Sakura Kinomoto
Cardcaptor Sakura character
Sakura Kinomoto as seen in Cardcaptor Sakura the Movie
First Appearance Chapter 1
Creators Clamp
Voiced by Sakura Tange (Japanese)
Carly McKillip (English - Cardcaptors, 1st movie)
Kari Wahlgren (English - 2nd Movie)
Series Cardcaptor Sakura
Relatives Toya Kinomoto (Brother)
Fujitaka Kinomoto (Father)
Nadeshiko Kinomoto (Mother, deceased)
Sonomi Daidouji (Aunt)
Tomoyo Daidouji (Cousin, second)
Clow Reed (Ancestor, reincarnated)

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Sakura Kinomoto as seen in Cardcaptor Sakura the Movie

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Sakura Kinomoto (木之本 さくら Kinomoto Sakura?) is a fictional character, the heroine of Clamp's manga series Cardcaptor Sakura. In the English anime adaptation of the series, Cardcaptors, her name is changed to Sakura Avalon. For all Japanese-language productions of the anime (including movies, audio CDs, and video games), Sakura is voiced by Sakura Tange. For English-language productions, she is voiced by Carly McKillip through Cardcaptors and the first movie. She is voiced in the second movie by Kari Wahlgren.

Creation and conception

Sakura's character design for the manga was originally developed by Mokona of Clamp. She was designed to capture the image of Mokona's then two-year-old niece Kawaji. Kawaji wore short hair in pigtails much like Sakura does in the anime and manga.[citation needed]

In Nelvana's English adaptation titled "Cardcaptors", Sakura was originally going to be called "Nikki," but they later decided to keep her first original given name because of the reception of the Cardcaptors adaptation plus the difficulty and expense of editing out numerous appearances of her name in rōmaji in the Anime series.[citation needed] However, her family name was changed to "Avalon".[1] Her first name is also pronounced differently from the original Japanese.

Her many magical costumes were introduced as CLAMP felt it was "sad" for a girl to wear the same magical costume all the time.[2]


Sakura is a ten-year-old girl who lives in the town of Tomoeda in Japan, where she attends Tomoeda Elementary School. An extremely energetic and cheerful girl, she is very athletic, being a member of her school's cheerleading squad and excellent at track-and-field activities.[3] She lives with her father and older brother. Her mother died when she was three years old. She has a close relationship with her father, whom she adores. She never fails to greet her mother's picture in the mornings. She often fights with her brother, who teases her, but she truly cares about him. Sakura's smile is almost undefeatable and is what draws people to her.

Sakura's optimistic and trustworthy character allows her to be friendly with everybody, and the entire series focuses on the friendships she creates with people, whether strangers, loose acquaintances, or rivals. Her personality is a dominating factor in her relationships, especially with Syaoran.

One of Sakura's most notable traits is her "invincible spell", "Everything will be all right" (絶対大丈夫だよ "Zettai daijoubu dayo"?), which has carried her through innumerable trials and obstacles as she masters her magical skills. While she often comes across as naïve, clumsy, and clueless, Sakura is known for her occasional moments of insight and sensitivity towards the feelings of others. Sakura is so innocent and naive that she fails to recognize Syaoran's feelings for her and unintentionally gets into trouble. Despite this, she retains a determined spirit and attachments to those she cares for.


Sakura's most sacred and important items are most likely her sealing wand and cards, since they are her main weapons in magic. Throughout the series, Sakura's magical powers get progressively stronger.[4] This is mostly verified by Cerberus at random points in the series, as Sakura would otherwise appear to have equal expertise in each capture, when she summons Clow Cards. Throughout the Clow Card arc, Cerberus's comments seem to imply that Sakura's magic grows as she battles and captures more Cards.[5] This is also implied in the corresponding anime. In contrast of this, in the second half of the series we are reminded of Sakura’s inexperience as she often collapses after transforming the cards.[6] However, as she grows progressively proficient in changing Clow Cards into Sakura Cards, she becomes less tired and more aware of Clow Reed's presence.[7] She also remembers more details about her prophetic dreams.[8] During the last of Eriol's trials, she is able to transform several cards at once.[9] This sequence of events during the second arc is more or less true in the anime version of the series as well, with only a few changes made. The most obvious of these is that Yue (a character who, in the original version of the series is shown as becoming much closer to Sakura throughout Eriol’s trials to the point of accepting her at least as a valued friend[10]) is shown throwing her a constant stream of criticism as a reminder of Sakura’s lack of experience. Another interesting change made in the anime variation is that, by end of the series, she subconsciously manages to create a new Card, the nameless card (which later becomes the Hope Card), which would later serve as a major plot point for the second movie.

After the Final Judgement, Clow Reed tells her that her magic is not drawn from the sun nor from the moon, but from her own star, which may start small, but is ever-shining with its own brilliant light. However, like Clow Reed's magic, Sakura's is a balance of sun and moon magic.[11] Eriol gave half of his powers to Sakura's father, the other half of Clow's incarnation. This made Sakura the most powerful magician in the world, even surpassing her predecessor Clow Reed.[12]


Sakura is well-known and loved by everyone for her ability to befriend others, including rivals and strangers. Among those she is close to, the series focuses on Sakura's best friendships and love interests.

Relationship with Syaoran Li

Sakura's relationship with Syaoran is the most recognized in the series, due to Syaoran's change of behavior towards Sakura from rivalry to friendly and romantic. When they first met, Syaoran disliked Sakura and saw her as a rival over the Clow Cards. Despite how he treated her, Sakura never gave back any response towards him. Their relationship remained rocky for a short time due to their mutual goal to collect the cards, but as they spent time together and aided each other, a friendship began to emerge. While Syaoran's feelings quickly developed into romantic, Sakura remained naive and simply thought of him as a close friend. After she is rejected by Yukito and is comforted by Syaoran, Sakura slowly reciprocates his feelings. When Syaoran finally confesses, Sakura is confused of the situation. However, when she learns of his plan to return to Hong Kong, she realizes that she truly loves Syaoran and confesses to him on the spot in the manga (in the anime, her confession occurs four months later when he comes to visit). Two years later, Syaoran returns to Japan for good. Overjoyed, Sakura embraces Syaoran and says that she will stay with him forever.

Relationship with Yukito Tsukihiro

Yukito is Sakura's first crush. He is 7 years older than her, but it never bothers her. Due to him being her brother's best friend, she tries to get him to come over to her house and goes to school with her brother to see Yukito every morning. She makes snacks for him and tries to spend as much time with him as she can. Even when she discovers that he is in fact Yue, her feelings don't change. She eventually confesses to him, only to be gently rejected and she realizes that she loves him the same way as she does for her father. Although heartbroken, she learns to accept that he loves her brother and maintains a deep friendship with Yukito.

Friendship with Tomoyo Daidouji

Tomoyo is Sakura's best friend and second cousin on their mothers' side. They first met in the third grade, and since then, Tomoyo has adored and worshipped Sakura. They are as close as sisters. Tomoyo tends to exaggerate over Sakura's cuteness; she designs several colorful clothes for Sakura and videotapes her everyday routine. Sakura is a bit bemused by Tomoyo's devotion towards her, but nevertheless loves her. There are hints that Tomoyo has feelings for Sakura beyond typical romantic friendship, but doesn't make them known because of her involvement in pairing Sakura up with Yukito and Syaoran.

Appearances in other media

In the first Cardcaptor Sakura film, Sakura wins a trip to Hong Kong, where she meets Syaoran's family and encounters the spirit of a woman angry at Clow Reed who mistakenly calls Sakura to her because of her being the holder of the Clow Cards. In Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, she learns that there is a 53rd card, the Sealed card which was created to balance the positive energy of the other cards. While searching for the card, Sakura also struggles to tell Syaoran that she loves him.[13]

Sakura is a playable character in eight of the Cardcaptor Sakura video games, and her character design is featured in the series' version of Tetris. The character design of Sakura Kinomoto is reused in the Clamp series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, which presents an alternate world story that also uses characters from many of the group's previous series. In Tsubasa the design is used for several characters named Sakura, including the central character named Princess Sakura (Sakura-hime). Sakura also plays an important role during the last arc of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, in a dream to a reincarnated Princess Sakura. During this vision, Sakura gives her older self the Star Wand and assures her that "everything will be all right". She seems several years older than her final appearance in the manga, but is wearing a similar uniform to that of her old elementary one. The wand is later seen in Yuuko Ichihara's shop.

Sakura also appeared in the OVA Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations as a spirit or vision that Princess Sakura sees, which guides her back to where see came from, the Tocho (government building) when she gets lost. She disappears when Princess Sakura sees the building.[14]


In both 1999 and 2000 Sakura won the Animage Grand Prix for "Best Female Character".[15][16] In 2001 Sakura Kinomoto won the "Cutest Anime Girl of the Year" award from All Anime World.[17] In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Sakura was voted as the fourth "Most Popular Female Anime Character" from the 1990s.[18] She also won the Anime Saimoe Tournament 2002, an online popularity contest for the "Most Moe Anime Character of the Year".[19]


  1. Considine, J. D. (January 20, 2002). "Television/Radio: Making Anime A Little Safer For Americans". The New York Times. 
  2. Solomon, Charles (November 28, 2006). "Four Mothers of Manga Gain American Fans With Expertise in a Variety of Visual Styles". The New York Times. 
  3. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 2, chapter 1
  4. Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes 1-12
  5. Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes 1-6
  6. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 7
  7. Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes 8-12
  8. Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes 7-12
  9. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 11 Chapter 2 Page 53
  10. Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes 6-12
  11. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 6 Chapter 4 Page 30
  12. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 11 Chapter 3 page 39.
  13. Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card
  14. Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations, Episode 2
  18. "NT Research". Newtype, Issue 4 (Kadokawa Shoten). March 2010. 
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