Connections to the past may be more than just nostalgia. Patterns emerge.
Sakura presents her two new cards to her friends. Using what clues they have at hand, the gang comes up with a few important facts. For one, these cards don’t emit the normal kind of magic. For that reason, Syaoran and other magic users can’t sense any magic from them. However, as the cardcaptor, Sakura has a connection to the Clear Cards and is now the only one that can sense them. Tomoyo also notes one other thing: Her newest cards are remarkably similar to The Sleepy and The Maze Sakura Cards. As Sakura goes into class, she ponders the possibilities. Multiple Clear Cards seem like upgrades or sidegrades of her depowered cards. Is it possible that this is just another format change, like when they changed from being Clow to Sakura Cards. This doesn’t sit well with her math teacher, and he hassles her for spacing out. After school, everyone is walking home. They run into Kaito, who is doing some shopping. Akiho goes home with him, but Syaoran senses something. Kaito has magic! Syaoran heads home and calls Eriol. Since Syaoran can sense it, Kaito most likely has Moon Magic. Akiho seems unaware of this, but Kaito’s middle initial is also used as a title by a powerful magical organization in England. Curiouser and curiouser…
Sakura’s father is still out at his conference, so she has dinner with Toya. After he leaves for work, she senses a Clear Card nearby. She rushes to face it and finds herself in Penguin Park. This was the site where she often found the cards hiding. One of her crazy adventures flipped the king penguin slide upside down… like it is now. In fact, everything in the playground is lifting up, flipping over, and dropping back down. She manages to track the location of the force, but when she approaches it, it flips her, too. Kero catches her and gives her a tactic to try. She uses Flight so that she retains maneuverability, and catches Reverse.
Ah, and now the focus on nostalgia is starting to make sense. It isn’t just to recapture feelings, it’s to make a point. While I had picked up that they were similar to the old cards, I hadn’t really thought that these were re-formats. It should have been apparent since the Sakura Cards went clear just before these showed up. That also follows since it seems these semi-sapient cards sensed the coming tribulations and upgraded to help her fight. It would just be nice if they told her ahead of time. Thankfully, this episode is finally pushing onward to the final plot. It felt like we spent so long with more of the same, and we now have confirmation of Kaito being Akiho’s Yue. The question is if Akiho is a white hat or a black hat.
The episode featured some great animation and art. Interestingly, most of this is in conversational portions of the show. One of the chibi scenes was smoothly animated. I wasn’t expecting that from something that was all about being cute. During the fight with Reverse, most of the objects in the park are animated with CG, which works well in this case, as the objects are relatively simple. The action and cinematography aren’t all that exciting, but with other visuals being as solid as they are, it doesn’t bother me. The voice acting was fine. I wasn’t particularly inspired, as it lacked exceptional emotive depth. However, nothing is all that bad. Something was off with Mikaela Krantz’s performance as Kero, in that he was a little less expressive, but she had managed to mitigate the feminine aspects of her voice to keep Kero sounding masculine.
The story is solid, and the animation is still going strong. Other than the voice acting being a hair flat, I feel like it all works out. I give it seven upside-down penguins out of ten.