It’s been over 15 years, but Sakura is back! Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is adapted from the manga of the same name, a sequel to the original also authored by the writing group CLAMP which began serialization in July 2016. The new story picks up right after the last left off, which is perfectly fitting for a central production team that are doing exactly the same. With the pedigree of the original Cardcaptor behind them, we’re shaking up our usual formula by catching up with what the staff and cast have been up to since the original!
Morio Asaka is returning to his role as director of the series and he hasn’t spent the intervening years resting on his laurels. Since the conclusion of Cardcaptor Sakura, Asaka has been keeping busy directing some of the most acclaimed shojo anime to hit the small screen. After revisited CLAMP’s work directing Chobits, he helmed three anime any shojo fan is sure to remember fondly, Nana, Chihayafuru, and MY love STORY!! He’s even dipped into some considerably darker content storyboarding for Monster and Claymore.
Character designs are by Kunihiko Hamada, replacing the original Kumiko Takahashi. Hamada was likely brought onto the project by Asaka as the two have been collaborating for years, acting as character designer for Nana, Chihayafuru, MY love STORY!!, and even Monster.
Members of the CLAMP group Nanase Ohkawa (now Ageha Ohkawa) and Mokona Apapa (now just Mokona) are both returning to their roles for Clear Card. Ohkawa’s usual responsibilities include working on the anime adaptations of their manga. In addition to working on the manga directly, she’s been involved with the production of Chobits, Tsubasa, xxxHOLiC, and Blood-C writing scripts, screenplays, scenarios, or working on series composition, even acting as the executive producer for xxxHOLiC. Mokona is reprising her role doing some of the most important work on Cardcaptor Sakura as the designer for Sakura’s costumes and the Clow Cards.
Takayuki Negishi is back working on music. He’s spent the intervening years working on prominent series including Tokyo Mew Mew, Strawberry 100%, and the somewhat darker Mnemosyne. You’re probably familiar with his arrangement in the original Attack on Titan ED. Meanwhile Masafumi Mima returns as sound director, having spent the entirety of the intervening years feverishly adding to his sprawling list of credits. If you’ve watched anything Pokemon since the original Cardcaptor Sakura, then you’ve experienced his work.
As previously mentioned, the primary voice cast will be reprising their roles from the original Cardcaptor Sakura. Where 15 years of experience can aid individuals on the creative team, it will be interesting to see how it affects the voice talent. Where experience (along with a 1-year timeskip) might inform their roles, voices have a habit of changing, so individuals might not sound precisely as we remember them.
Sakura Tenge is back as the lead Sakura. While picking up more younger female roles, she has also added the more imposing voice of Saber to her roles in Carnival Phantasm and will be double duty leading roles this season voicing Saber in SHAFT’s production of Fate/Extra. Summer season you may have noticed her voice as Patricia in Tsuredure Children or, several seasons past, as the voice of the artificial intelligence X in Gatchman Crowds.
Junko Iwao returns as the charming Tomoyo. It’s worth mentioning she played the lead Mima in Perfect Blue shortly before Cardcaptor and has since reprised her role of Evangelion’s Hikari in the Rebuild movies as well as Kikyo Zoldyck in the 2011 Hunter x Hunter anime. More recently she played the teacher Saotome in Madoka Magica. Motoko Kumai is back as Shaoran, having starred as Sumomo in another CLAMP adaptation Chobits and played servant to Junko in Hunter x Hunter as one of the Zoldyck family butlers, Canary.
Kero-chan’s voice, Aya Hisakawa AKA Sailor Moon’s Ami, may have had the most active stint since 2001, playing Retsu in Bleach, Yuki in Fruits Basket, Ray in Eureka Seven, Youko in 12 Kingdoms, and Chise’s mother Akiko in The Ancient Magus’ Bride. All of these voices are significantly more muted than the bite-sized mystical beast, so we’ll see how fast she can drop back into Kero-chan’s usual timbre.
If you loved the original Cardcaptor Sakura, there’s little reason not to get excited about the new one. All the creative staff have been developing a growing ouvre of impressive works in the intervening years with the one new name on the main staff, Kunihiko Hamada, coming in after working with director Morio Asaka on many of her most acclaimed projects. The primary voice cast is back and the whole production is under the same studio Madhouse.
I can’t emphasize what an impressive feat it is for all of these individuals to come back together to after a decade and a half to work on the next arc of the Cardcaptor story. It’s almost like someone used the Time card...