A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are occasional tidbits regarding Japanese culture; one episode concerns a field trip to an ancient shrine cave that is reputed to be haunted. Sakura seems timid and often seems to need the help of an arrogant male cardcaptor. The show looks attractive, with occasional use of impressive effects animation. The characters are appealing, but slow-moving stories may put off viewers looking for more action. Ten-year-old Sakura is an appealing heroine for preteens; though insecure about her skills, she rises to the occasion when necessary. Teens find the adventures of Sakura and friends a little too sedate.
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What's the story?
Ten-year-old Sakura has accidentally released the spirits of the Clow when she mistakenly opened a Clow card book. Now, with the help of Kero, the Clow card guardian, she becomes a Cardcaptor, assigned to the task of recapturing the Clow cards and returning them to the book. In "Power's Ploy," Sakura must capture Power, an excessively strong Clow card capable of moving massive, heavy objects. "Time and Again" finds Sakura facing a dilemma when her friend Rita is possessed by a hostile Clow card; how can she recapture the card without hurting her pal? In "The New Rival," an egotistical new student named Meilin attempts to take over Sakura's cardcaptor duties. When Meilin gets in over her head, it's up to Sakura to save the day.
Is it any good?
CARDCAPTORS: POWER MATCH, the second collection of Cardcaptors episodes, maintains the easygoing charm of the first, but has a greater emphasis on physical confrontations than its predecessor. "The New Rival" features a martial arts battle between Sakura's aggressive new competitor Meilin and a female Clow spirit, while "Double Edged Sword" finds Sakura's friend Rita possessed by a Clow card and coming after Sakura with a sword. Nevertheless, it's Sakura's magical powers rather than violence that save the day. Once again, the non-magical aspects of Sakura's life gets as much screen time as her mystical battles. Fortunately, Sakura is a well-rounded character that kids will identify with--she's bumbling and insecure one moment, courageous and confident the next. Her unsure responses to Meilin's in-your-face aggressiveness are particularly charming. The friendship between Sakura and her pals is also well portrayed--they clearly respect and value each other.
Unfortunately, Li, the rival boy Cardcaptor, is still an unappealing character. He comes across as an egotistical brat who spends his time singing his own praises, while constantly denigrating Sakura's Cardcaptor skills. This shallow portrayal makes it somewhat frustrating whenever Sakura needs his help to capture another Clow card. In general, the show looks quite good. Sakura's magical encounters provide opportunities for various animated effects, and the Clow card spirits take many shapes and appearances. In an amusing reversal of expectations, the Clow spirit "Power" is a harmless-looking elfin sprite, whom Sakura initially underestimates due to its cute appearance. While Cardcaptors may not satisfy kids looking for action, others will find the show's sedate, more earthbound approach to fantasy refreshing.
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