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Cardcaptors is the English adaptation of the Japanese anime series Cardcaptor Sakura, which is based on the manga series of the same name written and illustrated by the manga group Clamp. The 70-episode Cardcaptor Sakura was produced by Madhouse and aired on Japan's NHK from April 7, 1998 to March 21, 2000. In 2000, Nelvana licensed the anime series for North American broadcast and distribution and contracted Ocean Studios to make an English dub, renaming it Cardcaptors. Cardcaptors aired in the United States on The WB's Kids' WB programming block from June 17, 2000[3] to December 14, 2001.

The English adaptation (Cardcaptors) that aired on Kids' WB was edited down to 39 episodes and featured heavily edited and reordered episodes, with several episodes left out completely. The editing was done to refocus the series to be more action oriented for the appeal of male viewers, as they were seen as the largest audience of animation at the time. To achieve this, episodes focusing on Sakura were removed so that the series started with Li's arrival in the episode "Sakura's Rival" (the eighth episode of the Japanese version). Additionally, character names were changed, some Japanese text was changed to English, and controversial subjects such as same-sex relationships were edited out. The musical score was also completely replaced with new music and some of the sound effects were replaced when they could not be separated into separate tracks.

Cardcaptors premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block on Monday, June 4, 2001 but was short lived on the block, completing its run on June 22, 2001.


The series begins in the city of Readington with Sakura Avalon, the ten-year-old daughter of a widowed archaeologist, who stumbles upon an ancient book in her father's study. When Sakura opens the "Clow Book" she accidentally releases a set of magical cards called "Clow Cards". Once the cards are released, she is confronted by the guardian of the cards, Cerberus, who had been asleep when Sakura opened the book. Cerberus makes Sakura sign a contract agreeing that she will re-collect all the cards before they bring havoc to the world.

Each card has its own personality and characteristics and can assume alternate forms when activated. As she finds each card, she battles its magical personification using other sealed cards and defeats it to seal it away. Cerberus acts as her guide, while her best friend and second cousin Madison Taylor films her exploits and provides her with battle costumes. Sakura's older brother Tori Avalon watches over her, while pretending that he is unaware of what is going on. Li Showron, a distant relative of Clow Reed, believes that he should be the one to inherit the Clow Cards and tries to capture the cards for himself. However, the two eventually become allies in their quest to seal the Clow Cards.


Sakura Avalon — Sakura Avalon is the titular protagonist and the eponymous heroine of Cardcaptor Sakura. Sakura is portrayed as a well-loved, pretty, cheerful, cute and at times naïve ten-year old. Named after the Japanese word for "cherry blossom", Sakura is skilled in sports at school, being called the "best baton twirler in school" by her friends. However, she hates math and has an open fear of ghosts. Sakura maintains a crush on Julian Star for most of the series, but when she finally confesses to him, she is gently rejected and she realizes that she loved him because of his resemblance to her father. Soon after, Sakura develops similar feelings towards Li, although she doesn't realize them until he confesses.

Li Showron — Li Showron is the supporting character and a distant relative of Clow Reed, the creator of the Clow Cards. As such, he believes that he should be the one to inherit the Clow Cards and tries to capture the cards for himself. As the series progresses, he comes to respect Sakura and becomes her friend and ally. He eventually falls in love with her, though she is slow to realize it due to her own feelings for Julian Star. Li manages to catch several cards by playing a major role in helping Sakura seal them. He is allowed to attempt the final judgment but fails. Li is shown to have similar powers to Sakura, such as sensing Clow Cards and magical auras, is a skilled martial artist, and wields a sword which he can use to cast spells when equipped with incantation papers. He can also use a device dubbed a "lasenboard" in Cardcaptors, which can detect and direct him to magical entities.

Cerberus — Cerberus is the appointed guardian of the book which holds the Clow Cards. He is one of two magical creatures created by Clow Reed along with the Clow Cards. Before his death, Clow appointed Cerberus as the one to select the potential candidate to be the next master of the cards. After Sakura accidentally releases the cards, Cerberus chooses her to be the candidate and teaches her the basics of capturing the cards. Throughout the series, he displays an extensive knowledge of mysticism. After Sakura passes the Final Judgment to become the Clow Cards master, Cerberus remains with her as a friend, companion, adviser, and protector when new threats appear.

Madison Taylor — Madison Taylor is the best friend of Sakura, and her second cousin on their mothers' sides. The daughter of the president of Taylor Toy Company, Madison lives a life of wealth and is watched over by a team of female bodyguards. She has access to a variety of prototype technological gadgets from her mother's company, and supplies Sakura and Cerberus with different communication devices throughout the series. She speaks with a "valley girl" accent and is a talented singer, and is shown performing in various school events. Her musical ability causes her to be targeted by both the Voice and Song cards. When she learns of Sakura's new role as a Cardcaptor, she insists that Sakura must wear "special outfits" and begins providing Sakura with the various costumes she wears during her captures as well as accompanying her on missions to record the events with her video camera.

Meilin Rae — Meilin is a character that appears only in the anime adaptation. Introduced in episode 20, she is a very impulsive and overconfident girl, as well as Li's cousin and fiancée. As children living in Hong Kong, they both trained in martial arts under the tutelage of Wang Wei. In coming to Tokyo, Meilin intends to help Li gather the Clow Cards, and actively dislikes Sakura. As the series progresses, Meilin develops a grudging respect for Sakura that turns into a good friendship by the time Meiling returns to Hong Kong in episode 43. During her initial visit, Meilin seemed to recognize that Li was falling in love with Sakura, but it wasn't until she briefly returned in episode 60 that she acknowledges and accepts Sakura as the person Li loves. Unlike Li, Meilin has no magical abilities, relying solely on her physical fighting abilities and a healthy dose of pride. Her lack of powers and tendency to leap before thinking, however, results in her hindering more than helping Li in most battles against the cards.

Tori Avalon — Tori Avalon is Sakura's older brother. Though he teases her frequently, he cares a great deal for her and works to protect her. He is fully aware of what she is doing as a Cardcaptor, and regularly takes on several part-time jobs that put him in a position to be nearby when she is working on capturing a card. He also initially dislikes Li, knowing that one day Li will "take her away" from him. Tori possesses several magical powers, including the ability to see ghosts and other non-humans, the ability to sense when Sakura is in danger, and mild precognition. He has a close relationship with his friend Julian, despite knowing he is the alter-ego of Yue. To save them both, he eventually gives all of his magical powers to Yue, making him promise to protect Sakura in his stead as well as himself (and, by extension, Julian).

Yue (Julian Star) — Yue is one of two Guardians of the Clow Cards, along with Cerberus. Whereas Cerebus is the elector of the new Clow Card Master, Yue is the judge who is allowed to test the candidate for their worthiness. He spends most of the series in his temporary form, Julian Star, who initially has no memory or knowledge of his other self. Unlike Cerberus, Yue's powers are heavily dependent on the power of his master. Sakura's power is not yet strong enough to sustain him after he awakens, particularly after she begins transforming the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards. Yue's growing need for power is reflected in Julian's ravenous appetite, and later constant sleeping. Similarly, the deficit affects Yue himself in instances such as the blatant failure of his magic which causes he and Sakura to fall out of the sky during one of Eli's synthesized 'situations'. Eventually, Sakura's brother Tori reveals that he knows Yue and Julian are not human and gives his power to Yue to sustain his existence so he does not lose Julian.

Layla Mackenzie — Layla Mackenzie is a shrine maiden and the daughter of the priest at the Tsukimine Shrine. She first appears in the series as a new substitute teacher at Tomoeda Elementary School for the math class of Sakura and Li. While Sakura instantly likes the teacher and feels a connection with her, Li is distrustful and believes she is up to no good. When Sakura, Li, Meilin and Madison are trapped by the Maze card, Layla uses a mysterious bell to break through Maze's walls allowing Sakura to capture it.

Eli Moon — Eli Moon is the principal antagonist in the second half of the series, commonly called the "Master of the Clow" arc. The reincarnation of Clow Reed, Eli has both Clow's memories and all of his magic power. He has a magical staff similar to Clow Reed's, can restrain Clow's creations Yue and Cerberus, and has created his own similar pair of guardians: Ruby Moon and Spinner Sun. He moves from England to transfer to Reading Elementary school after Sakura passed the Last Judgement and became the official master of the cards. He is depicted as a quiet, mature boy while at school, though he also shows a mischievous side when he regularly joins classmate Zachary in weaving complex lies about the history of objects, places, and events. While seeming a normal student to Sakura, Li is suspicious of him, mainly due to the fact that Eli is overly nice to Sakura which makes Li jealous. It is soon shown that Julian and Cerberus are able to detect his magical signature as being Clow's, and Eli must erase Julian's memories after he is accidentally seen by him.



Color Season Episodes Toonami Premiere Toonami Finale
1 17 June 4, 2001 June 22, 2001
2 22 Unaired

The version of Cardcaptors that aired on television in North America consisted of 39 episodes, which were heavily edited and reordered from the original 70 episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura. However, The entire 70 episodes were dubbed into English by Nelvana and were released in North America by Geneon (Pioneer) in nine VHS and DVD compilation volumes between November 2000 and July 2002. It also released the unedited Cardcaptor Sakura series with English subtitles in 18 DVD compilation volumes between November 2000 and November 2003.

The Cardcaptor Sakura DVDs went out-of-print at the end of 2006 when the Geneon (Pioneer) license expired. NIS America acquired the rights to the series and re-released the entire series with Japanese and an unedited English audio track (Animax Asia's dub) on DVD and Blu-ray on August 5, 2014.[4]

Broadcast History[]

The first season of Cardcaptor Sakura consisting of 35 episodes, aired in Japan on NHK from April 7, 1998 to December 29, 1998. The second season of 11 episodes aired from April 6, 1999 to June 22, 1999. The third season, containing 24 episodes, aired from September 7, 1999 to March 21, 2000.

An English dub produced by Nelvana and Oceans Studios titled Cardcaptors premiered in the United States on The WB's Kids' WB programming block on June 17, 2000.[3] The first season, consisting of 17 episodes concluded on December 2, 2000. While the series was on hiatus, and to promote the impending premiere of the second season, the WB's sister network Cartoon Network aired reruns of the first season from June 4-22, 2001.[1][2] The second season then premiered on Kids' WB! on Saturday, June 23, 2001. The final episode of Cardcaptors premiered on December 28, 2001.

The Nelvana/Ocean dub also aired in Australia on Network Ten and Cartoon Network, in Ireland on RTÉ2, in the United Kingdom on CiTV and Nickelodeon, and in Canada on Teletoon (which also aired the episodes with a French dub).[5][6] An alternative English dub of the series was produced by Omni Productions in Hong Kong to air on Animax Asia and it has been shown entirely unedited and uncut making it much closer to the original Japanese version, which it broadcast on its English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

The series also aired in Latin America and India on each country's respective Cartoon Network with localized dubs.

  • Japan (NHK) — April 7, 1998 - March 21, 2000
  • United States (Kids' WB!) — June 17, 2000[3] - December 28, 2001
  • United States (Cartoon Network) — June 4, 2001[1] - June 22, 2001[2]
  • Canada (Teletoon) — August 23, 2000[6] - 2002[7]
  • Latin America (Cartoon Network) — November 1, 2000[8] - 2003[9]
  • United Kingdom (Nickelodeon) — 2001[5]
  • United Kingdom (CITV) — 2001
  • India (Cartoon Network) — September 2001[10] - 2002
  • Australia (Network Ten) — 2001
  • Australia (Cartoon Network) — 2001

Toonami Broadcast History[]

The first season (17 episodes) of Cardcaptors began airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block on Monday, June 4, 2001 at 5:00 PM, replacing Superman: The Animated Series in the lineup. From June 21-22, 2001, the series additionally took over the 5:30 PM time slot, pre-empting Tenchi Universe, and two episodes aired each day. After the Friday, June 22, 2001 broadcast, the series was removed from Toonami and Tenchi Universe and The Big O replaced it in the lineup. Cardcaptors aired on Toonami as a cross promotion for Turner Broadcasting/Time Warner owned sister network The WB, as the premiere of the second season came the next day on Saturday, June 23, 2001 during the Kids' WB! programming block. The series would also later air as part of The WB's version of Toonami from September 17, 2001 to October 26, 2001 and from December 3-28, 2001.

The series aired in India on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block from September 2001[10] to 2002.

  • Toonami (United States) — June 4, 2001[1] - June 22, 2001[2]
    • Toonami (Kids' WB!) — September 17, 2001 - October 26, 2001; December 3-28, 2001
  • Toonami (India) — September 2001[10] - 2002

External Links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Toonami to gain CardCaptors? ". April 25, 2001. Retrieved on September 30, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Upcoming Toonami Schedules ". June 16, 2001. Retrieved on September 30, 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "CARD CAPTORS COMING EARLY? ". May 30, 2000. Retrieved on November 20, 2015. 
  4. "NIS America Licenses Cardcaptor Sakura TV Anime ". Anime News Network. April 30, 2014. Retrieved on May 1, 2014. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Card Captors ". May 6, 2001. Retrieved on January 10, 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Canadian TV Anime News ". August 12, 2000. Retrieved on September 30, 2015. 
  7. "Daily Listings: Wednesday, August 7th, 2002 ". August 7, 2002. Retrieved on January 10, 2017. 
  8. "CARD CAPTOR SAKURA AIRING IN LATIN AMERICA ". October 30, 2000. Retrieved on November 20, 2015. 
  9. "Schedule ". February 1, 2003. Retrieved on January 10, 2017. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Cartoon Network launches programming franchise Toonami on 8 September ". August 28, 2001. Retrieved on July 31, 2016. 
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