Cardcaptor Sakura – 64 – Mean Slopes

Sakura heads from the pool to the slopes in consecutive episodes, and from the first shot of her in her ski outfit admiring the snowy mountains, you just knew you were in for one hell of a looker of an episode. The vistas are just gorgeous, and really capture the grandeur and crisp chill of the setting.

In a welcome inversion of their usual dynamic, Tomoyo is way better at skiing than Sakura, having done it for years—though Sakura proves to be a quick learner. Syaoran is similarly unsure on his skis, and has to be saved from a tree collision by Eriol, who is not only an expert at skiing, but pairs up with Yamazaki to tell a whopper of a tale about geta sandals being the original skis.

Back at the chalet, when Naoko suggests they tells some scary stories about the mountains, Sakura naturally recoils in fear. Eriol indulges Naoko with a tale about a local yuki-onna freezing everyone she meets. Syaoran can tell Sakura isn’t lovin’ it, and suggests they turn in for the night, as it’s late anyway. Still, while Tomoyo dreams of Sakura, Sakura can’t sleep, still worried about what might be out there.

This leads to perhaps the most romantic scenes yet between Syaoran and Sakura, as they sit together beside the fire, then go outside when it starts to snow. Sakura discovers stuffed bears nearby, and asks about the teddy bear Syaoran made, and whether he’ll give it to Yukito. Syaoran admits to her the bear isn’t meant for Yukito, and that he actually likes someone else…though he’s just not able to tell her who. He couldn’t have asked for a better time…

The next day, Sakura shows she’s improved to the point she can hit the intermediate slopes, and Eriol volunteers to accompany her. However, the weather quickly takes a turn for the worse and the two are caught in a blizzard with the downhill lift out of order.

When an avalanche threatens to level the chalet, it becomes clear to Sakura that she needs to do something Cardcaptory to save the day. She manages to hide from Eriol long enough to summon, convert, and invoke the Time card, but it saps all of her energy, and she collapses before she can invoke Fiery to melt the time-frozen snow away.

The effect of the Time card wears off with her collapse, but Eriol uses his staff to disperse the snow, saving the exhausted Sakura. They return to the chalet as the weather improves, and Eriol hands Sakura off to Syaoran.

When he’s out of earshot, Eriol answers a question Sakura asked before about what he can’t stand: “making her sad like this”. But he claims to have no choice. Is all of this about testing her worthiness as master of the cards? What happens when she converts all of the Clow Cards to Sakura Cards? With only six episodes remaining, we’ll find out soon!

Cardcaptor Sakura – 63 – Waves, Listen to Her!

It’s still winter, but that doesn’t stop Sakura & Co. from donning their swimsuits and hitting up the new state-of-the-art indoor water park. It’s an episode heavy on character count and slice-of-life and light on…well, everything else! But that’s okay; sometimes it’s nice to just kick back and relax at the pool (though I’ll admit to being envious; pools in my city were closed all summer due to you-know-what!).

Like Tomoyo, Syaoran is smitten with Sakura’s swimsuit, but things have gotten to the point where all he can do is stare at her. Naturally, Touya and Yukito have part-time jobs at the park’s restaurant, but this time Nakuru joins them, lending her another opportunity to glom onto Touya, who is otherwise still concerned about Yukito’s tendency to, uh, fade out of existence now and then.

Even Kero-chan manages to smuggle himself into the park in Sakura’s bag and steals her cream soda when she’s not looking, only to get harshly scolded (Sakura even bears a fang, a rare occurrence unless she’s protesting her brother’s teasing). Otherwise everything’s peachy until Eriol summons a  massive wave that threatens to drown Rika (who is still learning to swim from Sakura), among others.

Sakura can’t very well summon her wand and cards out in the open, so she has a clever solution: do it while she’s in a water slide! She conjures and converts Watery to a Sakura Card, who proceeds to make it rain inside the park, which has the effect of lowering the water level, thus rescuing Rika.

In another private corner of the park Nakuru straight up asks Eriol why he insists on “doing cumbersome things” like this; he tells her she’ll find out soon enough. I certainly hope so!