I’m doing a combined episode five and six review since episode five was a bit of a filler. Both episodes need each other for support, and I don’t think one could survive well without the other. The lead in from five to six helps give six more grounding than it would, conceivably, have if we didn’t have five’s little bit of Akiho set-up.
Episode five, though a little thick, gives us a really cool story about a sad tree.
The normal lunch crowd, now including Akiho, all take time on a weekend for a flower viewing party. Through the entire day, Sakura is feeling a tug from an invisible entity, though she writes it off as nothing more than her imagination. However, just as everyone is eating, Sakura is pulled away to a secluded grove where a single, giant cherry tree stands. The card possessing the tree is causing a storm in the vicinity, and the tree has grown large tentacles that wave around.
Sakura is able to easily seal the Gravity card, and we get the feeling that this tree was lonely and lashing out through the use of magic. To quell the upset tree, Sakura asks her friends to move their picnic to under this giant weeping willow-type cherry blossom tree. Some visual cues during the rest of the picnic give the impression that the tree is happy to finally be found.
Besides card catching, Sakura and company learn some interesting information about Akiho. It seems that she is living with someone in Japan that she has known since she was little, and if that doesn’t raise anymore flags- I don’t know what will.
There’s a little bit of Syaoran, but he’s such a hit and miss guy recently that I didn’t care if he ever showed up to the party. When he finally does, he offers nothing but cute fuzzies for Sakura. I’m still lukewarm with Syaoran, honestly, since he is being so secretive. Any information he has could really help put Sakura at ease, and I don’t think I can trust him again until after this whole mess is over and he is proven not-guilty.
Episode five was a little boring, even visually, and it seems more like a quick break for the staff than useful animation for us. I do understand that filler is standard in shows so close to manga releases, but boy do I want a more exciting filler next time. I love school as much as the next girl, but I’m a little done with the kids sitting around, eating lunch.
Clear Card is back on track in episode six, using some of the building blocks from ep 5, though we still haven’t strayed from the “monster of the week” format like I had hoped. Instead, our card catch is pushed toward the end of the episode with more emphasis on Akiho. I don’t know if it’s just me being paranoid, but it also seems like Akiho is trying to copy Sakura? I may be reading too much into her actions, though.
Sakura and Akiho meet on the street on the way home from school, and Sakura asks more about Akiho’s “special person.” We aren’t given any more information other than that they are male- which is disappointing. I’m pretty set on believing he is a key character in some way, especially if Akiho is keeping him so secret and talking around the matter.
The most alarming thing, and I’m still not over it, is the crowned bunny plush Akiho has on her bag. Sakura comments and says she something similar. Apparently this rabbit toy is very special to her, and she wishes she could bring it to school. After encouraging her to so, Sakura says she will being her own adorable charm (Kero) from now on as a show of solidarity.
Now. I know I tend to jump to conclusions like a child, but that little bunny plush is about the same size as Kero and Spiny. I’m tearing my hair out, and I truly believe that Akiho is a card captor at this moment. As to where and how, that’s terrible speculation that will make me look like a conspiracy theorist, but I swear this girl is a card captor. The screen held far too long on that little bunny for this to be a red herring… or so I think.
Moving on, we get a dose of fanservice in seeing MeiLing. We don’t learn anything new, and her phone call seemed only to exist to remind everyone what MeiLing looks like and to get her an alibi so we don’t suspect her as being the rouge card captor. Which we didn’t in the first place.
While at dinner with her family, Sakura has a vision of the robed figure. However, this time, the figure doesn’t appear to be malicious. Instead, there are strong representations of time including gears and clocks that give you the impression that something is going to happen soon. Other than this warning, Sakura is given nothing new in this encounter. We do know that the robed figure is able to control the visions somehow at this point with the inception of this meeting, but we still have no real clues as to their identity.
The following day proceeds as normal for the most part- except when Sakura begins to hear bits of static throughout the day. It all hits the fan after Akiho and Tomoyo sing a duet. Syaoran and Sakura are able to work together, listening, to find the card and catch it. The Record car put up no fight whatsoever. Syaoran puts on quite the emotional show, upset that he was unable to sense the card in way. He’s useless now, and maybe that’s really why he’s been avoiding Sakura.
I’m a little disappointed with the execution of both episodes six and seven, but I’ve come to expect movement through most episodes of a series. The return to the this traditional style of anime storytelling is a little tough for me, but I do love the interludes, even if I am disappointed in the pace. I do hope that we can use these episodes as a way to move away from the monster of the week style we’ve been using thusfar.