Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, vol. 2

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In the last writeup of this series, I appluaded Clear Card for capturing the spirit of the original and playing to a lot of its key strengths in the opening chapters. The presentation of Clear Card is just as strong as the original for sure.

The main issue is that a conflict and antagonist with a motive haven’t been established yet, so it’s unclear what the underlying goal is. This volume doesn’t quite get us to that point, but these chapters spend a lot of time setting the mystery up in a way that made reading them pretty satisfying.

These four chapters mostly focus on Sakura capturing more of the new Clear cards, which have proven to be pretty disruptive to her school life. One card catches her after cheerleading practice, whisking all her friends away from sight (via illusion, I think) and forcing her to clean up the mess before she heads home. Another card, “Action,” has the ability to move matter, and we see the struggle with this one as it reveals itself to Sakura in the middle of a lecture from outside her classroom window.

Meanwhile, after viewing her recurring dream a few more times here, she’s able to get up close to the masked figure who was introduced in volume 1. She comments to Kero that the figure is about the same height as her. In the very next chapter, a new student, Shinomoto Akiho, joins Sakura’s class, and some indirect commentary from Sakura herself (“your name is similar to mine!” is what she more or less says) leads me to believe Akiho may be involved in some way.

Adding to the tension is that Syaoran and Eriol have been watching Sakura’s exploits all along and seem to have an idea about the power of the Clear Cards. What they know remains to be seen, but it certainly keeps things interesting. Further, Kero and Yue are unable to detect magic from the Clear Cards, so they aren’t sure how to support Sakura this time around.

What I picked up on in these chapters that I really, really appreciate is how resourceful Sakura has become in this arc. In all of the encounters with new Clear Cards, she’s left to handle the strategizing on her own. She’s resourceful enough to try new tricks on the fly in the hopes that she can seal new cards. I like that the chapters show that it can take her a few attempts at times. Also, I love that Sakura is sure to follow her friends’ advice as needed. In the last volume, there’s a scene where Yue asks Sakura to keep Yukito in the loop. Here, there’s a scene where Sakura does just that, and expresses relief that she’s able to confide in him.

These are small scenes with little connection to the core plot, but I love them because they’re expansions on the themes of the original. If the subtext of the original involved Sakura learning to find confidence in herself and have faith in her friends, the subtext here is that Sakura has fully realized those qualities and is actively nurturing them. Sakura is definitely a model for healthy relationships, and I’m glad that CLAMP took care to show this in these chapters.

This volume is moving slowly, but it’s going in a direction that I like. Its depiction of friendship is true to the spirit of Cardcaptor Sakura, and considering that was my most cherished aspect of the original chapters, it leaves me with a lot of faith in this new arc. The development of the mystery was also very welcome to me here. I remain cautiously optimistic for what will come next.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is written and illustrated by CLAMP. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine since July 2016, and its chapters have been collected into three bound volumes as of September 2017. It has been licensed for release in North America by Kodansha Comics, which has released two volumes to date. Check out Kodansha Comics’ page on the manga here.

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