Hi again folks. I now present you with my third and final PG proposal connected to Cardcaptor Sakura, and what will probably be the most subjective. However, I thought about the character in question a fair bit, and I believe I’ve come up with some pretty good reasons for considering him a solid candidate for the category, as well as for deeming his potential mitigating factors non-issues. So sit back and enjoy.
What’s the work?
Cardcaptor Sakura is a classic magical girl manga series that was written and illustrated by the fairly well-known and well-regarded all-female Japanese manga group known as CLAMP. The story centers on an elementary school girl named Sakura Kinomoto, who upon getting home from what seems like just another ordinary day of school, discovers an old book in her dad’s basement library after it strangely “calls out to her” in a sense. Upon discovering the books is full of cards, she takes out the Windy Card and reads its name and description out loud, which accidently activates its magic, causing all the other cards to be blown away and scattered across the city of Tomoeda. The card’s appointed guardian, Keroberos, or Kero for short, awakens shortly afterwards, and explains to Sakura that these cards are called Clow Cards, which are named that way after the sorcerer who created them, Clow Reed. He then explains that only someone with magical powers could break the seal on the book and open it in the first place. Therefore, he enlists her to help him retrieve them by appointing her a “Cardcaptor” and gives her a special key called the Key of Clow, which can turn into a magical scepter that she can use to battle the card’s magical personifications by using the cards she catches to help her and seal them back into their card forms.
While the manga is pretty popular, the series is probably more well-known for its anime adaptation, which expanded a lot on the source material. To highlight the difference, the manga was only 12 volumes long. The anime series, on the other hand, consists of 70 episodes. And that’s not even all; it also got two movies, one of which takes place partway through the show, and the second one being a sequel to the series. While that was it for a while, a few years ago, it eventually got a sequel series called Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, which follows Sakura and her friends in junior high school. The manga is ongoing, while the anime adaptation consists of one season with 22 episodes that aired in 2018, and which will hopefully get a much needed continuation whenever there’s enough manga material to adapt.
Who is he and what has he done?
Syaoran Li is a member of the Li clan, who themselves, are sorcerers who are related to Clow Reed, the original creator of the Clow Cards himself. He is introduced pretty early in the series as a student who transfers from Hong Kong to Sakura’s class. As it turns out, he’s there because he knows about the Clow Cards and has come to take up the mission to retrieve them all. To say he doesn’t get off to a great start with Sakura would be a bit of an understatement; he’s initially quite arrogant, as well as dismissive and hostile towards Sakura, not believing she’s up to the task. Therefore, he starts off as a rival of sorts in catching the cards, but even then, he provides useful and invaluable assistance in doing so. However, before very long, Syaoran begins to respect her more and more to the point he first becomes more of a friendly ally, then subsequently, very close friends with her. His personality also begins to soften considerably, to the point that by the time his cousin Meiling also transfers to their school from Hong Kong, his initial attitude towards Sakura is already largely gone, and while he tries to act like they’re still competing for the cards, it’s a pretty obvious cover for his kindness and care for her.
Along the way, Syaoran accomplishes quite a number of notable feats of heroism. Due to assisting Sakura in collecting the cards, he ends up helping her in a number of their more intense encounters, as well as becomes an essential source of emotional support at certain points when she needs it the most. A couple of great examples are in Sakura’s Scary Test of Courage and Sakura’s Freezing Ice Skating. In the former, their class is sent into a cave in groups as a test of courage to place a candle in the shrine, only for the Erase Card to come along and cause many of their other classmates to vanish. Sakura is already terrified due to her fear of ghosts, but thanks to Syaoran, she’s able to gather her wits, and they make it to the shrine where they find the card’s true form hiding. Sakura then catches it and restores all of the students, including her other friends, who disappeared as a result of its power. In the latter, he put himself in danger by providing a distraction against the Freeze Card, which helped Sakura catch it, and in doing so, helped unfreeze all of the other people in their class that the card had frozen while they were at an indoor skating rink as part of a class trip.
Eventually, after they collect all the cards, Yue, the cards’ second guardian, shows up and puts both of them through a test against him called Final Judgement to see if either of them are worthy of becoming the cards’ new master. While Syaoran fails, Sakura succeeds, albeit with some help from Ms Mizuki, and she becomes the new master of the cards, including the ones Syaoran originally owned as a result of playing a big part in catching them. While he’s somewhat depressed about his failure, he’s still gracious towards and happy for Sakura. In fact, around this time, he begins to actually develop romantic feelings for Sakura. In the meantime, Syaoran mostly just keeps playing a supporting role in helping Sakura with the new trials that she is presented with by Eriol, a new transfer student who turns out to be the reincarnation of Clow Reed’s spirit. Most notably, he plays a big part in helping her overcome his final challenge where he poses as a villain and gives her an ultimatum to turn all the remaining Clow Cards into Sakura Cards with her wand’s power (which she had been doing over the course of the arc since they were losing their old magic, forcing her to imbue them with her own), otherwise the world would remain in eternal sleep and darkness. Specifically, he helps give her staff the magic enhancement it needs to turn the Light and Dark cards, the final Clow Cards she hadn’t transformed yet, into her own, which helps her pass the challenge. However, shortly after that concludes and Eriol reveals his motives all along, Syaoran also discreetly decided to move back to Hong Kong, but not before confessing his love to Sakura thanks to some encouragement that Tomoyo previously gave him, which leaves Sakura to brood over her own feelings. She then makes sure to say goodbye to him at the airport before he goes.
Okay, now here’s where things get a little funny. In The Sealed Card movie, he ends up coming back for a bit, because Tomoyo and Meiling arranged for it so that he and Sakura would have chances to be alone together and so that Sakura could confess her feelings back to him. This temporarily has to get put on hold though when a particularly dangerous card called the Nothing Card breaks loose from underneath the mansion it was sealed under due to it being demolished by construction and seeks to reunite with the other cards. Eventually, it ends up going on a dangerous rampage during a play that Sakura and Syaoran participate in together and ends up erasing both a good chunk of Tomoeda and just about everyone else they care about. Ultimately, the two of them end up being the only ones left, and though Sakura sympathizes with the Nothing Card after realizing she was motivated by loneliness and despair, to the point she offers her a place with the other cards, there’s a required toll for her using too many cards at once, and that’s none other than the feelings for those you care about the most. It’s at this point that Syaoran is willing to pay the price in Sakura’s place, much to her protests. However, thanks to the Nothing Card fusing with an unnamed card into the Hope Card, the toll is averted, with Sakura overjoyed and finally admitting she loves Syaoran back, while as the sun rises, Tomoeda and its inhabitants are revived due to the Nothing Card’s powers being reversed.
However, despite this, something that has not yet been revealed in Clear Card happened after that that caused everyone to mostly forget about the events of the movie like they never happened, with even Eriol’s old mansion that was originally demolished to make way for the amusement park being brought back. In all odds, this is a result of a character named Yuna D. Kaito tampering with time. Anyhow, with that modification in mind, in the prologue to the series, Syaoran confesses his love to Sakura just like he did at the end of the series, except this time, Sakura confesses back already before he goes back to Hong Kong, with them even exchanging bears they made for each other.
However, a couple years later when the show itself takes place, Syaoran returns from Hong Kong and is even back at Sakura’s school, much to her joy. At first, he isn’t able to help Sakura much with catching the new Clear Cards that are showing up since he can’t sense them like he could with the Clow Cards. However, it’s soon revealed that while he was in Hong Kong, Syaoran underwent some very tough training so that he would be ready to help and protect Sakura when she needed it. This ends up being very useful on several occasions against some of the more dangerous Clear Cards, because he now has the ability to channel the ability of Sakura’s former Sakura Cards which had gone blank, and which he uses to immobilize or neutralize them, allowing Sakura to catch them far more easily. One case where this really comes in handy is when the two of them and a bunch of their friends go visit a shrine together, and a Clear Card called the Mirage Card comes along, which makes everything Sakura imagines become real. Because she had debated about going to the zoo with them, this causes all her other friends to start turning into animals and the group suddenly gets transported to some open field. This culminates in lightning striking a nearby tree, with the burned remains nearly falling on the rest of her transforming friends. However, due to being the only other one not affected other than Sakura herself and Kero, Syaoran uses his advanced magic to temporarily stop time, during which he comforts an extremely scared Sakura, who doesn’t know what to do to reverse the card’s effect. He even gives her the idea that perhaps she actually has control over what the card does right before he passes out from the strain of using such advanced magic. This causes Sakura to realize that it indeed responds to her thoughts, so she transports the two of them and everyone else back to where they were, saving them from harm, and capturing the Mirage Card in its real form in a small nearby forest. Finally, Syaoran regularly reports any strange incidents and important information to Eriol, who at that point, had returned to England, in order to help each other find out what the cause was behind Sakura’s cards going blank and the appearance of the new cards, as well as how to best help Sakura. And that’s really all there is to report since as of now, the series is incomplete.
Okay, so here’s the interesting part; unlike Sakura and Tomoyo, Syaoran definitely started out with some very problematic traits that would prevent a character from qualifying as pure good. He was quite arrogant, was often pretty dismissive and rude towards Sakura due to not thinking she had what it took to capture the cards, and he was generally pretty hostile with some other characters like Kero and Touya too, to the point he nearly got into a couple of physical fights with the latter. So with that in mind, why in the world would I be proposing him? To sum it up concisely, character development, and lots of it. As the series goes on, Syaoran really grows as an individual, and by later on, pretty much all his negative traits are gone. This is especially apparent if you watch The Sealed Card, and even more so, Clear Card, by which point, his personality has nearly done a complete 180. He’s now extremely humble, even when pulling off genuinely impressive feats, has really mellowed out, and is kind, friendly and thoughtful to pretty much everyone by default. He’s even civil and gets along with those that he didn’t use to, like Kero and Eriol. In fact, the only person he still isn’t on friendly terms with by that point is Touya, who isn’t fond of him due to how close he’s gotten with his sister. However, all that results in is Touya glaring at him whenever he seems him, with Syaoran doing the same back, and I don’t think that’s corrupting in the least; he’s just getting defensive since Touya is anything but friendly to him. In fact, when they have one such encounter in episode 9 of Clear Card while he and Sakura are at an aquarium together, where he happens to be working, he even apologizes to Sakura immediately afterwards for his lack of friendliness towards him and admits he just doesn’t know how to act around him. So yeah, again, I really don’t think that’s a problem.
For all these reasons, I think Syaoran is a classic example of a character who doesn’t start off as an ideal PG candidate, but gradually grows into it, and by the time he’s matured and not putting on an antagonistic front, it’s apparent he’s pretty much just as noble, selfless and lacking in corrupting traits as Sakura herself.
Admirable Standard/Goodness Zone
Now with Tomoyo, whether or not she qualified was mostly a question of whether she stood out as admirable enough with her limited resources and capabilities, whereas with Syaoran, it’s mostly a case of whether he completely sheds the problematic traits he started out with, because I don’t think there’s too much reason to doubt that he has the heroism needed to stand out enough. Next to Sakura herself, he’s probably the next biggest stand out in the series, since he proved to be an invaluable help to her in catching many of the cards, and in some cases, like the ones I highlighted/singled out, has saved many people from the more dangerous ones. In fact, despite not getting along with Touya, he even helped Sakura save him by breaking his fall with a wind spell when he was on a collapsing stage set during an early incident when while a school play was on, the Mist Card got in through the air vents and caused the stage to erode (which I feel further supports my claim that his difficulty in getting along with him isn’t an issue). Plus, he’s put himself in a lot of danger to do so in a number of cases by acting as a distraction. And that’s not even getting into how by Clear Card, even more so than Tomoyo, he’s become Sakura’s biggest emotional pillar of support, and uses powerful, taxing magic on at least a few occasions which has been essential in neutralizing some of the cards in spite of the very noticeable physical toll it takes on him. Again, the best example of both is in the aforementioned incident with the Mirage Card where by temporarily stopping time and comforting Sakura when she was most frightened and at a loss about what to do, he played just as big of a part in saving their other friends as she did, and literally passed out from the effort stopping time took.
I can see why some people would have issues with him qualifying due to his early behavior (especially if they saw the Americanized Cardcaptors version, which only played up his negative traits even more), but you know what? If Naruto could qualify despite taking much, much longer than Syaoran to grow out of his arrogance and other negative traits, then I don’t see why Syaoran can’t be considered too. And since I was one of the users who most supported Naruto’s inclusion despite my initial doubts when I was told of how far he came by the end of Shippuden, I think it would actually be inconsistent of me to not feel the same way about Syaoran. It was already evident pretty early in the original show that he wasn’t nearly as mean or stuck-up as he tried to act, since even early on, he was often looking out for Sakura and Meiling’s wellbeing. And of course, by the time Clear Card rolls around, he’s become such a noble, kind and selfless young man that I think he’s just as good of a candidate in his own way as Sakura and Tomoyo, not to mention his deeds are more than sufficient to make up for his early behavior. But again, it’s up to you. Anyway, that wraps up my trio of Cardcaptor Sakura proposals. I hope those who took the time to vote enjoyed reading through them and found my points well-thought out and reasonable. Thanks to everyone that did!