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Manga: Card Captor Sakura


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 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 wiki here.

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.

This Anime/Manga provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • 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.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Cardcaptors opening is more dramatic and plays up the high fantasy element, while also spelling out the plot.
  • 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.
  • Anemia Faint:
    • 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.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Syaoran starts like this.
  • Art Shift: When declaring "Suppie" his rival in The Movie, Kero gets animated very exaggeratedly and hot-bloodedly. This carries over into the next shot with a regular - and nonplussed - Sakura.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: People return after being wiped out of existence. This isn't explained until Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle elaborates that death and being magically erased aren't the same thing.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Sakura.
    • Meiling and Syaoran (once he starts going Tsundere for Sakura).
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Firey is introduced in this pose.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Meiling, especially when she fights The Fight card, effectively holding off a card that's more or less perfect at martial arts.
    • Syaoran in Episode 33 evades, lures and exposes The Freeze card without any magic, and earlier punches apart the magical ice forming on Sakura. For his efforts he gets to keep that episode's card.
    • Syaoran and Meilin's perfectly synchronized attack against the Twin Card.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sakura has two outfits that shows her belly button.
  • Beta Couple: Takashi Yamazaki and Chiharu Mihara. Yes, that's right. Fourth-graders who already have years of experience in dealing with relationships.
  • Between My Legs: Seen with Sakura's legs in several episodes.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While near perpetually friendly and innocent in demeanor, it is a bad idea to insult Sakura, or even worse, call her a "monster".
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Averted.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • 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.
  • Bishounen: It's CLAMP.
  • 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.
    • The American dub of The Movie suffers from a rewrite of its plot, transforming the villain, whose motivation originally centered around the fact that, although she professed to hate Clow, she was actually in love with him, but never got the chance to tell him, into just another power-hungry Black Magic practitioner. Because kids can't understand plots that don't revolve around Good Versus Evil.
  • Break the Cutie: The whole plot of the story is about trying to do this to Sakura. Nowhere more dramatic than the Second Movie. 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.
  • Cards Of Power: The Clow cards contain magical spirits and each card allows Sakura to have access to various types of powers such as Playing with Fire or Making a Splash.
  • Chase Scene: Kero and Spinel Sun pursue a ball of fried octopus on a complicated path all over town in the Bonus episode following the ending of the second movie.
  • Cheerful Child: And how. Let's put it this way, watch a single scene with Sakura and try with all your might not to say "Awwwwww...".
    • And Tomoyo, who in some places is even more cheerful than Sakura herself.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Nameless card with the heart on it was more than just a Sequel Hook, and its true power is revealed at the last moment Combining with the Nothing card to form the Hope card without anyone having to sacrifice their own love.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Sakura's namesake; she roller-blades through a shower of them in the first episode.
    • Also appears in touching scenes in the manga.
  • The Chessmaster: Clow Reed, in a rare good example that doesn't have any anger or angst motivating it.
  • Child Mage: Sakura, and Syaoran
  • The Chosen One: Sakura.
  • Class Trip: Lots and lots of 'em.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Meiling.
  • Clip Its Wings: In the penultimate episode, Sakura attempts to use the Fly card to fight. Her opponent shoots one of the wings with a laser blast, setting it on fire.
  • Clip Show: The last part of the last episode in the TV series.
  • Consummate Liar: Yamazaki. A Running Gag in the series is Sakura and Syaoran falling for it every time.
  • Costume Porn: AND HOW! Besides the many marvelous outfits Sakura goes Cardcapting in, even her everyday clothes have flair. See Unlimited Wardrobe for more details. And remember everyone it's CLAMP!
  • 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.
  • Creating Life Is Awesome: Kero, Yue, and the later Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon were created by Clow Reed. We neither get nasty results from them or Humans Are the Real Monsters type reactions to them.
  • 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.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Nadeshiko
    • Like mother, like daughter it seems.
    • Twin Bells's shopkeeper, Maki Matsumoto as well.
  • Cuteness Overload: To spectacular effect - in fact it won an award for the cutest character of the year.
  • Debut Queue
  • Declaration of Protection: Syaoran has this instinct around Sakura, even early on. Due to his and Kero's downgraded usage, it's their one usage in the third season. Syaoran also acts out a non-romantic variant (unfortunately for her) to Meiling.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • 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.
    • The Nameless Card that Sakura accidentally created at the end of the TV series turned out to be a very important one at the very last second.
  • Die or Fly: Deliberately invoked by Eriol to help Sakura change the cards.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Tomoyo's father doesn't seem to exist, and Sakura muses to herself that it seems to be a "complicated matter". Also, Syaoran's father passed away when he was very young.
    • Yukito lives with his grandparents, who are conveniently away on vacation or leaving the house early / late every day. It's because they don't exist at all.
  • Distress Ball:
    • 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 Ditz: Sakura, and how. And Meilin whenever her Genkiness goes overboard. These two also seem to take turns at this trope. When one of them acts the Ditz, the other usually is Genre Savvy.
  • 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.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Played in standard textbook style. Earthy is captured by Wood and Fiery by a combination of Windy and Watery.
  • Element Number Five - The Nothing, as appears in the second movie. Technically element number 53, but who's counting?
  • Empathic Weapon - The cards. But Mirror really takes that Up to Eleven.
  • The End of the World as We Know It - Whatever happens to The Chosen One if they fail to master the Clow Cards, will be this on a very personal level.
  • 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).
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • Sakura herself isn't bad, both Syaoran and Tomoyo are very much in love with her.
    • Kaho, who Sakura seems to 'admire' greatly and is described as really, really pretty.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Yukito has Sakura, Syaoran, and Touya fall for him.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Everyone. Syaoran had a crush on Yukito for half the series, Sakura herself admited that her feelings for Kaho were the same as her feelings for Yukito, and so on.
  • Everyone Is Related:
    • 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.
  • Eyes Always Shut:
    • 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.
  • Fairy Companion: Kero
  • False Starts: Most of the second half of the manga and season 3 of the anime. The second movie in fact lives on this trope till the very last scene.
  • Fan Of The Underdog: Meiling of the anime adaption, idolizing Syaoran and being the only other member of the Five-Man Band that considers him most deserving of the title of Master Of The Cards.
    • 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).
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderization: in the anime.
  • 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.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Syaoran and Kero. In the dub, their voices also switch over.
  • Free-Range Children
  • 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.
    • It's openly stated in the manga that everyone loves Sakura.
  • Garden Garment: The 'Woodsy' card.
  • 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.
  • Genki Girl: Meiling, and it makes her quite the Determinator. Sakura has a lot of Genki moments too.
  • Genre Savvy: Tomoyo insists that Sakura wear costumes and have a signature pose because that's what magical girls are supposed to do. Also, she has a crush and thinks it's cute.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Somehow, the scene with Kero getting drunk off chocolate managed to get by Nelvana. His dub voice actor doesn't even try to disguise it.
    • 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).
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: especially in the promotional art
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sakura and Chiharu
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Sakura's friends. Kero has to act this part.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Played relatively straight in the first season, increasingly subverted in the third season as Sakura is forced to turn all the Clow Cards she's already captured into Sakura Cards.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Anime only. The Time Card resets the same day thrice till it's captured. Though after reading Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle one wonders how it did not screw up The Multiverse in the process (though the multiverse was invented later).
  • Happily Ever After: Rather a surprise, coming from CLAMP.
  • Happy Ending: Both manga and anime. Both share a feature. Post love confessions, the moment Sakura hugs Syaoran, the series is over.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: One of Sakura's costumes as well as more than a few of the Clow Card spirits themselves wear hats like this.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Three words. Deux. Ex. Machina.
  • 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.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Tomoya never gets to confess her true feelings to Sakura. This is in stark contrast with Syaoran , who gets encouraged to do this—by Tomoyo, no less.
  • How Do I Shot Web??: When in Kero's body, Syaoran cannot use his wings, falling out of a window twice.
  • Hypno Trinket
  • Iconic Outfit: Several of Sakura's "battle costumes", but especially the rubber Meido Cat Girl one (link).
  • I Know Your True Name: The only way Sakura can capture Mirror.
  • 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.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Sakura twice over, first after getting victimized by the Small Card, and later when sucked into Eriol's Alice in Wonderland illusion. She uses the Small Card to shrink again in the latter, but only to revert to normal size after an enlargement spell.
  • 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.
  • Instant Expert: Anyone who uses the Sword Card instantly gets Implausible Fencing Powers. Many of the other cards also give this.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Said after capturing the card, not before.
  • 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...
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Both Meiling and Tomoyo. Yukito attempts this, but he gets to be with his beloved, so it doesn't count.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Eriol. No civilians notice anything odd or for that matter are even present at the scene of action, not even when huge earthquakes and large masses of rock rip through the town.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Syaoran, Meiling and Touya. Jerkass Façade under possible Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • 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.
  • Kissing Cousins: Averted.
    • 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.
    • A Generation Xerox results in Tomoyo crushing on Sakura, but again it's unrequited. The difference here is that Tomoyo is OK with her being happy with someone else.
  • 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.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Touya because he made a promise to his mother while she was dying to always protect Sakura.
  • Late for School: Sakura's biggest "Hoee!"s are usually reserved for this. The best one was when she arrives to class about 5 seconds before Terada walks in.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A lampshading of the many relationships in the series:
    Tomoyo: It seems our relationship chart has gotten rather complicated.
    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.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: An Omake suggested that the entire series had been filmed and edited by Tomoyo, and included her attempt to film and record the opening song.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Or better said, "the little book that wasn't in my basement yesterday". Also the Twin Bells gift shop.
  • Living Labyrinth: The Maze card.
  • 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
  • Longing Look
  • 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.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Sakura to Syaoran's confession in the anime finale.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Well, at least the 1800 miles between Hong Kong and Japan does nothing at all to dampen it.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: The Cards. However before the judgement, the cards choose either Syaoran or Sakura depending on who had the significant role in it's capture.
  • Luminescent Blush: Some of the funniest moments in the series are due to the fact that if there's even the slightest chance at pulling this off, it will happen to poor Syaoran. To name some examples:
    • Syaoran's very first blush when Sakura hugs him after capturing the Return card. He never quite managed to pull `another one like that since.
    • He gets it when he's in Kero's body and Yukito hands him to Sakura, asking if she dropped a plush toy.
    • Also, he spends almost half his screen time in the red and even maroon from Season 3 on. This guy could give tomatoes and beetroots a lesson in turning red.
  • Magical Girl
  • Magical Incantation: Fairly long ones.
  • Magic Wand: Sakura and Eriol wield one.
  • Mary Sue Topia: Tomoeda
  • 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.
  • Maybe Ever After: The ending of the TV series. Averted when the Second Movie came along.
  • 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.
  • Meganekko: Naoko Yanagisawa.
  • 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 Sakura when she's sick 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.
  • Monogender Monsters: The Clow Cards are mostly women or gender neutral forces/concepts.
  • 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  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.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Chinese and Western magic, before Clow combined them in the Clow Cards.
  • Never Grew Up: Eriol
  • Never Say "Die": Regarding Yukito and Yue
  • 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.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Naoko
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Meilin gives these on occasion, usually when appearing triumphant - and often to Sakura.
  • No Biological Sex: Ruby Moon is technically genderless, but chooses to pass herself off as female because, as she puts it, girls get to wear cuter clothes.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Eriol puts the entire town to sleep for Sakura's final test. The fact that many people would be in life-threatening situations if put asleep, such as when driving, is ignored.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • 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.
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • 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.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Scenery Gorn the Nothing caused in The Sealed Card, made worse by the fact you can still see what most of the things taken used to be. Goodness.
  • 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!
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Sakura. Lampshaded repeatedly. In fact, Syaoran's Love Confession is a such a huge shock to her when it finally comes, that she can hardly function till she realizes her own feelings.
    • 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.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Clow, and later Eriol
  • The One Guy: Syaoran is the only male character in the main group of four protagonists.
    • That goes true for his family as well (4 older sisters and his mom). In fact in the manga it is explicitly commented that he has a very feminine family.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Syaoran
    • Luminescent Blush: Except when he's doing this.
    • The Nothing card, especially so! Until she does a Heel-Face Turn after getting a heart (literally) and becomes a ...
  • Perpetual Smiler: Clow and Eriol. Even Fujitaka and for the most part, Yukito can qualify for this.
  • Personality Powers: Keroberos and Yue. The inversion is Ruby Moon and Spinel Sun.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Sakura's outfits are frequently like this.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Sakura is often proved to very resourceful and cunning in her handling of the cards and the perils they cause, however she also has a rather realistic childlike complex, viewing ethics and emotions in a very simplistic manner, and often acting outright oblivious to those of others right in front of her face. She somehow never figures out by herself that her two best friends are madly in love with her (neither of whom are even remotely shrewd about it).
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • 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 
    • 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.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: Clow.
  • The Professor: Sakura's dad, though younger than usual.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Nakaru occasionally gives one to Yukito, something he never quite catches. Eriol occasionally gives something of similar effect even if his intentions are ultimately less antagonistic.
  • Pure Magic Being: Yue is in danger of ceasing to exist because Sakura is too young to generate enough magic to support his existence.
  • Put on a Bus
    • Meiling in the anime, followed by a couple of returns later on.
    • Kaho at the end of the Clow Card arc in both versions, though as she writes letters to Sakura, her presence is still felt. She comes back in person in the finale.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Yue has one of anime's best examples of this. Also, both Syaoran's and Sakura's respective mothers.
  • Reality Warper: Several Cards have that power, but most notably The Create and The Time. It's also worth a mention that Clow Reed himself turns out to have been one come Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
  • Reality-Writing Book: The Create Card is a Reality Warper book that makes everything written in it materialize.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Clow Reed, and by extension, his creations, the Clow Cards and Kero and Yue.
    • Eriol, thanks to being the half-Reincarnation of Clow Reed along with Fujitaka.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Kero and Yue.
    • Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon.
  • 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.
  • The Rival:
  • 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 this rate...I can't film Sakura!
    • Toya calls Sakura a monster. Sakura proceeds to grind his foot into the floor.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Tomoyo. Her mother was one as well back in her day with her feelings for Nadeshiko.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: In fact, Tomoeda Elementary has uniforms for every occasion!
  • 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.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Yukito and Touya.
  • 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.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: played pretty much literally with Kerberos and Yue
  • Sick Episode: "Sakura's Dizzy Fever Day"
  • Side Story Bonus Art: Tons and tons of it. What do you expect? Its CLAMP!
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Sakura took Syaoran only after his gentler side began to show.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Chiharu and Yamazaki.
  • Sleep Mode Size: Kerberos isn't supposed to look like a teddy bear. Neither is Spinel Sun.
  • Soaperizing
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: While Syaoran had a butler in the anime to watch over him during his stay in Japan, he lived on his own in the manga.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Swiss Army Tears
  • 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.
  • Tarot Motifs
  • Teacher/Student Romance:
    • 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.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Tomoeda, being a suburb of Tokyo. Although Clow Reed is half-Chinese and half-British (and, come Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, has any number of dimensions to choose from as a permanent residence), he did live in Tomoeda at least for a time, and when it came to reincarnating and establishing a successor, he decided to do so in Tomoeda. It makes you wonder what it was about that town.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomoyo with either Sakura or Meiling. Also Nadeshiko with Sonomi, Chiharu with either Rika or Naoko.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Syaoran evolves from Sakura's arrogrant Rival to a meek, soft spoken Dogged Nice Guy, Meiling undergoes a similar evolution in the anime. Both were largely a result of Sakura's own increasingly docile and sweet natured aspects (not that she wasn't all that kind to begin with however).
    • 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.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action / Talking Is a Free Action: As expected of this genre, every single time.
  • Transformation Sequence: For turning Sakura's Key of Clow into her Sealing Wand. Averted in the case of her outfit, however, since unlike most Magical Girls she doesn't use any kind of magic to change her clothes; instead, Tomoyo provides different costumes for her.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: The Illusion card shows people whatever they're thinking about, but it can also show them someone they love or miss and lead them to their doom.
  • Trope Overdosed
  • Tsundere:
    • Syaoran is a male example. Touya, too. A more traditional female one is Chiharu.
    • The seemingly cold and unfeeling moon guardian Yue of all people turns out to have these tendencies, especially towards Sakura.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • 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 . 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).
  • Unlimited Wardrobe:
    • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: Sakura: HOE!? HOEEEEEEEE!!!!!
  • Voices Are Mental: Averted in the original; only the speech patterns switch with the characters' minds.
  • Weirdness Censor:
    • Only Sakura and Syaoran notice the strange occurrences with the Clow Cards because everyone else's minds reject that which they can't understand.
    • And on the rare occasion when it actually gets noticed, Laser-Guided Amnesia strikes.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • 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.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Touya seems to have a new job every episode.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years:
    • 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.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Alas, poor Kero-chan.
    • Syaoron, when he is thrown aside by Yue in the Final Judgement.
  • Yaoi Guys: Touya and Yukito
  • You Keep Using That Word: The main element cards are just the element with "y", lending itself to some odd Gratuitous English. The four cards are: Watery, Firey, Earthy, and Windy.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Sakura's outfits often sport this, in varying grades.

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alternative title(s): Card Captor Sakura; Card Captors
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