|Cardcaptor Sakura character|
Sakura Kinomoto as she looks in Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie
|First appearance||Chapter 1 (manga)|
"Sakura and the Mysterious Book" (original anime)
Sakura Kinomoto (木之本 桜 Kinomoto Sakura) is the main protagonist and title character of Clamp's manga series Cardcaptor Sakura. In the English anime adaptation by Nelvana of the series, Cardcaptors, her name is changed to Sakura Avalon, though it was changed back to her original name in second film's dub by Bang Zoom! Entertainment.
For all Japanese-language productions of the anime (including movies, audio CDs, and video games), Sakura is voiced by Sakura Tange. For the Nelvana English-language dub production, she is voiced by Carly McKillip through Cardcaptors and the first movie. In the Animax English-language dub production, which is much closer to the Japanese original than the Nelvana version (in terms of scenes cut), she is voiced by Andrea Kwan. She is voiced in the second movie by Kari Wahlgren. For the Clear Card series, she is voiced by Monica Rial, who also does the voice of her counterpart in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.
Creation and conception
Sakura's character design for the manga was originally developed by Mokona of Clamp. She was designed to capture the image of Mokona's then two-year-old niece Kawaji. The original character's facial expression changed considerably until the manga started. Her many magical costumes were introduced as CLAMP felt it was "sad" for a girl to wear the same magical costume all the time.
Picking a Japanese actress to voice Sakura was difficult. Neither Clamp writer Nanase Ohkawa or anime director Morio Asaka were satisfied with any of the voice actress who auditioned for the role. In the end, Sakura Tange was selected for the role with sound director Masafumi Mima believing her to fit the character thanks to her quiet and strong voice.
In Nelvana's English adaptation titled "Cardcaptors", Sakura was originally going to be called Nikki, but they later decided to keep her first original given name because of the reception of the Cardcaptors adaptation plus the difficulty and expense of editing out numerous appearances of her name in rōmaji in the anime series. However, her family name was changed to "Avalon". Her first name is also pronounced differently from the original Japanese, with emphasis on the middle syllable rather than the first.
Sakura Kinomoto is introduced as a nine-year-old girl who lives in the town of Tomoeda in Japan, where she attends Tomoeda Elementary School. During the Clow Card Arc and Sakura Card Arc storyline, she canonically ages to be twelve years at series end, in both the anime and manga versions. In Clear Card Arc storyline, she is a thirteen-year-old freshmen attending Tomoeda Junior High School.
Sakura is an energetic and cheerful young girl. She is very athletic, being a member of her school's cheerleading squad, is excellent at track and field activities, and enjoys inline skating. Sakura's smile is undefeatable and is what draws people to her. Her optimistic and trustworthy character allows her to be friendly with everybody, and the entire series focuses on the friendships she creates with people, whether strangers, loose acquaintances, or rivals. Her personality is a dominating factor in her relationships, especially with Tomoyo.
One of Sakura's most notable traits is her "invincible spell", "Everything will be alright" (絶対大丈夫だよ "Zettai daijōbu dayo"), which has carried her through innumerable trials and obstacles as she masters her magical skills. While she often comes across as naïve, clumsy, and clueless, Sakura is known for her occasional moments of insight and sensitivity towards the feelings of others. Sakura is so innocent and naive that she fails to recognize Syaoran's feelings for her and unintentionally gets into trouble. Despite this, she retains a determined spirit and attachments to those she cares for.
Sakura has short, honey brown hair, fair skin, and emerald green eyes. In certain manga sketches and official artwork, this sometimes changes. In addition to her anime hair and eyes, her hair is sometimes colored auburn, her eyes are sometimes colored grey or blue, and her skin is sometimes olive skin. As a child, she is naturally short in height, but slowly grows as the years pass by.
Sakura's outfits number in the hundreds, which change frequently throughout the series. Unlike other anime magical girls, whose costumes seemingly form out of magical energy, Sakura’s battle outfits are hand-sewn by her friend Tomoyo. Her most commonly worn iconic everyday outfit is her school uniform, which changes depending on the season. Her winter school uniform is a black long sleeved shirt with red and white sleevecuffs, a white neckerchief with a red stripe, and a white pleated miniskirt with a frilly white knee-length petticoat. On particularly cold days, she wears a thick black coat with her schools insignia on the back. Her summer uniform is a white half-sleeved shirt with a red neckerchief and a black pleated miniskirt. All year round, black Mary Jane shoes are worn along with white socks and a white sailor hat with a black trim.
The Clow Cards (クロウカード Kurō Kādo) are fictional magical cards used in the manga and anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. They serve as magical items for the protagonist to use for various means. The deck consists of nineteen cards in the manga, and fifty-three in the anime. The popularity and success of Cardcaptor Sakura led to the creations of several toys of the Clow Cards, including a set of toy cards released by the Nakayoshi magazine to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary.
Sakura's most sacred and important items are most likely her sealing wand and cards, since they are her main weapons in magic. Throughout the series, Sakura's magical powers get progressively stronger. This is mostly verified by Cerberus at random points in the series, as Sakura would otherwise appear to have equal expertise in each capture, when she summons Clow Cards. Throughout the Clow Card arc, Cerberus's comments seem to imply that Sakura's magic grows as she battles and captures more Cards. This is also implied in the corresponding anime. In contrast of this, in the second half of the series we are reminded of Sakura’s inexperience as she often collapses after transforming the cards. However, as she grows progressively proficient in changing Clow Cards into Sakura Cards, she becomes less tired and more aware of Clow Reed's presence. She also remembers more details about her prophetic dreams. During the last of Eriol's trials, she is able to transform several cards at once. This sequence of events during the second arc is more or less true in the anime version of the series as well, with only a few changes made. The most obvious of these is that Yue (a character who, in the original version of the series is shown as becoming much closer to Sakura throughout Eriol’s trials to the point of accepting her at least as a valued friend) is shown throwing her a constant stream of criticism as a reminder of Sakura’s lack of experience. Another interesting change made in the anime variation is that, by end of the series, she subconsciously manages to create a new Card, the nameless card (which later becomes the Hope Card), which would later serve as a major plot point for the second movie.
After the Final Judgement, Clow Reed tells her that her magic is not drawn from the sun nor from the moon, but from her own star, which may start small, but is ever-shining with its own brilliant light. However, like Clow Reed's magic, Sakura's is a balance of sun and moon magic. Eriol gave half of his powers to Sakura's father, the other half of Clow's incarnation. This made Sakura the most powerful magician in the world, even surpassing her predecessor Clow Reed.
Sakura lives with her father and older brother. Her mother died when she was three years old. She has a close relationship with her father, whom she adores. She never fails to greet her mother's picture in the mornings. She often fights with her brother, who teases her, but she truly cares about him. Sakura is well-known and loved by everyone for her ability to befriend others, including rivals and strangers. Among those she is close to, the series focuses on Sakura's best friendships and love interests.
Relationship with Syaoran Li
Sakura's relationship with Syaoran is one of the key elements in the series, due to Syaoran's change of behavior towards Sakura. When they first met, Syaoran disliked Sakura and saw her as a rival over the Clow Cards. Despite how he treated her, Sakura never gave back any negative response towards him. Their relationship remained rocky for a short time due to their mutual goal to collect the cards, but as they spent time together and aided each other, a friendship began to emerge. While Syaoran's feelings quickly developed into romantic, Sakura remained naive and simply thought of him as a close friend. After Sakura got rejected by Yukito, she is comforted by Syaoran; at that point, she slowly realized his feelings. When Syaoran finally confesses, Sakura is confused by the situation. However, after learning about his departure, she realizes that she indeed loves him, and promises that she will love him forever.
Relationship with Yukito Tsukishiro
Yukito is Sakura's first crush. He is seven years older than her, but it never bothers her. Due to him being her brother's best friend, she tries to get him to come over to her house and commutes to school with her brother to see Yukito every morning. She is overtly feminine and flirtatious when in his presence, she makes snacks for him and tries to spend as much time with him as she can. Even when she discovers that he is in fact Yue, her feelings don't change. She eventually confesses to him, only to be gently rejected and she realizes that she loves him the same way as she does for her father. Although heartbroken, she learns to accept that he loves her brother and maintains a deep friendship with Yukito. The creators have confirmed that Yukito and Touya are a couple. They are stated to be in love within the series itself.
Relationship with Tomoyo Daidouji
Tomoyo is Sakura's best friend and maternal second cousin. They first met in the third grade, and since then, Tomoyo has adored and worshipped Sakura. They are as close as sisters. Tomoyo tends to exaggerate over Sakura's cuteness; she designs several colourful clothes for Sakura and videotapes her everyday routine. Sakura is a bit bemused by Tomoyo's devotion towards her, but nevertheless loves her. There are hints that Tomoyo has feelings for Sakura beyond typical platonic friendship, but doesn't make them known because of her involvement in pairing Sakura up with Syaoran. The creators have stated that the reason that the series protagonist Sakura does not return her friend Tomoyo's feelings is not because Tomoyo is another girl as Sakura does not consider sex or gender as barrier for her romantic attraction. She simply doesn't have romantic feelings for Tomoyo in particular. Demonstrating this, Sakura confesses that she has a crush on a female teacher in the series.
Appearances in other media
In Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie, Sakura wins a trip to Hong Kong, where she meets Syaoran's family and encounters the spirit of a woman angry at Clow Reed who mistakenly calls Sakura to her because of her being the holder of the Clow Cards. In Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, she learns that there is a fifty-third Clow Card, The Nothing, which acts as a balance to the positive magic of the others.
Sakura is a playable character in eight of the Cardcaptor Sakura video games, and her character design is featured in the series' version of Tetris. The character design of Sakura Kinomoto is reused in the Clamp series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, which presents an alternate world story that also uses characters from many of the group's previous series. In Tsubasa the design is used for several characters named Sakura, including the central character named Princess Sakura (Sakura-hime). Sakura also plays an important role during the last arc of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, in a dream to a reincarnated Princess Sakura. During this vision, Sakura gives her alternate self the Star Wand and assures her that "everything will be all right". The wand is later seen in Yuuko Ichihara's shop.
Sakura also appeared in the OVA Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations as a spirit or vision that Princess Sakura sees, which guides her back to where see came from, the Tocho (government building) when she gets lost. She disappears when Princess Sakura sees the building.
In the short anime film Shiritsu Horitsuba Gakuen Bangai-hen: Tenkōsei ni Dokkidoki Sakura appears as a student from the anime's titular school and the younger cousin from Tsubasa's Sakura.
Sofia Pichihua, a Peruvian fan, certified by Guinness World Records as having the world’s largest collection of Cardcaptor Sakura merchandise.
The Mori Art Center Gallery, located in Tokyo, Japan, featured Cardcaptor Sakura Exhibition -The Enchanted Art Museum- gallery dedicated to Sakura and her story. The exhibition, which opened in October 2018, is the single largest gathering of Cardcaptor Sakura art ever amassed. The exhibition has an entire section set up as "Tomoyo’s Sewing Room", with a number of real-world replicas of Sakura’s fashions. Concurrent with the exhibition is the adjacent Sakura Cafe & Parlor, a Cardcaptor Sakura restaurant and gift shop.
In both 1999 and 2000, Sakura won the Animage Grand Prix for "Best Female Character". In 2001 Sakura Kinomoto won the "Cutest Anime Girl of the Year" award from All Anime World. In a Newtype poll from August 2001, Sakura was voted as the fourth most popular female anime character, and in a March 2010 poll, she was voted as the fourth "Most Popular Female Anime Character" from the 1990s. She also won the Anime Saimoe Tournament 2002, an online popularity contest for the "Most Moe Anime Character of the Year".
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