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Unrealistic “miracles” and helpful librarians in Cardcaptor Sakura

In the 1973 film, Soylent Green, there is the above lone. It is pretty funny, considering that the Library of Congress likely doesn’t exist at that time that the film was set, a line undoubtedly meant to appeal to audiences in 1973, without question. The opposite is the case in Cardcaptor Sakura, as it is one of the best representations of the roles of librarians in anime. While there are multiple episodes in the 1998-2000 anime series which focus on libraries, [1] this post focuses on one in particular: “Sakura and Her Summer Holiday Homework.” [2]

Sakura and Tomoyo in the library in the episode

In the episode, Sakura and Tomoyo go to the local public library to finish a project before summer vacation is over. They end up at the last study space at the library, with Li agreeing to not take the space. Sakura discovers that Kero did her math homework wrong and is annoyed with him. They look for the piglet book, the librarian tells them that one copy should be there after looking at her computer, saying that it is still within the library somewhere, so they search through the stacks for it. It’s a silly premise but makes the episode that much better.

As it turns out, Li has the book. Sakura looks through the main study area, to see if anyone has the book…the book somehow teleports across the library, probably with the use of a Clow Card. Apart from this, various librarians are seen going about their duties in the episode, including re-shelving and moving books on carts, using computers to input information. That’s better than what a lot of other anime have done.

Some of the nameless and faceless librarians (who all seem to be women) in the episode. Other librarians as shown more up-close, but never directly head-on

Sakura is much more dedicated to school than her counterparts in Western animation. For instance, Bart once wore a shirt to school declaring “down with homework” and is, notoriously, a bad student. Sakura, in contrast, is academically oriented even though she has the responsibilities of being a cardcaptor! It’s impressive.

Patrons at the library as shown in the same episode

That’s all for this week. I am glad I went back and re-watched this episode in order to catch these moments! It was worth it, without a doubt! As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


[1] I’m specifically referring to a few episodes here. This includes the episode “Sakura and the Mysterious Magic Book / One Fateful Day,” where, after returning home from school, Sakura is drawn to the basement by strange noises. In her father’s library, she discovers the Clow Book, the same book from her dream. She accidentally breaks its seal, unleashing the magical Clow Cards into the world. In another episode, “Sakura’s Exhausting Sunday,” Sakura accidentally activates a clow card, which grows a tree in the basement, where her father’s library is. Somehow, despite the water given to the tree, and the tree growing at an exponential rate, the books inside are not damaged or ruined, which doesn’t make much sense. Anyway, much of the battle that Saura fights is in the basement. In one final episode, “Sakura and the Mysterious Brooch,” Rika is studying in the school library and is visited by Sakura; Rika says she can’t remember anything from the previous day; Sakura gives her the pin she picked out for herself in the store, but does not tell her what happened to Rika’s original pin (it possessed her and turned her into a master swordfighter), with Rika extremely grateful; Sakura later leaves, says hello to her homeroom teacher, and passes a bookshelf.

[2] The Wikipedia description of the episode makes clear the value of libraries in the episode: “…Sakura is left with only a book report to do and meets with Tomoyo at the library. There, they meet Syaoran who refuses to share a library cubicle. Sakura needs a specific book to do her report on, as does Syaoran. When the Move Card steals it and teleports the book around, Sakura and Syaoran give chase.”


By Burkely Hermann

Burkely Hermann joined the National Security Archive as an Indexer and Metadata Librarian in March 2020, using his experience with arrangement, indexing, electronic databases, cataloging, metadata creation, and knowledge of history on a daily basis. In December 2019, he completed his Master of Library and Information Science, specializing in Archives and Digital Curation, at University of Maryland. In 2016, he received a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Political Science and a minor in History, from St. Mary's College of Maryland. He previously interned at the National Archives II facility in College Park and worked at the Maryland State Archives, Digital Curation and Innovation Center, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He is also a member of the Society of American Archivists. In his free time, he researches his family genealogy, serves as a judge for National History Day, which he participated in for several years, writes fictional works, and keeps up with changes in the library and archives fields. He currently runs seven WordPress blogs, primarily about his family history, or reviewing archives and libraries in pop culture.

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