And even in this life he's not the child he appears to be, because he stopped his aging.
Women Are Wiser: Played with. Most of the male cast are more morally ambiguous and arrogant the female cast, though also seem more world wary and intelligent. For example Sakura is more kind natured and humble than Syaoran, but also far more childish, scatterbrained and incredibly naive.