Great Pretender – 13 – Same As They Used to Be

When a hungry Makoto finds a toffee tin in the fridge, Cynthia quickly snatches it away, declaring that the toffees aren’t on the menu. Back in the past, Coleman makes a deal with Thomas: all he wants are ten forgeries he can pass off as “miraculous discoveries” of masterworks, and in return he’ll make Thomas a Big Deal.

The Faustian deal gives Thomas what he always wanted—financial stability and a measure of luxury—but he knows it’s wrong, and whenever Cynthia mentions that it’s wrong, it shatters the veneer of success he’s trying to maintain, thus straining their relationship. Back in the present, Abby reports her findings on her investigation of Laurent, and shows she’s not above using her “vivaciousness” to gain the older man’s confidence.

Makoto eventually makes contact with present-day Thomas Mayer, whose life took a turn after breaking up with Cynthia. That said, his two million pounds in debt isn’t due to gambling or addiction problems, but a pure and just heart. When he saw a kid sketching one of his forgeries in a museum, he vowed to quit painting forever and borrowed heavily in order to buy back the three paintings he’d forged.

This us why he initially turned down Cynthia: why would he paint a forgery to make back the money he spent removing his forgeries from the art world? But then Makoto remembers the toffee tin and presents it to Thomas. It contains a detailed drawing of a wedding ring he drew for Cynthia in better days. That she kept it all these years means she must still feel something for him.

That proves to be the spark Thomas needs to come out of retirement—that, and Makoto telling him she needs his talent in order to settle the score with Coleman. It probably takes more than one all-nighter, but he manages to pull off a very impressive forgery of Snow of London.

When Cynthia stops by to inspect the work, Thomas is asleep in bed, but Makoto tells her that he was only able to create the forgery because of her. Trying to play matchmaker, he thinks that despite everything that’s happened, the two of them still bring out the best in each other, and that deep down they’re both the same people they were back then.

Cardcaptor Sakura – 24 – HOEEEny, I Shrunk the Cardcaptor

One afternoon Sakura watching Tours of European Castles while wistfully dreaming about living in one, Touya reads a magazine beside her. He ribs her for not being “princess material”, and she inadvertently gives his argument credence by kicking him in the knee. It’s such a lovely, natural brother-sister interaction.

Touya also warns her that dealing with too big a house can be a major pain, foreshadowing things to come. The next day, a newly twin-tailed Tomoyo comes by Sakura’s house in order to—what else—re-measure Sakura (who is apparently in a “growth spurt” so she can tailor her battle costumes just right. Tomoyo brings a homemade strawberry tart as  thanks for indulging her.

Appropriately enough for the events to follow, Sakura’s newest costume resembles Alice’s iconic blue dress in Alice in Wonderland. Both she and Kero-chan sense the presence of a Clow Card, so Sakura releases her staff and has the other two hang back while she investigates.

Sakura’s Clow Card sense leads her to her father’s room, where she encounters a tiny glowing dot bouncing on the bed. It touches her, and before she knows it, she’s less than three inches tall, and her staff has reverted back to a key, which didn’t shrink.

The carpet is like dense, tall grass, the bed an immense mesa. A slight breeze sends her flying out the window, and cats and preying mantises are huge monsters trying to hunt her. The art and animation are extremely effective at conveying just how tiny and helpless Sakura is, despite the fact nothing other than the scale of her surroundings has changed.

Landing on a flower gives us a good idea of how light she is. The bathtub is a lake, and the legs of the table and chairs in the dining area are like a great forest. Heck, even Touya looks and sounds like a kaiju from her perspective, which is ironic considering that’s what he’s always calling his little sister.

Touya comes home with Yukito while Tomoyo and Kero are searching for Sakura, leading Kero to hide. Tomoyo makes up an excuse for Sakura’s absence and has some tea with the boys before remembering her tart, then very hilariously faking a dizzy spell to retrieve Kero and sneak him out so he can keep looking.

Meanwhile, Sakura continues to pursue Little, the Clow Card who made her tiny. But since Little is both smaller and quicker and she can’t use any magic, sealing the card is going to be a…ahem…short order. [Slide Whistle]

Little hops up the steps which Sakura considers too tall and steep to climb on her own. Fortunately, that’s just when Kero-chan finally finds her, and let me just say, seeing him tap the shoulder of and tower over Wee Sakura is one of the best images I’ve yet seen in CCS…that is, of course, until we see Wee Sakura riding Kero-chan like a Pegasus!

Just as Little is about to shrink Tomoyo, Sakura swoops in on Kero-chan, touches Little, returns to normal size, releases her staff and seals the card, ending her “little adventure” with the latest, addition to her collection.

Sakura and Tomoyo celebrate by sharing the strawberry tart with Touya and Yukito, but the tart is so good there’s only a single strawberry atop a meager morsel left for Kero-chan, who after all made a major contribution to the card capturing this week. No worries; Sakura need only cast Little on him in order to shrink him down so his strawberry is the size of an igloo!

As soon as I saw the preview for this episode, I had a good feeling I was in store for another CCS Classic, and I was not disappointed. It also ends on a perfect note: with Sakura tuning in once more to Tours of European Castles, only to promptly change the channel. She’s had her fill of big houses for the time being, and doesn’t need to be a princess…she’s a Cardcaptor!