The end is near… the end is here.
Akiho has another dream. Shards of glass-clear cards float about her, then shatter and coalesce into the Key of Dreams. As she reaches for it, sparkle-clocks appear and tell her “You can never return!” She wakes up to find her hand reaching out the same as it did in her dream. Across town, Sakura awakens from the same dream, her own hand stretched to the sky. She and Kero find this dream genuinely disturbing. Kero and Yue decided that even though they knew about Sakura and the origins of her new cards, they would keep those truths from her. They trust Eriol’s instincts, even though he’s incommunicado. Not even phones can contact him, and that’s more than a little disturbing.
Time to go to school and the topic of discussion is dreams. When everyone breaks for clubs, Akiho heads to the music room. She muses over how similar she is to Sakura, and admits her feelings to Tomoyo. Feelings that she is bothering Sakura. As she watches the cheerleaders practice from the music room, her focus on Sakura causes the two of them to get sucked into another vision. They’re syncing even faster!
That night, Sakura descends into another vision. She starts to walk forward in the vision, unaware that she is heading straight towards the window in the real world! Kero snaps her out of it, and they look outside. Hanging out there, on top of the telephone pole, is the cloaked figure from her dreams. Using Flight, she rushes out to meet the figure, who attacks her with magic. The two duke it out with magic, with Sakura putting distance between them. The figure reaches out and uses her magic to grab Sakura’s key, then pull away from the Clear Cards. Without the cards or key, Sakura’s magic no longer works… and she’s been flying!
She drops like a rock, and on the way down, Sakura’s hand snags the face-mask of the figure’s cloak, revealing her identity. Any guesses? It’s Akiho, and her eyes stare blankly into the distance. Both girls begin tumbling to the ground but come to a sudden stop. Kaito appears, using his magic to stop time. He talks briefly with Momo, but realizes that Sakura’s cards aren’t enough for his purposes. He rewinds time to prevent what could have been a catastrophe and leaves with an unconscious Akiho.
Wait, that’s where the season ends? Just as it gets interesting? COME ON!
This episode takes a turn for the sinister in its tone. While the previous episodes were more mysterious and haunting, this one reveals Akiho as the active agent of chaos and makes it creepy and disconcerting while it’s at it. We see that the sync visions grow more frequent and uncontrollable, and we also see that a third player on the scene is involved. The voice is likely that of one of the “D” Title Magicians, who had sealed the Taboo magic item. Could it be that Akiho herself is the magic item that Kaito stole away?
I did enjoy this episode’s animation. There was a real battle in the climax, and it was different than I was expecting. It wasn’t as fast-paced. That’s because this was a magic battle, and magic is a bit slower in this series than in others. That isn’t really a problem since they manage to still keep the tension moving. We get a variety of solid camera angles and views that shift perspective. A real pleasure. If anything, I may have seen a couple of small errors, but they were so slight, they would go unnoticed if you weren’t looking for them.
The voice acting presented no problems for me. Monica Rial did a great job of portraying Sakura’s feelings leading up to the final battle. Mikaela Krantz also made Kero come to life. None of their performances fell flat to me. They put on their best work for this last episode of the season, so it all just came together.
This episode was a great cliffhanger for the end of the season, and it was crafted with care. Slight issues in the animation keeps this from being a perfect episode. I give it nine stolen cards out of ten.