The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (2023)

Few manga are as thirsty as CLAMP’s manga. The four-woman team of manga artists — whose work includes Chobits, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Magic Knight Rayearth — have functioned under the driving philosophy that all love is valid, regardless of society’s taboos. But more than that, not only is taboo love valid, but every character should be so incredibly thirsty for their partner that their entire lives will sometimes revolve around romance.

Of all the thirsty works CLAMP has created, though, none can surpass Cardcaptor Sakura in terms of sheer burning desire. It’s not uncommon for shojo manga to indulge in the occasional love triangle, in which characters remain infatuated with one another and compete for one another’s affections. Cardcaptor Sakura’s love polygon proves to be less of a triangular shape, and more an exploration of a line game, where every character exists on an interconnected grid, and every single dot must link in one way or another to its neighbors. Every character experiences a crush on at least one character, with every taboo, for better or worse, being explored in the process.

One very important element of Cardcaptor Sakura is that of fluid sexuality. Specifically, characters can be attracted to any number of people for any number of reasons, with many players falling somewhere in the middle on the Kinsey Scale.

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (1)

(Video) Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Episode 1 - Sakura and Syaoran Reunion

The series’ most iconic relationship is arguably that of the titular Sakura Kinomoto and her male counterpart, Syaoran Li. While the two are established at first as rivals who compete over the Clow Cards, they are eventually drawn closer. Little by little, they begin working with one another, before becoming romantically involved. Their love grows to be so powerful that it’s able to transcend reality, with their alternate incarnations in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle still being tied together by their mutual attraction.

Ironically, Syaoran was not just Sakura’s rival for the Cards, at first. The two clashed in a contest for love, since both of them had a crush on one Yukito Tsukishiro. It’s later revealed that Syaoran’s attraction toward people is less determined on a person’s gender and more on their connection to Moon energy. Therefore, Yukito, who is tied in with the Moon energy generated by Yue, exudes an aura that Syaoran simply can’t resist. Ultimately, though, both Sakura and Syaoran end up failing to attract Yukito. This is partly because both are around twelve, while Yukito is in his teens. More important though, is that Yuktio already has a crush of his own, in Sakura’s elder brother, Touya.

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (2)

Touya and Yukito are unambiguously queer, though it’s uncertain whether the two are bisexual, like Syaoran, or gay. Of course, Touya seems uninterested in romantic involvement with anyone other than Yukito, even in the face of Nakuru Akizuki’s, AKA Ruby Moon’s, repeated flirtations with him. We also know that Touya dated Kaho Mizuki in eighth grade, but it is uncertain if he found her genuinely attractive, or if this experience showed him he had little interest in women.

This love quadrangle surrounding Sakura, Syaoran, Yukito, and Touya is already complicated, with numerous periphery relationships. Furthermore, it becomes more complicated when we consider that Yukito is in actuality two people: Yukito Tsukishiro and his alter-ego, Yue.

(Video) Card Captor Sakura: 5 Things You Need To Know

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (3)

And then there’s Tomoyo, Sakura’s best friend and confidant who is consistently in love with her card-capturing friend. The series features multiple moments where Tomoyo, flanked by a storm of flower petals and romantic imagery, admits that she loves Sakura, only for Sakura to respond the same, albeit in a platonic sense.

At times, this affection appears to be pure in nature, with Tomoyo valuing Sakura’s happiness over her own, especially when Sakura ends up falling in love with Syaoran.

That said, the actual purity of Tomoyo’s love for Sakura truly is debatable. For example, she frequently designs new costumes for Sakura that she wants her friend to dress up in, going out of her way to film Sakura posing and fighting. In this light, Tomoyo is certainly in love with her friend and she values her happiness. At the same time, there’s a real thirst to Tomoyo’s attraction that indicates that Tomoyo is beginning to feel some tinge of attraction deeper than puppy love, which she expresses in a pure, chaste manner.

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (4)

(Video) Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card - Episode 19 Syaoran HP has reached Zero

Not all of the relationships are so chaste, though. Most notably, there are plenty of cases in Cardcaptor Sakura, where older men engage in relationships with characters at the cusp of consent. This is most notably seen in Sakura’s own parents. Sakura’s dad, Fujitaka Kinomoto was thirty-four when he had children with Sakura’s mom, Nadeshiko, who was sixteen at the time. In fact, Fujitaka was Nadeshiko’s teacher. This infuriated Nadeshiko’s cousin, Sonomi, who also might be harboring some attraction to Fujitaka in later years. To make matters more complicated, Sonomi is also Tomoyo’s mother, which means that Tomoyo’s best friend isn’t just a possible love interest. She’s also her second cousin.

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (5)

That’s to say nothing of the aforementioned relationship between Touya and Kaho Mizuki.

Remember her?

Ayway, while Kaho does present a possible piece of evidence that Touya is bisexual, it’s also another taboo being broken, since Kaho Mizuki is also Touya’s middle school teacher. One who, even after returning after a long time apart, makes some fairly inappropriate gestures towards a person much younger than her. For example, tackling and hanging onto Touya as he stands near her. As her birthdate was never explicitly stated, there’s a possibility that Kaho is only four or five years older than Touya, given the minimum age she could be as a middle school teacher And while the gesture in itself is highly inappropriate, it still isn’t as bad as Cardcaptor Sakura’s most problematic relationship.

(Video) Art Book Review Card Captor Sakura 20th Anniversary Illustration Book by Clamp

Cardcaptor Sakura’s most controversial romance is arguably that of Sakura’s classmate, Rika, which is made more notable, given that the romantic lives of Sakura’s schoolmates are usually kept very tertiary to the main plot. And, while most of these entanglements are side elements to an already romance-heavy story, few plot points are as profoundly uncomfortable as that of Rika and Yoshiyuki Terada.

The Many Love Polygons of CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura (6)Terada-sensei is Sakura’s homeroom teacher, and Rika, a twelve-year-old girl, is one of his main students. The two are, as we are shown through Rika’s perspective, in such an “intimate” relationship that the two plan on getting married once Rika turns of age. The anime softens the intensity of their affair by a great degree, cutting out most of CLAMP’s overt “amorous” angle between a fully grown adult and a literal child. At the same time, it’s fairly difficult to determine Terada’s specific age, in relation to Rika’s. Regardless, no matter which way you slice it, this relationship is highly disturbing.

At times, it feels as though CLAMP wanted every character to be romantically involved with someone at some point. They break many taboos — many of which need breaking. The boundaries of gender and ethnicity do not stop characters in Cardcaptor Sakura from pursuing one another. As a result, this necessary form of representation helps to further the message that “love is love.” Sure, some characters developing intense crushes on, and in some cases filming one another, can come across as incredibly thirsty, but it’s within the realms of acceptability.

Moreover, while Sakura and Tomoyo are distantly related, neither of them actually knew this until long after they had become friends. On top of that, there is enough distinction that the two could legally enter a relationship, though it’s still uncomfortable for two people so closely related to get into a relationship.

Meanwhile, the relationships between students and teachers — especially with given age gaps as vast as the one between Rika and Terada-sensei — are profoundly uncomfortable. Unlike the other relationships, there is a distinct power dynamic at play here, which dials up the uneasiness. Even characters in-text, like Sonomi, criticize the relationship dynamic found in teacher-student relationships like this. Add to everything the fact that Terada, as an adult, has far more life experience than Rika, and you end up resulting in a profoundly uncomfortable, unpleasant romance that made countless readers back off and try to determine ways to possibly come close to justifying the relationship. Such measures include, but are not limited to looking to estimate the absolute youngest age Terada could be.

(Video) 19 Differences between the Cardcaptor Sakura Manga and Anime

CLAMP wanted to create a story where love could exist without taboo, where adoration for one another is embraced as natural and good, where every relationship leaves the characters feeling empowered rather than entrapped. And, for the most part, they succeed. Still, the one taboo that strains under this belief is that of teacher and student, especially when dealing with such a huge age gap.

In an ironic twist, one of the oldest characters — in a sense — in the series is the only one to not be romantically involved with anyone. About the only major character who never expresses attraction in anyone is Eriol Hiiragizawa. And, while Eriol is only physically twelve, he is a reincarnation of Clow Reed, which makes him an incredibly ancient being.

Then again, Eriol also probably had plenty of romantic affairs over the course of his centuries on Earth…

FAQs

Does Cardcaptor Sakura have Lgbtq? ›

The two have feelings for each other and they are queer. This isn't the only case of queerness in Cardcaptor Sakura. There's Tomoyo clearly being written as a lesbian and even Syaoran believes he has a crush on Yukito for a good chunk of the series.

Are Meilin and Syaoran cousins? ›

Meiling Li is one of the supporting characters from the anime adaptation of Clamp's Cardcaptor Sakura. She is cousin of Syaoran Li and anime only character.

Is Yukito a boy or a girl? ›

Yukito
Yukito Kishiro, Japanese mangaka.
Pronunciationjɯkʲito (IPA)
GenderMale
Origin
Word/nameJapanese
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Who is Cardcaptor Sakura in love with? ›

The TV series leaves the relationship between Sakura and Syaoran unresolved, but Sakura confesses her love to Syaoran at the end of the second anime film. In the OVA that bridges the stories of the original series and the Clear Card anime, Syaoran returns to Tomoeda two years later, just like in the manga.

Is Syaoran a girl? ›

Syaoran has short chestnut hair and large amber eyes. He is short in height compared to his male classmates, such as Yamazaki, but is overall taller than Sakura and Tomoyo. He appears to have grown in Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card and, later, the Clear Card series.

Are Toya and Yukito dating? ›

Touya Kinomoto (木之本 桃矢, Kinomoto Tōya) is a fictional character in CLAMP's anime and manga series Cardcaptor Sakura. He is Sakura's older brother. Yukito Tsukishiro, the borrowed form of Yue, is his boyfriend.

Who is the villain in Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

Kaito is the main antagonist of the manga/anime series Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. He was voiced by Natsuki Hanae in the Japanese version, and Brandon McInnis in the English dub.

Who is Tomoyo crush? ›

As a result, some scenes in the beginning chapters show Tomoyo with a slight crush on Touya Kinomoto (Sakura's older brother).

When did Sakura fall in love with Syaoran? ›

Sakura has confessed her affection for Syaoran in two ways: after an intense battle in Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, the sequel movie to Cardcaptor Sakura, and in the Clear Card prologue that has yet to hit streaming sites.

Who does Yukito end up with? ›

Touya gives Yue his powers in order to save Yukito's life. Eventually Yukito openly admits his love for Touya to Sakura after she confesses to him, notably calling Touya his "number one".

Does Tomoyo love Sakura? ›

Tomoyo loves Sakura and what she represents. In addition, on several occasions Tomoyo made it clear to Sakura that she did not expect her to reciprocate her feelings and only cared about seeing her happy.

Is Cardcaptor Sakura pansexual? ›

Sakura Kinomoto (木之本 桜 Kinomoto Sakura) is a pansexual character from Cardcaptor Sakura.

Who did Clow Reed love? ›

Clow and Yūko had a past relationship. It is theorized that he and Yūko were lovers. He and Yūko made the two Mokonas together.

Is Ruby Moon a boy? ›

Being genderless is a trait that Ruby Moon shares with the angels (among others) of CLAMP's series Wish and Kobato.

Who is Sakura and Syaoran child? ›

Syaoran is the son of "Sakura" and "Syaoran Li" (this led to an assumption of them being the same of CCS, since they have both the magic circle and items from the CCS series), but this is later proven wrong in chapter 223 where we learn that it was the Clones.

When did Li start liking Sakura? ›

It isn't until Season 3, halfway through the story, that he begins to develop and recognize his romantic attachment to Sakura. It took him even longer to confess those feelings, and in true anime hero fashion, he pines while doing his best to keep her safe.

Does Syaoran love Sakura Tsubasa? ›

Syaoran (Japanese: 小狼, Hepburn: Shaoran) is a fictional character and protagonist in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, a manga series written and illustrated by Clamp. Syaoran is introduced as a young archaeologist who is in love with Sakura, his childhood friend and the princess from the Kingdom of Clow.

Is Watanuki the son of Sakura and Syaoran? ›

Watanuki was born to replace Tsubasa and to become the child of Sakura and Syaoran Li.

Is Yue in love with Clow? ›

In episode 58, once Yue is at Sakura's home, she once agains recognizes Yue's love for Clow. She affirms “you really do love Mr. Clow, don't you?”.

How old is Yukito? ›

He is over 300 years old.

Who does Sakura have a crush on Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

Although she fails to admit her feelings in the final episode, Sakura later manages to finally confess her love to Syaoran when he and Meiling return to visit in the series movie, Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card.

What animal is Kero Chan? ›

Appearance. In his borrowed form, Keroberos resembles a bear or rather a stuffed animal or a plush toy with yellow-orange fur, big ears, and small white wings. However, his true form is that of a huge, tawny mane-less lion, with enormous angelic white wings and chest plate of beaten metal, studded with rubies.

How old is Sakura the Cardcaptor now? ›

During the Clow Card Arc and Sakura Card Arc storyline, she canonically ages to be twelve years at series end, in both the anime and manga versions. In the Clear Card Arc storyline, she canonically ages to be fourteen years while attending Tomoeda Junior High School. Sakura is an energetic and cheerful young girl.

Who is Tomoyo father? ›

Tomoyo is the daughter of the president of Daidouji Toy Company, Sonomi Daidouji is the cousin of Sakura's mother Nadeshiko Kinomoto, which makes Sakura, Toya and Tomoyo second cousins.

Who does Tomoyo end up with? ›

He begins to hold romantic feelings for Nagisa towards the end of the first season of the Clannad anime. Tomoya canonically ends up with Nagisa in the Clannad visual novel and its ~After Story~ arc, as well as in the anime.

Is Tomoyo a girl? ›

Appearance. Tomoyo Sakagami is a beautiful teenage girl. She has long, straight, silver hair that reaches her upper thighs.

Does Syaoran like Meiling? ›

Meiling continued to declare that she liked him more than anyone else, and she argued that Syaoran liked nobody else more than he liked her. Syaoran stuttered in agreement and just looked at her, which further led Meiling to declare herself engaged to him.

Who does Syaoran Li end up with? ›

She chases his bus as it pulls away and is able to give him the bear and confess her feelings. The story then picks up two years later, where Syaoran returns to live in Japan, and he and Sakura pick up their relationship.

What is Sakura and Syaoran ship name? ›

SakuSyao is the het ship between Sakura and Syaoran from the Cardcaptor Sakura fandom.

Did Cardcaptor Sakura end? ›

The story of Cardcaptor Sakura ends with Sakura and Syaoran together at last. This is considered to be a satisfying conclusion by most fans of the series, save for the ones who wanted to see Sakura/Syaoran end up with other characters. The tale of Sakura and Syaoran did not end with Cardcaptor Sakura.

Does Yukito love Sakura? ›

In no way are Syaoran or Sakura's feelings reciprocated by Yukito, who, in fact, later makes it clear to Sakura that he sees her as a little sister and that he is in love with her brother Touya.

What episode does Sakura confess to Yukito? ›

Sakura, Yukito, and the Vanishing Power (さくらと雪兎と消えゆく力, Sakura to Yukito to Kieyuku Chikara) is the 65th episode of Cardcaptor Sakura. The Cardcaptors title for this episode is "Lights, Camera, Vanish!".

Who does Sakura Kinomoto marry? ›

Nadeshiko Kinomoto
Profile
Also Known AsNatasha Avalon (Cardcaptors)
Age27 (deceased)
BirthdayMay 20
RelativesFujitaka Kinomoto (Husband) Sakura Kinomoto (Daughter) Touya Kinomoto (Son) Sonomi Daidouji (1st Cousin) Masaki Amamiya (Grandfather) Tomoyo Daidouji (1st Cousin Once Removed) Unnamed Grandmother (Deceased)
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What episode do Tomoya and Tomoyo get together? ›

In an alternate universe to the original Clannad anime, Okazaki Tomoya is dating Sakagami Tomoyo in the 24th and final episode of Clannad.

Is Cardcaptor Sakura a Yuri? ›

Tomoyo Daidōji is a supporting character in the non-yuri series Cardcaptor Sakura. The daughter of the president of Daidouji Toy Company, watched over by a team of female bodyguards, A refined and gentle girl.

Who does Touya end up with in Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

7/10 Best: Touya And Yukito

Not only does he give up his magic to keep Yukito alive, but Yukito's other form, Yue, makes sure to protect Touya as well. The two take care of one another in a relatively even keeled relationship considering one of them is a magical being created by a wizard.

Is Sakura related to Clow? ›

Clow Reed is a blood relative to both Sakura Kinomoto and Syaoran Li at the same time as being a blood relative to the reincarnated clones of Princess Sakura and Syaoran.

What is KERO from Sakura? ›

Cerberus (ケルベロス, Keruberosu) is a fictional character in CLAMP's manga and anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. His name is more commonly known in its Greek version, Kerberos, which is also often shortened to Kero-chan (ケロちゃん) or just "Kero."

Who is the main character in Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

Cardcaptor Sakura

How old is Kaho Mizuki? ›

Kaho Mizuki
Profile
Also Known AsLayla McKenzie (Cardcaptors)
AgeUnknown, approximately early-to-mid 20s
BirthdayFebruary 11
RelativesClow Reed (ancestor) Priest of the Tsukimine Shrine (father) Eriol Hiiragizawa (associate/lover)
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Is Syaoran a clone? ›

Syaoran is actually a clone of "Syaoran" Li, that was created by Fei Wong Reed in order to collect Princess Sakura's feathers. He is only a body clone, however, and was created purposefully without a heart so that he could gather feathers without any emotional restrictions.

Does Sakura ever remember Syaoran? ›

At most, all Sakura knows about Syaoran is what she has relearned from the adventures together with Mokona, Fai, and Kurogane, although she knows she knew him previously and he was very important to her. It is also clear that she is falling in love with him once more.

Is Cardcaptor Sakura a princess? ›

"Sakura" is not her true name, her true name is Tsubasa, the same as "Syaoran Li"'s.
...
Princess Tsubasa.
Princess Tsubasa of Clow
SeriesTsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE Tsubasa World Chronicle: Nirai Kanai-hen
Profile
Also Known AsPrincess Tsubasa Sakura
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Who does Tomoyo have a crush on in Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

In the Japanese version, it is obvious that Tomoyo has an unrequited crush on Sakura. Her eyes light up every time they see each other and she does not get jealous when Sakura talks about her male crushes. She also always puts Sakura's happiness above her own.

Does Cardcaptor Sakura have romance? ›

Cardcaptor Sakura depicts several main characters in intricate romance over the course of the series. Some are one-sided, while many are blossoming relationships or downright uncomfortable at times. All of the major romances in Cardcaptor Sakura help intensify the storyline for both the anime and manga.

Who is the villain of Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

Kaito is the main antagonist of the manga/anime series Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. He was voiced by Natsuki Hanae in the Japanese version, and Brandon McInnis in the English dub.

Who does Yukito end up with Cardcaptor Sakura? ›

Touya Kinomoto

Throughout the series Touya and Yukito's closeness is frequently displayed. Touya gives Yue his powers in order to save Yukito's life. Eventually Yukito openly admits his love for Touya to Sakura after she confesses to him, notably calling Touya his "number one".

Is Sakura and Tomoyo cousins? ›

Tomoyo is the daughter of the president of Daidouji Toy Company, Sonomi Daidouji is the cousin of Sakura's mother Nadeshiko Kinomoto, which makes Sakura, Toya and Tomoyo second cousins.

Does Syaoran end up with Sakura? ›

The series ends with Syaoran returning to Hong Kong, but before he departs he and Sakura are able to express their love for each other. Sakura and Syaoran are reunited two years later, with Syaoran staying in Japan.

Does Touya love Sakura? ›

Though it's never explicitly stated that Tomoyo is in love with Sakura, the series, in both manga and anime forms, never hides that fact. Sakura is the person Tomoyo cares for most in the world, and that's part of the reason she works so hard making costumes for her and recording her encounters with new magical cards.

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