Hello again Grimms!
If you caught my LGBTQ post featuring gay representation then you know I’ve recently taken an interest in the anime Cardcaptor Sakura. I thought the English dub would be fun for my daughter and I to watch together. I was blown away when I heard they’d censored the gay relationship between Touya and Yukito. I decided that if I wanted the full story I would just go straight to the source and read the manga.
I’m not completely finished with the manga but I’m darn close! There are so many things I enjoy about it and I promise there will be a manga review as soon as I’m finished but there’s something I just have to address when it comes to this series.
The prominence of unhealthy dynamic relationships.
If you’ve read the manga before you know exactly where I’m going with this but for the rest of you I’m going to lay things out.
*Disclaimer this will contain spoilers in a way since we are discussing relationships that will happen throughout the series.
First up we have Touya and Yukito, a lovely and healthy relationship between two 17 year olds of course the US censored it because they’re both males. It’s really ridiculous to me because of the relationships in Cardcaptor this is one clearly one of the healthiest. It’s consensual, they’re in the same peer age group so the chances of one or them using their experience and age to manipulate the other into pushing their boundaries is lessened, and they started dating after getting to know each other, and unlike a lot same sex male relationships in manga it doesn’t start after an unwanted sexual interaction.
Can you tell I love this this relationship?!
I wish I could say that about the rest of them but sadly that’s not the case. Where to even begin with the relationship shit storm we have going on with Cardcaptor Sakura? I guess we better start at the beginning with Touya’s and Sakura’s parents.
Yes you bet your ass I’m calling this relationship out!
Fujitaka Kinomoto met his wife Nadeshiko Kinomoto when she was 16 and he was 27 years old. Also he was in a position of power since he was her teacher. They ended up getting married while she was 16 and and a few years later she had Touya and then Sakura. She later passes away when Sakura is about three. Now in the manga it is clear that Nadeshiko and Fujitaka had a very loving relationship and Fujitaka continues to honor his wife even in death. So the love is there but I feel like as consumers we have to recognize that this isn’t the norm. In fact I can tell you we have a huge problem in America with predators choosing teaching as a profession in order to groom and prey on their students. According to statistics we are not the only country with this problem.
I personal graduated with two confirmed men who used their positions as teachers to sexually assault their teenage students. These girls lives are forever effected by the fact that their trust has been destroyed by people they were supposed to be able to count on. Before any of you start coming in my comment section with your, “BuT SaKURa IsN’T ReAL LifE!” defense just stooooop.
Clearly I know that but what I also know is that the media we consume without awareness effects the way we act in real life. We are constantly normalizing relationships in the media where teachers and students become sexually or intimately involved and this isn’t okay because very rarely are we showing the true long term effects that this can have on the students.
Instead we frame them much like Nadeshiko’s and Fujitaka’s relationship. As two people who have a healthy relationship. Seeing this type of relationship normalized over and over again can influence how we react to actually cases in real life. Case in point when it came out that one of the men I new from university was molesting his high school student people immediately started questioning whether or not the girl could claim it wasn’t consensual. The reason the whole situation came out was because he told the girl he wanted to divorce his wife, get married to her, and that they could just runaway until she was of age. The girl was terrified that he was going to kidnap her and even though he had groomed her to think that if she told anyone she would get in trouble she finally confided in her parents because she was scared he would take her away.
How do you hear that story and think, “Well maybe it was consensual?”
CLEARLY IT WAS NOT IF SHE WAS CONVINCED SHE HAD TO BE TO ENGAGE IN SEX ACTS IN ORDER TO NOT GET IN TROUBLE.
Luckily this man faced court justice in the end but can you imagine how this poor girl must’ve felt seeing people normalize the situation instead of facing facts. This dude is a predator.
Cardcaptor Sakura has a thing about normalizing student teacher relationships. It comes up again when we learn that Touya was in a relationship in middle school with his student teacher Kaho Mizuki. This puts Touya at probably 14 years old while Mizuki is at the youngest 21 years old. When Mizuki shows up as a substitute math teacher for Sakura’s class Touya comes face to face with her and flashes back to when she left him. After starting this relationship with Touya she completely ditches him without a second thought. She basically just shows up for one of their, “dates” and says, “Peace out. I’m leaving for America tomorrow it’s been fun but I never plan on contacting you again.”
Gaaaaahhhh!!!! Do you know what something like that can do to a child’s self worth?! Of course the manga doesn’t go into that, instead it’s treated as another completely normal thing to happen. I mean I guess it must be consensual because he’s a boy and she’s a hot teacher. That narrative has got to be addressed because again when it is normalized it crosses over into real life. How many female teachers have sexual exploited their students and when it is revealed a good chunk of the population starts treating it as a joke if she’s attractive.
“I wish she was my teacher when I was in middle school she’s hot!”
“Someone needs to kick this kids ass for ratting her out. I’d let her jump on my dick. What is this kid gay?!”
“Do you think she’d believe me if I told her I was twelve? She’s so sexy!”
Are you kidding me?!
Of the cases reported we know that one in eight boys will be sexual assaulted by the age of 18 in the US and that figure is probably higher because as we all know sexual assault is one of the least reported crimes. Especially among men and boys BECAUSE of comments like the above and a bunch of other factors. I can’t stress enough how we must become AWARE consumers. It is important that we acknowledge that this type of relationship would be very hurtful in real life and the above comments are not appropriate. People like the above should be ashamed of themselves.
The last one I’m going to talk about should come as no surprise to anyone who has already read the manga.
Yoshiyuki Terada and Rika Sasaki
First off what in the actual fuck is going on here? Terada is their homeroom teacher and Rika is Sakura’s classmate. That puts their Terada around 25 (at the youngest) and Rika at nine. NINE.
He gives her an engagement ring are you kidding me? I’m just supposed to except this as normal behavior? Not to day Pedophile Satan. NOT. TODAY. This one really gets me because again child predators often times chose careers that will give them access to children while also putting them in a roll of authority. This gives them the ability to groom the child and also makes it less likely for the child to come forward. They are more likely to feel like what the predator is forcing them to do must be okay because their supposed to be a trusted adult figure. They are also afraid of being accused of lying or they have conflicted feelings about getting the adult in trouble. It is just an emotional ball of awful for any child.
Cardcaptor Sakura is marketed to young kids and I am not okay with normalizing this type of relationship to children. I always tell my daughter that all adults have rules just like kids and none of us are ever allowed to touch her body in anyway that makes her feel yucky inside. She is in control of her body no matter what and it doesn’t matter if that adult is a teacher, family member, person in uniform, friend of the family whatever it is their job to respect her body. It is the adults job to recognize her boundaries without her having to say anything. So of course I’m going to be ticked at a children’t manga trying to normalize a relationship between a child and adult as if it is consensual. Rika is nine she does not have the emotional capacity to engage in a consensual relationship with an adult.
Don’t even try to come at me in the comment section with, “Well she clearly likes him.” Of course she does. It is normal for kids to start developing crushes at this age and even to develop crushes on someone older. Their little and starting to understand complex emotions but it is up to us adults to establish boundaries for that exact reason. Kids are just starting to develop feelings they don’t understand the real implications of sex or anything else. They’re just babies!
Once again I know that this is a fictional story but the normalization of situations like this have real world consequences. I cannot stress enough that we must be active and aware consumers who recognize and acknowledge when something in media (anime or otherwise) is normalizing behaviors or situations that are unacceptable. The crazy thing is that these relationships are in no way necessary to further the story.
Fujitaka and Nadeshiko could’ve met when she was in college and the story would stay the same. Instead of dating Touya, Mizuki could have just been someone who had a huge positive impact on him. You know the way teachers are supposed to. The story would still be the same. As far as Terada and Rika go CLEARLY this is an unnecessary plot point. If Rika liked someone in her class the story would continue exactly the same. That’s what really gets me. The author had the chance to write positive relationships throughout the series and only does it once. Thank heavens once again for Touya and Yukito. Come on, we can do better than that.
So am I saying burn this series and never look back?
But I am saying to read it with awareness. Also if your child is reading this series make sure to talk to them and explain that it is never okay for their teacher or any adult to bulldoze their boundaries. Finally if you have ever been assaulted by a trusted adult figure in your life than you might find these relationships to be triggering if you choose to read this series. So proceed with caution and tune in with yourself. No manga is worth the state of your mental health. There is a chance that the good qualities of this manga will not be outweighed by the bad qualities for you when you read this and that’s okay ❤
Do what’s best for you!
I hope you all enjoyed this post. I know it gets a bit heavy but you know me! I’ve got to point these types of things out. I can’t wait to do a full Cardcaptor Sakura review as soon as I finish the series so keep an eye out for that. We still have more volumes of Fruits Basket to get through as well ❤ So much fun content to look forward too!
Catch ya later Grimms.
*I do not own these images *