Clear Card is moving from light hints at the robed person’s identity to some full-on clues, though we lack a real resolution at this time. The frequency of card catching is accelerated in this episode, but the quiet, relaxing background at Sakura’s school remains relatively unaffected by the cards. We are still on the upward climb for the season, and it feels like another ball is about to drop.
I’m trying not to focus too much on look and animation because it would sound utterly redundant, so from here on out I will highlight things that stood out to me specifically. That sounds strange for an anime, but It’s difficult to call attention to the consistently beautiful backgrounds, coloring, and animations in the show.
Episode two ended with Sakura wishing for a happy end to her troubles, and we begin the next morning with Tomoyo and Sakura recounting the night’s events to Syaoran who seems to have a bit of an idea about something. His expression during the discussion leads to believe he either has information from his own investigating, or he is the robed person in question. I’ll revisit this a little later, but as I mentioned in episode two’s review- Syaoran is terribly suspicious right now. His silence during this entire event has been quite the red flag.
After the conversation, a card rears its head with the onset of a downpour. It’s sudden and obviously not natural, though the kids attempt to put it off as a mysterious act of nature. Sakura begins to get a clue during lunchtime when it beings to rain harder suddenly, but she doesn’t look too worried until the waterfall-like rain after school.
It should be mentioned that Syaoran does not walk home with Tomoyo and Sakura today because he was busy with something- strange, right? He’s not around at the very moment of a card encounter when he would normally, at least as setup until this point, be there.
As Sakura and Tomoyo take shelter from the demon-like rain, Sakura sees her key shining and her suspicions that the rain is card caused is confirmed. However, before we begin the battle, Tomoyo pulls through and forces an adorable frog costume on Sakura. Tomoyo’s timing with the themed costumes will never cease to amaze me, and if it ever turns out she can see the future- I’ll believe it at true canon.
Sakura battles the rain which turns into anthropomorphic water tentacles before retreating after the use of the Gale card. She then uses Siege to trap the magic on the top of a certain penguin in a certain park, and from here Sakura captures the Aqua card. Again, Sakura informs Syaoran of her victory, which is starting to see more and more like a bad idea at this point, and confirms that nothing new has happened in the time she and Tomoyo were away.
The following day, Sakura has another encounter with a card during gym class. As she bends down to tie her shoe, everyone disappears and the world becomes entirely silent. The key around her neck begins to glow, so she is clued in that this is the work of another clear card. Sakura releases her key in an attempt to fight an invisible foe who is able to reflect every attack she uses. Instead of continuously blasting with Gale, Sakura uses her new friend, Aqua, to pinpoint where the new card is and seal it.
It’s a really cool scene, and the water drops look great through the segment.
Sakura holds a new card, Reflect, in her hands as Syaoran runs to her side, looking worried. This is the second card encounter in less than 24 hours which is the quickest turnaround for a card capture, that I can remember. Humanity returns to the world, and they only notice the now wet ground around them. This is the second time a card has created a closed space in the world to battle Sakura, and again I feel as if this attests to the powerfulness of this magic. This is more than the now seemingly ordinary Clow Cards.
The rest of the day, or what little is left of it, goes without a hitch and Sakura returns home. What happens next is a great little episode three cliffhanger:
Sakura faints just before her bath and appears in her dream world again. The mysterious robed figure pulls Sakura closer and closer to them to the point where Sakura is able to discern who the robed person is. Though Sakura doesn’t say, she mentions that they are the same height…
Here are my theories:
It’s Syaoran, who is of a similar height. He’s returned to Japan to attempt to take the Clow Cards again, but has kept this secret from Sakura and company. This would explain his abrasive behavior and Eriol’s position in not helping Sakura at this time.
My other idea is that it’s Sakura. CLAMP has already established in previous stories that there are multiple words and universes in their works, some of which are connected. So, I wouldn’t find it at all surprising that this new figure is another world’s version of Sakura. They are the same exact height after all.
I really loved this episode because of the quickness in which everything happened. Even though we had our slow-life school sections, Clear Card maintained an air of essential mystery through it with Syaoran’s secretive nature or Sakura’s upbeat introspections. Having two card encounters in the show didn’t feel congested, which was a worry for me when I noticed this was going to happen. It’s early on, but the pacing and plot points in the episode have made this my favorite so far- unless we have a comparable one later in the season, I’m sure this will remain my favorite point in the show.