Cardcaptors 1: One Fateful Day (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Easter Egg-Kero's Corner
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||58:55 (Case: 70)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Morio Asaka|
Maggie Blue O'Hara
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Kero holds a pipe in Kero's Corner|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Warning: this is a sensitive issue - there are strong words scattered across the Internet about this/these series. I have been inveigled into altering this review in light of correspondence over what I said originally. I'm not changing what I said about the transfer, but I'm adding more explanation here.
Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime series created from a comic serialized in Kodansha's "Nakayoshi" Comic Magazine. What we are getting is the version that has been dubbed into American. During the dubbing process, some scenes were removed, as were many of the Japanese references. When broadcast in the US (as Cardcaptors) episodes were rearranged - the eighth episode was broadcast first, for example, resulting in considerable confusion of the plot. We don't have that. We're getting the episodes in the same order as the Japanese version - at least for the first three! If you go looking on the web you'll find discussions comparing Cardcaptor Sakura and Cardcaptors; when reading those discussions, remember that this disc is neither of those - it's sort of a half-breed.
It's quite clear that this series is aimed at children - my guess is perhaps 8 to 12 years. For that reason, it seems rather odd that the disc is rated PG (Parental Guidance recommended for persons under 15 years). The reason given is "Supernatural Themes" - I doubt many children have escaped exposure to supernatural themes (witches, magic, and so forth), so I'm surprised at this rating. After much thought, I'm guessing that someone in the Censorship office must have confused the Clow Cards with tarot cards.
Given the age of the intended audience, I consider it perfectly reasonable that it be dubbed. I don't picture children of that age sticking with subtitles for any length of time.
The heroine is a ten year old girl called Sakura Avalon. I like the way that anime seems to offer equal opportunity; if anything, there are more heroines than heroes. Helps make up for the somewhat male-dominated world of Western cartoons.
Sakura is a fairly normal girl. She's good at cheerleading and baton twirling, and in-line skating. She's fairly bright, too - with a father who is a university lecturer, I think it's hereditary. Her father brought home a book that no one could open. Sakura opens the book, and releases the cards it contains. This is unfortunate, because the cards in question are the Clow Cards, each one holding a powerful elemental being. They can wreak havoc in the world, once released. Sakura learns about all of this from the guardian of the book, a small flying teddy bear-like creature (with a tail) called Keroberos, Kero for short (that's pronounced "Keero", not like the abbreviation of "kerosene").
Kero decides that Sakura must recapture the cards she released, so he makes her a Cardcaptor, which gives her some magical powers and control over a wand (the Clow Key). That's important, because she has to use the wand to recapture each card, once she has subdued it. She can use the cards she has already captured to help capture new cards. She also gets help from her good friend Madison Taylor, who videotapes Sakura's adventures, and who insists on providing Sakura with a variety of battle costumes.
Each episode seems to be the story of capturing a single card - the first episode is a little unusual (she sort of captures two), but that's to be expected. Each episode ends with "Kero's Corner" - Kero talking to the audience about what happened in the episode; he spends a fair bit of time talking about the clothes she's wearing. He also hammers home the moral for the story - the show is a little heavy-handed that way.
The disc is set up to play all three episodes in a row. When these episodes were broadcast, each would have been surrounded by the opening and closing credits. Played all in a row, we see the credits only once - the opening credits before the first episode, and the closing credits after the last one.
The show is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. Given that this is a cartoon series, I'd expect that this is the original aspect ratio.
The image is soft, but not offensively so. Being anime, I don't consider shadow detail. There is no apparent low-level noise.
Colour is vivid (especially on the battle costumes!). There are traces of what looks like colour bleed, but I think it is actually meant to indicate motion.
The black lines which outline everything lead to considerable aliasing. It's not attractive, but it is not too bad. There are no visible film artefacts. There are no rainbows (a nasty problem apparent on some anime DVDs, although generally only NTSC). There is some mosquito noise, but it is confined to backgrounds.
There are no subtitles. This will upset the fanatics, who believe that the only acceptable way to view anime is with a Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles. I would have liked subtitles occasionally, because one or two words of dialogue were a little hard to understand.
The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change. With less than 60 minutes of video, the single layer has no trouble holding the whole thing.
There is only one soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded. Again, that won't make the anime fanatics happy - the original Japanese soundtrack has not been included.
The dialogue is generally easy to understand, but the occasional word is hard to make out. I don't think you can really judge audio sync on anime.
The score is rather good, for something that sounds like it is hammered out on a Casiotone. It's credited to Jack Lenz. The theme song is credited to Dave Done.
The soundtrack is not surround encoded, so there is nothing for the surrounds or subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is animated, with music.
We get profiles for Sakura Avalon, Keroberos, and Madison Taylor.
Descriptions of each of the four cards featured in these episodes.
An outline of the basic plot, for those who can't work it out from the episodes.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 versions of this disc are quite different.
One is in Japanese, and subtitled. The names are different (Sakura Kinimoto, for example), and it contains 4 episodes, not 3 (I suspect we get 3 episodes to fit it into a single layer). But it is in the same order as the disc we have
The other is dubbed in the same way as the disc we have, but the order of the episodes is rearranged and apparently makes rather less sense.
Really, it's difficult to compare these discs. If you want this disc for children to watch, then I recommend the dubbed R4 disc. If you're a purist / fanatic, then you must have the R1 subtitled disc, unless you have learnt Japanese to appreciate your anime better, in which case I'm sure you can find an R2 disc without subtitles.
A cheerful series for children, presented reasonably well on DVD, but not for the purist.
The video quality is reasonable, but not good.
The audio quality is fine.
The extras are OK, for text extras.
|DVD||Arcam DV88, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|