I never even noticed

I was going to write about my Writer Goals for this year here, but I have to put it off a week.  You see, I went to a museum exhibit with my family last week, and it gave me a few things to think about that I wasn’t expecting.  Let me back up.

As you are no doubt aware, anime is a big thing.  I’ve been watching anime since before I even knew what it was.  Mostly things about determined warriors trying to save the world or the universe of the princess, or all three at once.  I did watch Sailor Moon, though, I won’t lie.  Basically, there was one thing that threaded them all together for me: the fight of good against evil.

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Sakura, looking at her own poster, from the exhibit.

Well, Cardcaptor Sakura wasn’t one of the shows I watched.  I probably would have if it had been on TV, but I didn’t even encounter it until much later, and honestly never watched it until The Boy saw it on Netflix and decided it was his new favorite.  The basic premise is that Sakura accidentally releases a pack of magical cards, each one capable of wreaking considerable havoc.  In order to clean up her mess she has to go out and find— and capture— all the cards.

Even still, it was just another magical girl adventure to me, though the fact that she was in elementary school was a bit of a new twist to me,  and I didn’t pay much attention to Sakura or her friends as they rounded up errant Clow Cards and solved problems.

Until I went to the exhibit and right at the front of the exhibit— before the fun projection movie we sat through with the cute mascot character, and well before the room full of extremely well made costumes to reflect Sakura’s nearly infinite wardrobe or the original manga artwork— it was pointed out that there was no villain in the show.

I was staggered.  Four years of manga issues, 70 episodes of an animated TV show, and there wasn’t a bad guy to defeat.  Sakura and her friends were fighting battles near constantly it seemed, much like any other show of this sort, but once I started thinking about it I realized that was accurate.  Her job was to collect the stray cards by counteracting their powers.  There are rivals on occasion, and definitely a few life-risking challenges, but mostly there are allies and friends and once I started thinking about the episodes I’ve seen, she’s basically a Disney Princess, making friends with everyone she meets through the power of kindness and positivity.

It’s a reasonably long-running urban fantasy adventure story with no evil force actively working against our hero.  She’s garnered fans around the world, and the amount of merchandise and books sold and art inspired by the characters is just stunning, and I’m humbled and inspired by the whole idea.

And now I have a goal to get my characters their own museum exhibit someday.  So maybe there’s a writer’s goal for you this week after all.

2 thoughts on “I never even noticed

  1. I’m not familiar with Sakura, but the description reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie Unforgiven. As a writer and one-time film student, I admired Eastwood’s ability to create a movie with absolutely no good guys. Every “hero” is so fundamentally flawed that you simply cannot consider them good people, so the western trope of good vs evil is absent. We don’t even get evil vs evil. Instead we get people who think they’re good but aren’t vs other people who think they’re good but aren’t. Sakura sounds like the opposite approach to the same idea. I may have to check it out.

    • I actually find CCS pretty soothing. Now I understand why much better. She’s kind of a Disney Princess of magical girl heroes: she really does beat every challenge with kindness. …and a few other Clow cards. But yeah, there are occasionally antagonists, but that’s more of a single-story, maybe a few stories sort of grumpiness. Just normal kid type squabbling. It’s… pleasant. And done very well, now that I’ve noticed it.

      Still a magical girl show,though, so… Bit of a change of pace from Eastwood.

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