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CC & CCS Differences

These are many differences between the original Japanese Cardcaptor Sakura version and the English dubbed Cardcaptors version released in North America. Some are obvious while others are subtle, and below is a list of the major differences.

Episodes

There are originally 70 episodes and two movies. Throughout the first season, a "Kero-chan ni Omakase" segment aired after the end of each episode. In this small five-minute segment, Kero examines and explains Sakura's battle outfits and accessories used in the said episode. Next episode previews also follow every episode.

Though Nelvana adapted all 70 episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura, about half are omitted from broadcast in the United States. Originally, they were going to air only 13 episodes; the 13 episodes with the most action and excitement. They end up airing only 38 episodes, starting the series at episode 8. Entire episodes are taken apart and spliced together in a haphazard manner, falling out of original sequential order. Various Clow Cards were previewed at the end of each episode, but these scenes proved to create plot holes.

In many other English-speaking countries, Cardcaptors run in a more complete form. In Canada, Cardcaptors is incomplete with only 60 episodes, though shown in its original order. However, episodes are still shown in an edited form because of culture and political issues.

Music

The original Japanese version uses three introductory and ending sequences, one for each of the three Cardcaptor Sakura seasons. The original score is "Catch You Catch Me" composed by Takayuki Negishi. The American version did not use this sequence nor any other because they are sung in Japanese and show too much footage of the episodes they did not air.

Instead, the US dub team uses an original opening sequence for the first two seasons, and a second for the third. The opening theme is changed to a title-style song, "Cardcaptors" composed by Dave Dori. No closing themes are presented in order to allow advertising windows although a 20 second wordless segment is sometimes shown. This wordless song is a part of "No Nagging", another original English song created especially made for Cardcaptors.

Names

Characters in the original version contain common Japanese/Chinese names where family (last) names are pronounced first. Sakura is pronounced SAH-koo-rah, with a heavy emphasis on the first syllable. As well, the transformed cards in season three are called Sakura Cards.

In the American version, all given (first) names except Sakura's and Meilin's are changed to Western-styled names and Terada Yoshiyuki is just known as Mr. Terada. The pronunciation of Sakura's name is changed to sah-KUR-rah, where the heavy emphasis is moved to the middle syllable. They though the new names would be easier to pronounce by younger children.

For example, Li's name is flipped around from Syaoran Li to Li Showron, and his cousin, Meilin's name is changed to Meiling Rae in order to remove any blood relation between the two. Furthermore, Sakura Cards becomes Star Cards, and incantations are also changed.

Location

The series takes place in Tomoeda, Japan. The Li family resides in Hong Kong while he travels with Wei to Japan. Sakura has frequent dreams that take place on or around Tokyo Tower. Kaho Mizuki apparently left to study in England.

The adaptation changes the location of the series to take place in Reedington, though it doesn't refer to where. Sakura refers to Tokyo Tower as the Radio Tower. Li and Meilin's hometowns are not revealed, and Ms. MacKenzie left to England for further education.

Character Relationships

In the original manga series, there is no character named Meilin. In the Japanese anime version, Meilin is added as Syaoran's cousin and fiancie. It spices up the anime series and gives Sakura a little competition. In Nelvana's adaptation, Li and Meilin are no longer related. Meiling Rae, as she was renamed, is only depicted as having a crush on Li. They feel it is more appropriate for the young audience.

In the original, Tomoyo is infatuated with Sakura, although Sakura is mostly oblivious to the depth of Tomoyo's love. Yukito and Touya share a close relationship, hinting towards a serious one at the series' end. Touya also dated Sakura's teacher Kaho Mizuki when she was a student teacher at his junior high school. Syaoran is attracted to Yukito throughout the first season. Nadeshiko and Sonomi are cousins and Sakura and Tomoyo are second cousins. Rika has a crush on her teacher Terada Yoshiyuki, and he appears to reciprocate those feelings.

In the American adaptation, many relationships and romances, especially non-heterosexual romance, are erased. Madison is still a good friend to Sakura, but the infatuation is erased. They are also not acknowledged as cousins. The relationship between Tori and Julian, and Tori and Ms. MacKenzie are removed. Li's attraction to Julian is completely modified. Li is at first terrified of Julian's forever-happy personality but eventually just sees him as a friend. The continuous scenes of his love towards Julian are changed to rivalry scenes against Sakura, or just embarrassment.

Rita's crush is not acknowledged. Some situations regarding Rita's crush are depicted as Rita being somewhat afraid of Mr. Terada. Li and Sakura's relationship is edited out; instead it just shows the transition from rivalry to friendship. Some say there are traces of the original relationship although it is very subtle. Chelsea and Zachary are now cousins, to give reason to the fact that she repeatedly strangles him.

There is also the fact that Sakura's centred role as heroine is skipped or edited in the adaptation to ensure Li would be a co-leading character so to appeal to male audiences. According to various network statistics, 60% of the audience was male.

Plotline

Nelvana changed the plotline of many episodes to fit their episode sequence. For example, with the Japanese version of the episode "Allies", Sakura goes to the aquarium as a date with Yukito. Originally Sakura also only had three cards to help her capture Watery and she was scared that she couldn't win. In the American version, Sakura bumps into him while she was visiting the aquarium. As for the card capture, Sakura has to consider which of the first three cards she had captured to be her strongest allies against Watery.

During the Final Judgement episode of the original, the price to pay from losing to Yue is that everyone related to the Clow Cards would lose their love for the person they cared most for. Therefore Sakura would lose her feelings for Yukito. In the English version, it is changed to that everyone's memory would be erased from the time the Clow Cards were released up to the Final Judgement. It would have been as if none of the events had ever existed for Sakura and everyone.

In the third season of the original, the disturbances are caused by Eriol to give Sakura a reason to change the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards before their magic ran out. Changing all 52 cards for no reason would have been dangerous. The Cards would be confused by the change, and become free and uncontrollable like before Sakura had captured them. In the English version, these disturbances are caused to test Sakura, to see if she is worthy as the new mistress of the Cards.

In the American adaptation, the last scene where Syaoran confesses his love to Sakura is completed skipped. He never gave her a bear (much less make it) and the airport scene where he leaves for Hong Kong never existed. All he does is tell Sakura that he will go back home the next day. He leaves and that is the end of the series, leaving the series very much incomplete.