Otaku USA Magazine
Why Cardcaptor Sakura Is Still Beautiful 25 Years Later

Cardcaptor Sakura 25th Anniversary

It’s a big year for magical girl anniversaries! Just as Madoka Magica turns 10, the Cardcaptor Sakura manga turns 25. CLAMP is celebrating their popular series’s big year in style, and we’re right on board with them!

A quarter of a century later, the manga and anime are both still close to our hearts. Here are a few (of many) reasons why we still love this beautiful series.


Shoujo for Days

Putting the Sakura in Cardcaptor Sakura

It almost goes without saying that when CLAMP is around, everything’s going to be super shoujo. And Cardcaptor Sakura doubles the sweetness, as the group’s trademark lovely art transfers perfectly to a magical girl story.

Between the magical battles and the ethereal supporting cast, there are plenty of opportunities for the ladies of CLAMP to show off their signature style. And that goes double when you consider Sakura’s ever-changing wardrobe.


Magical Girl OOTD

Sakura in one of her many outfits

A well-designed magical girl outfit is a beautiful thing to see. But Cardcaptor Sakura wasn’t content with just one. On the contrary: she got a new outfit every time she went out to get a Clow Card! Thank the motivated Tomoyo for this, but also (naturally) CLAMP themselves.

As much as we love magical girls’ traditional costumes, seeing everything Sakura Kinomoto gets to wear is a delight. It also means cosplayers will never run out of inspiration. She has dozens of battle costumes: more than enough to keep a fan busy for years!


More Mature Stories

Sakura fight

Cardcaptor Sakura hit right as the magical girl genre was changing forever. Only a few years prior, Sailor Moon turned magical girls from Bewitched-esque schoolgirls to fighting heroines nearly overnight. Artists and studios everywhere wanted to get in on the action, and began creating their own monster-of-the-week magical girl anime and manga in the same vein.

But CLAMP chose to buck the trend early. While there were recurring battles, there were also romantic and dramatic undertones that didn’t necessarily follow the pacing of these other series. Too, secondary characters had more elaborate stories, and more serious topics were broached. It may not have gone full Madoka Magica, but it was an early-days sign that there was more than one way to be a fighting heroine.

With the 25th anniversary underway, we’re looking forward to what Cardcaptor Sakura may bring this year. What are your favorite memories of this magical girl manga and anime? And will you be rewatching (or re-reading) it to celebrate?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.