Episode nine walks us through the adorable relationship between Syaoran and Sakura while giving the kids a chance to work together to catch a card. It’s more of a trip down memory lane for those of us who watched the original series, though there’s just a little mystery for the new and old fans.
The show beings with Sakura and Yue discussing the cards and Sakura’s dreams, and this only serves to remind us that Yue is a part of the team, too. Yue doesn’t offer anything new, though, we do get some nice interaction between Kero and Yue.
Sakura leaves her home alone, Tomoyo having asked Kero stay behind, and skips her way to meeting Syaoran at the bus stop. These kids are so sweet and wholesome, and everyone around them the entire day notices their blushing.
While at the aquarium, Sakura explains that this is where she first caught Watery with Tomoyo after the pair snuck in after hours. As if flying off the heels of such a mention, a new card appears much in the same way as Watery did by cracking the glass in the aquarium cafe and holding Sakura underwater until Toya drains the pool.
Moving past he possibility of a lot of dead fish, the scene ends and we learn about the rest of date through a conversation with Tomoyo where Sakura laments her drowned lunch. However, knowing they have to go back for the card, Tomoyo brings the not-yet-couple back together later that night to make up for the ruined day. Much in the same way as the first aquarium visit in the original show, Tomoyo’s guards bring the kids to the aquarium and our party of three sneak in as the exhibit hall closes.
Using the Lucid card as a make-shift invisibility cloak, everyone is able to snake around to the top of the water tank (now seemingly fixed after this afternoon’s disaster). Just as they arrive, the card appears- making a metallic sound. It seems to be working like some kind of angry spring and chases Sakura through (and eventually out of) the aquarium.
Syaoran, using his brain, asks Kero how Sakura captured Watery the last time. He then uses his ice magic to freeze the card so Sakura can capture it. What’s strange here is that Syaoran guessed that this card would act much in the same way Watery did- falling prey to below freezing temperatures. It’s possibly just a great guess on his part, but I’m not so sure considering the context in which he asked. Maybe the Clear Cards that appear in similar locations to the Clow share properties.
Regardless, Sakura is able to catch the Spiral card, and Tomoyo successfully used her drone to capture Syaoran and Sakura’s exploits. The day ends with Sakura recounting this to Yuki (not Yue).
Besides catching a new card, this episode offered very little in actual clues about the Clear Cards. There’s some basal interpretation we can have, but since none of it is backed up or followed up on by any of the perceived experts in the show, it’s all one-hit and likely red herring.
Going into episode ten, it seems like some time has passed because Sakura’s father has been away on a dig. She receives three phone calls while making rolled eggs for her mother’s shrine: one from Meiling asking about her dating status with Syaoran, one from her father asking how the house is holding up, and one from Akiho who wants to hang out.
Akiho arrives in the late afternoon, based on the colors outside it’s about five or six. The girls talk about Tomoyo’s sewing skills and Sakura shows off her custom-made “theater” costumes. Seeing her interact and speak with Sakura makes it very difficult to imagine how she may end up being Sakura’s enemy in the coming arc.
The action begins when a strange orb materializes in Sakura’s room after the girls go downstairs for dinner.
The girls continue to bond, this time over a shared distaste of konjac. They continue to speak over dinner, with Akiho complimenting Sakura’s family on their ability to do basic household chores. Akiho says she would like to learn to cook, and Sakura catches on that she wants Kaito to taste her cooking. There’s some sad symbolism with Sakura regarding her mother, matched the happiness she feels toward Syaoran in regards to cooking, though Akiho can’t see this dichotomy.
Just as Sakura returns with more delicious stew, Akiho falls asleep without control after being possessed by the mystery orb. Sakura and Kero chase the orb around the house until it darts out the front door into a closed space resembling that one M.C. Escher painting.
Earlier in the episode we were given a quick a look at Sakura’s old roller blades, and at the time I thought it was just a cute reminder of what once was. However, Sakura straps on her skating gear to chase this orb through this world of space and stairs.
The animation here is wonderful.
I got seriously excited to see the roughness in the lines. This helped give that feeling of action and quickness I have been missing in the show, and I can’t tout the greatness of the skating segment here. If you tune in for anything, it should be for this.
Sakura’s action animation ends, and she puts on her thinking cap after realizing they are chasing a Clear Card while inside another Clear Card. This Inception situation is resolved when Sakura creates a black hole to trap the orb so she can capture it. With the Snooze card caught, she then seals the card that trapped her and Kero, the Labyrinth card. After the magic clears, the pair materialize in the real world atop Sakura’s house.
Akiho awakes, terribly embarrassed she fell asleep at a friend’s house. Kaito appears at the house just as Sakura promises to inviter her over again for non-drowsy fun.
After Akiho and Kaito leave, Kaito talks about how kind Sakura is. Akiho agrees and says Sakura always shows such concern for others. Kaito asks for clarification and if this concern is every directed to Akiho. This whole scene uses angles that feel troubling and slightly suspicious- as if both Kaito and Akiho know something we don’t, yet. Following this conversation with the giant, blood red moon at the end only added to the newly ominous nature of these characters.
I was pretty excited about Akiho’s appearance in this episode, only to have it dashed by her not acting much. I had assumed we would see another side of her in the dream world created by the Labyrinth card, but instead we get some vague scariness at the end of the episode that continues to bait us forward in the show.
A whole, I’ve been a little upset by the secret-keeping in this show simply because newer anime in the past few years has made me an impatient mess. Though I believe this whole deal could be sped up a bit with more information on all fronts instead of the playing around with Sakura and friends; at the end of the day, I’m still very much into everything Clear Card has to offer.