Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, seven!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Six!

We continue yet again with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. Today’s post, like yesterday’s, contains some spoilers.

Here we go:

Number 5: Toya Kinomoto.

Toya is Sakura’s big brother. He’s in high school. He works lots of part-time jobs. Sakura squabbles with him like a little sister. Like all magical girls, she has trouble getting up on time in the morning, so she has to dress quickly and wolfs down her breakfast; he makes fun of her for stomping around in the morning, and he calls her a “kaiju.” She dreams of a day when she’ll be as “tall as a telephone pole” and able to “squish him flat.”

Sakura argues with her brother.

Although he teases her, he’s quite protective. He insists that nobody gets to make fun of Sakura except him.

I appreciate these little details. This is the one relationship in the story that actually feels … human.

Of course, Clamp isn’t content to leave it at that; they have to go and ruin it by having a character slyly ask Toya if he has a “sister complex,” and Toya ceases behaving like a normal human being when he fails to punch the guy in the mouth. Never mind that the guy asking the question is Toya’s best friend: male friends sometimes punch each other.

Not that I would expect Clamp to know that. Their male characters never act like men. But I’m not sure they act like women either. Their characters rarely act human at all.

Speaking of which—

“I’ve come on behalf of my brother. He’d like his virginity back.”

Yesterday, I mentioned serial child molestor Kaho Mizuki, a shrine maiden and schoolteacher. First of her victims was—you guessed it—Toya. She was his teacher back when he was in middle school. He developed a crush on her and confessed his love for her, and instead of acting like a teacher, she went out with him, and neither got fired nor went to jail.

“So … you wanna make out?”

The animated version downplays the manga’s paedophilia as much as it can, so its version of this consists of little more than the two of them standing there awkwardly and admitting their feelings for each other. The manga has a more extensive flashback indicating that they had a relationship that lasted for a while.

Now, after my snarky description above, it’s only fair to add that everything is G-rated. No actual sex is ever depicted or even implied in this comic. In fact, physical intimacy never gets beyond hand-holding. But that doesn’t excuse Clamp for setting up all these creeptastic relationships, the worst of which I’ll delineate in detail later. In some ways, it makes things worse, because they consistently depict teachers seducing students as something sweet and nice rather than something horrific.

“Corrector Yui can kiss my butt!”

Kaho dumped Toya on the pretext that she was going to study abroad in England, but it was probably really because he was getting too old for her tastes. When she returns to Japan, her new boyfriend is eleven. I swear to the Princess I am not making that up.

Sakura also develops a crush on Kaho, for reasons I’ll discuss tomorrow. Fortunately for her, Kaho doesn’t swing that way. Sakura narrowly escapes all of the story’s perverts.

Having been dumped by an older woman, Toya goes full yaoi with his best bud Yukito, who, it just so happens, is really some powerful magic angel thingy.

Never go full yaoi.

Touched inappropriately by an angel.

The manga has more to do after revealing that these two are an official item, but the anime comes to a stop almost immediately afterwards. For most of its run, it dodges or renders ambiguous the majority of the manga’s weird relationships, but then it’s suddenly like, “Oh, these two? Totally gay!” Then it runs and hides.

So, basically, Cardcaptor Sakura pulled a Legend of Korra long before there was a Legend of Korra. Of course, the difference is that Toya’s relationship with Yukito is foreshadowed and also makes sense given the established rules of the plot, whereas Korra indulges in mere virtue-signaling as a means of getting its critics to shut up.

“Onii-chan, I’m gonna have to ask you to stop fraternizing with my elemental guardians.”

So let me see if I’ve got this straight … Toya got molested by a middle school teacher, and that was such a traumatic experience that it made him gay. I’m sure that’s not what Clamp intended us to get out of this, but, hey, I’m just following the chain of events and drawing the obvious inferences.

Okay, I’m kidding. Slightly. The canonical explanation is that Toya, like his sister, has some innate magical powers. He can see ghosts and detect magical beings. He is attracted to the magical, especially magical things that aren’t human, which is why he’s drawn first to Kaho and then to Yukito. Again, I’ll go over some of this more extensively in my next post.

Toya drives Sakura to drink.

What really bugs me about Toya, and about Tomoyo as well, is that these characters are presented to us as particularly insightful and wise beyond their years, yet both of them, if they were really as thoughtful as Clamp makes them out to be, would be better at self-reflection. If Tomoyo were reflective, she’d recognize that she’s got a serious problem in her obsession with Sakura. And if Toya were reflective, he’d observe his own out-of-control behavior and ask himself some hard questions, starting with, “What the hell is wrong with me?”

Most bizarre of all, even after he knows exactly what the hell is wrong with him, he shrugs and keeps going, apparently content to have his affections manipulated by supernatural powers. But that takes us into a subject I’ll discuss at greater length tomorrow.

To be continued …

“Okay, you two, listen up: brothers are off-limits.”