Miracles of the Mundane and Magical Kind in Cardcaptor Sakura (Dec. 2018 OWLS Tour)

Time for another tour.

If it’s your first time here, welcome. This is the Spellbook and you can call me Aria (not to be confused with Arria from Fujinsei). If you’re here, you’re probably familiar with the Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-respect, i.e. OWLS, but if you’re not, then you can head on over to that website I linked to check out what the group aims for and what we’re capable of.

 “‘Tis the season where miracles happen. For December’s theme, we will be exploring faith in anime and pop culture. We will discuss some of the miracles that enter a character’s life during their darkest moments. Some of their questions we will explore: how does a “miracle” change a person’s life? How do we define miracles? Can miracles only happen due to a legend or a mystical being? Or do miracles happen every day, but we just don’t see it? We hope that you enjoy this holiday season! Happy holidays! –  the OWLS Team <3” (edited for clarity)

Happy holidays, indeed. (Source: Cardcaptor Sakura ep 35)

The connection I made with this concept of “miracle” was a less faith-based meaning which meant my ideas all focussed on magic-based anime, such as magical girl shows, Magic-kyun! Renaissance and Classicaloid. In the end, I went with the original Cardcaptor Sakura, since my watching speed on that is slower than molasses…not to mention December is a great time for blog advertising, so using a not-so-obscure series helps.

Sidebar: I’m not going to speak about anything specific to Clear Card here, so don’t worry about things like that.


Cardcaptor Sakura (henceforth CCS) is notable in that it values the slice-of-life element more than other shows of its ilk, which is part of what makes it a unique experience among magical girl shows. Placing heavy emphasis on Sakura’s daily life is something that would help younger kids – those around Sakura’s age, and even those who used to be Sakura’s age – to see how wonderful life really is, while also fitting the idea that miracles happen every day. After all, the things we do and routines we have may not change our lives for the better, but they’re what we have to deal with, regardless of whether we’re eight or eighty. (It also helps that Sakura is mighty relatable…)

Family, cake, slice of life…geddit?…Okay, I think Irina’s sense of humour is rubbing off on me…(Source: Cardcaptor Sakura ep 29)

Furthermore, CCS emphasises the importance of family, whether found, romantically-related or blood-related (or even a combo of those!). Sakura’s problems are normally limited to cards targeting those she knows or events she thinks are important to her, which from a meta perspective keeps the story from jumping from place to place too much and ensures side characters are introduced gradually. That may not seem like it fits the idea of “miracles” at first, but it’s interconnected with the previous point – the idea of “fate” woven through other series that Sakura can be said to appear in, i.e. Xxxholic and Tsubasa, means even the smallest of meetings is a miracle in and of itself. However, relationships are treated with a more humanistic edge in CCS while in Xxxholic/Tsubasa, the relationships formed are a lot more business-like and tenuous due to the jumping between worlds in the latter and the shop pretense in the former.

Meanwhile, back in CCS proper, it’s Sakura’s relationships with others that often gets her out of pickles, whether it be trading chore time with Touya to catch more cards, having the guidance of Kero or being backed up by her usual crew, among other things…not to mention there’s the episode where she’s lured over a cliff by what she believes to be her mother, but what Yukito said previously in the episode snapped her out of her funk. The fact Sakura is able to maintain such positive relationships (despite her occasional squabbles) is the key to how she is able to enjoy her daily life and seal Clow Cards, which must be a miracle for those of us who’ve never sealed a Clow Card in our lives.

Then, of course, it has Clow Card hijinks. (This post wouldn’t be a post about “miracles” without ‘em, really.) Contrasting the fantastical with the everyday elements makes both stand out in sharp relief, plus the idea of the series is to watch Sakura as she matures in both a magical and physical sense by capturing cards. CCS itself is all about the little things, including what can be done with Clow Cards, and whether it’s just a rainbow produced to brighten a lonely man’s day or flowers produced to bring Sonomi and Fujitaka some closure in regards to an argument about Nadeshiko, the fact its conflicts are small and take their time to unfold prove magic may be the cause or conduit for miracles, but they don’t comprise everything. It’s the people involved that give miracles their beating heart, after all.


Anyways, I’m first in this blog tour (so that I don’t have to worry about having OWLS duties collide with the 12 Days of Anime), so Irina’s up next (hence the joke earlier). Look forward to whatever she has to say and don’t forget to enjoy your holidays!

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