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Manga / Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card

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Spoilers for all Cardcaptor Sakura entries preceding this one, including Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is a sequel manga to Cardcaptor Sakura, which is written and illustrated by CLAMP and was serialized in Nakayoshi from 2016 to 2023. The final volume is set to be released in April 2024.

It takes up the story right after the end of the original series. Sakura is now in middle school, and has reunited with her boyfriend Syaoran after his return from Hong Kong. All seems to be going well for her, but she still has strange dreams involving a mysterious robed figure. One night, she dreams of clear cards shattering before her, and later finds that the Sakura Cards (formerly the Clow Cards) have become completely powerless. Later, she receives a new key, and with her new Dream Staff, she sets out to secure the cards once more.

A 22-episode anime adaptation was released in January 6, 2018, with the original staff and cast returning. An OVA which is a prologue for the 2018 TV series was released on September 17, 2017. Funimation has acquired the home video and streaming rights for Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, and released English Simuldub as well. On April 1, 2023, a sequel was announced.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Aside from the additional material, many anime scenes/stories themselves are significantly different from the manga in some way (for example, Sakura captures Labyrinth when out in town with Yukito/Yue in the manga but captures it outside her house at the same time as Snooze in the anime), similar to the original series. Notably, in the last episode the cloaked figure is shown to be Akiho, while in the manga the cloaked figure, at least initially in Sakura's dreams/visions, appears to be Syaoran, and Sakura only later deduces that it seems Akiho in some form. Though it's eventually revealed it's not Akiho but Akiho's mother Lillie..
  • Adaptation Expansion: Similar to the original series, the anime adds in a lot more scenes and stories than the original manga.
  • Art Evolution: Since this manga was first published 20 years after the original Cardcaptor Sakura manga, it makes sense that the art has changed. Notably, older characters have rounder faces than the more angled ones they had in the original series.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is restored to normal thanks to Sakura, she regains the Sakura Cards (which are now Clear Cards) and the clans that were abusing both Yuna and Akiho have lost all memory of them due to Sakura using the Blank Card, ensuring that they won’t hurt the two ever again. However, Yuna is still suffering from the effects of the spell so he and Akiho decide to leave to search for a cure and to find the disappeared Alice in Clockland and Momo, with the Kinomotos promising Akiho that she will always have a place with them. But more alarmingly, it’s hinted that Yuna’s use of forbidden magic to rewrite the world has caused the time-space continuum to start collapsing, which would contribute to the events of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- occuring.
  • The Bus Came Back: Meiling, who returned to Hong Kong in the original anime, visits for a few episodes in the anime and stays with Sakura.
  • Call-Back:
    • Episode 9 has Sakura and Syaoran going on a date to the aquarium where both Sakura had her date with Yukito and Watery was captured. The Spiral card that shows up this time is defeated in a similar way — instead of luring it to the freezer, Syaoran uses an ice spell to freeze it.
    • Episode 16 has Sakura defeating Struggle with martial arts together with Meiling, which was how Syaoran earned the Twin card.
  • Chastity Couple: As per usual for a CLAMP work, any couples present in the series rarely make it obvious they are in fact dating.
    • Sakura and Syaoran, in the downplayed way a junior high school couple could have. While promotional materials for the anime make a big emphasis in the note that Sakura and Syaoran are officially girlfriend and boyfriend in this series, the average viewer might not know it from watching it without the background info. The series still plays with classic pre-couple tropes like Not a Date and Luminescent Blush for the two's interactions, and it's very subtly whenever they behave as something more than the friends and classmates they already were. In fact, by the end of the anime, they have not yet progressed into hugging (that isn't for extreme reasons like their reunion or Syaoran's silent vow to make her happy) or holding hands (not counting the first ED animation), which even the usually demure CLAMP allow for their romantic couplings.
    • Not unlike Sakura and Syaoran, Chiharu and Yamazaki have been acknowledged as a couple since the original series but their interactions are primarily just Chiharu putting up with Yamazaki's trolling.
    • Touya and Yukito became official in the original series but their interactions at least onscreen aren't any more affectionate than before; the frequent hangouts, deep talks and Touya's typical teasing are as significant/intimate as they will get.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bears that Syaoran and Sakura exchanged are how Syaoran is transferring the Sakura Cards to his ownership. At some points in the show, the camera pans over a shot of the bears to foreshadow this.
  • Comic-Book Time: The time period the show takes place in has been quietly modernized and updated to The New '10s. Episode 1 shows that the Sakura's calendar is set in 2018. The characters now are using smartphones, and a PS4 replaces the Super Nintendo-like gaming console Kero was shown playing in the original show.
  • Continuity Snarl: Clear Card seemingly retcons the events of The Sealed Card. For example, Akiho moves into Eriol's old mansion, whereas in The Sealed Card, it was destroyed and replaced by a theme park. It turns out reality was manipulated, making it reappear and erasing everyone's memories in the process. The characters, at least, remember the school play they took part in.
  • Demoted to Extra: Kerberos, Syaoran, and Yue don't have as much relevance to the plot action-wise as before, which is mostly justified as neither can sense magic from the new cards and so can't be of much help this time. Kerberos tries to remain a typical mentor he's always been but is otherwise the butt of jokes most of the time, Yue (as Yukito) is busy, and Syaoran initially isn't around to help Sakura all that often. Kerberos and Yue do still try to consult with Sakura and with each other whenever possible, and Syaoran is also seen doing a lot of sneaking around especially with Eriol. Once the plot starts picking up, the characters that were demoted come back to the forefront as they lend their powers to help Sakura.
  • First-Name Basis: Much like her old friends, Sakura instantly calls Akiho by her first name and the latter returns the favour (albeit as the more polite "Sakura-san", a contrast to the other girls in their group). Meiling also decides to refer to Sakura by her first name at the end of her trip, signifying how close the two have become.
  • Flanderization: Tomoyo was already obsessed with filming Sakura in the original anime, but in the new one she gets downright creepy about it, to the point of scaring Kero to death when he fails to capture Sakura in her place. Part of it is due to the new series being significantly shorter than the previous one, which leaves little room to flesh Tomoyo out and instead relegates her to her proverbial Sakura admirer role.
  • Food Porn: A lot of focus is put on the food characters make or eat at times, especially in the anime.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime finishes in 22 episodes and it only adapts roughly to Chapter 24, the one chapter in the manga when a lot of plot twists are shown (Syaoran having ownership of the Sakura cards and Syaoran being revealed as the cloaked figure in Sakura's dream). The anime leaves out the first twist and changes the second twist to avoid a cliffhanger finish, and doesn't get to investigate plot points either. Instead, the last episode ends with Kaito reversing time so Sakura and Akiho's battle never happened while noting he still needs more cards, leaving a Sequel Hook.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Syaoran and the Sakura Cards in transferring to him while Sakura is creating the clear cards so she is not in danger.
  • Immediate Sequel: Clear Card takes place immediately after the end of Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: Takes place within 3 years of the end of the original series, which was set in the mid-1990s. (Then The Present Day when the anime series came out). As such, the original gave Sakura things like a CRT television in her bedroom and flip-phones with buttons. However, since this sequel began in The New '10s, Sakura uses technology such as flat-screen TVs and computers, smartphones, and Skype (or something along its lines).
  • Making a Splash: The Aqua card manifests as a giant bird made of water, like some sort of inverted Phoenix.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the first episode, the uniform for Rika's new school resembles that of Fuu Hououji's uniform from Magic Knight Rayearth.
    • Chiharu having a different memory of Yamazaki's role during the school play in the original series is a nod to how his role in the play is different in the anime and manga versions. In the manga (which everyone else remembers), he had a big role as the witch. Meanwhile, in the anime (which Chiharu remembers), he played the queen while Meiling played the witch.
    • In the second episode, Touya makes okonomiyaki like the version of him from the Hanshin Republic did in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-.
    • In the third episode, Touya and Yukito are shown working at the bakery Tirol from Chobits and Kobato..
  • Put on a Bus: Rika goes into a different middle school and only makes one brief appearance to give Sakura a book.
  • Recap Episode: One recap episode was used for the anime midway. There's also an episode dedicated to characters looking back at the past events of The Sealed Card movie, with scenes redone in the new art style.
  • Reflectionless Useless Eyes: Sakura finally unmasks the cloaked figure, to reveal the lackluster eyes of a sleepwalker.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Sakura's room turns into one of these as a result of the Siege card in the second episode. The room seemingly has no way out and pushing on the walls only causes it to stretch. It soon begins to actively try to kill them, but they find a way to escape quickly when they realize it's made of rubber and so can be popped with a sharp object like you can a balloon.
  • Sequel Hook: The anime-original ending has Kaito reversing Sakura and Akiho battle, and there aren't enough cards yet. As the anime halts here, there is likely a possibility that it left room for a potential second season.
  • Series Continuity Error: In episode 18, when Touya is talking with Yue, he says he asked Yukito what Yue's name is because it felt weird not knowing his name all this time. However, Yue clearly told Touya his name when they met in the first series.
  • Shown Their Work: In the cuts showing Pop-Up Texting between Syaoran and Meiling, we can see that they use the written form of Cantonese which would be accurate, but not well-known outside of Cantonese speakers.
  • Strictly Formula: The initial anime episodes start this way. Sakura goes on through her social life, Touya starts bullying her as an excuse for feeling something's wrong about her, she and Syaoran share a romantic moment, Sakura has a premonition, she sees something weird happening nobody else even notices, she captures the card, the other magical characters can't feel the presence of any magic, they try to contact Eriol, but he refuses to answer, and Tomoyo tries to film Sakura but fails.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Zigzagged with the Clear Cards, which replace the Sakura Cards this time around; while there are a number of similarities, not all of them are exact counterparts. Eventually, their status as this trope is justified since it's revealed that Sakura is unknowingly creating the Clear Cards herself based on her own wishes. Since she's so familiar with using the Sakura Cards, it's only natural that the Clear Cards would be similar. This starts becoming obvious with Mirror who has the exact same look and ability.
  • Truer to the Text:
    • The prologue OVA properly adapts the manga's finale, which the original anime didn't do.
    • The Funimation dub is far more faithful to the series' themes than the Nelvana dub of the original anime.
  • Tutu Fancy: It's probably for the best that Sakura only wore that swan costume in the opening sequence, considering all the frills that could trip her up on the field (so to speak).
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapters 21-22/episode 21 reveals two major things; Kaito is not only one of the strongest magicians, but is seeking Sakura's Clear Cards to activate a relic he took from a Magician's Association. In addition, Sakura is subconsciously creating the Clear Cards due to her immense magical ability and growth.note 
    • Chapter 24 reveals that Syaoran was the one who took the Sakura Cards, and he also appears as the cloaked figure in Sakura's dreams.
    • Chapter 25 gives some important background on Akiho: she is in fact a part of a powerful clan of magicians (who even appeared to be rivals of the Li family), but she herself has no magic and she was given the cold treatment in her childhood because of this; it's heavily implied she has nothing to do with them now (assuming they're still around), as she chooses to focus on her new life with Kaito, Momo and her friends rather than the past.
    • Chapter 64: Sakura and Akiho disappear during the play, Touya's new power is revealed to be stopping time, which Yukito can buff using his new powers, and Touya tells Kero to drop the plush toy act.
  • Wham Line: Sakura's reaction to unmasking the cloaked figure in her dream:
    "Syaoran-kun...?" (Chapter 24)/ "Akiho-chan!" (Episode 22)

Alternative Title(s): Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card