Cardcaptor Sakura We Need To Talk

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.

Relationships

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!

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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.

Seriously.

Just stop.

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?! Cardcaptor Sakura3

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

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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.

NIIIIIIINNNNNNNEEEEEEE.

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.

PERIODT.

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!

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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?

No.

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 *

24 thoughts on “Cardcaptor Sakura We Need To Talk

  1. Gonna play the devil advocate here for Nadeshiko and Fujitaka relationship, you look at it with you western eyes, there relation like this is not well seen, however in Japan is not seen the same way (at least at the time the manga was written, can’t tell much about now) I agree Rika and Terada is just plain weird same for Touya and Mizuki, but for Sakura’s parent it’s almost part of the culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading 🙂 I feel like Japan and the West are actually quite similar on this point actually. It has only been in recent years even in America that the age of sexual consent has increased. Just a few years ago a school board member was found to be having sex with a student and while he resigned from his position he didn’t face criminal charges because they couldn’t prove the sex wasn’t consensual and the age of consent for that state was 16. My husbands parents started dating when his dad was 20 and his Mom was 14. My grandparents gap was even wider as I recall my grandma was 14 and my grandpa was 24. They didn’t get married until she was 18 but the beginning of the relationship was 14. Both my grandparents and his parents are still married btw. So I don’t see this so much as a cultural thing as much as a being responsible thing regardless of culture. I think this holds true in Japan especially taking recent events into consideration. Many countries (especially in recent years) have been looking at the issues of consent and things that play into making that decision. The normalization in ALL of our countries of relationships like this is being explored and looked at as well. For example in the last two years Japan has changed it’s laws regarding rape because they realized that their original laws were meant more to protect the offender and not the victims. Each state in America has been going through things like this as well and their have also been similar stories in European countries. I agree that this manga was written in a different age but I feel like that’s all the more reason to point out the drawbacks. Sort of a know better do better sort of attitude and I’m really glad that it seems like every culture to some degree is starting to look at issues like this ❤

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      1. Surely think start to change and hopefully, they will stop normalizing it in manga. I don’t want to say it’s normal when it’s not, but CCS is probably not the only series where you have that kind of age gap between characters.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh 100% true! Manga, anime, and just live action media all do it but I feel like even though it happens in entertainment a lot we don’t talk about the real life aspects of it. Lol it’s like when I play otome XD the characters that are my favorite aren’t the men I would date in real life BAHAHAHA I mean my favorite character in Liar! Uncover the Truth is the one who’s actually part of the Yakuza! It’s great for entertainment value but I would hope I wouldn’t marry someone that lead a faction of the Yakuza in real life XD XD

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      3. Completely agree, or when it happen in real life, they but the blame on the victim or just do nothing or try to cover the one committing the assault. Just look at what happen in South Korea. They talked about the problem for a few week but then the authorities swiped the problem under a rug and talked about something else to hide their corruption issues…

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      4. Exactly on both counts! Don’t get me wrong some of my favorite characters are problematic. Heck I loved Diabolik Lovers and we all know ALL of those characters were problematic (someday I will do a post on this) but I would never tolerate that type of behavior in real life but so many people do and it’s scary. What’s going on in South Korea is a perfect example. I love Kpop as much as the next person but I’m not going to tolerate idols treating women horrible. And yet I feel so many fans confused real life with fantasy and completely ignored their behavior. There are people who still stan Kim Hyun-Joong and I’m like, for real? We’re just going to ignore everything he did to his girlfriend? I know we’ve had long convos on Twitter about this but even still I cannot get over fans and the government for that matter that just shrugged their shoulders and swept it under the rug.

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      5. A lot of people can distinguish fiction to reality, we see it each new anime season. And I’m like you, I mean my hot daddy list have to really problematic characters, but if I had any of those two in my life I would run away and never look back. I have right problematic fanfic that check all the wrong box in the Archive warning of Ao3.

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      6. Bahahaha! Right if i saw them for real I would probably take off running! But a lot of times in the fantasy world of anime, manga, otome, and fanfic they end up being some of my favorite characters. Ohhhh is this a new fanfic?

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      7. They did let him sue her though and she had to pay him money even after DNA proved the child she had was his! He got in more trouble for the drunk driving then he did for what he put her through and now he still rocking his comeback tour with his fans all claiming he’s still amazing. I can’t believe it. Like this is real life people not an anime!

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  2. Similar to Mel, I am doing a bit of devil advocate or maybe adding in a factor I didn’t see; this piece is very much an extreme product of it’s time and of it’s authors that have well… not the best track record with relationships. That obviously isn’t an explanation but it does provide context.

    While I think, retrospectively, Cardcaptor Sakura is the worst offender with relationships that aren’t acceptable it’s not the only example of CLAMP not being able to write normal relationships. CLAMP has a track record of disturbing age gaps/abuse/etc. Subaru and Seishirou of X and Tokyo Babylon were 10+ year age gap and abusive. X also has Yuzuriha and Shiyu in a similar age gap between a high school and adult, that’s doomed from the start. Umi and Ascot in Magic Knight’s Rayearth had a huge age gap, where to fix it Ascot literally used transformation magic to age himself to make it acceptable for him to be romantically interested in Umi. Just a few other examples of bad relationship writing.

    I think for a majority of their career since they started in doujinshi and then became mangaka; CLAMP simply didn’t know how to write characters that had relationships with each other that weren’t romantic in nature or bound in obligation/abuse. Cardcaptor Sakura embodies this in your points. Why couldn’t they write a healthy student teacher relationship for Touya and Mizuki or Rika and Terada? Why didn’t they make Nadeshiko at least a college student?

    Being honest I don’t think CLAMP could’ve done so back then. I also think, that Japan is a lot more lenient about this sort of relationships since well; there’s a lot of other stories like this. There’s been at least 5 dramas this year with student teacher/student to adult figure of authority relationships on TV. There’s no outrage, other then a few eyebrows raised. To most Japanese people, even teachers (I say this as an ALT who works in Japan and whose asked about it), the idea of a student teacher relationship never happens in Japan. Which is a lie, but most Japanese people know how morally repugnant it is, that when they see it in fiction; it could only happen there.

    It’s a very disturbing trend that’s come up several times recently. I’m glad you pointed out these obvious flaws since well, too many people use the ‘it’s a product of it’s time’ or ‘it doesn’t impact reality’ when it does. Normalizing it in fiction, helps normalize it in real life like you said. It’s a shame too many people tend to cover those facts up when it comes to a beloved story.

    It might be a small consolation but the sequel (Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen) largely does away with most of these relationships. Rika is shown while clearly holding on to some feelings for Terada, attending school separately from him and with minimal contact. Touya and Yukito’s relationship is much less overt but still stable in presentation when shown. I don’t believe Mizuki’s character is referanced beyond flashbacks. The focus is much more on Sakura and Syaoran developing their feelings, and obviously re-capturing some cards!

    (Sorry for being so long and wordy, but your post got me actually motivated to comment again!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never apologize for a long comment on GrimmGirl! It makes my day to see that my post has elicited a comment like this! I wasn’t sure how this post would be received but the comments have been amazing!

      I honestly am not super familiar with CLAMP stories or this author. This is actually the first story I have read from either I believe. So I can’t really comment on their track record but I can say that creating student/teacher relationships is huge business here in America. Especially shows that are targeted towards teens which is why I like to point out that while for the purposes of drama and entertainment a relationship like this could be seen as fun or dramatic in actuality it can have lifelong consequences. As an adult I can read a story like this and say, “Okay this is just a for entertainment so cool.” But I think that’s harder to do if you’re not being completely aware of it. I also think it’s harder not to normalize it when you are a teen or child. Like you said this isn’t just one story it’s one story in a long list of stories or tv shows we could come up with saying that a student/teacher relationship is not only okay but part of life.

      Which is why I had to call it out XD Because we know now that power dynamics play a huge roll in consent so in real life a relationship like this can have lasting consequences that a child or teen may not be able to fully comprehend or understand. This is why it is better for teens to explore their sexuality within their own peer group not with older partners.

      Sometimes I get so involved in a series I have to remind my self to pause and remember that this is great entertainment but shouldn’t be normalized in everyday life. Which is why if my kids decide to read this series I’ll point out that these relationships are meant for the story only. And if they are ever in a position where they feel their teacher likes them as anything more than a student they should talk to me about it.

      I agree when people really like a series they tend to cover up the flaws. I’m guilty of it myself so to break the habit I blog about it XD Helps keep me level.

      I’m almost done with this series and I can’t wait to post a blog review. I will def be following up with Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, so I was waiting to post a comment here, I agree with the others on the parent romance… however the Rika/Terada romance always made me uncomfortable. Whether this was acceptable at the time or not, Terada is her teacher and as such in a position of power over a child. There is no consent. No matter how “mature” Rika is she is still most definitely a child and not able to consent to a relationship with an adult.

    However, small blessings that the relationship never devolved into anything sexual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As far as entertainment value goes I’m cool with the parents romance. I just have to point out for my own sake and as a fellow teacher that in real life a teacher should never cross this boundary with a student. I mean at 16 you’re still trying to figure yourself out! A teacher more than anyone knows this so in real life I would consider it an abuse of power. But Rika/Terada is just BLLLLLLLEEEEEECCCCHHHH!!!!

      Not even for entertainment can I abide this. I don’t care who you are or where we are. We all know it’s not okay to form relationships like this with kids. Honestly if things had entered into sexual territory with those two I don’t think I could’ve continued this series.

      THANKFULLY it didn’t not so I have been able to enjoy uninhibited! I’ll be doing an overall review post soon ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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