30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 15: Favourite Animal Sidekick, Pet, or Summoning From Any Anime

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

With most of the anime I have watched featuring sidekicks and pets this was a hard choice for me. Do I go with lovable Gatomon from Digimon? Food-mad Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura? Or maybe even the evil Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magika? So many choices… ARGH.

Okay, so I’ve decided to go with Psyduck, my favourite Pokemon, and my favourite episode of Pokemon is the one with all the baby Psyducks: “The Psyduck Stops Here”.

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Awww!


 

Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

This is a no-brainer for me. Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my top three favourite anime of all time, and therefore Kero-chan (or Kerberos in his true form) has to be my favourite non-human sidekick character.

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Kero in his cute form and in his true form as ‘Kerberos’.

Whereas some anime sidekicks are often (excuse the pun) sidelined as just cute little pets, Kero-chan plays a crucial role in Cardcaptor Sakura as Sakura’s guide, teacher, friend, and battle coach. Whether he’s giving her sage advice on capturing the Clow Cards, or helping Tomoyo prepare new matching battle outfits for he and Sakura, or teasing Syaoran, or demanding pudding, he’s an irreplaceable part of the story, and totally loveable!

I mean just look at his adorable bedroom in Sakura’s sock drawer:

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

EVERYTHING IS SO SMALL!

Or the ‘Leave it to Kero-chan’ segments after each episode of the first series where he inexplicably had his own tiny office!

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Leave it to Kero!

OR JUST LOOK AT HOW HE EATS CAKE OMG:

Kero chan cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp manga 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

KAWAII!

Honourable mentions: Happy (Fairy Tail), Mokona (Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle & xxxHolic), Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service), The forest spirits (Princess Mononoke), The Baron (The Cat Returns), Ein (Cowboy Bebop), Timcampy (D.Gray-Man) Pikachu (Pokemon).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

The best creature sidekick for me needs to embody the bond between man and beast – the whole ‘man’s best friend’ thing. It needs to be your best friend, and most reliable support. It needs to be loyal, fast and powerful. It needs to have a skill that only an animal can have as well, otherwise you might as well just have another human friend, and finally, even though your animal friend needs to be powerful, it needs to also have adorable tendencies as well. This is anime, after all!

My favourite anime animal that comes to mind when thinking of all these qualities is Terry Cloth from Toriko.

Terry Cloth

Terry Cloth

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s just a wolf, but Terry is no ordinary wolf. Terry is a Battle Wolf. Battle Wolves are the largest and most powerful wolf species in the world of Toriko; a previously presumed extinct species native to the Gourmet World. One of its survivors has been revealed to be a member of the fearsome Eight Kings (The Eight Kings are eight beasts, each from a different ‘King’ species, individually regarded as the most powerful beings in the world). Terry, however, is the offspring of a Battle Wolf clone that the International Gourmet Organisation (IGO) created.

Toriko and Terry meet and after Toriko saves Terry’s life, the pair then bond, and Terry becomes his official Animal Partner which is rare as Battle Wolves are not known to like humans.

This battle was awesome.

This battle was awesome.

Now to tell you why Terry is awesome. Like all things in Toriko, Terry is huge. You see that orange dot on Terry’s head in the image above? That’s the seven-foot Toriko. Also bear in mind that the image above is Terry as a pup, he gets a lot bigger. And at that monstrous size anyone can ride him, making him an awesome steed for all.

But the best thing about Terry is his loyalty to Toriko. He is so loyal that he has undergone training to improve his strength and speed so he can stand by Toriko for any fight. The training pays off as well, Terry is naturally strong and fast but his training has taken him to crazy levels.

Scary...

Scary…

He can be a scary beast, but he’s also a loving companion. Look at these cute pictures of him. Look at them!

Oh

Oh

my

my

GOD

GOD


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 14: Anime That Never Gets Old No Matter How Many Times You’ve Rewatched It

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

For me this is a toss up between some of the anime series’ I watched when I was younger, including: Pokemon, Digimon and Cardcaptor Sakura. But I think my choice for this challenge is going to have to be Cardcaptor Sakura as it’s the one I’ve re-watched the most and always enjoy.

Some of the Pokemon episodes annoy me – especially when Ash can’t remember having a Butterfree – and with Digimon I never watched all of the series as I hated the one with the train… *Googles what series is called* Ah yes, Digimon Frontier. So Cardcaptor Sakura is a no-brainer!

Cardcaptor_Sakura_BD_volume_1_cover (1)

Carcaptor Sakura


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

My original choice was going to be Cardcaptor Sakura, as it’s the only series that I’ve re-watched 3 whole times, and I will almost definitely watch it again and again in the years to come. However, as I thought it would be better to pick something different to Jess, I’m going to with a Studio Ghibli favourite of mine: Howl’s Moving Castle.

Howl's Moving Castle Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Howl’s Moving Castle

This film is like a classic Disney movie to me – I know all the words, I know the story back to front, and yet I never get sick of revisiting it, and it never ceases to make me feel exactly the same feelings I did upon first watching it. Films like this feel as good as a hot drink on a cold day – nurturing and fulfilling every time.

The story is essentially a fairy tale in which each character must learn a valuable lesson: selfish but talented wizard Howl must learn self-sacrifice in order to find true love; and shop girl Sophie must conversely learn to love herself before she can love another; the villainous witch must learn to let go of unreturned affections; and the King must learn to abandon a self-serving and pointless war… I could go on through the entire cast, but I won’t. Howl and Sophie are the missing pieces in each other’s lives – but they must overcome societal and personal obstacles before they can prove it to the other.

Moreover, like all Studio Ghibli films, it’s filled with vibrant and interesting characters, humour, magic, brilliant world-building, anti-war rhetoric, and breathtakingly drawn scenes like this one:

Howl's Moving Castle Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Howl in his bedroom with Sophie by his side.

The little digs at Howl – the fabulously vain ladies man – are also really funny. One scene in particular that I quote constantly is when Howl dyes his hair with the wrong potion (due to Sophie rearranging everything in an effort to clean the Castle) and laments about how hideous he looks. Sophie – who has been cursed with an ageing spell – tries (and fails) to comfort him:

(Sorry for the poor quality – that was the only clip I could find!)

Honourable mentions: Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, Princess Mononoke, Ouran High School Host Club, D.Gray-Man, Black Butler, Neon Genesis Evangelion.


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

I don’t re-watch this anime often, but when I do, I love every episode all over again. The anime I that never gets old for me is Outlaw Star.

Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star

The series takes place in the “Toward Stars Era” universe in which spacecrafts are capable of traveling faster than the speed of light. The plot follows protagonist Gene Starwind and his motley crew of an inherited ship dubbed the “Outlaw Star”, as they search for a legendary, outer space treasure trove called the “Galactic Leyline”.

SPACESHIP!

SPACESHIP!

Most anime I can re-watch happily, but even in some of my favourite anime there are episodes that I either don’t like or are impartial to. But with Outlaw Star I love every episode. I love how ‘old timey’ it feels even though it’s set in space, and every member of the crew is interesting and are genuine, fully-rounded characters. Re-watching Outlaw Star to me is like reading your favourite childhood book, just like when a Harry Potter fan picks up The Philosopher’s Stone again and is reintroduced to Hogwarts.

The Crew

The Crew

Dragon Ball is always going to be my favourite anime ever, but when it comes to revisiting it, I prefer to read the manga than watch the anime. Whereas Outlaw Star is so fun to watch, and the cast are like old friends, even the narrator sounds like a parent is reading me the tale. It’s the best.


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 13: Anime Character You Are Most Similar To

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

In terms of personality, I find definitely find similarities between myself and Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magicka as she sees herself as a person without special qualities or talents and is against fighting. She also cares deeply about her friends and family.

Madoka_Kaname

Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magicka


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

It’s difficult to relate to many anime characters as – less face it – they’re not exactly the most realistically written fictional characters, are they? If I had to pick a character that I identify the most with though, it would probably be Maka Albarn from Soul Eater.

Maka Albarn Soul Eater anime manga 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Maka Albarn, Soul Eater

I like that Maka is academically driven to do well in school (which I was) but also isn’t a stereotypical awkward nerdy girl – she can still kick some major butt. She’s also fiercely independent, get’s wound up easily, bottles up her insecurities, and highly values her friends and those close to her – all traits I can identify with. Plus, the Soul Eater Shibusen academy is like my Hogwarts. I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter from Lord Death.

Shibusen Soul Eater Academy

Shibusen Academy


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

This is probably the hardest question on this list for me. Anime characters are so over the top that it’s hard to pick one that I think fits me. I guess I’m an emotional guy and I love to eat…so maybe, Toriko from Toriko?

Toriko

Toriko, from Toriko

Toriko is a Bishoku-ya or Gourmet Hunter, which means his role in the world is to hunt for ingredients for the Government (International Gourmet Organisation). These ingredients are then distributed around the world and sold to the public, or IGO-owned restaurants. Toriko is an incredibly powerful fighter and loves his job.

Toriko’s personality is like mine in certain aspects. He is described as a glutton and quite rightly so, as he has one of the biggest appetites in the world, which I can certainly identify with as I have admitted in the past that I do tend to eat for fun.

EAT!

EAT!

He is very particular with his food as well, only allowing the best ingredients in the world to be added to his ‘Full Course’. When it comes to food I would like to think that I’d eat anything, but it has to be just right. Especially with fruit, I love fruit, but if I notice anything ‘wrong’ with a piece of fruit I refuse to eat it.

He is also super-emotional, just like me. He also has strong bonds with all his friends, always insisting that he and his friends take part in feasts together, and he can’t help but overreact to delicious ingredients. He’s stubborn and has tendencies to throw his toys out of the pram as well, much like me. However, I have his good stuff as well. I may tend to overreact, but I feel that I have strong bonds with all my friends, and love eating food with them all.

Just wish I had his physique...

Just wish I had his physique…


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 8: Favourite Anime Couple

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

This one for me is a no brainer! My favourite anime couple is Kirito and Asuna from Sword Art Online.

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Kirito and Asuna, Sword Art Online

Not only do they make such a good couple, but they’re both bad-ass fighters – especially when they are fighting together to take down Bosses. I love how intense and serious their relationship is and how they are willing to die for each other. I really can’t think of any other anime relationship I’ve seen that compares to the one they have!


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Considering how much I’ve sung the praises of CLAMP over this Challenge series, it will probably come as a surprise to no one that my favourite anime relationship is between the adorable Sakura Kinomoto and Syaoran Li from Cardcaptor Sakura.

Sakura Syaoran Li Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors anime manga couples romance 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Sakura & Syaoran, Cardcaptor Sakura

Syaoran is first introduced in the show as Sakura’s rival, and as the true heir to Clow Reed’s (creator of the cards) mantle, believes Sakura to be woefully ill-equipped to take on the difficult task of capturing and mastering all the Clow Cards. Over the course of the 70 episode run, he competes with Sakura to capture each card with varying degrees of success. Sakura – being a loving and kind-hearted girl – welcomes Syaoran’s assistance, whilst he grumpily struggles to not befriend her.

Syaoran is definitely a kid with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Raised in a prestigious Chinese family to become Clow Reed’s successor, he hasn’t had much of a chance to be a real child, and as a result is serious, mature, and stiff around children of his own age. He almost acts like a grumpy old man trapped in a child’s body. But that’s also what makes him so endearing.

Grumpy Syaoran is grumpy.

Grumpy Syaoran is grumpy.

Of course, he warms up to Sakura slowly but surely, and as she grows stronger and stronger to become the cards’ true master, Syaoran admits defeat and decides to return home to Hong-Kong. Except… He doesn’t. What is it that is still keeping him tied to Japan, he wonders to himself? It’s Sakura, DUH! We all know this by now, but it takes him – and Sakura – the rest of the series and two tie-in films to realise their love for each other.

A love so strong in fact, that it carried on in the sort-of-spin-off-series, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles:

Sakura & Syaoran, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Clamp, romance, couple, manga, anime, 30 day anime challenge, cosmic anvil

Sakura & Syaoran, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles

I always think the strongest relationships in fiction (and in real life I suppose) are characters who enrich and change each other’s lives for the better. Sakura imparts sensitivity and the ability to forge meaningful friendships onto Syaoran so he can learn to be less work-focussed; and he in turn teaches her maturity and strength through competing with her for the cards. Even if their love had been unrequited in the end, they still would have both been better-off people for being in each other’s lives.

Honourable mentions: Takumi Usui & Misaki Ayuzawa (Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama), Yukito Tsukishiro and Touya Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura), Howl and Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle), Tamaki Souh and Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club), Luke Ainsworth & Cecily Campbell (Sacred Blacksmith).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

Most popular fictional couples are ones that come together after a long period of time through the ‘will they won’t they’ kind of cliched story arc. For me, however, the best couple in anime came out of nowhere, yet makes perfect sense. The best anime couple for me has to be Bulma and Vegeta from the Dragon Ball franchise.

Who would you pair up with a rich and spoiled young woman? Why not an overly proud Prince with a self centered attitude? It makes perfect sense. Yet Bulma and Vegeta’s romance was a huge surprise for fans when it emerged. There were hints of flirtation after the fight with Freeza but nothing concrete, nothing until Trunks showed up from the future and told Goku who his parents were.

Bulma and Vegeta was meant to be a curve ball, but it makes sense in the story: Yamcha and Bulma were never going to work, they were always on and off, and Yamcha was slowly getting sidelined as the story went on. And it figures that the most stubborn male character would end up with the most stubborn female character – they were made for each other.

Love is in the air.

Love is in the air.

Bulma and Vegeta are also perfect on a comedic level as well, always bickering about something, and Vegeta is always putting up a wall in front of the love he clearly has for Bulma and his family. At first we think that maybe Trunks was the product of one night of passion never to be rekindled again, but as the story goes on we discover on three occasions that Vegeta is indeed in love with Bulma, and cares deeply for his son.

He does care, trust me.

He does care, trust me.

Firstly, we see Vegeta burst into a rage to seek revenge against Cell for killing Future Trunks. Then Vegeta also makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the world form Majin Buu, stating that he’s doing it for Trunks and Bulma. And finally we see Vegeta almost reach the level of a God when Lord Beerus hits Bulma, and we get this amazing scene:

It may not be the most harmonious relationship, but Vegeta and Bulma obviously love each other dearly, and though Vegeta might not show it often, when he does… watch out!

Also, this is one of the best screen caps from Dragon Ball Super so far:

Family outing

Family outing! Vegeta, Bulma, and Trunks.


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 6: Anime You Want to See But Haven’t Yet

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

There’s soooo much anime on my to watch list… Where do I even begin?! As I’ve previously mentioned, I haven’t seen a huge amount of anime so there’s a hell of a lot I still need to see, and top of that list is definitely Kill La Kill that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while now.

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Kill La Kill.

Honorable mentions: Genesis Neon Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell. (I could name many many more that I feel like I should have already seen but the list would go on for days!)


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

My ‘To Watch List’ is probably about as long as the number of years it will take until Oda finally writes the last chapter of One Piece. I also get into a bad habit of starting but not finishing series’ such as Bleach and Fairy Tail. For this post I’m going to go with a series that’s not only been on my list forever, but I also have a weird nostalgic connection to, and that’s The Rose of Versailles, also known as Lady Oscar.

The Rose of Versailles Lady Oscar Anime

The Rose of Versailles/Lady Oscar

I first discovered this series when I was on holiday with my family years ago as a teenager. My sister and I were channel-hopping in our hotel room, and suddenly something animated flickered across the screen and we stopped straight away to find out what it was. It was dubbed in French, the animation style looked super old school, and the episode featured odd scenes of cross-dressing knights, princesses, horses, and castles. As neither me or my sister spoke French, we made up our own plot to the episode, and even our own lyrics to the theme song (which just involved singing “LADY LADY OSCAR” over and over again).

It turns out – after a little research – that I was right about the ‘old school’ animation, as it originally aired in 1972-3, and ever since discovering it I keep seeing it pop up on ‘The Best Shojo Manga’ and ‘Must Watch Classic Anime’ lists constantly. Apparently we’d unwittingly stumbled across a bit of a cult thing.

Set during the French Revolution, the story revolves around Lady Oscar – raised as a boy by her father, General Jarjayes – and the infamous historical Queen Marie Antoinette. Interestingly, although Marie begins as the main character, Oscar became the fan favourite and was pushed into the central character role from the supporting one. As the head of the Royal Guard, Oscar is essentially the body guard for Marie and the royal family, only to become ideologically conflicted as she realises the true extent of poverty in France at the hands of the neglectful and greedy monarchy.

My research also revealed that the series is both hugely popular and adored in it’s native with Japan (number 14 on the Best Selling Shojo Manga of All Time list; with live action and even musical adaptations) and so well-researched that it is even used as a teaching aid in schools and public libraries. In the West, it is revered as a cult classic, and revolutionised the Shojo genre with its progressive sexual politics and inclusion of the first ever ‘bed scene’ in manga.

Knowing all of this compels me even more to finally sit down and get into those 40 episodes of historical Shojo goodness! And I can finally find out what on earth was going on in that episode I watched all those years ago.

Honourable mentions: Revolutionary Girl Utena, Beserk, Le Chevalier D’Eon, Freezing, Gundam, Fate/Stay Night, .hack//SIGN, Psycho Pass, Noragami, K-On!, Assasination Classroom, Durarara!


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

I tend to refuse to watch good stuff if too many people tell me to watch it. For example I still haven’t seen Breaking Bad or Lost, and I probably never will. But, one day I will watch Death Note… Just not today.

I stayed away from Death Note for two reasons:

  1.  I watched the live action film first and for a wile I was staying away from anything that had to do with it. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why.
  2.  It just looks too ‘Emo’ for me. I know that’s such an old school insult, but I tend to stay away from stuff styled that way, because in school Emos were annoying to me. But I will watch it eventually, even though I was told the main spoiler of the story…
Urgh.

Urgh.

Honorable Mentions: Psycho-Pass, Fist of the North Star, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Assassination Classroom and Kill La Kill.


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

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Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP

It gives me HUGE pleasure this week to write about a manga that is so close to my heart I will physically hurt anyone that has a bad word to say about it. (Or maybe just cry a little.)

My first experience of Cardcaptor Sakura or Cardcaptors falls into the ‘Dubbed-Anime-That-You-Watched-as–a-Kid-in-the-90s-and-Didn’t-Know-it-Was-Anime’ category. A category that is also occupied for me – and probably most other people of my generation – by shows like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Digimon, and Dragon Ball. Cardcaptor Sakura (CCS) belongs to the ‘magic girl’ genre, and on the surface looks a bit like Sailor Moon – its closest contemporary comparison – but for younger girls, as the ages of the main group fall around 10 – 12 years old. Given this, and its ridiculously saccharine appearance, you could be forgiven for dismissing it as typical shŌjo (‘young girl’ in Japanese) fare. However, upon re-watching the anime in it’s original Japanese language format and reading the manga it was based on, I was surprised at the quality of the artistry, the depth of the storytelling, and the how much I connected emotionally with the characters.

Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP Cardcaptors Manga Shojo Girl's Anime

Cardcaptor Sakura Anime

CCS was serialised in the magazine Nakayoshi between 1996 and 2000, and created by the all-female artist/writer group Clamp. It has since been collected into 12 volumes, and adapted into a 70 episode anime series and two films. I’ll summarise the story as briefly – and spoiler-free-y – as I can: The titular character – Sakura Kinomoto – is the daughter of a single father (her mother is dead) and sister of older brother, Toya (or ‘Tory’ in the English dub of the anime). The story begins with Sakura accidentally releasing a set of magical cards called ‘Clow cards’ that she discovers in a book in her father’s study. This simultaneously releases latent magical abilities within her that are connected to the cards, as well as the story’s mascot – Cerberus (nicknamed ‘Kero’) – who tells her that he is the ‘Guardian’ of the cards and tasks her to collect all of the cards that she set free. Sakura must battle the magical personification of each card’s power – e.g. Water, Wind, Fire, Jump, Fly, Mirror, etc. – in order to capture it, aided by Kero; her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji (‘Madison Taylor’ in the dub) and Chinese transfer student Syaoran Li (‘Li Showron’ in the dub, which borders on the phonetically offensive now that I’m seeing it written down…)

Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP Cardcaptors Manga Shojo Girl's Anime

Tomoyo Daidouji or ‘Madison Taylor.’

The quirkiness of these sidekick characters is one of the things that set CCS apart from others of its genre. Kero is a street talkin’ dude (apparently from Osaka, which the writers tell you is basically the New York of Japan – or more specifically the Brooklyn of Japan) who can’t get enough pudding and lives in Sakura’s sock drawer.

Tomoyo plays the BFF role with heavy emphasis on the ‘Forever’ part and serves the shŌjo fans well by tailoring Sakura a new combat outfit for every battle. Except when I say ‘combat outfit’ I’m talking bows, fake ears, bells, frills, and hats, oh so many hats… Sakura still kicks major butt though, despite the frilliness of her skirt. (Adorable fact: At the end of every episode of the anime, Kero does a post-credit ‘spotlight’ on each outfit wearing a bow tie and smoking a pipe, which continually begs the question: Just how old is Kero and should we be worried about that sock drawer?)

Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP Cardcaptors Manga Shojo Girl's Anime

Kero-chan!

Syaoran is basically a middle-aged man trapped in a child’s body. Not literally. He is grumpy, awkward, and so very desperate to be the hero, which makes it even more hilarious to see him get all huffy and jittery when things don’t go his way. At first he looks down on Sakura as though she were a bumbling idiot, but over time he grows to see her as a rival and equal, and then as a true friend. Beyond that, his feelings apparently get so complicated it takes the entire stretch of the manga and two films post-series to sort them out. (Who am I to complain though, I love those films…)

Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP Cardcaptors Manga Shojo Girl's Anime

Grumpy Syaoran is grumpy.

There’s a lot to love about the central heroine too. Yes, Sakura is clumsy, cutesy, boy-obsessed, and naïve, but she’s also brave, loyal, eager, gutsy, and earnest. For a 10-year-old she also takes on a lot of responsibilities – staying late after school doing extra chores, cooking and cleaning around the house, going shopping with her friends completely un-chaperoned, and of course the small task of collecting all those rogue Clow cards that keep threatening to destroy the city and/or her friends and family. Perhaps this is in fact the reality for every Japanese child.

Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP Cardcaptors Manga Shojo Girl's Anime

RELEEEEAAASSSE!

What you wouldn’t expect of such an innocent and well-meaning manga/anime is for it to be subject to any form of censorship. Yet, when the anime was shipped to the US to be dubbed, it was so heavily hacked up that certain key subplots and character dynamics were either gone or drastically altered. This was more than just removing cigarettes and violence, as was the case for other shows; it completely changed the way the English-speaking audience viewed it. In the interests of keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say that certain relationships between certain characters were put firmly back in the closet. Things like this may seem small, but they had a detrimental effect overall. As a show that is so much more than the sum of its parts, this harsh editing sucked out a lot of the fun minor details that fleshed the show and its characters out into real, loveable people. In short, if you’re going to watch the anime, don’t waste your time watching it dubbed.

The theme song is still pretty good though:

Written by Hannah Collins.