Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes #22: Cardcaptor Sakura Opening Songs

When I first started watching anime in its original Japanese format, I always thought it was really interesting how they approached their opening credits.  First, anime uses the opening song as a chance to flex their animation muscles.

Rather than being a bunch of random clips strung together to the music, it’s animation created specifically for the opening and is often done in their highest caliber of artistry.  Basically, it’s gorgeous.  With, of course, lots and lots of thoughtful walking, gazing off into the distance, and hair blowing in the wind shots.

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An example of the classic “gazing off into the distance” shot, courtesy of Cardcaptor Sakura‘s first opening, “Catch You Catch Me”.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that it’s common in anime for a new opening song as well as new opening animation to be released with each new season.  Cardcaptor Sakura, an incredibly popular anime that was titled Cardcaptors in the U.S., was probably the first anime I saw this with.  AND I LOVED IT.  It was something entirely different than what we see in the cartoons in the United States.  The fact that the animation studios took this extra step was so cool to me, especially as a kid.

Thus, for Tuesday Tunes this week, I’m going to show you opening songs for Cardcaptor Sakura‘s three seasons.  This is done not only to hopefully let those who aren’t really into anime see something new like this, but also to celebrate the new series Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, which will come out in January of 2018!  (That’s nearly 18-years after the original three-season anime ended if you didn’t know, so it’s freaking cool.)

Cardcaptor Sakura Opening Songs

Before I got into the original series opening songs, can we just geek out about the Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card prologue OAD.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically exactly what happened in the manga, finally put on screen in order to bridge the story arc between the end of season 3 (Sakura Card Arc) and the beginning of the new series.

If you haven’t watched it yet, gear up to pee yourself a little and go watch it here, thanks to YouTuber Wan Pow.  Originally released with the third volume of the Clear Card manga, this original animation is beautifully rendered, introduces us to the animation style of the new series, bring back all the feels of the original anime series, and, yeah, you should probably watch it.  IT’S SO GORGEOUS.

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Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card prologue animation.  SO CUTE.

Of course, the reason that this new animation and this the announcement of this new series has me so giddy is that the original anime is just that dear to me.  Cardcaptor Sakura was one of the first animes that I not only watched, but it was one of the first that I found out my friends were watching, too.  I love this series, and I love the music.  (Yes, even the Cardcaptors theme.  Dang, I love that tune.)

Season 1 Opening – “Catch You Catch Me”

My dad, knowing that I loved Cardcaptors on Kids’ WB (do you guys remember that?!), ran along the original Japanese DVDs and ended up purchasing them for me.  I remember popping the DVD in and seeing “Catch You Catch Me” start the episode.

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Okay, I know it’s dorky, but I was awestruck.  This is the first time I saw a show opening like this, something catered and created in a way that was artistically distinct from the clip-grab-bag of the Cardcaptors opening song I had been seeing every week on TV.  It was such a cool experience for me, realizing that something as simple as the tune that announces your favorite show is coming on could be so pretty.

Needless to say, ten-year-old me was hooked.  And, dude, “Catch You Catch Me” is so perfectly suited to Cardcaptor Sakura.  It’s sweet, upbeat, and positive, and that song still holds a dear place in my heart!

Season 2 Opening – “Dreaming”

“Dreaming”, the opening for the second season of Cardcaptor Sakura, was my introduction into the song-for-every-season anime tradition. I remember being confused at first, like, “Wait, did I miss something?”  Once I figured it out, of course, I was pretty freaking excited with the idea of a new song and animated sequence for each season.

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My friend and I actually recorded our own recreation for “Dreaming”, we loved it that much.  (Luckily for you, that video footage no longer exists.)  I loved the imagery, Sakura being all pretty, curled up and dreaming.  It was very alluring to my fantastical imagination, that’s for sure.

Season 3 Opening – “Platinum”

Oh my crap, I loved this opening.  Much more serious than the first two of the series, “Platinum” reflects the maturing attitude of season 3 so perfectly I could just spit.  I won’t, but just let that point be made.  Whatever it was.

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Season 3 of Cardcaptor Sakura is everything that we all love so much about the show, especially concerning the developing relationship between titular character Sakura and her classmate and battle buddy, Syaoran.  It’s the one thing that makes Cardcaptor Sakura so distinct as a shoujo because the OTP romance of the show was not the focus of the original series.

Sakura’s job, capturing the Clow Cards, creating the Sakura Cards–this was the series, her developing and maturing as a person in conjunction with what she has been called to do.  It’s the conflicts of the job, what’s asked of her, and how this affects the people she loves, that is the driving plot point of the show.  For a shoujo, that’s a big deal, for the romance to be on the back burner.  While Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is going to be more romance-driven, I hope they stick to the feelings and strengths of the original, allowing Sakura’s story to be more than just a girl in love.

What’s your favorite Cardcaptor Sakura opening?  Are you excited for the new Clear Card series?

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