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Cardcaptors Vol.1: Tests of Courage
Dubbed VHS
Dubbed DVD
3 episodes
75 minutes
How could they do this to Sakura?!

Animefringe Reviews:
Cardcaptors Vol.1: Tests of Courage
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

"Wind, rain, shadow, wood, sword, thunder, power, sleep.
Cardcaptors of the Clow, expect the unexpected now!"

The stories you have heard are true. The discussions you have read are factual. Cardcaptors is nothing more than an attempt to dilute a fan favorite anime and turn it into a show that can be marketed towards both girls and boys who enjoyed Pokemon.

But, the show isn't all that bad. The core animation has been kept fairly intact for the episodes that have actually been shown. But, new titles, credits, CG sequences, dubbed songs, and the likes have been added. But, I'll get to that in a moment. The problem with the show lies in the fact that Nelvana decided to cut ahead to episode eight when Li Syaoran appears as Sakura's rival, and then continuing with the trend to show only the episodes with both characters. This is clearly done to give boys a reason to watch the show instead of changing the channel to a rival network.

By cutting the first episodes, the show, which once had a linear plot, has now been reduced to a fragmented series of stories in the vein of old wave American animation. One could easily see the problems that the cut episodes of Pokemon lead to in terms of plot comprehension. But, with Cardcaptors the problem lies in the fact that the all the supporting cast and even Sakura and Kero are left without their backgrounds fleshed out. Just look at DragonBall Z. Can you really understand the supporting characters like Tien, Yamcha, and the others without at least knowing the plot of the original DragonBall series? The answer is no. You are left scratching your head wondering what the purpose of the character is.

Don't get me wrong. I love the story and gladly sat down and watched the dub, I just feel too much was done to water down the series. The video itself features the complete preview, opening credits, and clow card segments for each of the episodes and then the tape ends with a single ending credits sequence with a non-vocal version of the opening. Judging the video solely on its presentation, it is worth the retail price and would make a nice stocking stuffer.

Yet, for otaku, the dub leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The only portion of the video that is redeeming is the actual episode itself. The same story is presented which is a plus. But, the dubbed voices are not up-to-par with the originals and, in my opinion, most of the voices come across as being to rather off when I look at the characters they are representing. The only voices that really shine above the rest are the main character voices, Carly McKillip as Sakura and Alyn Faber as Li.

Coming just behind the main characters is Matt Hill's voice for Kero which comes across as sort of strange because it sounds like Kero is trying to be hip. It's clear that Matt is trying to emulate Kero's regional dialect from the original, but it comes across as strange. Though the scene with Kero holding the spoon in the "Sakura's Rival" is really cute. Also, Maggie Mae O'Hare as Madison (aka Tomoyo) is a bit too new age for my taste, but I think she's just bringing her enthusiasm from her other dubbed roles to the character. Other than those four characters, the dub really doesn't sound that good. Many of the adult supporting characters sound too young, while the opposite is true with the kids.

My word of advice, unless you really love dubs, or are just short on cash, avoid this tape and go straight for Pioneer's uncut subtitled release of Card Captor Sakura instead.

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