Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card picks up on a slow note after it’s brief break between seasons. Episode thirteen doesn’t offer a new card for us, breaking the monster-of-the-week cycle previous established, but we are reintroduced to Meiling and enjoy a peaceful day of normal life before the story picks up back up at the usual pace as of episode fourteen.
Thirteen begins with some standard cheer practice, that leads us into Meiling’s reappearance in Sakura’s life. Via text, Meiling informs Sakura that she is back in town and awaiting outside the school for her.
Fun fact, I actually used to hate Meiling, but only began to like her at the very end of the original series. She’s a pretty cool character, though she was introduced poorly in the beginning and seemed to be in love with Syaoran more than a normal cousin should be.
Syaoran runs out of school after hearing that Meiling is in town, looking worried and upset that she is in Japan. However, since this is never followed up on, his worry seems to only be familial surprise rather than actual worry for her safety in town.
Anyway, in typical Meiling fashion, she forces her way into Sakura’s home last minute asking to stay with her family for the time she is in Japan. As the girls catch up in Sakura’s room, Sakura’s father calls and gets a small introduction to Meiling’s proper side as she thanks him for his hospitality. Please be reminded that Sakura’s dad is the chillest dude in the world because he simply doesn’t mind that this random girl he never met or heard of before is allowed to stay in his house.
Pay careful attention to how Meiling eats cookies. It’s so adorable.
We cut for a brief moment we travel over to Yukito and Toya’s conversation where we learn that Toya is developing a new power, though he is unwilling to talk about it with anyone. Whatever this power is, no one is able to sense it or understand it fully, so it’s likely something to do with Akiho, Kaito, and that little book.
Returning back to Sakura and Meiling, the girls catch up over gyoza before retiring for the night. Sakura learns from Meiling that Syaoran likely returned Japan in part to see Sakura, though that doesn’t offer any comfort to Sakura due to Syaoran’s recent behavior.
Before bed, Sakura notices that Meiling has cat ears and tail that disappear before Sakura can draw full attention to them. The issue goes in and out, and remains unresolved as we move away to the next episode. Our bridge this round is Akiho who has a brief appearance with her book where she recounts the contents she is reading to Kaito. In the book, Alice meets a girl with cat ears and a tail, but every time she tries to tell someone about the strange occurrence- the ears and tail disappear.
It’s pretty obvious that what is happening in the Akiho’s book is reflecting Sakura’s real life, but to what end we don’t quite know, yet. I’m not sure if the book is readable based on how far Sakura is proceeding in her own life, like the journal page in JRPG’s, or if as Akiho deciphers more of the book, the more real life begins to imitate the pages. Either reader can work, but my money is in the basket of the latter. A card appearing each time Akin deciphers more of the book fits best with the narrative style of CLAMP, in my opinion.
A seamless transition happens between episodes thirteen and fourteen where we wake up Sakura through Kero and Meiling staring creepily at her. The kids then all have fancy Chinese porridge breakfast before heading out for the day.
Meanwhile, Syaoran is at home doing magic stuff to create some sort of tiny ball that will come in handy later in the episode when all looks bleak. This causes him to be late, and though everyone else is used to his tardiness, Meiling is a little put-off because Syaoran used to never be late.
The kids all decided to meet at the shrine for a fun day of shopping at the shrine market. Unfortunately, as the previous episode implied, Sakura begins to see cat ears and a tail on Meiling again, and as was before, the animals appendages disappear. As the day progresses, Sakura then sees her friends all begin to turn into animals with Akiho beginning the transformation as a rabbit. Sakura loses her composure when she notices that Syaoran is sans animal parts and shouts that she sees everyone as animals just before she and her newfound companions are sucked into a huge, plains-style closed space.
Once in the closed space, all the animal-kin begin to transformation fully into the creatures they were sharing ears with before. Naoko has the most terrifying transformation as a squirrel-person. Her hands are very scary, and I would very much like to never see this particular segment again.
Obviously shaken, Sakura summons her staff to begin dealing with the problem; however, she is unable to locate the specific area where the card is. Her friends finally see Sakura and they bolt, running away as a huge storm breaches the horizon. Just before all looks lost, Syaoran appears and freezes time before a burning tree can kill all their friends.
It turns out that the ball-thing Syaoran made earlier was a time freeze spell that is allowing him and Sakura a moment’s reprieve to think about the situation. During this, Sakura realizes that this situation seems to be happening because she wished to go to the zoo today. Sakura is terribly upset and unable to focus because she begins to blame the entire situation on herself, but Syaoran gives her what she really needs most- a hug and to be told it’s okay.
Syaoran has used more energy than he can manage, and before he passes out he asks Sakura to wish very hard for everything to go back to normal and it will. I’m not sure if Syaoran knows more about this sitauaton than we do, or if he’s just using the information he was given to help resolve the problem. Either way, after he passes out, Sakura does what he said and the illusion is broken.
Sakura finds herself in the middle of the forest outside the shrine area where the card is located. She is able to easily catch the Mirage card now. When she returns to her friends, they say they were worried when she disappeared. Luckily, they didn’t seem to remember Sakura shouting about their animal parts.
Before the episode ends, we see Sakura speaking with Tomoyo where she makes her own pact to start getting stronger so Syaoran and her friends don’t have to go through this situation again. I agree that it’s important for Sakura to grow her mental stability, but I also worry, much like Tomoyo does here, that Sakura is pushing herself far too hard.
Even though we had a small break form the show between seasons, the pickup is seamless and we are back in the relative action that is Clear Card. Though it’s still a little slow to move, we are progressing the full story now and moving into the mystery behind Akiho and book. It feels like we are close to a break, and since the ending now features Akiho’s rabbit friend- we are also close a magical awakening and a new character introduction. However, Meiling has to go home first since she’s simply an ancillary character that helped moved us out of our previous rut. Once that girl is on a plane, I’m thinking out next ball will finally drop.