- "Within this book are cards, and within the cards are forces beyond your imagination. But the cards have escaped unleashing chaos on the world. Now, a boy named Li must capture them, and use the forces of good to conquer the forces of evil. Pepare for a quest unlike any you seen before. Prepare for Cardcaptors!"
- — Narration from the teaser
Cardcaptors is the title of the English adaptation produced by Nelvana of the Japanese anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. It first aired in 2000.
The series was re-dubbed and aired in Canada and has aired in the United States as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Sakura remains the main protagonist, though in some countries, Syaoran was promoted as the protagonist over Sakura.
Most characters were given English names for the dub:
- Sakura Kinomoto was renamed Sakura Avalon
- Syaoran Li was renamed Li Showron
- Toya Kinomoto was renamed Tori Avalon
- Fujitaka Kinomoto was renamed Aiden Avalon
- Nadeshiko Kinomoto was renamed Natasha Avalon
- Tomoyo Daidōji was renamed Madison Taylor
- Sonomi Daidōji was renamed Samantha Taylor
- Meiling Li was renamed Meilin Rae
- Yukito Tsukishiro was renamed Julian Star
- Kaho Mizuki was renamed Layla McKenzie
- Chiharu Mihara was renamed Chelsea
- Takashi Yamazaki was renamed Zachary Marker
- Naoko Yanagisawa was renamed Nikki
- Rika Sasaki was renamed Rita
- Eriol Hiiragizawa was renamed Eli Moon
- Ruby Moon keeps her name in both of her forms
- Spinel Sun was renamed as Spinner Sun.
- Maki Matsumoto was renamed as Maggie.
- Cerberus's name was re-pronounced as "Keroberos", while his nickname Kero remains the same.
The North America airing of the dub was never fully shown, mostly reordered and some episodes were left out all together. More questionable parts of the show (in the eyes of western audiences) were removed in the dub such as the same-sex romances, and altered to common friendships. In Kids WB's broadcast, only thirty-nine episodes were aired, in a random order mostly to reflect the channel's primarily male-targeted audience with Syaoran's introductory episode being made episode one. The dub was fully aired in the United Kingdom and Canada in 2001. The first movie was dubbed by Nelvana, whilst the second one was dubbed by another company with alternate voice actors and followed the original series' unaltered content. Animax created its own dub for its English channels in Southeast Asia. Pioneer Entertainment released nine volumes of dubbed episodes of video cassettes, along with the first movie.
The capturing of the Clow Cards became the show's main selling point and focus, since at the time of the show's English airing, cartoons revolving around collecting items were popular (e.g. Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh.)
Tomoeda was renamed to Reidington, and given a back story that it was founded by Clow Reed himself, and the first movie added the revelation that the Clow Cards were created in Hong Kong. Most Japanese terminology and culture was removed, although it is still implied the dub is set in Japan due to the presence of Japanese text and food.
Most character relationships were changed or less focused on to avoid controversy, leading to the changing of backstories of some characters like Sakura's parents and Sonomi's relationship with Fujitaka and Nadeshiko.
Most aspects of Sakura's personality were kept intact, although she seemed less vulnerable and naive than her Japanese counterpart. Her crush on Yukito, or Julian in the dub, continues although it is less focused on and eventually Sakura grows out of it, causing her important confession to Yukito in the third season to be shortened to a brief talk between Sakura and Julian regarding his acknowledgement of really being Yue. Hints at having feelings towards Syaoran appear also, 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 Yukito is completely removed, and in early episodes Syaoran flees from Yukito not from love, but out of fear due to Yukito's eccentric behavior. His crush on Sakura still exists but is downplayed mostly, with his blushes often caused by apparent embarrassment.
Meiling is no longer Syaoran's cousin, and now just a childhood friend who has a crush on him, desiring to marry him instead of already being engaged. However, their backstory is the same aside from their relationship.
Tomoyo and Sakura are no longer cousins, however, Tomoyo's eccentric, Sakura-obsessed world is still focused on. The eraser Tomoyo keeps in her mother's music box is re-described as an unrevealed item Sakura will receive from Sonomi when she is older.
The relationship between Rika and Mr. Terada is removed, and instead gains around one episode of focus in episode nine where Rika acts afraid of Mr. Terada instead of having a crush on him, the Illusion Card using Rika's fear of him to disarm the Sword Card.
Toya and Ms. Mizuki's relationship was also omitted and changed to a mere student-teacher friendship. Chiharu and Takashi became cousins.
Masaki Amamiya is established as Sakura's grandfather in his first appearance and she knows who he is, but he becomes Nadeshiko's father instead of her great-grandfather.
Perhaps the biggest dub 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, altering her hatred for Fujitaka. Fujitaka is also established as being a skilled school athelete as a teenager, winning a national championship sprint at one point.
Some times, entire episodes had their whole narrative flow rewritten to avoid the romantc relationships between characters. For example, in Sakura's Heart-Racing First Date, retitled "Allies", Sakura and Yukito's date is rewritten so they coincidentally run into each other outside the aquarium and go inside for ice cream, with Tomoyo and Kero's incognito dresswear repurposed as simply recording Sakura capturing 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 at the time (Windy, Fly, Shadow) to capture Watery or it won't be captured at all. Sakura combines Windy and Fly to capture it.
For another example, Sakura's Wonderful Christmas is heavily rewritten to remove romantic undertones - in the original episode, Sakura wants to go on a date to the Christmas festival with Yukito and is anxious about calling him til 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 so she can ask him. The original version further helps cement Sakura and Meiling's friendship, while the dub has Meiling maintaining 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 train-like march reflects his fear of Yukito in the dub rather than his shyness around him.
Some plot changes were made:
- 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 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 sleeping spell is now spread to the whole world, and Sakura and Syaoran successfully transform the Light and the Dark Cards. 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 disappear near the end of the scene.
- 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 renamed 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 antagonist but also sympathetic at the same time, reimagined as a former lover of Clow Reed who was imprisoned in an alternate dimension after she misused the magic Clow taught her.
The dub featured a new musical soundtrack 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, and 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" by Emilie Barlow, "Ordinary Girl" by Superhum, and "Guardian Of the Cards" by Tempest with vocals performed by Rikki Rumball. Tomoyo's signature song used in the series was redubbed with similar lyrics and named "On the Wings Of A Dream".
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