[ grumbles ] Well that was a stupid way to end the series. Really, Madhouse, you couldn’t have added another episode or two?
I was expecting there to be a big huge battle ie something with the dragon that has been foreshadowed all frigging season, but now I understand why I was getting nervous about how the season was going to end – I was trying to figure out how Madhouse was going to build up towards that big battle, and it turns out that we didn’t get that battle. No dragon. Ok fine Sakura faced off alone against the robed figure from her dreams, who was indeed Akiho, but that lasted for only a few minutes. Aside from that battle, this finale was rather anti-climactic IMHO. I hope this means we’ll get another season that will span the rest of this arc.
So what did actually happen in this final episode? Sakura and Akiho are pretty much synchronized now, so when one of them thinks or dreams of the clock world, the other girl is taken there too. Even if only for a few moments. Both Sakura and Akiho are also remembering more of their dreams, and neither girl knows what to make of said dreams – except that it can’t be anything good. Akiho can even remember a voice in her dream telling her, “You can never return.” Whose could it be?
Everyone’s more subdued in this episode, it seems. Sakura’s pre-occupied with her dream and what it could mean. Kero remembers his meeting with Yue and how they both agreed to not tell Sakura about their conversation with Eriol. Syaoran’s worried about Sakura and not being able to reach Eriol.
Yet even in the midst of all this confusion and drama, there were still small moments of comedy. I especially appreciated the scene of Sakura and her friends eating lunch together, and Kero just getting SO FRUSTRATED with her friend Takashi and his stupid, incorrect story. XD That kid is just so freaking annoying.
The big fight of this episode, as mentioned before, came in the last third of the episode and featured Sakura fighting alone against a sleepwalking Akiho. Sakura uses her cards to fight hard against the different magic spells Akiho throws at her, but is thrown into a stalemate when Akiho tries to steal both Sakura’s cards and her magical key at the same time. Sakura’s magic flickers and eventually gives out (causing Flight to change back into a card) and Sakura falls towards the ground alongside her cards.
But just when it seems like we’re going to see a cardcaptor-pancake, Yuna D Kaito steps in and freezes time. Momo is with him too, to watch him use his forbidden time-rewinding magic and to watch Sakura. Yuna reveals that Sakura’s clear cards actually aren’t strong enough to summon the magic he needs, the magic from the clock book. (I’m presuming that includes a spell to summon the dark dragon.) Momo says that when she wakes up Akiho will chalk events up to her dreams again, but that Sakura will likely eventually remember what happened.
Sure enough, after Yuna turns back time Akiho is still asleep, but Sakura (now back inside her house with Kero) is left with a lingering feeling and residual memories of what happened. However Sakura finishes her conversation with Kero like nothing happened, saying she’s glad she’s met everyone through her journey with the Clow cards and how she appreciates that she’s not alone.
Like I said, I’m not happy with how this season has ended, but overall Clear Card Hen has repeatedly surprised me with its quality. Despite never being a huge CCS fan, I still enjoyed this title from start to finish.
Story: CCH was new for me as I’ve never read the manga past the end of the original series. As I think I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I didn’t like that CLAMP relied on a transfer student to introduce a new antagonist. Why not a student at the school who wasn’t very well known, or was often overlooked? What about one of Sakura’s friends, or Syaoran’s distant relatives? Relying on a transfer student just felt a little too close to Eriol’s story arc for my liking.
Characters: I’m thrilled that all of the original CCS seiyuu cast returned for CCH. 😀 Hearing familiar voices portray all the characters definitely helps with nostalgia and continuity between the different seasons.
And despite CCH taking place not long after the end of the original CCS, we still got to see many of the main characters undergo some minor character growth and development. I actually have this secret wish: that CCS will continue in one form or another until Sakura and her friends graduate high school. I think that would be really neat to see!
Music and Animation: Aside from the one episode that aired right after the middle of the series, and a few scenes here and there, the animation quality of CCH has been amazing. Especially in the first half of the series~ And the first episode! You can tell that Madhouse put a lot of time, energy, effort and funding into making this CCS revival something really special.
The music was also spot-on. I had a favourite theme in each half of the series. For example in the first twelve episodes I enjoyed the opening theme “Clear” by Maaya Sakamoto more than the ending theme, and in the back half of the series I liked the closing theme “Rewind” by Minori Suzuki more. Of course, I think hearing “Platinum” in the opening episode of CCH while watching Sakura and Syaoran be all sappy together is still one of my favourite moments from the entire series.
Overall thoughts: CCS is, at heart, still a kid’s anime. I was slightly outside the target demographic when CCS first aired in North America in its dubbed format, and I’m definitely outside that same target demographic roughly 15 years later. However I feel that CCH is still cute and charming enough to appeal to viewers who like magical girl and/or slice of life titles, regardless of their age or gender. Personally I think there will always be a little part of me that enjoys CCS no matter how old I get. ;3 And like with FLCL, I’m excited that a lot of older titles are getting newer seasons or continuations. I’m on board with this trend – more CCS please Madhouse! ^_^v
Final Score: 9/10