This Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card recap contains spoilers for Episode 3 “Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert”
Last week, Clear Card had yet to show us the dark action we knew and loved from the original Cardcaptor run. “Sakura and the Clear Cards” introduced us to the premise of this arc: collecting all the clear cards in the hopes of restoring the original Clow Cards/Sakura Cards. In this episode, Sakura captures “Gale,” and we get “Seige” in the second episode. This means that Sakura finally has a working arsenal of cards to work with. So, did “Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert” deliver the action it was ripe for?
“Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert”
Clear Card‘s third episode starts out with the now traditional Sakura-Syaoran-Tomoyo meeting that brings joy and happiness to my heart. The trio discusses the recent card capture but end up rushing to class without having figured anything out. (To be fair, further deliberation would have probably not brought them closer to an answer). Though, Syaoran does know (or at least suspects) more than he lets on.
After the girls leave him to his own devices, Syaoran ponders the meaning of a clear card appearing in Sakura’s room. Simultaneously, he looks up at the sky as the promise of a rainy day starts to unfold. The brief segment is not only eerie but ominous, as this same rain is what brings about the early onset action in “Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert.”
Up in the classrooms, Sakura and Tomoyo wonder about the sudden heavy rain. Some classmates complain about the weather report forecasting a 0% chance of precipitation, causing them to leave their umbrellas at home. Sakura assures Tomoyo that she has brought a small umbrella they can share, and we later see the BFFs walking home together under it.
Before they leave school, however, the gang has lunch at the school cafeteria, a space we’ve never really explored. Yamazaki informs his friends that he’s actually undecided between the basketball team and the theatre club, saying there are very few male actors. Of course, Naoko uses this opportunity to talk about gender swapping roles, and Tomoyo immediately takes the bait. This time, she explicitly recounts how Sakura played the role of the Prince and Syaoran the Sleeping Beauty.
As you can see, the Cardcaptor team even took the time to re-draw and re-color these scenes. So swoon away, Cardcaptors. Swoon the heck away. Of course, Sakura and Syaoran are still embarrassed by this whole ordeal, but the group’s attention falls on Syaoran’s professionally-packed lunch. The gist of the conversation is that Syaoran makes his own meals and packs his own bento boxes.
I have to say I appreciate the mystery they keep around Syaoran. His appeal in the show’s first run was always that detachment, and sticking to it will keep from the SakuraxSyaoran ship to get too mushy too quickly. But more on that a little later… First, we’ve got some cards to capture. Ugh, can’t resist a tsundere.
On the way back home, the torrential rain turns into a hurricane (well, it’d have to be a typhoon in Tomoeda). The point is, Sakura’s umbrella is doing nothing to safeguard herself or Tomoyo. Luckily for them, a small gazebo allows them to take shelter. And, since this is Cardcaptor Sakura after all, allows for Tomoyo to pull out the water-proof/amphibian-style costume she just happened to have ready for this very moment.
Thankfully for Sakura, she is now in possession of two cards she can actually use. As with Pokémon, Sakura selects her first card, “Gale” to somehow combat the streams of water that are coming at her face. Once she regains her ground, Sakura figures the card must have a source. She identifies it coming from the classic penguin slide and uses “Siege” to contain and seal the card.
Before “Aqua” lands on her hands, the card’s true form is revealed. And I’ve gotta say, it looks a whole lot like a melting Articuno.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know Sakura has already captured a card and it hasn’t even been 10 minutes. And what does that mean in Cardcaptor world? Yup. We’ve got another card in-coming.
Before we get there, however, we see Yukito receiving a text message from Sakura. The text is meant to alert Yue of the new card she’s captured, but what it accomplishes plotwise is having Toya bring up the transfer of power they underwent in the original arc to save both Yue and Yukito.
Toya laments not being able to do anything sentient-wise to help his sister but explains he’s come up with a way to help since he’s know she’s been in trouble again for some time now. As to be expected, he’s super secretive about the whole ordeal, saying they’ll find out “when the time comes.”
At night, Sakura talks to Syaoran on the phone about her most recent capture. Syaoran himself isn’t too forthcoming with information, but he appears genuinely concerned for Sakura. Neither of them finds their conversation unnatural, which proves that they had in fact been keeping in touch while Syaoran was in Hong Kong.
At school the next day, we follow Sakura and Chiharu to cheerleading practice where they both get to show off the stunts they perfected in elementary. The teacher commends them for their performance and the two of them are acknowledged as the somewhat “senior” cheerleaders of the team. When class is dismissed, Sakura stays behind because of an untied shoelace. When she looks up again, she notices her classmates are quickly fading.
Alone in the field, with no costume and no Tomoyo to film the action, Sakura faces a new clear card. To capture it, Sakura releases two cards again. First, she reuses the “Gale” tactic to attack her surroundings but can’t seem to hit the target. As a last resort, Sakura uses “Aqua” to see if she can discern the gap in which the card is hiding. This plan is successful, and Sakura seals “Reflect.”
The only thing Sakura doesn’t calculate is that using “Aqua” involves getting soaked every time. For SakuraxSyaoran shippers, however, this proves to be no issue as Syaoran rushes out to aid Sakura and offers her his jacket after finding her all wet.
I’m giving you two pictures because we deserve them. This goddamn relationship has been 18 years in the making. I’m 23, single, and watching a shoujo meant for children. I will take what is mine with fire and blood. Just kidding. Anyways, here’s a close-up of Syaoran’s face:
Okay, I’m fine. We can continue. *Ahem*.
After all this action, Sakura returns home where we get a nice father-daughter scene with Fujitaka. He urges Sakura to take a warm bath even though she already changed into dry clothes and reassures her that she doesn’t have to worry about helping out with dinner. For newcomers looking at the time, going like, “we’re 19 minutes in, some more cutesy family stuff is all that’s gonna happen in this episode,” welcome to anxiety land.
Sakura is perfectly fine talking to Kero-chan, who’s been doing nothing but
losing at playing video games with Spinel all day. That is until she collapses, led back into the same dream she keeps having with the cloaked figure. This time, the figure draws the key from her, and as Sakura rushes to grab it, she meets face to…cloak with the mystery person. After waking up, Sakura realizes the figure is almost her same height.
Now, remember that the very real characters of Eriol, Ruby Moon, Mizuki-sensei, and Yue used to appear in Sakura’s dreams? Well, the same is true of the cloaked figure, who is now standing atop a lamppost outside of Sakura’s bedroom. It’s kind of like When a Stranger Calls, but with dreams and weird costumes.
In the end, “Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert” has put this arc right on track with the fans’ expectations. I mean, you could absolutely disagree with me, but I truly believe we’re being provided with content that goes beyond just a nostalgia trip. The immediate nullification of the Sakura Cards provides us with a fun, blank canvas to work with. Our heroine needs to relearn old tricks and we as a dedicated audience don’t get to anticipate her next move.
We’re working with a deck of cards that is slowly materializing episode after episode. That was what made the original run exhilarating and is exactly what’s going to keep this arc refreshing and addictive. While the past cards were all based on natural and mystical elements, this new deck has so far featured four cards on absolute crack. Their power is monumental, and they don’t have an obvious use for Sakura. Before, we’d expect Sakura to use “The Fly” to fly and “The Jump” to jump, but now?
Next episode will also introduce the much anticipated Ahiko, a character that resembles Sakura and (highlight for theory) many believe is the person behind the cloak. So get ready, my cardcaptors. All the cards are soon to hit the fan.