Parents' Guide to

Cardcaptors: Test of Courage

By Paul Trandahl, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

A gentle, mystical series

Movie NR 2004 60 minutes
Cardcaptors: Test of Courage Poster Image

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Kids say (3):

Despite the theme song's modest claim that Cardcaptors is "a quest for all time," this latest animated series from Japan is considerably more sedate than previous imports like Pokémon or Digimon. The show spends a lot more time examining the daily life of its 10-year-old heroine -- her school travails, her crush on her older brother's best friend -- than epic mystical battles. When the battles do come, they're less about physical confrontations between creatures than about dueling forms of energy -- which gives the animators ample opportunity to dazzle the audience with various forms of effects animation. The character of Sakura is very likable, as is Madison, her best friend. An amusing footnote to each episode has Madison enthusiastically videotaping Sakura's battles and providing her with a new homemade superhero costume for each one -- costumes that Sakura is unimpressed with, but obligingly wears anyway.

Strangely, this first volume doesn't include the episode in which Sakura first encounters the Clow cards. The American distributors wanted to start the series with the introduction of Li, Sakura's male Cardcaptor rival, in an attempt to draw in young boys. Unfortunately, Li isn't a particularly likable character, at least as he's portrayed in these three episodes. He does little more than glower at Sakura and express skepticism at her Cardcaptor abilities, while continually extolling his own skills. This makes it somewhat frustrating when Sakura must ask for his help in order to capture more Clow cards. Still, these episodes are charming enough, and their emphasis on the more mundane aspects of the characters' lives sets them apart from typical anime fare.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 6, 2004
  • On DVD or streaming: January 6, 2004
  • Studio: Pioneer
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Run time: 60 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • MPAA explanation: Not Rated
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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