Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card was the sequel to a magical girl classic, but both its manga and anime failed to achieve similar renown or popularity.
Clear Card Continued the Story of CLAMP’s Best Manga Series
The manga for Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card began publication in 2016, two decades after the original manga was first published. The storyline once again focuses on Sakura Kinomoto, who’s now a middle school student. Unfortunately for her and the other Cardcaptors, their Sakura Cards completely lose their power. Desperate to find out what happened, Sakura and the others go out to discover the truth behind their power loss. Along the way, they gain incredible new powers and meet surprisingly powerful allies.
The shojo manga series is still running, with its 16 volumes and near-seven years of publication far outlasting that of its predecessor. The original Cardcaptor Sakura only lasted four years with a total of 12 manga volumes, with its sequel potentially having the chance to double this. Despite being far more long-lasting in manga form, Clear Card’s anime was only 22 episodes, whereas its predecessor ran for 70. This is just one element of how the sequel fails to reach the same heights as the first, with even longtime fans abandoning the new series.
Cardcaptor Sakura’s Sequel Is a Mediocre Rehash of the Original
Despite beginning in 2016, there’s been little in the way of hype or attention given to Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card in the years since. Much of this is simply due to the story — namely the manga version — doing many of the same things from the original but in an inferior way. Even the focus on the characters’ new powers is done in a manner that feels too familiar for a supposed sequel. Little has changed in narrative sophistication since the old series, and while this initially feels nostalgic, it eventually comes off as lazy and rather boring. Both newcomers and existing fans will have a sense of “been there, done that” toward the CLAMP series, with its inability to do the familiar in exciting ways being hard to ignore.
Likewise, the pacing leaves much to be desired, with story development coming at a snail’s pace. This is especially egregious in the anime version, with whole swathes of episodes focusing more on Sakura’s everyday life than her adventures. Such a development may have been due to the popularity of slice-of-life dramas and comedies in anime, but it does the series no favors with old-school fans. Due to these factors, Clear Card has been more or less forgotten since it began, with no one really paying much attention to it, despite anime and manga as a whole becoming more popular than ever. Given that the main audience who would have checked it out were fans of the original, however, this is a bit of a moot point.
Such a fate isn’t outside the ordinary with CLAMP anime adaptations, which frequently seem to fail to capture the manga’s quality. In this way, it’s perhaps the worst thing that a sequel can be: a painfully mediocre affair that fails to be awful in an exciting way, let alone actually please old fans or bring in new ones. For CLAMP’s magical girl series, it seems that a middling, boring hand is even worse than an outright bad one.