Episodes eleven and twelve don’t offer any more big revelations, but we do learn a little more of where Syaoran stands in this mess and some general hints and confirmation about what we already know. We are standing more in a station of status quo with exceedingly slow reveals through two episodes as we bridge the seasons.
Sakura begins episode eleven with recounting her adventure with Sleeping Beauty, Akiho, to Syaoran and Tomoyo. Catching on that Akiho may be the center of trouble in Sakura’s life, Syaoran asks for clarification on Akiho’s position during the fight. However, he doesn’t seem to be happier when he learns that she was asleep during the ordeal, though he offers nothing more to the conversation (per the usual).
Again, Kero reiterates that he was unable to feel any magical presence, but Sakura says she was able to feel something. She is unsure as of what, only that the presence felt different and foreign. At this time she is the only person who can feel the Clear Cards.
Now, it’s Tomoyo’s turn to offer helpful information! She notices that both the new cards, Labyrinth and Snooze are similar to the Maze and Sleep Clow Cards. Sakura seems to begin having a revelation about the correlations between. The Clow and Clear Cards which continues through class as she draws comparisons. This is something I’ve theorized from the beginning, but the Clear Cards seem to be mutated/augmented/powered up versions of the Clow Cards. The show is all but confirming this now, but how and why the cards were changed is still a mystery.
The kids proceed through their day as normal, and our merry troupe of four head home. Kaito appears before the group as coincidence, meeting Syaoran for the first time. The boys exchange stares, and it’s obvious that Syaoran is terribly suspicious of the guy. Thankfully, instead of giving us this tease and moving on, we follow Syaoran home as he calls Eriol immediately to report his findings.
Kaito has magical power. We, as the audience, know this already based on clues, but Syaoran confirms out suspicions. Eriol says that he doesn’t know who Kaito is, but the “D” in Kaito’s name may signify that he is part of a magic association in England where the highest-ranked members are given the title “D.” This seems like a bit of a stretch, honestly, like a “Old Ben Kanobi” type stretch. Why would a title for a position be in the middle of your name? Just for secret-keeping?
Syaoran and Eriol surmise that Sakura cannot feel Kaito’s powers, so it’s likely that he has moon magic like Syaoran which could cause problems down the line since both boys draw from the same magical source. Eriol further mentions that his old home is a great location to preserve those with magic powers, and he doesn’t trust that Akiho is a unknowing in this situation.
We are transferred back to Sakura now, and there is a brief mention that Sakura does have permission to show off her father’s library. This show and tell with Akiho does not happen in either this episode or the next, so I’m not sure why we are being told now. It’s a little strange, and a bit of a red herring for now. Though, we could be setting up a good reveal with Akiho in the house, putting Sakura in danger in her own home.
Later in the night, Sakura senses a disturbance and she and Kero head to Penguin Park to take on their next adversary. This card is a gravity based card that is putting all the equipment in the playground on its head. It even attempts to flip Sakura over and slam her on ground before Kero saves her. Eventually, she uses the Flight card to capture and seal the Reversal card.
Kero and Sakura don’t get a chance to revel in their victory as people being to show to the park noticing the sound bangs, earth shakes, and the giant upside-down penguin. The ordeal is all over the news, and I’m terribly impressed Sakura was able to make it out of the park without being noticed.
There isn’t anything special in this episode in regards to animation or backgrounds, and this seems to serve more as an informational filler to help the audience fully understand the basic answers to some of the mysteries started in the first part of the season.
Episode twelve is similar to eleven in that there isn’t anything special here, and it feels more in the vein of the cherry blossom-viewing episode where we are catching a card but the rest of the time is spent filling time in a very manga-like way.
This all begins with Kaito making tea for Akiho in the morning, where we see that very cool watch of his again as a subtle reminder, and Akiho telling us about a very familiar dream. It’s basically the opposite of Sakura’s dream, and it’s Akiho looking down on a person she doesn’t know. She does know that she wants something they have, but not what that something is. Kaito suggests she will understand the dream very soon, and as the audience this is all but full confirmation that Akiho is the oppressor in Sakura’s dream.
It’s nice that we finally know for sure that Akiho is the one in Sakura’s dream, but I am curious about her outfit. If Syaoran didn’t sense magic on her, it’s possible that Akiho uses the same magic as the Clear Cards- but in that vein, Sakura should be able to sense something about Akiho now. That strange, almost Middle-Eastern-style outfit that Akiho is wearing in the dream is far too special looking for her to be a normal person with delusions of grandeur. Or maybe, she just likes cosplay like Tomoyo does.
Anyway, the middle of the episode is a modified sports festival featuring ball sports like basketball, soccer, and badminton. There is a great section of animation with Sakura playing basketball that I actually rewound the episode to watch again. The quick action really helped get across the point that Sakura is oddly good at every athletic thing she does because of her cardcaptor genes.
In another scene, Akiho and Syaoran are vying in a game of badminton that is running very close until a mysterious bout of hail starts. Sakura senses something and draws the conclusion that a card is behind the hail, though I don’t think we need Sakura’s senses to understand that a card is creating this sudden hail storm.
During the battle for the card, Syaoran shows his stuff by using some advanced fire magic to melt away the ice and reveal the cards core. Even Syaoran’s magic needs to be stepped up when dealing with these powerful Clear Cards, and this seems to upset him for no other reason than him having to use a longer incantation (possibly).
After the card core is revealed, Sakura pounces and captures the Hail card. Syaoran is terribly distracted after the encounter, and I’m not really sure where his head is at. I don’t understand why using more powerful magic is such a problem. Maybe it has something to do with the foreshadowed battle with Kaito.
It could also be Syaoran simply struggling with growing up.
We move to Sakura house later where she finishes a conversation with Yuki. More interestingly, and worrisome, is Kero’s recent sleeping, however. It’s as if he is losing magic, unable to keep going. Something is siphoning his energy, but no one seems to be the wiser. I’m very worried that Kero is going to be unusable soon.
The episode ends with Sakura having another dream where the mysterious figure, whom we know now as Akiho, pulling Sakura’s key away as Sakura shouts and asks who this person is. We can hear Akiho’s voice say “because” a few times before Sakurs shakes herself awake. Outside the house, we see the mysterious figure outside the dream, and I have to assume Akiho now knows the target of her dreams.
I liked portions of this episode, while finding the card-of-the-week fighting boring as always without any special animation focus. I personally wish that we had more mysterious Akiho in this than what we got; there will of course be more time for that since the girl knows who she wants her something from.
It may just be me, but this show is slated for 24 episodes, and I am a little worried that we won’t be able to wrap this arc successfully before the end of spring. I’ve been wrong before, though, so let’s hope my worries are unfounded and the writers and can pull through.