by Shannon Hochman
Many of us who grew up in the 90’s have a grudging attitude towards the new generation of anime fans that are exploring the niche in a world that makes it far more accessible than it ever was even five years ago. We resent that they peruse the likes of Naruto and Bleach without a care for any of the retro classics that helped define an entire genre. But that begs the question as to whether or not it’s really their fault. After all, you’re lucky to find a rogue copy of Paradise Kiss or something from the Tenchi meta lying around, much less something as definitive as Sailor Moon or Urusei Yatsura. Maybe it’s a little unfair to blame the uninitiated when a good number of those familiar, classic titles aren’t even in print anymore.
That’s where Dark Horse comes in, flaunting beautiful new reprints of both Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits, two amazing series that any fan of anime and manga should have in their lexicon. Both represent high points in the career of manga powerhouse, CLAMP, a quartet of ladies who began in the realm of doujinshi (or fan comics) and continued on to revolutionize the approach to manga for everyone else. Their current projects are the parallel-running XXX-Holic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, which actually features many characters who appeared in older CLAMP titles.
Cardcaptor Sakura is reminiscent of a time when the magical girl category practically dominated shojo manga, though Cardcaptor went far above and beyond the call of duty. Following the exploits of a young girl named Sakura, who accidentally releases a deck of magical cards into the world and is charged with the task of collecting them again, Cardcaptor boasts lovable characters and phenomenal art. Many of the characters, such as Sakura’s brother and his best friend, have incredibly developed side stories and relationships that are sure to endear any reader, not to mention secrets that keep the plot a constantly evolving entity. The drawings are tight and detailed, with a wide array of wonderful outfits and cool monsters. The pages are all masterfully laid out, fluid and loaded with dynamic drawings. Cardcaptor is especially a must-read for younger girls looking for an involved story geared towards them: Sakura endures many situations familiar to middle school girls, such as having a first crush, or dealing with a rival who doesn’t seem to like her very much at all! At its core, Cardcaptor Sakura presents a heartfelt story with a lot of charm and soul to go around for all. Continue reading