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Anime / Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie

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Spoilers for the first season of Cardcaptor Sakura will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie is a 1999 anime film set between seasons 1 and 2 of the Cardcaptor Sakura anime series adaptation from the manga by CLAMP. It is directed by Morio Asaka and written by Nanase Ohkawa with most of the crew from the anime series. While Madhouse did the animation the visual effects were provided by Studio Ghibli.
While on Spring vacation, Sakura Kinomoto unexpectedly wins a trip for four to Hong Kong in a competition which includes her best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji and accompanied by her older brother, Toya and his best friend, Yukito. Once there, however, Sakura senses a supernatural presence and is troubled by dreams about a mysterious woman.
The film was a success for the franchise, winning the Kobe Award for Best Theatrical Animated Film in 1999. As was set between seasons 1 and 2 of the anime series Nelvana picked it up to be dubbed along with the rest of the series, with changes to dialogue and character names to fit the Cardcaptors version, retitling it Cardcaptors: The Movie, though all the scenes remained intact except for the opening titles. The second movie, Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card was not dubbed by Nelvana, but rather by Bang Zoom who gave it an accurate translation with names, character relationships and references to its Japanese origins intact.

Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The movie starts with Sakura and friends attempting to and successfully sealing The Arrow Card.
  • Big Eater: Yukito's impressive appetite is shown at breakfast in the hotel.
  • Big Fancy House: The Li family's manor.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Arrow Card.
  • Education Mama: Yelan Li is suggested to be one by Syaoran's anxiety towards showing his mother his report card.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Toya and Yukito are this for Syaoran's sisters In-Universe to the point they're sad to see them go.
  • Floating in a Bubble: How Madoushi traps Toya, Yukito, Meiling, Tomoyo (who is saved by Sakura and Syaoran) and eventually Syaoran.
  • Fortune Teller: Madoushi's origin story when Clow Reed first met her.
  • Free-Range Children: Subverted. While Sakura and Tomoyo can go about much of Tomoeda by themselves, Toya and Yukito accompany them to Hong Kong when Fujitaka cannot go, despite being technically minors themselves, as they are in a foreign country.
    • Played straight with Syaoran and Meiling who appear in the market while seemingly unaccompanied, though they both live there and are presumably familar with the city as Meiling later acts as the group's tour guide and have also been living in Japan with only Wei Wang to watch them.
  • Ghostly Goals: The Madoushi's quest for revenge against Clow Reed, of which when she realizes that it is fruitless gives up and allows herself to pass into the next life.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Sakura and Madoushi's final battle across the Hong Kong skyline.
  • Kishōtenketsu: The plot can be broken down to adhere to this structure with each act lasting roughly 20 minutes:
    • The first act (Ki) sees Sakura and Tomoyo winning the vacation to Hong Kong.
    • The second (sho) brings them to the Li household where Sakura's dreams reach their peak and Yelan Li's uses her magic to determine that Sakura has actually been drawn to Hong Kong by an evil force.
    • The third (ten) sees The Enchantress activate her plan and trap Toya, Yukito, Syaoran and Meiling in her dimension.
    • Finally the conclusion (ketsu) sees Sakura rescue her friends and do battle against The Enchantress and defeat her by convincing her that Clow Reed has passed on and her spirit is able to move on.
  • Interquel: The film is set between the first and second seasons of the anime.
  • Little Stowaway: Kero stows away in Sakura's bag to come along for the vacation since he used to live in Hong Kong with Clow Reed.
  • Making a Splash: The Madoushi's powers and main offensive magic is her ability to summon and manipulate large amounts of water.
  • Pocket Dimension: The prison that Clow Redd sealed Madoushi in is an eerie underground, watery stone temple-like structure surrounded by a replica of the contemporary Bird Street.
  • Rule of Three: Sakura dreams about The Enchantress three times. By the third time, she gets wounded for real and it becomes apparent something supernatural is going on.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Madoushi, though once Sakura makes her see that her quest for vengeance is now pointless she accepts that her spirit must move on.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Touya, Yukito, Meiling and Syaoran spend most of the latter half of the movie as the Madoushi's prisoners, Tomoyo stays behind with Syaoran's mother during Sakura's fight with the Madoushi and midway through the battle, Kero is knocked away.
  • Vacation Episode: While the Kinomoto family did go on a vacation to the countryside in episode 16, this is notably the only time Sakura and Tomoyo are outside of Japan.