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YMMV / Cardcaptor Sakura

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  • Abandon Shipping: Some fans end up losing interest in Tomoyo x Sakura the moment it's revealed that they're actually first cousins. Unfortunately, CLAMP fans who find incest uncomfortable may have to navigate past a lot of it, since almost Everyone Is Related one way or another in this series.
  • Adorkable: Sakura, even at her most competent, usually comes off as endearingly naive and clumsy.
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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Even many who hated Meiling felt sorry for her getting her heart broken by Syaoran.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Many fans outside Japan hate Terada (a teacher in his 30s) due to his inappropriate and pedophilic relationship with the 10 year-old Rika (and the very common Alternative Character Interpretation that said relationship is grooming/predatory in nature) in the manga. Rika also receives hate as a result, for both simlilar and different reasons. They are both the closest thing the English-speaking fandom has to The Scrappy.
    • The Nelvana English dub itself, though by no means beloved, receives less antipathy in Anglophone countries outside the USA since it was primarily the American broadcast that tried to make it a boy's show by cutting and rearranging episodes. All the episodes were aired in the proper order in other countries.
  • Arc Fatigue: The anime's third season.
    • A lot of episodes follow the same formula of Eriol causing some trouble and Sakura fixing it while sensing Clow Reed's presence, which makes it feel quite repetitive.
    • The big "twist" that the season builds up to, that is, that Eriol is Clow's reincarnation and wants to put Sakura to test, is pretty easy to guess for anyone older than twelve.
    • At school, Touya repeatedly tries to tell Yukito about his true nature as a magical being, only to be interrupted by Nakuru every single time, and whenever they're somewhere Nakuru can't interrupt—like their houses—he either doesn't bring it up or he's interrupted by something else and quietly drops it.
  • Awesome Art: The manga's art is gorgeous and incredibly detailed, especially for the Clow Cards. The anime isn't slacking either, with an aesthetically pleasing color palette, great lighting, lush backgrounds, and fluid character animation.
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  • Badass Decay: Syaoran is a justified, plot enforced example. While he remains a Badass Adorable all throughout the series, in earlier points he could take on threats near single handed and in the anime could collect and skilfully use the Clow Cards himself. After the finale judgement, the cards are solely Sakura's property, thus he loses that power boost, and most threats are tests designed specifically for them to be used on, meaning Syaoran's usage is mostly limited to protecting Sakura as she carries it through. His personality also becomes blatantly less badass as the story progresses (though to many that's a good thing).
  • Base-Breaking Character: Meiling. To one side she's an obnoxious Canon Foreigner who causes an awkward love triangle between Sakura and Syaoran. To the others she's funny, gets effective Character Development and serves as a Morality Pet that makes Syaoran an adorable Butt-Monkey even prior to his Defrosting.
  • Broken Base:
    • NISAmerica's decision to add the Animax dub in their DVDs. Some are happy it's uncut and uncensored and that the voices actually match the characters better, even if the voice acting is a bit shaky, while others claim it to be even worse than the Nelvana dub and wish the latter was included instead. Others wished that it was completely redubbed.
    • Kero's voice in Spain by Jaime Roca is a huge breaking point even among people who unambiguously approve the entire dub. Some think that turning his Kansai Regional Accent into a pseudo-Mexican accent was an error and ruins the character, others like it because it gives flavour to Kero and was the most logic decision to keep the original language cues (the alternative, as said in the Kansai-ben article, would have been giving him an Andalusian accent, but that wouldn't have been popular with Spanish pundits either) and others just think of it as Narm Charm.
    • The Teacher/Student Romance between an adult man and a fourth grade girl is seen as either adorable or the single most disgusting thing in all of manga. There is no middle ground on this one. The girl is Adapted Out from the sequel which saves everybody the trouble of discussing it.
  • Clueless Aesop: Like several other works by CLAMP, the series tries to send the message that your love for someone is valid regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. This would be a pretty powerful message to a young female audience who would likely be experiencing crushes for the first time, reassuring them that their love isn't silly or shallow and that even if nothing comes of your first crush, your feelings are still real. However, this doesn't really work with how relationships between students and teachers are presented, especially with Mr. Terada and Rika's relationship in the manga; having a crush on your teacher is one thing, but having the teacher actually return those feelings only seems to promote predatory relationships instead.
  • Critical Backlash: The Nelvana dub, to some - on the one hand, it went through some Bowdlerisation and got the general 90's treatment for most anime at the time... but on the other hand, some fans prefer it that way, as that adaptation isn't as cuteness-oriented and has more action, has Sakura less fragile and slightly more of an Action Girl, and a lot of the In-Universe shipping is less blatant.
  • Cry for the Devil: Mirror and Nothing are incredibly sympathetic.
  • Designated Villain: Very minor as they're hardly bad people, but Sonomi and Masaki are portrayed to be in the wrong for not approving of Nadeshiko's marriage with Fujitaka; Masaki regrets not giving his granddaughter his blessings nor going to her wedding and comes to accept his grandson-in-law late in the series, Sonomi is resentful to the very end but grudgingly acts less cold to Fujitaka after he beats her in the parents' running race, and it's repeatedly stated that Nadeshiko was very happy during her marriage. Given the fact that Fukitaka was Nadeshiko's high school teacher, readers often sympathise much more with Sonomi and Masaki's disapproval than the man in question.
  • Fanon: It is incredibly common for Eriol to constantly address Syaoran as his "cute little descendant" despite the fact that he only calls him by this title once in the manga.
  • Foe Yay: Even before they actually started being on friendly terms, let alone crushing on each other, the dynamic between Sakura and Syaoran early in the series can come off as romantic tension even though Syaoran only sees Sakura as a rival and treats her quite coldly at this point.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Pokémon, given the similar optimistic tone, friendship themes, and Gotta Catch 'Em All elements between the two. The Pokémon: The Series anime even paid homage to this show.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Other than the original series of Pokémon: The Series, Bakuten Shoot Beyblade, Samurai X, Cyborg 009 and whatever else Animax Asia aired during 2004, Card Captor Sakura was one of Philippines' favored in earlier 00's, if not adored anime series. This series alone gave birth to a new generation of CLAMP fans, fil-otaku and fujoshi. Unfortunately, the Sequel Series' Filipino Dub got Cut Short, so it's currently unknown so far if the Filipino Dub could be finished if the Company airing it could return.
    • It also was wildly popular in Latin America, thanks to a really good dub, compared with the first English one. It does help that Cloverway managed to get the rights of the original Japanese version from NHK, rather than getting the same rights from Nelvana, despite Nelvana having rights for the whole American continent besides the U.S. and Canada. In fact, the series was widely popular in the whole of Latin America, in part thanks to the Mexican dub and because it was aired at prime time by Cartoon Network in the region, and amongst other anime such as Saint Seiya, Maya the Bee, and Dragon Ball, it found a place in the pop culture, becoming a staple of the 90's generation childhood memories.
    • The series was also extremely popular in Spain. Along with Digimon Adventure, Pokémon: The Series, Slayers and others, CCS was one of the most popular anime series brought in The '90s, and it is the first thing a Spaniard sees in his mind when thinking of the Magical Girl genre (that even considering that Sailor Moon was also part of the mentioned batch). Its particularly well-made dub and adaptation makes it stand out as well.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Averted, as the series is very feminine due to the Magical Girl plot but also well-acclaimed thanks to its engaging characters (and the fact that Tomoyo designs costumes just so she can throw Sakura into them), interesting story, and some dark undertones. Some haters though may accuse the series of not being all that good due to its normally bright and idealistic nature and in-universe romance. Hence why Cardcaptors, the edited dub, exists.
  • Growing the Beard: For many the second and third season are held with greater interest. While the first season was enjoyable, it was a fairly formulaic Gotta Catch 'Em All series. Starting from Season Two, Character Development kicks in, key characters like Yue and Eriol enter the scene and a greater sense of continuity occurs. And of course, Sakura and Syaoran's romantic arc begins...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Touya tells Sakura that she isn't fit to be a princess, then Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- came out with Princess Sakura as a main character.
    • Numerous fanfics had Sakura as a princess with Syaoran as a prince or someone who loves her, and equally vice versa. Come Tsubasa, and that's what happens.
    • The Sealed Card movie has Sakura playing a princess in a school play and brings in the point of sacrificing one's love to capture Card #53. It doesn't happen, but then, what happens in Tsubasa? More recycling.
    • Avalon Code has several resemblances to this, which makes Sakura's dub surname Avalon an amusing coincidence.
    • When Sakura's father speaks to her class about his job, Syaoran shows quite a bit of interest in archaeology. Come Tsubasa, that version of Syaoran is an Adventurer Archaeologist.
    • Nelvana and Kids' WB!'s attempts to boost Li as a co-lead in the Cardcaptors dub come off as ironic following his gradual evolution as Breakout Character for the original anime (and CLAMP media as a whole). Even more ironic since it was through a romantic arc, which Nelvana had attempted to omit all traces of.
    • In the Alice in Wonderland parody, there are two Syaorans and both of them play the Tweedles. And there's two of him as well in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-.
    • Sakura's early Power Fantasy about growing into a fifty-foot monster (to crush her brother) becomes a lot funnier in the anime after the episode where exactly that happens.
    • The Nelvana dub ended before The Sealed Card was released but still edited the final episode to name the 53rd card. It's name? "The Hope."
    • The Dash card has an uncanny resemblance to Espeon. Even more fittingly, in Pokémon: The Series, the Kimono Girl who owns Espeon is named Sakura.note  Interestingly, The Dash actually predates Espeon by about a year.
  • Ho Yay: Barring actual confirmed attraction between male characters (Syaoran is instantly attracted to Yukito, and Touya and Yukito end up together), Yue comes off as a little too devoted to his master Clow.
  • Les Yay:
    • Although Tomoyo's canon crush on Sakura goes unreciprocated, it doesn't stop Sakura from being very close to her best friend. Sakura frequently holds her hand and hugs her, even after her Love Epiphany for Syaoran.
    • The Light and Dark cards (whose real forms are feminine) appear to be close to each other when they reveal themselves to Sakura,
  • Macekre: The English adaptation known as Cardcaptors was edited and modified in an attempt to downplay the cutesy shoujo factor and moderate it for easier audience consumption across the board. In addition to also being a shoddy attempt at doing so, it was not looked upon favorably by the original fans or many new ones; production and DVDs for the series stopped being made after it was noted the original version released at the same time sold much better.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • A picture of Sakura with a "yeah, sure" expression is ubiquitous on many Image Boards.
    • At this rate, everything will burn! :D explanation 
  • Misblamed:
    • 4Kids Entertainment often takes heat for Cardcaptors from people who don't know all of the facts. Nelvana itself gets unfairly maligned for the "Li as main character", which was mostly caused by Kids' WB! leaving out several episodes (the first episode aired is Li's debut, the eighth episode) and promotions playing up Syaoran's role much more.
    • Some have assumed that the Animax dub was a completely new dub by NISA. While NISA put it in their DVD and Blu-Ray releases, they had nothing to do with the dub's actual creation. Though one can still blame them for choosing not to make their own dub, though given dubbing isn't cheap, even then, they're not completely at fault. Similarly, due to the Animax dub being on Netflix, and them being slammed for licensing another divisive anime dub the year prior, some people think that Netflix helped make said dub. They obviously did not.
  • Moe:
    • Sakura starts off as a small example of an adorable and endearing character, but by the end of the series she is probably a Trope Codifier. Hell, Sakura even won the first ever Saimoe Tournament back in 2002. (The TV show certainly marks the point at which the anime production companies noticed the Peripheral Demographic that sprang up around characters like her, and their buying power.) This is toned down slightly in the Nelvana dub, where she is given a more 'tomboyish' attitude and some of her 'cuter' or more vulnerable aspects are edited out.
    • Tomoyo also counts to a slightly smaller extent due to her obsession with Sakura's outfits and her sweet nature; she also made it to the semi-finals (Top 4) of that very same tournament.
    • Akiho from the Clear Card arc is absolutely adorable as well.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Enchantress' practicing dark magic, despite Clow's warnings. It went as well as expected.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
  • Name's the Same: Rei Tachibana shares the same name with someone from Pani Poni Dash!
  • Narm:
    • When Syaoran, upon being confused on who he truly likes, Yukito or Sakura stumbles into the latter. In the manga, they had gone into First-Name Basis earlier thus she calls him Syaoran-kun making her joy seemed genuine as is he is one of her closest friends. But in the anime she calls him Li-kun as they are still on a Last-Name Basis since this is before they get trapped in an elevator. This makes this moment less impactful as being called by last name is the equivalent of being more formal towards each other like an ordinary friend instead of someone special.
    • You can make a drinking game of just how much they keep saying "Clow Reed's presence". One or two times is tolerable but saying it at every single episode of season 3 then it starts to become annoying. Heck it even goes to the point when Sakura sits on a chair, she immediately says "Clow Reed's presence" on something so mundane.
  • Never Live It Down: Kaho has actual plot relevance, but most fans tend to only remember her for her inappropriate relationships with Touya (who was only 14-15 when they dated) and Eriol (granted, he's Clow Reed and so Really 700 Years Old but his child form doesn't help her case).
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Sealed Card movie. The Nothing card may be cute as a doll and somewhat justified in her reasoning, but she also came across a Creepy Child Stalker with a Crush. The perfectly stoic expression she has as she essentially commits mass genocide probably doesn't help.
  • Periphery Demographic: Owing in part to the hilarious, cutesy and heartwarming nature of the series (and probably because of quite a bit the Yay subtext too), this show has a surprisingly large viewership of boys, older teens and even middle aged adults, clearly evident from the statistics of any popular video on the internet. The upload of the show's Spanish theme song has a lot of comments from Hispanic males saying that they loved the show when they were young and that it makes them feel tough.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: In the last part of the series a lot of time is spent on Syaoran's mounting feelings for Sakura, to the point where quite a few fans thought it started impinging upon the rest of the plot. This affected the Nelvana English dub (which edited out most romantic elements) to the point that a lot of later episodes, came out empty and nonsensical when diluted to the remainder of the plot, often retooled into clip shows.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: You'd be surprised to see how many fans ship Tomoyo with Eriol, despite the two having little meaning interactions. Possibly a case of Pair the Spares.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The Nelvana theme song is hilariously unfitting for the show. Some may say this for the dub itself, depending on how you view it.
  • Spoiled by the Format: You can almost always tell when Sakura is going to miss the catch, simply because her attempt is actually animated instead of stock footage.
  • Squick:
    • The manga is saturated with romantic relationships, desired or actual, that are either Teacher/Student Romance (where the students in question range from sixteen years old down to ten) or incestuous (see the women of the Daidouji family), which already unsettles much of the audience, even before taking into account that the setting is a Sugar Bowl and CLAMP goes out of its way to ensure it all Tastes Like Diabetes, which has prompted even worse reactions in some.
    • The manga reveals that relationships between magical characters are driven by magical Emotion Control—characters are attracted or repelled by one another depending on the polarity of their sun- or moon-based magic, such as Touya's and Syaoran's interest in Yukito. The manga treats these magically induced emotions, romantic included, as perfectly legitimate.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Occasionally accused of such due to the somewhat cutesy nature of the series as a whole (especially the title character). Then again for some, it's the key draw appeal.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The movies's Spanish dub, which was done by an entirely different cast, had an extremely bad reception among the fans, and a redub was asked for years to no avail.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • All the cards have a sentient form that has to be defeated when they are captured. For the large part after a card is captured, they are utilised solely as powers for Sakura to use, their physical forms seen only on their card's picture afterwards. Only a handful such as Mirror and Dash make a sparse reappearance.
    • Yue. The story could have explored more into the things that make him interesting, such as the relationship and life he had with Clow and Kero, and the two person identity thing he has going on and how that effects Yukito's relationship with Touya. He's also often pushed aside as a character in favor of Yukito. And, the story just completely glosses over how he felt when he was slowly dying from not enough magic.
    • Kero would also have benefited from his backstory being explored more especially given his importance as Sakura's mentor. His true form is not shown often, which is a shame.
  • Toy Ship: Sakura/Syaoran, and Chiharu/Yamazaki are all canon pairings of young children, and the unrequited crushes Tomoyo has on Sakura and Meiling on Syaoran have its many supporters. There are also fans of other non-canon ships between these kids, such as Meiling and Tomoyo.
  • Values Dissonance: This series has an astonishingly casual view of May/December teacher/student relationships, which would had induced a lot more uproar if it was released in an era past its own. Sakura's mother and father met when he was a high school teacher and she was a highschool student. Sakura's older brother and his (student) teacher had a brief romance, but dropped it for reasons that had nothing to do with age inappropriateness and more with her leaving and knowing that they'd fall for others. One of Sakura's prepubescent classmates, Rika, has a crush on their teacher... and in the manga, he returns it! And this is shown as romantic and dreamy. Nelvana even changed a line about Rika liking Mr. Terada to her finding him intimidating, which may not have been strictly necessary as he's oblivious to her Precocious Crush, but does eliminate that element. Upon the release of the Clear Card arc in 2016, Rika is written out in the sequel, ostensibly because her voice actress passed away, with CLAMP claiming that no one else could match the original voice performance, but it's more likely to avoid any uncomfortable implications concerning Rika's relationship with her teacher.
  • Values Resonance: Back then when the series originally debuted, it was extremely uncommon to feature LGBT characters in kids' TV Shows. And there is also the fact that the characters in question (Yukito and Touya) and their relationship are portrayed in a very respectful manner, avoiding any sort of negative stereotypes commonly associated with such kind of characters, being in many ways even more progressive than other animated series from later years.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While you couldn't accuse it of being anything worse than G-rated for its complete lack of explicit content, there's at least four cases of adult-child relationships (and the oldest of the children is Nadeshiko, who married the 25-year-old Fujitaka when she was 16), two of which involve 11-year-old children (Rika and Eriol), and two cases of incest (Tomoyo for her (second) cousin Sakura, and Tomoyo's mother, Sonomi, for her cousin, Nadeshiko). Of the remaining relationships, the only one not explicitly a matter of magic-induced Emotion Control is Syaoran and Sakura themselves.
  • The Woobie: Being a CLAMP work, the large majority of characters have at least some vague tragic aspect to their personality.
    • Sakura may be the most consistent example throughout the series' run, due to her occasional Moe aspects and more fragile emotional disposition, as well as being unwillingly dragged into the role of Cardcaptor to begin with.
    • Yukito is one during the Sakura Card arc. Yue is also revealed as one after a flashback shows how much Clow's death hurt him.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Syaoran may be the series' key example in this area, though following Character Development he is as much a standard Woobie as Sakura.
    • Also Meiling in Episode 60. In general, her bratty attitude stems from a massive Inferiority Superiority Complex, especially seen in how much effort she puts into living up to her boasts about being good at everything.


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