Cardcaptor Sakura (カードキャプターさくら Kādokyaputā Sakura?), abbreviated as CCS and also known as Cardcaptors, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by the manga group Clamp. The manga was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from May 1996 to June 2000, and published in 12 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha from November 1996 to July 2000. The story focuses on Sakura Kinomoto, an elementary school student who discovers that she possesses magical powers after accidentally freeing a set of magical cards from the book they had been sealed in for years. She is then tasked with retrieving those cards in order to avoid an unknown catastrophe from befalling the world.
The series was adapted into a 70-episode anime TV series by Madhouse that aired in Japan's NHK from April 1998 to March 2000. Two anime films were produced by Madhouse in August 1999 and July 2000. Ten video games were produced based on the series. Kodansha published art books, picture books and film comics for the manga and anime series. Tokyopop released the manga in English in North America from March 2000 to August 2003. After Tokyopop's license for Cardcaptor Sakura expired, Dark Horse Manga acquired the license and released the series in omnibus editions from October 2010 to September 2012. Nelvana licensed the TV series and first film for North American broadcast and distribution, renaming it Cardcaptors. All 70 episodes were dubbed; while other English-speaking territories received the full run, the version aired on American television was heavily edited into 39 episodes. Cardcaptors aired on Kids' WB, Cartoon Network and Teletoon. The TV series and films were sub-licensed by Geneon, which released them unedited with English subtitles. The TV series was also later released by Madman Entertainment after Geneon's license expired in 2006.
Critics praised the manga for its creativity and described it as a quintessential shōjo manga, as well as a critical work for manga in general. The manga series was awarded the Seiun Award for Best Manga in 2001. The TV anime adaptation was praised for transcending its target audience of young children and being enjoyable to older viewers. The artwork in the anime was also a focus of attention, described as above-average for a late-1990s TV series, and Sakura's magic-casting scenes were complimented for being nearly unique because of the regular costume changes. The TV anime won the Animage Grand Prix award for Best Anime in 1999. The American edit of Cardcaptors, however, was heavily panned by critics who called the editing "ridiculous", cutting out character backgrounds essential to understanding the plot.