Cardcaptor Sakura is a magical girl anime that revolves around a young girl named Sakura Kinomoto. She was a regular ten-year-old girl before stumbling upon a book of magical cards that changed her life. Her mission is to find and capture all of the cards that she let loose before they can cause havoc in the world. Helping her along the way is the Beast of the Seal, Keroberos.
With such a play-by-numbers storyline, it’s fair to assume that there wouldn’t have been many changes made when Cardcaptor Sakura was dubbed and brought over to the West. However, there were many elements within this anime that had to be changed to make it suitable for the target audience.
10 The Title Of The Anime Was Altered To Be Gender-Neutral
In Japan, the anime is known as Cardcaptor Sakura, and it was aimed at young girls. This can be seen from the focus on Sakura’s romantic relationships, clothes, personality, and the fact that she was a young schoolgirl. However, when this series was brought to the West, producers were afraid that young boys wouldn’t watch a show with a female protagonist.
So, when Cardcaptor Sakura was being dubbed, the title of the anime was changed to just Cardcaptors in hopes that it would appeal more to the male target audience without the gender-specific title.
9 LGBTQ+ Relationships Between Characters Were Removed
As the dubbed version of this anime was aimed towards a younger audience, similar to the dub of Sailor Moon, many of the LGBTQ+ relationships were removed.
In the original, it was heavily hinted that Tomoyo was in love with Sakura. When she found out about Sakura’s role as a Cardcaptor, she made extravagant outfits for her to wear. In addition, Touya, Sakura’s older brother, and his best friend, Yukito, were very close and appeared to have deep feelings for each other. However, this romantic interest was also removed.
8 The Intro And Outro Songs Were Too Upbeat, Girly, And Cheerful
With the title changed to suit the dubbed demographic, the introduction and theme song also had to be changed. In the original, the theme song is very girly, upbeat, sung by a woman, and quite cheerful.
In contrast, the dubbed version of the intro and outro songs was sung by a male. In addition, the songs were changed from being cheerful and upbeat to more aggressive and something that would be found in a shonen anime.
7 Crushes Between Younger And Older Characters Were Removed
In Cardcaptor Sakura, there were a number of romantic relationships or romantic feelings between many of the characters. Some of these relationships and crushes, however, were between younger and older characters. For example, Sakura had a crush on her older brother’s best friend, Yukito, and Rika, one of Sakura’s classmates, had a crush on her teacher, Yoshiyuki Terada. These relationships were removed in the dubbed version.
6 The Series Was Cut From 70 Episodes To 38 To Make Li A Secondary Protagonist
Cardcaptor Sakura has a total of 70 episodes and two movies. The length of this series helps develop both the storyline and the characters, which is essential for fans to become invested and fall in love with the series.
However, the dubbed version, Cardcaptors, only has a total of 38 episodes and begins in a whole new way. By cutting the series almost in half, the producers removed much of Sakura’s screentime, ostensibly turning one of Sakura’s male friends, Li Shaoran, into a secondary protagonist instead of just a supporting character to make the show more appealing to a male demographic.
5 Sakura’s Parents Had A Backstory That Was Removed
In Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura’s mom, Nadeshiko, was a high school student, while her father, Fujitaka Kinomoto, was one of the teachers at that high school.
In the dubbed version, however, the details of this relationship are almost all removed to make their relationship as uncontroversial as they possibly could. The only fact that is kept in Cardcaptors is that Nadeshiko falls in love in high school, and she doesn’t get married while still attending school.
4 Many Aspects About Sakura’s Rival, Meiling Li, Were Changed
Sakura has a female rival who is bratty and doesn’t like Sakura one bit. However, many factors about this rival were changed for the dubbed version. To start, Meiling’s name was changed to Meilin Rae.
In addition to this, the reason for Meiling’s devotion to Syaoran, Sakura’s soon-to-be love interest, was changed. When Syaoran rescued Meiling’s escaped bird when they were younger, she declares that they’re now engaged. In the dubbed version, their engagement is removed. However, Meiling still has a crush on Syaoran.
3 Sakura And Tomoyo’s Personalities Were Changed To Suit A More American Audience
With how Cardcaptor Sakura is targeted towards young girls in Japan, Sakura’s personality matches what Japanese girls like to see in their main characters. She’s demure, quiet, polite, and soft-spoken. In the dubbed version, Sakura is less naïve and more boisterous and assertive.
Another personality change that was made was with Tomoyo Daidoji, Sakura’s best friend. Not only was her name changed to Madison Taylor, but she was also turned into a valley girl, speech pattern and all.
2 The Final Judgement Plot Was Changed So That They Would Lose Their Memories Instead Of Their Loved Ones
When Cardcaptor Sakura went from 70 episodes to only 38 in the dubbed version, there were many storylines, arcs, and developments that were altered or removed. One such plotline was the Final Judgement Plot.
As many of the relationships were removed or altered in the dubbed version, any elements that dealt with relationships were also removed. This is what happened with the Final Judgement Arc. In the original, when Sakura lost to Yue, everyone who was related to the cards would lose the person that they loved the most. In the dubbed version, the price that they pay is a loss of memories.
1 The Setting Was Changed From Japan To America
Like many other early dubbed anime for children, the setting of Cardcaptor Sakura was changed from Japan to America in order to make the series more relatable and less alienating for foreign audiences.
In addition to the previously discussed name changes, the town of Tomoeda, in which most of the series takes place in, was changed to the town of Reedington. In addition, all references to Japanese culture were removed. Signs featuring Japanese text were erased, Japanese food was replaced by more familiar-sounding Western dishes, and even the famous Tokyo Tower was rebranded as a generic “radio tower.”
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