|Series||Cardcaptor Sakura (flashbacks & visions)|
|Also Known As||Eriol (reincarnation)|
|Age||Centuries Old (deceased)|
|Relations||Eriol Hiiragizawa (reincarnation)|
Fujitaka Kinomoto (reincarnation, manga only)
Sakura Kinomoto (successor)
Yelan Li, Fuutie Li, Shiefa Li, Fanren Li, Feimei Li, Syaoran Li, Meiling Li (descendants)
Madoushi (former lover)
|Residence||Tomoeda, Japan (former)|
Hong Kong, China (former)
|Dislikes||Magic being exploited for evil ends|
Creation of the Clow Cards
Creation of sentient life-forms
|Sakura and the Final Judgment (vision)|
|Sakura and Her True Feelings (flashback)|
Clow Reed (クロウ・リード, Kurou Rīdo) is a fictional character in CLAMP's anime and manga series Cardcaptor Sakura. He was known as the greatest magician of all time, drawing immensely strong magics from both his British and Chinese heritage.
He is the creator of the Clow Cards (also referred to as "The Clow"), a series of cards resembling tarot cards with various magical powers within them. Additionally, he is the creator of the Clow Cards' two sentient, autonomous guardians: Yue and Cerberus.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Background
- 3 Mystical Abilities
- 4 Rebirth and Reincarnation
- 5 Appearances in Other Media
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Navigation
Very little was known about Clow Reed and his past. He was born of a Chinese mother and an English father, both of whom were extremely powerful mages from powerful magical families (his father from a family Sun magic users, and his mother from the Li clan, a family of Moon magic users) and, because of the blend of Eastern and Western magic he received in his blood, Clow grew to become the greatest and most powerful magician the world has ever known. In the manga, Cerberus revealed that Clow Reed had even lived for hundreds of years without his power ever weakening.
His masterpiece was the Clow Cards: a series of tarot-card-resembling cards that blended both Eastern and Western magical elements, each of which possessed tremendous powers. He also created Yue and Cerberus, whom he assigned to protect the Clow Cards and ensure that they are passed on properly to their new master(s).
Syaoran Li is a distant relative of Clow, as Clow's mother's family is the Li Clan; as his reincarnation, Eriol Hiiragizawa, has referred to Syaoran as "[his] cute little descendant", it is likely that over the course of centuries of his life, Clow Reed may have fathered children, one at least of which had gone-on to marry back into the Li clan (Clow Reed's mother's family).
Very little of Clow's personal life is known, although Kero often references his liking for playing practical jokes, and his constant smiles and the likes and interests described in his manga quarter-page indicate that he was a content and mischievous person. Yuuko Ichihara once referred to him as a 'creep' and a 'tricky man in glasses'. There are also some hints, especially in the anime, that Clow and his creation Yue had a connection that went deeper than Master and creation.
During the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie, it is revealed that, as an incomparably powerful magician, Clow had a great deal of enemies, one of which is the movie's antagonist, a sorceress who held a bitter grudge against Clow even after she had died. The madoushi (sorceress), who worked as a fortune-teller, found that Clow's ability to accurately predict the future affected her own business and developed a deep hatred for him. She challenged her rival to frequent duels and eventually cast a spell that allowed her spirit to reside in a book after she died and draw Clow Reed to her.
Once released from the book by Clow (or one possessing the Clow Cards), that person would become sealed in the book in her place. In the English dub, Su Yung was actually a student of Clow's and they had loved one another. However, her desire to become powerful resulted in spreading destruction rather than using it responsibly. The two were unable to see eye to eye concerning their belief as to how magic should be used and an intense fight ensued. When she lost and died, Clow sealed her in an alternate dimension of his own creation, where she sought to free herself and pass onto the next world after taking vengeance on Clow for "betraying" and imprisoning her.
Sakura unintentionally releases the Madoushi during a trip to Hong Kong and the sorceress, refusing to believe Clow is dead, attacks the young cardcaptor and endangers her friends. She eventually relents when she realizes she truly loved Clow; she accepts his death and vanishes.
Clow makes an appearance in episode 46 just after Sakura has completed the Final Judgment, thus becoming the new mistress of The Clow. Here Clow explains the coincidences he had planned for Sakura--situations that would allow her to recapture all the Cards. He also advises Sakura to take care of her new power, the power that changed the original sealing wand into one that is completely Sakura's.
In episode 68, Sakura uses The Return to visit Clow prior to his death. Clow recognizes Sakura, but does not concisely answer all of her questions. Sakura is mainly concerned that she would never be as great or as powerful as Clow, but Clow reminds her that she cannot keep comparing herself to him. Sakura is her own self, and she has already been fulfilling Clow's final wish, which is to allow his creations (the Cards, Cerberus, and Yue) to live in happiness under a new master. During this visit, Clow gives little to no insight about the recent mysterious happenings, though Sakura finds that out from Eriol when she returns to the present.
When Clow was 'nearing death', he chose Sakura Kinomoto to be the new mistress of The Clow. Sakura was not yet born at the time, but Clow's magical ability allowed him to foresee most of the future and plan many of the situations that would enable Sakura to succeed in taking full possession of the Clow Cards. The reason why Sakura's wand is pink is in-fact because he wanted to make a suitable wand for the young girl who would be the mistress. It wasn't because of chance that Keroberos chose Sakura.
In the Manga, it is revealed that, contrary to what Cerberus and Yue remember, Clow Reed did not die from natural causes; Clow Reed altered their memories when he sealed them into the book, before he 'died': Clow Reed had a 'wish' he wanted granted, but for all of his power could not make it true. Looking into the future and possible futures, he foresaw a person (Sakura Kinomoto) who could grant his one wish for him, and so set out to orchestrate events so as to bring about Sakura's birth in the first place. After telling Cerberus and Yue that he was going to die on a particular day, he appoints them as 'Selector' and 'Judge' for the next candidate for the new master of the Clow Cards, Clow Reed then sealed them into the "Clow Book" with altered memories, and then cast his "Final magic spell", splitting himself mind, body, heart and soul/spirit, to create two incarnations of himself, two boys from the body of one adult man; Eriol Hiiragizawa and Fujitaka Kinomoto; both boys looking identical, both to each other (save for hair color), and to Clow Reed (and also later to Yukito Tsukishiro).
But, while Clow Reed had been successful in cannibalizing his own body and being able to create his two 'incarnations', he was not successful in dividing his magic and his memories; Eriol Hiiragizawa received all of Clow Reed's powers and memories (but is his own person), while Fujitaka Kinomoto was as a child with amnesia (retaining general memories (skills like reading and writing, etc.), but no personal memories, who he was, where he came from, etc.). Eriol Hiiragizawa left Japan to wait for the time to approach Sakura, using his powers to halt his aging process, preserving himself at a preteen age (so as to be able to interact with Sakura as a classmate when the time came), and Fujitaka Kinomoto, meanwhile, was found as an amnesic boy and raised as an orphan, given the name "Fujitaka Kinomoto", and believed by everyone (himself included) to be nothing more then a foundling.
Following the climax of the "Sakura Card Arc", Clow Reed's one wish was revealed by Eriol; while Clow had enjoyed being a sorcerer/magician, and quite a powerful one, he just didn't enjoy being the most powerful one in the world: Because of an imbalance in his magic which is why he failed to be able to divide his magic and memories between his two new incarnations, Clow Reed, after reaching a certain level of magical power, knew much too much about the future, almost all of life's surprises, big and small, were spoiled for Clow Reed, as Eriol testifies, making Clow's life increasingly unenjoyable. Also due to the imbalance in his magic, Clow couldn't really use magic on a small scale, proving another problem for him. Clow Reed decided to reduce the scale of his powers, but knew that he would fail to be able to split his power in half. Identifying that what/who he needed was a successor whose magic was not imbalanced like his was, Clow Reed had looked through possible futures, foreseeing Sakura, and so orchestrated events, even choosing the day to die that he did so that one of his incarnations would old enough to father Sakura when he did (Sakura was born in time for the first light of the newborn star that she draws her power from first reach the Earth, at the exact same time).
According to Cerberus in the manga, Clow Reed, having both an English and a Chinese parent, was able to combine occidental and oriental magic to create an entirely new type of magic--the Clow Cards.
Like his later successor, Sakura, Clow's magic is a balance between the sun and the moon. His power is of darkness, an affiliation which his reincarnation, Eriol Hiiragizawa, shares, and which manifests itself in the chant used to release the sealing staff, which uses Clow's power until Sakura evolves it under her own growing power of the stars.
Descended from two powerful clans of magic users, Clow Reed was able to combine the bodies of magical learning of both his families to create a new body of magic (as noted by Cerberus, the names of each Clow Card are written in both English (Romanji) & in Kanji). According to Cerberus; "In ancient times, sorcerers handed down magical learning from master to student. Their plan was to share their learning only with people who promised to use it to protect and meet with all of the qualifications; but very few people could learn the kind of magic that Clow Reed created," mainly as they didn't have the same kind of mixed heritage.
As revealed after the climax of the "Sakura Card Arc", Clow Reed's magic was imbalanced in it's nature; as shown in Clow Reed's magic circle, the design of the circle is dominated by the sun and the moon symbols; the Sun representing 'Yang' (陽), and the Moon representing 'Yin' (陰). The arrangement of the Sun and the Moon in the circle highlights the nature of the imbalance; the Sun takes center-stage, while the Moon is pushed to the side; the balance of Clow Reed's magic is tipped in favor of Yang over Yin.
As his incarnation, Eriol, reveals after Sakura succeeded to recreating all of the Clow Cards as Sakura Cards; "When I was Clow Reed, using small magic was a problem; because I knew everything beforehand, nothing was pleasant. So, when as Clow Reed, I split myself into two; myself and Fujitaka Kinomoto, I couldn't divide the magic, Clow Reed's powers remained whole. And the only one who could do what Clow's magic could not, was someone who could surpass Clow's power." This imbalance that caused Clow Reed's problems was also the reason behind Clow Reed's unusually-long life span. In contrast to Clow Reed's magic circle, Sakura's star takes center-stage, holding the Sun and the Moon in place, the Yin and Yang in her magic kept in balance that Clow Reed's had lacked. Eriol also stated (to reassure Tomoyo Daidouji's concerns), that, unlike Clow Reed, Sakura would not have to worry about being burdened by knowing too much about the future, as thanks to the more-balanced nature of her magic in comparison to Clow Reed's, Sakura would achieve a level of control that he hadn't; and-so would not be burdened with any knowledge of the future unless which-when such times she should choose to invoke her psionic/extrasensory ability of clairvoyance.
Magical Power Level
The extent of Clow's magical powers have been mostly by reference from others and rarely witnessed in the events of the manga or anime. However, it seems that his powers were incredibly vast, mentioned by characters such as Kero, Yue, and even Yuko. His powers earned him the title of the greatest magician in existence, though Clow eventually cursed that title. This is due to how when Yuko was in her moment of death, Clow had made a single thought, and because of his incredible powers, he had inadvertently ceased Yuko's time, preventing her from moving onto death. It was also from this desire that he had also created Fei Wang Reed by mistake, who possesses incredible magical powers as well, but sought only to surpass Clow with the intent of bringing Yuko back to life to prove it.
This causes Clow to eventually attempt to divide his powers between his two reincarnations: Eriol and Fujitaka, though only Eriol acquires the powers, making Sakura to manage to divide the powers for him into Fujitaka. After the division of powers, Sakura's powers were greater than the two halves of Clow's magic, thus fulfilling Clow's wish to no longer be the most powerful magician (This occurred only in the manga). Despite how his powers were mostly gone, he seemed to still possess power to move to another dimension of the Country of Clow to fill in the void left by Princess Tsubasa's wish to turn back time, and eventually sacrificed what magic he had left pay Syaoran's price for rebirth.
Clow possesses the powers of a Dream Seer, allowing him to see into the future. However, unlike most other characters, who could only see fragments of the future, Fei Wang stated that Clow can see everything, which gave him free reign to control events, hence how he had managed to foresee Sakura collecting the Clow Cards, making him create a Sealing Wand of the color pink for Sakura being a girl. He even knew that he would, as Eriol, cause problems for her to help her create Sakura Cards. His ability also enabled him to also predict and make countermeasures against Fei Wang Reed, though despite this, the majority of these revolved around the others having their own right to choose.
It is also implied that he possessed the great power to seal and imprison other magical beings in other worlds and dimensions; such as when he had trapped the sorceress, in the first movie.
Mystical Object Creation
With the use of his mixture of oriental and occidental magic, Clow was able to create the Clow Cards as well as the Cards' guardians, Cerberus and Yue. He also who creates the Sealing Wand and the Staff of the Sun.
Rebirth and Reincarnation
Clow Reed's present-day reincarnation is Eriol Hiiragizawa, appearing in season three of the anime. In the manga, Sakura's father, Fujitaka Kinomoto is also a reincarnation (but just one-half, while Eriol is the other). Eriol retains all of Clow's memories prior to his death and all of his magic. Clow was not able to split his magic apart into the two new bodies and Eriol's final wish is for Sakura to take half of his magic and give it to her father. This wish not to be the most powerful magician was a result of Clow being precognitive and thus not being able to enjoy life as he knew what would come of it. It was also probably due to Clow Reed's desire for Yuko to stay alive, which led to the events of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.
Eriol's purpose is to create situations, much like Clow did in season one, that would allow Sakura to convert the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards, putting them wholly under her magical influence and completely finishing the transition of The Clow from Clow Reed to Sakura.
Because Eriol is Clow's reincarnation, Sakura and company continuously detect Clow's presence during Eriol's trials. This leads to suspicion in Sakura when she visits Eriol's manor in episode 65 and feels Clow's presence all over, especially in Eriol's armchair. The manor was indeed inhabited by Clow when he was alive, but Sakura does not fully realize this until near the end of the series.
After learning that Clow was reborn and reincarnated in the body of another, Yue protests the entire situation involving Sakura having to become the new master of the Clow Cards. Stating that if Clow knew he would come back then they shouldn't have needed a new master. Eriol explains that although he hold Clow's memories, he is not actually Clow Reed, who would never return to this world. This is why Clow entrusted everything to Sakura. However Eriol, knowing how much losing Clow Reed hurt Yue, offers to talk about his memories whenever Yue wishes.
Appearances in Other Media
Yūko Ichihara, a main character in XxxHOLiC, repeatedly talks about Clow. While the exact nature of their relationship is uncertain, they are known to have worked together to create the two Mokona Modoki who appear in xxxHolic and Tsubasa. Fei Wong Reed, who appears in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, is also Clow Reed's relative, and considers Yuuko and Clow as barriers.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
Clow Reed is mentioned in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and he was personally acquainted to Yūko Ichihara. The two together created the Mokona that would help Syaoran, Sakura, Fai and Kurogane travel across dimensions. Fei Wong Reed, the mastermind who initially guides the journey of Sakura and Syaoran across the dimensions, is an ancestor of Clow Reed's; though Fei Wong refers to Clow as an interloper in his affairs.
Clow had accidentally wished for Yūko to live, thus severing her time from all dimensions. Clow regretted this wish, and no longer wanted the title of "world's most powerful magician". After "Syaoran" had reversed time, to fill in the void left by the changed destinies of those who knew of the Seal on "Sakura", Clow traveled to Clow Country, leaving behind (he 'died' and was reincarnated) those he knew and cared about (from the manga, it appears to refer to Keroberos and Yue), as well as his power (when he died, he reincarnated himself into Eriol with all his power and memory and Fujitaka, who is the father of Cardcaptor Sakura, and in turn he moved to the alternate reality of the kingdom of Clow), and took the role of king, becoming the adoptive father to the Princess Sakura and King Touya.
He allowed the excavation of the ruins in the country under the direction of the archaeologist, Fujitaka, and also allowed Fujitaka's adopted son, Syaoran, to become a close friend of his daughter Sakura. He would later teach Yukito, the current High Priest of Clow, his knowledge of magic. When he died, he passed on what remained of his powers as well as his life to pay the price that allowed Syaoran to be reborn. As a result of this, Syaoran could also use Clow's magic circle.
It is hinted that Fei Wong Reed was the afterimage created from Clow Reed's unspoken wish, due to his supremely strong magical powers.
- According to Cerberus, Clow Reed had 'lived for centuries', meaning that, at the time of his death, Clow Reed was, at-least, 200-years-old. As the son of an English father and a Chinese Mother, Clow Reed can not have been born any earlier than the first-half of the 17th century; England first made contact with China around 1637, during the reign of King Charles I, which would make Clow Reed anywhere from 300/350-years-old, at-most (thought the Manga first came out in 1998, the present story always seems to be kept to the present time, given the technology shown).
- According to Cerberus in The Sealed Card movie, Clow's favorite theory is "There is no coincidence in the world". It's also the same phrase that Yuuko Ichihara in XxxHOLiC uses: There is no coincidence in the world, only inevitability.
- Clow is related by blood to at least one of each of the major characters in all of the series he appears in (Syaoran in Cardcaptor Sakura, "Syaoran" and his father in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Kimihiro Watanuki in xxxHolic).
- "Water is ever-flowing."
- "I taught you magic, yes. But magic should be used to serve the greater good. I am sorry, but you left me no choice. The path you have chosen ends now."
- "They are both waiting."
- "Go and fix the tree."
- "it's nice and cool here. It's the best place for a nap."
- "You come from the future."
- "Well, in some ways perhaps I do. But then, in other ways, perhaps I didn't."
- "Isn't it the same thing? Surely you must care for them, too"
- "Now, the summer's almost over. The seasons are constantly changing like the passing of time. Have you even given much thought that, to the painful truth of it? Well, I think about it. I feel the same way; the same way a falling leaf might feel. The approach of the wind."
- "I meant just want I said, my friend. Today, I leave this world."
- "Well, it wasn't supposed to be a joke."
- "My time's up."
- "Nevertheless, the end must come for all living beings. And I need to make some preparations."
- "Preparations for the person who will take care of you two when I'm no longer here."
- "Then you can decide, Yue. You say whether the new master is good enough."
- "But I can't leave the whole thing up to Yue. Kero, you can choose the candidate."
- "I have put all my heart, and all of my strength into creating the two of you and the Clow Cards. You are the most important things in my life. You know I want you to be happy serving under your new master. I want you all to be happy, even after I'm gone."
- "The season pass, time waits for nothing and no one. People also have to move on. And that's the way it is for all living beings in this world."
- "You been chosen as the new master and I want you to know: I'm very happy about that. I know that you'll be able to do it very well."
- "Nonsense. I know that you're going to be just fine.Will you promise you'll take care of them for me? Well...Sakura?"
- "Of course you're not me. And you will never be me, so you should just enjoy your life. And remember this: It is your life and it doesn't belong to anyone else."
- "It's impossible to alter or erase the past. Remember, you can hold the future completely in your own two hands."
- "You see? The winter's already over and a new spring is now beginning."