SoraNews24 visits the brand-new salute to one of anime’s most popular magical girls ever.

Ordinarily, it’s the view of the Tokyo skyline that commands your attention on the observation floor of Roppongi Hills’ Mori Tower. After all, you’re 52 floors up and looking out on one of the most exciting cities in the world.

But on our last visit, our eyes were glued to something else.

Right now, the Mori Tower is hosting the Cardcaptor Sakura Exhibition, a salute to the franchise that started as a magical girl manga from creative team Clamp before getting a late ‘90s anime adaptation, going dormant for over a decade, and then returning to comics and TV with the Clear Card sequel arc which began in 2016.

A series with that sort of longevity has tons of associated design works, and the exhibition, which opened in October 26, is the single largest gathering of Cardcaptor Sakura art ever amassed, so we took the elevator up to the top of Mori Tower to see it for ourselves as soon as we could.

One of the first things we need to mention is that the exhibition is surprisingly accommodating of non-Japanese fans, in keeping with the series’ worldwide popularity. Many of the displays are trilingual, and while the Japanese text gets the largest font size, there are also English and Chinese translations, so even if you don’t know kanji from hiragana, you can still read the descriptions.

▼ The helpful chart to keep track of the series’ complex interpersonal relationships also includes English translations.

▼ There’s even a mention of Peruvian fan Sofia Pichihua, certified by Guinness World Records as having the world’s largest collection of Cardcaptor Sakura merch.

One unique bit of Cardcaptor lore is that unlike other anime magical girls, whose costumes seemingly form out of magical energy, Sakura’s outfits are hand-sewn by her friend Tomoyo. The exhibition has an entire section set up as Tomoyo’s sewing room, with a number of real-world replicas of Sakura’s frill-festooned fashions.

Elsewhere in the exhibit, there’s a rack of Sakura’s outfits that you can try on for yourself

…for a little light cosplay as you snap pictures with the gigantic Kero-chan! While you’re asked not to climb on the adorable familiar, you can get right up next to him for you photos.

▼ You can also opt to take photos wearing your normal street clothes instead of Sakura’s costumes, but why would you?

▼ There’s also a spot for photos with the star herself.

And it wouldn’t be a Cardcaptor exhibition without an exhibition of captured cards, right?

The plot-starting arcane artifacts are lined up in an elegantly understated environment, freeing fans’ minds of distractions as they reminisce about the challenges Sakura overcame to acquire each one.

If you’re more interested in mundane possessions than mystical ones, there’s also a section showcasing the various Cardcaptor Sakura freebies that have been included with copies of Nakayoshi, the manga anthology in which the series is serialized.

Other fun activities include the “Tomoyo Finder,” which lets you peer through Tomoyo’s eyes to experience a mini-story form the supporting character’s point of view.

After looking at so much beautiful art, fans are invited to create some of their own in the Flower Room by decorating the walls with stickers evocative of the beautiful petals that always seem to be flittering about during dramatic moments of shojo manga.

And finally, as you leave, you’re given a card of your own to take home with you.

The Cardcaptor Sakura Exhibition runs through January 3, making it a great way to spend a chilly winter afternoon…though there’s really never a bad day to spend time with giant Kero-chan.

Event information
Card Captor Sakura Exhibition -The Enchanted Art Museum- / カードキャプターさくら展 —魔法にかけられた美術館—
Venue: Mori Art Center Gallery (Roppongi Hills 52nd floor) / 森アーツセンターギャラリー(六本木ヒルズ森タワー52階)
October 26-January 3
Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Adult admission 1,800 yen (US$16)

Photos ©SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s now got “Catch You Catch Me” stuck in his head.

[ Read in Japanese ]