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Manga Review: Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Volume One by CLAMP

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Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Volume One collects the first three volumes of CLAMP’s manga series into one volume. Dark Horse Manga has the North American distribution rights for this series, and they released this omnibus edition in November 2010. There isn’t a rating published anywhere for this volume; however, I would recommend Cardcaptor Sakura to manga readers who are thirteen years of age and older.

Sakura Kinomoto is the main character of Cardcaptor Sakura, and she’s a 10-year-old fourth grader whose father is an archaeology professor. One day, she goes into her father’s study and finds an unusual book. Sakura opens the book out of curiosity. Unfortunately, by doing so, she has broken a seal on magical cards known as Clow Cards that have been sealed in the book. Cerebrus, the guardian of the book, is awakened. He makes it Sakura’s job to recapture the cards, since she is the one who managed to release the cards. Cerebrus, who is given the nickname Kero, teaches Sakura what she needs to know. As a cardcaptor, Sakura must battle the magical personification of the card, defeat it, and seal it away.

In addition to her father, Sakura lives with her older brother, Toya. Toya has had an ability to see ghosts since their mother passed away about seven years earlier. Toya’s best friend is Yukito, and Sakura has quite a crush on him. Sakura’s best friend is a wealthy girl named Tomoyo. Tomoyo designs outfits for Sakura to wear when she’s capturing cards, and also videotapes Sakura’s adventures whenever she can. It’s very strongly hinted throughout this omnibus edition that Tomoyo has a crush on Sakura.

Sakura gains a rival in the form of Syaoran Li, a new transfer student from Hong Kong. It turns out he is a distant relative of the creator of the Clow Cards, and believes that the Clow Cards rightfully belong to him. Syaoran also develops a crush on Yukito; he becomes a rival with Sakura for both Clow Cards and for love.

Cardcaptor Sakura has an interesting premise, and the art looks incredibly cute. The way the characters are designed, I can believe that Sakura, Tomoyo, and their classmates are fourth graders. Also, I wasn’t too surprised when I saw that Yukito had a “bishonen” (beautiful boy) design, since it seems like series that are aimed at a female audience tend to have a least one “bishonen” character. When it comes to the actual story, I found myself riveted in the story, especially after I started learning a little more about the characters and their backstory.

One thing that really stood out to me, though, was the depiction of relationships. Admittedly, I was initially caught off-guard when I learned about Tomoyo’s feelings for Sakura and Syaoran’s feelings for Yukito. However, I could look at it and say that in both cases, they’re still young and figuring themselves out; also, in both cases, the interest is one-sided and rather harmless.

We learn that Sakura’s mother was sixteen when she married Sakura’s father, and that he had been her teacher at the time. I did find that a little disturbing, but I have encountered the older teenage girl marrying her teacher scenario in manga before. In this omibus, it is also revealed that one of Sakura’s female classmates has an “older boyfriend,” and that the older boyfriend is their male teacher. And if that wasn’t surprising enough, the teacher is actually seen giving this girl an engagement ring. I really hope there’s more going on that what appears on the surface, or that some kind of consequence will result for the teacher over this. Otherwise, that particular relationship is pretty disturbing.

Even with the inclusion of questionable relationships, I still think that Cardcaptor Sakura is a decent story that’s worth reading.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.