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.

Name Changes

Most characters were given English names for the dub, but some retained a similar sounding English name, i.e. Tori to Touya; 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 McKenzie
Chiharu Mihara Chelsea
Takashi Yamazaki Zachary Marker
Naoko Yanagisawa Nikki
Rika Sasaki Rita
Eriol Hiiragizawa Eli Moon
Spinel Sun Spinner Sun
Maki Matsumoto Maggie

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 "Keroberus" (A play on Cerberus and Kero). Yoshiyuki Terada name was also partially changed; only being referred to as "Mr. Terada".

The town and school of Tomoeda was renamed to Reidington.

Dubbing Differences

Cardcaptors was dubbed in English by three different companies for two different regions. The Nelvana dub was used in Canada 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 movie 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.

Omni- Productions

Omni Productions created its own English-dub for the English Animax channels. The Animax English-dub is considered "hilariously bad" by most.

Broadcasting Differences

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, attraction between first cousins (incestuous attraction) were altered to common friendships or removed altogether. In particular, the strong romance factor in Syaoran and Sakura'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.

United States

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 one.

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 (e.g. Pokémon, 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; leaving Sakura's crush on Julian (Yukito) and a mutual crush between Sakura and Syaoran towards the end of the series. Teletoon also aired the 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 an 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.

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.

Pioneer Entertainment

Also known as "Geneon", released 9 VHSs and DVDs as well as the first movie in Canada and the United States.

Madman Entertainment

The TV series was released on DVD by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.

Relationships Changes

Most character relationships were changed or less focused on 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 was kept intact, although she seemed 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 off-screen 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 Yukito's eccentric behavior.

Meiling and Syaoran

Meiling is no longer Syaoran's cousin; now just a childhood friend who has a crush on him, desiring to marry him instead of already being engaged in the original Japanese story-line. However, their back story of being related to Clow Reed and coming from Hong Kong remains the same.

Tomoyo and Sakura

Tomoyo, or rather, 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" Sakura will receive from Sonomi (Samantha) when she is older.

Rika and Yoshiyuki Terada

The relationship between Rika and Mr. Terada is removed. It gains one episode of focus in episode nine, 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 Takashi

Instead of being in a relationship, Chiharu (Chelsea) and Takashi (Zachary) became cousins.

Masaki Amamiya and Nadeshiko

Masaki Amamiya is established as Sakura's grandfather in his first appearance. She is aware of who he is, but he becomes Nadeshiko's father instead of her great-grandfather in the English-dub.

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 also cousins.

In the dub, Nadeshiko, Fujitaka, and Sonomi all attended school together in a close friendship triangle, but Fujitaka and Nadeshiko's romance left Sonomi feeling there was no room left in their relationship for her. This is what created her hatred for Fujitaka. Fujitaka is also established as being a "skilled school athlete" as a teenager, winning a national championship sprint at one point.

Narrative Changes

Sometimes, entire episodes had their whole narrative rewritten to avoid the romantic situations between characters. For example, in Sakura's Heart-Racing First Date, re-titled "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 re-purposed as "recording Sakura capture the Watery Card from afar."

The method for capturing the Watery is drastically altered too, with Kero telling Sakura she must combine two of the three Clow Cards she has so far (Windy, Fly,or Shadow) to capture Watery. Sakura combines Windy and Fly to capture it.

Another example, Sakura's Wonderful Christmas, re-titled "The Third Element," is heavily rewritten to remove romantic undertones. 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.

Plot Changes

  • 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 is now spread 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 (McKenzie) 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 and crying, creating the Hope Card; and 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 of Madoushi is made more antagonistic, but also sympathetic at the same time; re-imagined 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 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 re-dubbed with similar lyrics and named "On the Wings Of A Dream".

Other Changes

  • The incantations were altered to include rhyming.
  • Sakura now shouts "Release and dispel!" each time 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 to 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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