The Might and Magic of Sakura Kinomoto

For Women’s History Month, we’re featuring the incredible women of anime, from studios to characters and timeless creators.

By Yali Perez

If you’ve read my column, A Mom’s Guide to Anime, it’s no surprise to you that I love Cardcaptor Sakura.

Ever since I was young, I related to Sakura Kinomoto. I also wanted to be her. I dreamt of finding a book with magical cards that would take away my ordinary life and turn it into something extraordinary.

Of course, that’s because I used to believe that in order to be magical, I needed magic. Sakura taught me that what makes us magical is something we all already have.

A truly magical girl

What makes the Cardcaptor Sakura series different from other magical girl anime is that Sakura Kinomoto truly lives the life of a young girl. She struggles to balance school, chores at home, cheerleading—and finding the confidence to confess to her crush, all while going from young girl to teenager. She was like me.

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When power and purpose were thrust upon her, she wasn’t instantly great at it. Sakura was clumsy, insecure and full of doubt. Her inability to master her powers caused plenty of harm to herself and others. She was struggling with her real life too, not just her life as a magical girl.

But those who love the series know that Sakura isn’t a quitter. No matter how scary things became, she never gave up. Her greatest power isn’t just in the magical cards, the wand, her adorable sidekick Kero, or her fashionable costumes—it’s in her heart. And we’ve all got one of those!

The courage to fight on

Time and time again, Sakura draws on her courage and strength to take on challenges 10 times her size, figuratively and literally. With each new card she comes across, she grows more confident in her abilities—and herself.

We watch her embrace and master her role as a Cardcaptor, taking us into the sequel series, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.

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And yet, Sakura’s role as a “superhero” isn’t what makes her so easy to idolize. She’s fiercely loyal to friends and family, and her courage takes her above and beyond in the fight for their (and her) happiness.

When others are down, it’s Sakura who is trying to smile and cheer them up. She does it for people she barely knows. If this were a perfect world, you’d find a picture of her next to the word “selfless” in the dictionary.

The best of us

Sakura represents the best of us. She’s not just one of my favorite magical girls—she’s one of my favorite anime characters of all time.

And that love goes far beyond the fantastical world she lives in. My love for the character is based on who she is. She’s a normal girl who reminds us that we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be fearless. We just have to be true to ourselves.

And as I continue my journey into adulthood and parenthood, I plan to emulate her values in myself and teach them to my son. I hope that one day he’ll become that shining light for others.

Of course, if you want to journey with Sakura yourself, you can catch Cardcaptor Sakura and Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, right here on Funimation.

UP NEXT: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card ‘Ready for Lady’ Event Dazzles Tokyo!