Episode 2 – Sakura and the room without exit
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I thought this episode would still follow the manga quite closely but it had more original content that I thought. And since Ohkawa is behind the script (♡♡♡), everything becomes cannon automatically. I sort of prefer this way of spreading and squeezing original content between those based on the manga, instead of having 3 very faithful episodes and 1 completely original episode, which usually ends up being a filler and pointless for the main plot.
The episode title frame changed to the new magic circle! And some of the inner circles move!
I was a little worried whether we would see a decrease in the animation quality since you all know very well how the first and last episodes are usually the best animated ones and the ones in between can vary from medium to low quality animation. That’s usually not the case for Madhouse, though, being one of the most consistent animation studios I’ve ever come to see. So even though I was a little worried, the screencaps released in advance and the preview showed that the animation quality would remain on top. Having seen the whole episode, I wasn’t able to notice any downgrade. Nothing bothered me to the point of thinking that I was watching a “less important” episode. In fact, I noticed very little things that made all the difference such as how Sakura’s classmates and the other students in Tomoeda Junior High actually MOVE a lot. Like, when Sakura enters the classroom and says “good morning!”, some random students turns around and replies back “good morning!”. I thought “who the hell are you?”. So, those are nice things and show the high level of animation quality.
They are showing Syaoran’s secrets and hidings very subtly. I feel like they don’t want to give everything away so quickly, but the most attentive anime-only audience have already noticed that he is acting a little weird. In the manga it looked more obvious.
The lunch scene had so many feels! I am happy that Ohkawa addressed Wei and Meiling in episode 2 already. It’s only natural that they shouldn’t be forgotten. Although Wei didn’t come this time, Syaoran says that he might be visiting him in the future — my guess is that he and Meiling will come for summer vacations.
We learn that the outfits that Sakura and Syaoran are wearing on Chapter 18 in the manga were very likely inspired in an outfit worn by Meiling during a summer festival. Nice bit of information!
The art class was a nice little addition too. It’s good to know that they are still students at the end of the day, you know? We don’t get to see a lot of that in the manga due to well, page limitation (gotta get straight to the point!), but the anime allows such things. It’s nice to see some interaction between the girls and character profile. For example, Naoko has always been a very creative person so it makes sense that she should be good at drawing. And it makes sense that the statue’s clothes look more fluid in Tomoyo’s drawing since she’s used to draw them. By the way, didn’t you love seeing Tomoyo’s sketch book? And Sakura has come a long way too. Do you all remember her sculpture drawing in The Silent episode? XD
The sequence with Kero and all the food (Chiharu’s cheesecake, Touya’s okonomiyaki and modern-yaki) was hilarious! Kudos to Aya Hisakawa (Kero’s voice actress) and also to Madhouse for nailing how to animate a funny and cute Kero-chan.
We got to see a longer wand transformation sequence, which was nice! But it still looks not cool enough? I don’t know, it’s missing something (other than the bit about the “contract”, which doesn’t seem to be the case). And Sakura’s face at the end doesn’t look FIERCE enough. I really hope they will make a standard animation sequence for the wand transformation like they did with the two previous ones, only changing the outfits. A good transformation sequence is KEY for any magic girl.
The scene with Eriol staring at his cellphone could either imply that he had just hang up after talking to Syaoran or that he is feeling a little bad for not replying back to Sakura. If it’s the former, we might get to see the conversation in the next episode. This probably goes to what I said earlier that they don’t wan to give everything away at once.
Lastly, Sakura meets the Mysterious Cloaked Figure again in her dreams and we got the see the bit that was cut in Episode 1 where they try to take the key from Sakura. I like these small changes. It’s a different media, with a different structure, in the end it’s all about the pacing and building up to the climax.
I would like to talk about the OST again. I am so glad that tracks from the original series are back. This way it feels more like a 4th season than anything: a perfect blend of old and new tracks. It all contributes to a greater experience.
Judging by the preview for Episode 3, it looks Sakura will be securing two cards: ACQUA and REFLECT.