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  Card Captor Sakura 2: The Sealed Card Tarot to Go!
Year: 2000
Director: Morio Asaka, Nanase Ohkawa
Stars: Maaya Sakamoto, Mokoto Kumai, Sakura Tange, Aya Hisakawa, Junko Iwao, Masaya Onosaka, Megumi Ogata, Tomokazu Seki, Yukana Nogami, Emi Motoi, Emi Shinohara, Hideyuki Tanaka, Issei Miyazaki, Katsuyuki Konishi, Miki Itou, Miwa Matsumoto, Nozumi Sasaki
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cute, fashion conscious, magical schoolgirl Sakura Kinomoto returns for her second movie. Following the conclusion of the television series, all 52 Clow Cards are now in Sakura's possession, making her Mistress of the Cards. As the citizens of Tomoeda prepare to celebrate the Nadeshiko Festival (an occasion doubly dear to our heroine's heart, since Nadeshiko is the name of her late mother), Sakura's most pressing problem is playing the lead in her school play. A mysterious force begins stealing the Clow Cards away, one by one, but Sakura is more preoccupied with the return of rival card captor/sweetheart, Li Shaoran. While Shaoran confessed his feelings, Sakura has yet to admit she loves him. Since both kids suffer an anxiety attack if they so much as brush shoulders, their adoring friends Tomoyo (still creating whimsical costumes for Sakura and filming her every move) and Meiling try to play cupid.

This romantic dithering is curtailed when a black hole suddenly materializes in the school courtyard, while an eerie, bejewelled, little phantom girl with lustrous blonde hair and wings atop her head invades the school play and seizes control of a local theme park. Aided by guardian of the cards, Kero the little flying lion cub (now able to transform into a fully-grown, armour plated super-lion) and faithful friend Yukito (unmasked as Sakura's literal guardian angel), Sakura discovers the phantom is the hitherto unknown, Sealed Card, who threatens to make all her loved ones disappear forever.

Unlike Card Captor Sakura: The Movie (1999), viewers require a certain familiarity with the television series to get the best out of this. Nevertheless, screenwriter/production supervisor Nanase Ohkawa crafts a winning story that ties up all the loose ends and, much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, serves as an extended metaphor for growing up. Sakura Kinomoto's fantastical dilemmas rather cleverly mirror those of her fans, ordinary adolescents across the Far East. This being a Japanese love story, admitting one's true feelings is terribly torrid and dramatic, but Ohkawa enriches proceedings with well-written, character moments, including Meiling breaking off her arranged marriage to Shaoran out of friendship for Sakura, and a surprisingly touching explanation for why Tomoyo obsessively creates costumes for her to wear.

While the first movie delivered its share of eye-catching set-pieces, this instalment is a real showcase for the candy-coloured dreamscapes and baroque designs of Mokona Apapa, Tsubaki Nekoi and Satsuki Igarashi, the artists who together with Ohkawa comprise the all-girl manga collective CLAMP. Sakura's magical incantations are pure wonderment: pentagrams dance, portals to fairy worlds blossom before our eyes, strange elementals cavort across the screen. They pull us straight into the exhilarating world of Sakura Kinomoto. The rousing finale takes place amidst the rainbow-hued fairground of our childhood dreams and scores bonus points for a sympathetic villain who makes Sakura question what is right and wrong. Also features another bouncy, bubblegum pop soundtrack guaranteed to lift the spirits.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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