This Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card recap contains spoilers for Episode 4 “Sakura and the Lovely Transfer Student”
By the time “Sakura’s Heavy Rain Alert” ended, I was ready for the drama and scheming “Sakura and the Lovely Transfer Student” was ripe for. But of course, one must always be careful of what one wishes for. This whole thing might be making me a little more tense than I expected. And surprisingly, very little of it has to do with the arrival of Akiho Shihomoto, the lovely transfer student in question.
“Sakura and the Lovely Transfer Student”
Before we dive into Episode 4, let’s place all our cards on the table (lol). Right now, Sakura has “Gale,” “Siege,” “Aqua,” and “Reflect.” Afte this episode, she’ll be holding a deck of five. It’s important to note that, while these cards have true “forms,” they don’t resemble deities like the old Clow Cards used to. This deck seems very… functional. Coupled with the fact that none of our more sentient characters can sense any magic in them, it definitely sets up for a fishy situation.
But about fishiness, we will talk later.
Fujitaka is off to an early meeting, leaving Toya in charge of breakfast duty. I don’t know if it’s normal in Japan to eat broccoli with pancakes. But the oddity of the combination only adds to the fantastic interaction between Sakura and her Oni-chan. Yes, Toya is giving away all his broccoli to Sakura because he doesn’t like it. But his motives mostly come from a place of concern.
As you’ll recall, Sakura had collapsed the night before. And although nobody but Kero-chan found out, she was evidently spacey the following morning. Toya already made clear to Yukito that he knows Sakura is in trouble again. He knows also that he’s limited in what he can do for her since giving his power over to Yue and Yukito.
I love the subtle weight that Toya’s character is gaining in Clear Card. In the original run, he was a central to the home dynamic and served as a buffer between Yukito and Sakura. He also gained some protagonism through Ruby Moon’s obsession with him and his relationship with Yukito. Now that Sakura doesn’t need Toya to serve as a connection between her and Yukito and Ruby Moon is back in England, it did worry me that Toya would be left on the sidelines. However, it is clear that the intention is to intensify, if anything, his role in this arc.
Clear Card wastes no time introducing Akiho Shihomoto, the new student who transfers into Sakura’s class. More than resembling Sakura physically, she looks like a young Nadeshiko. I’d be interested to see if there is any connection. Nadeshiko has always been one of the most intriguing characters. And even though the show has dedicated a good deal to giving us glimpses into her past, most of her story remains a fragmented narrative at best.
Akiho does match Sakura in personality and both are immediately drawn towards each other. Tomoyo notes that Akiho is very pretty, and Sakura agrees emphatically. My jealous mind immediately went to, “OMG WHAT IF SHE STEALS SYAORAN?” But Sakura was smart enough to not let Ahiko sit next to her dude during lunch break. However, what did catch me off guard was how jealous/suspicious Syaoran was of his girl’s budding friendship with Akiho.
Syaoran is reserved still, only speaking when being talked to directly or whenever Yamazaki goes off on one of his rants. Solitary Syaoran is nothing new, but we’re four episodes in and his silence is starting to disturb. Do you not have a girlfriend, Li-kun?
Our heartthrob aside, Sakura accompanies Akiho to meet with her teacher (which is what garners this Syaoran look from a distance). On the walk there, the girls formalize their friendship with a handshake after Sakura says their names are similar. The idea that we’re supposed to draw a parallel between Sakura Kinomoto and Akiho Shihomoto is clear (like the cards), but we don’t know why.
In Japanese class, Sakura is called up to the board and manages to answer the exercise correctly. However, when she returns to her seat at the back of the class, she sees a tree picking up its roots and moving. She lets out a little squeal and the scene repeats itself enough times that Tomoyo has to excuse Sakura because “she’s not feeling well” and ask permission to “escort her to the infirmary.”
Once outside, Tomoyo is obviously armed with her camera and a nature-themed kimono costume. The struggle to catch the now running army of trees becomes real when they unlock the school gates. In order to contain the situation, Sakura uses “Siege.” At first, it works, but Sakura later has to ask the card to become more flexible to prevent the trees from bursting out.
Meanwhile, Tomoyo is devastated because she can’t film any of the action. Sakura bets on “Aqua” to contain the tree stampede, asking the card to flood their roots so they can’t move. At that point, Sakura finds the opening and seals the card “Action.”
Unfortunately for her, the trees don’t return to their original place and has to use the newly sealed card to replant them. Tomoyo is delighted to have her filming time, but Sakura worries that someone will see her using magic.
After school’s over, Sakura visits Yue to report on the new card. Once again, he feels no magic presence but points out that Sakura is able to use magic through the staff. Kero-chan then starts making weird puns about the key being the key and Yue decides to switch back to Yukito. This time, Yukito shares something interesting that, surprisingly, hadn’t come up until now. He says he wishes to meet his other self some day, and something tells me the cards Sakura is amassing now will be able to help him achieve just that. Perhaps “Reflect” could show him an image of Yue from Sakura’s memory?
Outside, Yukito asks Sakura if she has spoken to Toya. She recounts the broccoli incident from that morning, prompting Yukito to repeat what must be the official mantra of this arc, “you two are really close, aren’t you?” If we add the recurrence of this comment to Toya’s mysterious idea to help Sakura plus the arrival of a Nadeshiko-looking transfer student…Isn’t this all leading up to a weird yet amazing Amayiama-side-of-the-family extravaganza? I digress.
As Yukito is about to get fresh tea, Sakura gets a call from Syaoran. Yukito leaves her to it, and Syaoran asks Sakura about the card. Afterwards, he tells her to call him if anything strange happens, even if it’s nighttime. Sakura uses this opportunity to ask if she can call at any time regardless of clear card updates. Syaoran agrees, and Sakura tells him she’ll prepare him a bento box.
Now, before we get all excited about this ship, the next scene reveals Syaoran has been in contact with Eriol. To be fair, Eriol does mention that it must be “hard on Syaoran,” possibly to be keeping information from Sakura. But Syaoran reassures him that he understands it’s not the right time. And, GET THIS, that the reason he is in Tomoeda at all is for when the time arrives.
On the one hand, this could be a romantic gesture to be there to protect Sakura when the cards hit the fan. But on the other, what kind of pseudo-relationship is this? Is Syaoran keeping his distance because he can’t bear to lie to Sakura or is he plainly doing his duty and not actually excited about her bento box?
I want to believe that best of my boy, but this show tends to twist things and take them to dark places before they’re returned to you purified and anew. In conclusion, I am stressed.
As I said, fishy.