Cardcaptor Sakura has another magical girl hiding in plain sight, and her name is Tomoyo Daidouji!
While she may not get the same amount of screen time as Sakura, there’s another magical girl lurking just beneath the surface, or, more accurately, just behind the camera. Tomoyo Daidouji is Sakura’s closest friend and confidant, supporting Sakura since she became the Cardcaptor in elementary school. However, Sakura may not be the only magical girl Tomoyo is keeping under wraps. Able to produce a camera out of thin air and the incredible speed with which Tomoyo produces new battle costumes for Sakura, she’s surely a magical girl in her own respect.
First and foremost, Tomoyo is a master of time management. Like many Japanese junior high school students, Tomoyo has a lot on her plate. There’s course work, along with her club activities, which for Tomoyo happens to be the choir. We know that Tomoyo excels in both areas, breezing through her classes and acting as one of the solo performers for the club. It’s clear that Tomoyo puts time and practice into both her studies and her singing, and yet on top of this, she also manages to find plenty of time to spend with friends. From a casual flower viewing to helping Sakura secure a new card at a moment’s notice, Tomoyo somehow manages to do it all.
However, I can see how this may not convince everyone. Some might say Sakura’s other friends, like Akihiko and Chiharu, also manage to balance work and play with relative ease. To this I would agree, but raise you the point that Tomoyo is able to undertake all her school and club responsibilities and hang out with friends all while dedicating time to not one, but two hobbies near and dear to her heart. Sakura may have her key and the clear cards, but Tomoyo is armed with two magical items of her own: her camcorder and sewing machine.
For her next trick, Tomoyo will pull a camera out of thin air! Tomoyo carries a camera (or two) with her everywhere she goes, pulling it out just in the knick of time to get quality footage of Sakura in action. Tomoyo’s skill in recording has only improved since her elementary school days, given the new technology she now has thanks to her mother’s toy company. Some of the gadgets were even produced thanks to Tomoyo’s own creative suggestions! She can now take her recording to new heights, quite literally, with either a drone, or with a little help from Kero-chan. With these new accessories, Tomoyo is able to record Sakura’s mystical endeavours when she is not even physically present. Yet another magical feat.
Perhaps her most impressive feat is the speed and skill with which she produces battle outfits. I myself am an avid cosplayer, and I believe many cosplayers would agree when I say that Tomoyo turns out costumes at an insane rate. Maybe this wouldn’t be so impressive if costuming was Tomoyo’s sole devotion in life, but we’ve just broken down all the other activities that compete for her time. Given that it seems like Sakura encounters a new clear card every few days, that would put Tomoyo under a constant barrage of tight deadlines, staying up into the wee hours of the night finishing stitching to make sure Sakura is perfect when she yells “Release!”
Let me break down just how much work Tomoyo is putting into each of the outfits she produces for Sakura, because making costumes is nothing less than blood, sweat, and tears (and maybe some hot glue).
Most cosplayers start their process with a reference in mind since they’re basing their outfit off of a certain character. However, Tomoyo doesn’t even start there. She has the added step of designing each and every outfit she creates for Sakura. So not only is Tomoyo a remarkable seamstress, but she can also add fashion designer to her resume, which is a whole separate skill.
After deciding on the design she wants to execute, Tomoyo would have to pattern out each piece of the costume. This involves breaking down the concept idea into actual pieces that when pieced together will create the actual outfit, as well as marking where each piece joins another, where buttons or zippers or pockets belong, etc. It’s not an easy process by any means, and it’s only step one!
When she’s satisfied with the pattern, Tomoyo would go ahead and transfer it onto fabric. But wait a second! Before that she’d have to choose just what kind of fabric would suit the costume she’s making. You might think that this isn’t particularly important, but Tomoyo spares no expense, creating outfits that Sakura can wear in all kinds of situations. When Sakura had to secure Aqua in an onslaught of rain, what did Tomoyo have on hand but an absolutely adorable waterproof frog raincoat. In the original Cardcaptor Sakura, Tomoyo has even prepared a rubber outfit for Sakura when she fought to secure the Thunder card to negate the risk of getting electrocuted. The fact that Tomoyo is so well prepared in crafting outfits for Sakura that she is borderline psychic, knowing exactly what Sakura will need, certainly strikes me as another one of her magical qualities, but I digress. In executing her designs, therefore, Tomoyo is not only fashionable, but also practical.
All right so she’s selected her fabric, and transferred her pattern, so now it’s time to cut everything out. Only when she’s done with all of that could Tomoyo actually start sewing, and sewing, and sewing… Of course Tomoyo prides herself on her designs, so it’s never just a simple garment. She would have to spend extensive amounts of time adding detailing including ribbons, tassels, jewels, and bells. None of this even takes into account all the accessories Tomoyo tends to make to complement Sakura’s costumes including hats, tights, gloves, and shoes. Don’t even get me started on the matching outfits she sometimes pumps out for Kero and Syaoran!
When you consider that most cosplayers can put together a few outfits over the course of several weeks, or even months, the fact that Tomoyo somehow finds the time to create so many battle costumes for Sakura in such a short amount of time truly showcases some near-supernatural ability. And that she’s managed to do it without dropping any of her other responsibilities and hobbies is nothing short of a miracle. So, even though Sakura has the power of the clear cards, Tomoyo is just as much a magical girl too, in her own special way!
Sonia Kahn is a guest writer for Crunchyroll and an amateur cosplayer aspiring to one day be as good at costuming as Tomoyo! She can be found on Instagram @pickacardandpray.