Cardcaptors is the title of the English adaptation produced by Nelvana of the Japanese anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. It first aired in the year 2000. The series was aired in Canada as well as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Most characters were given English names for the dub, but some retained a similar sounding English name (i.e. Touya to Tori) to make characters more relatable to an English-speaking audience.
|Original Name||English Name|
|Sakura Kinomoto||Sakura Avalon|
|Syaoran Li||Li Showron|
|Meiling Li||Meilin Rae|
|Touya Kinomoto||Tori Avalon|
|Fujitaka Kinomoto||Aiden Avalon|
|Nadeshiko Kinomoto||Natasha Avalon|
|Tomoyo Daidouji||Madison Taylor|
|Sonomi Daidouji||Samantha Taylor|
|Yukito Tsukishiro||Julian Star|
|Kaho Mizuki||Layla Mackenzie|
|Eriol Hiiragizawa||Eli Moon|
|Spinel Sun||Spinner Sun|
Clow Reed, Ruby Moon, Yue, and Kero were the only characters to keep their original names. Kero's full name, however, was changed slightly from "Cerberus" to "Keroberos." (A play on Cerberus and Kero.) Yoshiyuki Terada is referred to as "Mr. Terada"-- the English equivalent of "Terada-sensei."
The town and school of Tomoeda was renamed to Reedington.
Cardcaptors was dubbed in English by three different companies for two different regions. The Nelvana dub was used in Canada, Australia, and the USA while the Animax dub was used for South-East Asia. The second movie was dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment rather than Nelvana.
Bang Zoom! Entertainment
The second film, Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, was dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment with the main differences being alternate voice actors, keeping the original series' name, and unaltered content. The second movie was still released on DVD by Pioneer Entertainment.
Licensed and distributed by Nelvana and sub-licensed by Ocean Productions, certain relationships and situations were altered or removed due to Western broadcasting standards for young viewers, such as same-sex romance, student-teacher attraction/relationships, and attraction between first cousins (incestuous attraction) were altered to common friendships or removed altogether. In particular, the strong romance factor in Sakura and Syaoran's relationship was completely removed due to their age.
Most Japanese terminology and culture was removed, although it is still implied that it is set in Japan due to the presence of Japanese text and cuisine.
The first North American broadcasting of Cardcaptors was by Kids' WB from June 2000 to December 2001. Although all 70 episodes were dubbed, only 39 episodes were aired in America. The episodes were heavily edited and aired in a random order. Reflecting the channel's primarily male-targeted audience, Syaoran's introductory episode was made Episode 1.
The capturing of the Clow Cards became the show's main selling point and focus as at the time of the show's English airing, cartoons revolving around "collecting" were popular, such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Cardcaptors was broadcast in Canada on September 7, 2002 by Teletoon . Unlike the American broadcasting, Teletoon released all 70 dubbed episodes. Although the Canadian version was edited less, the exclusion of most romantic relationships still occurred. (For example, Sakura's crush on Yukito and a mutual crush between Sakura and Syaoran towards the end of the series.) Teletoon also aired a French dub.
Australia and New Zealand
The English dub of Cardcaptor Sakura aired on Toonami-AU. The Australian version of Toonami used the Nelvana dub audio, but kept the original Japanese opening animation with English covers of "Catch You Catch Me" and "Platinum," whereas the North American releases featured a new theme song altogether. The series also aired on Network Ten and Cartoon Network in New Zealand.
United Kingdom and Ireland
For the English dub broadcasting of Cardcaptor Sakura in the UK and Ireland, the show aired also using the Nelvana English dub audio. Ireland broadcast it on RTÉ2 and in the UK on CiTV and Nickelodeon.
South-Asia and South-East Asia
An alternative English dub of the series was aired on Animax Asia. It has been shown unedited and uncut, making it the most faithfully and closest to the original Japanese version. The series aired in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This dub was released in 2014 in America on the NIS Blu-Ray release and was released on the streaming service known as CrunchyRoll and eventually Netflix.
Releases and Companies
Cardcaptors was released on VHS and DVD in Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK as well as being released in South-East Asia under Animax. Only Japan received the LD releases.
Released 9 VHSs and DVDs as well as the first movie in Canada and the United States. This company is also known as "Geneon"
The TV series was released on DVD by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.
Most character relationships were changed or diminished in an effort to avoid controversy, leading to the changing of back stories of some characters, such as Sakura's parents and Sonomi's relationship with Fujitaka and Nadeshiko.
Most aspects of Sakura's personality were kept intact, although she seems less vulnerable and naive than her Japanese counterpart.
Sakura and Yukito
Her crush on Yukito (Julian in the dub) continues, although it is less focused on, and eventually Sakura grows out of it. This causes her important confession to Yukito in the third season to be shortened to a brief talk between Sakura and Julian regarding his acknowledgment of being Yue.
Sakura and Syaoran
Hints at having feelings towards Syaoran appear particularly when Syaoran departs Tomoeda offscreen in the last episode causing the Nameless Card to be made (dubbed as the Hope Card). Syaoran's crush on Sakura still exists, but is downplayed mostly with his blushing often caused by apparent "embarrassment."
Syaoran and Yukito
Syaoran's crush on Yukito is completely removed. In earlier episodes, Syaoran flees from Yukito out of fear due to his eccentric behavior.
Meiling and Syaoran
Meiling is no longer Syaoran's cousin or his fiancee. Now she is just a childhood friend who has a crush on him and wants to marry him instead of already being engaged to him as in the original Japanese storyline. However, their back story of being related to Clow Reed and coming from Hong Kong remains the same.
Tomoyo and Sakura
Tomoyo (Madison) and Sakura are no longer cousins. However, Madison's eccentric, Sakura-obsessed world is still focused on. The eraser Madison keeps in her mother's music box is re-described as an "unrevealed item" that Sakura will receive from Sonomi (Samantha) when she is older.
Rika and Yoshiyuki Terada
The relationship between Rika and Mr. Terada is removed. It is only focused on in one episode (Episode 9) where "Rita" acts afraid of Mr. Terada instead of having a crush on him. The Illusion Card uses "Rita's fear" of him to disarm the Sword Card rather than "show her the person she holds most dear."
Touya and Kaho Mizuki
Touya and Ms. Mizuki's relationship was also omitted and changed to a mere student-teacher friendship.
Chiharu and Yamazki
Instead of being in a relationship, Chiharu (Chelsea) and Yamazaki (Zachary) became cousins.
Masaki Amamiya and Nadeshiko
Unlike the original Japanese version, Sakura is aware of who Masaki Amamiya is. However, in the dub, Masaki becomes Nadeshiko's father (instead of her grandfather) which makes him Sakura's grandfather.
Fujitaka, Nadeshiko, and Sonomi
Perhaps the biggest change character-wise was the relationships between Fujitaka, Nadeshiko, and Sonomi. In the original Japanese show, Fujitaka was a teacher who met Nadeshiko when she was a student, and they quickly married. Sonomi and Nadeshiko were cousins.
In the dub, Nadeshiko (Natasha), Fujitaka (Aiden), and Sonomi (Samantha) all attended school together in a close friendship triangle. But, Fujitaka and Nadeshiko's romance left Sonomi feeling that there was no room left in their relationship for her. This is what creates her hatred of Fujitaka. Fujitaka is also established as being a "skilled school athlete" as a teenager, winning a national championship sprint at one point.
Sometimes, entire episodes had their whole narrative rewritten to avoid the romantic situations between characters. For example, in Sakura's Heart-Racing First Date, retitled "Allies," Sakura and Yukito's date is rewritten so that they coincidentally run into each other outside the aquarium and go inside for ice cream. Tomoyo and Kero's incognito attire is repurposed as "recording Sakura capture the Watery Card from afar."
The method for capturing the Watery is drastically altered, too, with Kero telling Sakura that she must combine two of the three Clow Cards that she already has so far (Windy, Fly, or Shadow) to capture Watery. Sakura combines Windy and Fly to capture it.
Another example, Sakura's Wonderful Christmas, retitled "The Third Element," is heavily rewritten to remove romantic undertones. In the original, Sakura wants to go on a date to the Christmas Festival with Yukito. She's very anxious about calling him until Kero forces her to make a move.
In the dub, Sakura spends the first half of the episode pondering how to become a better Cardcaptor and asks Meiling for advice. Meiling tells her to ask Syaoran for advice, so they plot a convoluted plan to get Sakura and Syaoran alone together so she can ask him.
The original version further helps cement Sakura and Meiling's friendship, while the dub has Meiling maintain a more smug, bratty demeanour. The scene where Sakura and Meiling meet in the amusement park alters between the two versions: the Japanese has Meiling confirming that Yukito is the person Sakura loves, while the dub has Meiling teasing Sakura for her attempt to hide her plans from her.
Syaoran's rigged march reflects his fear of Yukito in the dub, rather than his shyness around him.
- The Watery and The Earthy were renamed "The Water" and "The Earth" respectively.
- Fujitaka obtained the Clow Book from an archaeological dig instead of finding it at the university.
- The reason why Sakura must change the Clow Cards to Sakura Cards (renamed as "Star Cards" in the dub) is altered. In the original, the cards would lose their magic and become ordinary cards. In the dub, without a reliable magical source to survive on, the cards would run wild in search of a new source, and the reunion of the four elemental cards could destroy the world.
- The final two episodes were fused into one. Eriol's sleep spell now spreads to the whole world, and Sakura and Syaoran successfully transform the Light and the Dark Card.
- Syaoran's confession is cut from the dub and goes straight onto the last episode as the second half of the dub's final episode. During Eriol's tea party, mostly flashbacks of previous episodes are used to emphasize Eriol's actions instead of outright exposition. Editing of the scene also makes Ms. Mizuki (Ms. Mackenzie) disappear near the end.
- The bridge scene between Sakura and Syaoran has its romantic subtext removed to make a farewell scene between the characters, although hints of the couple's feelings still remain. The final scene shows Sakura entering her room, crying, and creating the Hope Card. The dub ends on a cliffhanger regarding Syaoran's return.
- Initially, Sakura and Kero's Big Fight was excluded from the airing schedule due to Kero getting drunk on alcohol-filled chocolate. However, when the episode was aired, the drunk scenes were kept.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie's character Madoushi is made more antagonistic but also sympathetic at the same time. She was reimagined as a former lover of Clow Reed who was imprisoned in an alternate dimension after she misused the magic Clow taught her.
- Scenes focusing specifically on relationships were either cut short or removed entirely, and flashbacks to previous card captures were added in to put more focus on the card capturing itself.
The dub featured a new musical score composed by Lenz Entertainment and edited by Peter Branton, Anthony Crea, and Daniel Fernandez.
The series featured a new opening English theme song created by Dave Dore. The theme song stayed the same throughout the North American airing, but a second opening theme called "Razzamatazz" by Froggy Mix was featured in the British airing of the series.
Several songs were written for the series, including "Just Around the Corner,""Ordinary Girl" by Superhum, and "Guardian of the Cards" by Tempest with vocals performed by Rikki Rumball. The songs were later released as an album, CARDCAPTORS SONGS FROM THE HIT TV SERIES, under the Kid Rhino label (a sublabel of Rhino Entertainment).
Tomoyo's signature song used in the series was redubbed with similar lyrics and named "On the Wings Of A Dream".
- The incantations were altered to include rhyming.
- Sakura shouts, "Release and dispel!" sometimes when she gives a command to her cards.
- Sound effects were changed for technical reasons in editing.
- Title cards were completely altered and changed from the ones in the original version. In the original version, the title of the current episode was shown against a rotating background resembling the symbol of the Clow. In the Nelvana dub, it appeared in front of a CGI rendering of the Clow Book that opens before the title is shown on the screen. The CGI Clow Book also appears in the intro of Nelvana's version, a preview of what happens in the episode before said intro, and the segment where the show "reveals a card" or shows clips of the card being captured after the episode ends.
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