"Card Captor Sakura Omnibus Volume 3" is almost exactly where I stopped reading the TokyoPop editions of "Card Captor Sakura." Although I loved the first volumes, I thought the series was losing some of its magic as the storyline went along. There were too many characters, and some of the elements I didn't enjoy--like Yukito's revelation of his true form as Yue the Judge. I liked Yukito better as just Yukito. Budgets were tight. Decisions had to be made. I had read the series up until Sakura completed her task of capturing all the Clow Cards, and I didn't see much point in continuing. What is a Card Captor with no cards to capture? And so I stopped picking up the Tokyopop collections.
But I always wondered how the series ended. And I figured I would get around to reading it someday.
Enter the extremely cool Dark Horse Omnibus series. Along with a larger format, nicer paper, a new and improved translation, and full-color pages, I could get the entire Cardcaptor Sakura series in four affordable volumes. The Omnibus volumes were too good to pass up, and I could finally read the end of series.
"Omnibus Volume 3" starts off with Sakura Kinamoto as a 5th grade elementary school and Master of the Clow Cards of the magician Clow Reed. She has finally captured the last of the errant cards, and assumed her destined role. However, capturing the last of the cards has left here without a purpose. A magical warrior with no one to battle isn't of much use. Fortunately, some danger and intrigue arrives at Sakura's school with a new exchange student arrives from England, Eriol Hiiragizawa. Sakura and the Clow Cards are called upon once again, but Sakura quickly finds herself outmatched. It is not enough to be Master of the Clow Cards. Sakura must transform the cards, making her own magic instead of just borrowing someone else's.
And of course, much of the fun of "Cardcaptor Sakura" has nothing to do with battle. I have loved reading all of the bizarre--yet perfectly sweet and innocent--little love stories intertwined in the series. In one story, the gang learns of a superstition involving handing out hand-made teddy bears to the one you love, so soon teddies bears are getting made and exchanged everywhere. Sakura's classmate Rika gives one to their teacher. Li Syaoran makes one but can't decide if he wants to give it to the girl Sakura or the boy Yukito, both of whom make him swoon. And then Valentine's Day comes around, and it is the same problem all over again. Good times.
Getting back into "Cardcaptor Sakura" after more than a decade was easy. The ladies at CLAMP seemed to have assumed that there would be new or returning readers, and recaped the story and re-introduced the characters in the first few pages. After everyone is comfortable in their settings, they then drop the gang into new adventures against new opponents and get the ball rolling for the second half of Sakura's series.
While I am enjoying the series, I personally don't think that Volume Three is as good as volumes one and two. Some of the new characters seem a bit forced. They have gone the "dark mirror" route making sure that everyone in Sakura's battle group has an opposite to fight. If Sakura has a cute little winged lion that turns into a fierce guardian, then they will have a cute little black kitty that turns into a massive winged black panther. And so on. Once the reveal is made of the identity of Sakura's new opponent, the story makes a little more sense, but there is less immediacy to the storyline. She isn't a girl on a mission anymore, and is being battered around by mystic forces.
Even so, I will definitely be getting the final Volume 4 to see how it all plays out. And since Dark Horse has put out these excellent Omnibus versions, I am glad I waited.