Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP
One of manga’s most enduring classics, Cardcaptor Sakura follows fourth-grader Sakura Kinomoto as she seeks to pacify the monsters accidentally unleashed when she opens the spell book of the legendary magician, Clow Reed. Along her journey to protect the people of Tokyo, she is aided by friends, family, and rivals, all of whom stir up the drama with their crushes and secret agendas. Fantasy action and emotional revelations grip Sakura as she unravels the mysteries that surround her.
This manga is unforgettable. The reader can’t help but fall in love with Sakura, the optimistic hero, Tomoyo, her loyal best friend, and Toya, her tough-but-always-there-for-her big brother. Yet the world of Cardcaptor Sakura is not all cherry blossoms and sunshine. Running throughout the story is an undercurrent of grief as the characters cope with the past death of Sakura’s mother. The story reveals how one person’s life touches many others as the Kinomoto family and their friends find healing each day through love for one another.
This manga consistently challenges gender stereotypes by depicting a young woman who discovers her own power and stands as a hero to save the world. While Sakura herself may never develop feelings for another girl, same-gender crushes and romances spring up at every plot twist. Over time, everyone falls in love with somebody else. We’re all used to love triangles, but by the third volume, this story is a veritable love hexagon! Not only is the complex dance of attractions riveting to the reader, but it also affirms the truth that tender affection can grow between any two people. Love isn’t about finding a set of body parts that compliments yours. It’s about finding that one human being you connect with, body, heart, and soul, and protecting that person from pain and defeat, and sharing a mission worthy of everything the two of you have to give. Ultimately, Cardcaptor Sakura calls us to find the strength in ourselves to stand up for justice and embrace love with courage.
This manga has recently been released in four thick omnibus books. It's the second title I’ve reviewed by the team of four fabulous women authors who call themselves CLAMP.
This series is known for being compelling to readers of all ages. I was lucky to discover it for the first time in college, which was a very dark time in my life. Sakura’s innocence reinvigorated my child-like spirit, and Toya’s absolute-hotness convinced me that yes, I was in fact gay, and how could I not be when men like Toya Kinomoto existed?! I wish I had met these characters when I was just starting to read. They could have helped me replace angsty self-rejection with a hopeful love for life!
Review by Aaron Walsh. Add your review of "Cardcaptor Sakura" - individual issues or the series - in comments!