10 Books/Manga Like Cardcaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura is a delightful fantasy, romance, and comedy manga. It’s written and illustrated by a group of individuals at CLAMP. It follows the whimsical adventures of a young girl named Sakura. She must retrieve the magical Clow Cards with her friends to maintain peace in her world.
This manga was adapted into a phenomenal 70-episode anime series and also received a sequel. With its colorful cast and charming storytelling, Cardcaptor Sakura is celebrated as one of the best shojo manga to date.
If you’re in the mood for more romance, comedy, and fantasy books/manga that offer a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Cardcaptor Sakura. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Alice Academy – Tachibana Higuchi
Similarities – Characters, Setting, Drama
Alice Academy is another magical girl series with great fantasy, drama, and storytelling. The story revolves around two friends named Mikan and Hotaru. Unfortunately, Hotaru must depart to Alice Academy and leave Mikan behind. Mikan makes the bold move to run away from home to be with Hotaru again. She miraculously gets accepted into the academy and reunites with Hotaru.
However, the school isn’t what Mikan expects. It’s a school for high-class students and runs on a hierarchal system. The system is based on students’ powers, behavior, and academic performance. Mikan gets placed in the lower ranks and gets bullied by other classmates. Therefore, fans can look forward to seeing how Mikan progresses through the ranks.
Alice Academy has similar tonal shifts to Cardcaptor Sakura. Sometimes our characters will be placed in grounded situations and in others, they’ll be put in great danger. The series maintains some fun humor and enticing high school drama. If you’re okay with a manga that likes to shift between feeling spooky and wholesome, check Alice Academy out.
Phantom Thief Jeanne – Arina Tanemura
Similarities – Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Phantom Thief Jeanne is a heartwarming shojo manga. The story follows a 16-year-old gymnastic enthusiast named Marin who has a secret identity. Unbeknownst to everyone, she’s the craft phantom thief Kaitou Jeanne who loves stealing paintings. Hidden inside the paintings are demons who plan to possess human hearts.
Marin plans to hunt down every cursed painting to seal the demons away with her angel companion Finn Fish. However, Marin will have more things to worry about when a new phantom thief makes his appearance. Every major character receives phenomenal character development and you’ll be amazed by their growth.
Like Sakura and Syaoran, Marin develops close ties with this rival thief. Marin’s tasks aren’t too different from Sakura’s either. Both characters must seal away dangerous monsters to prevent a dangerous calamity from arising. Phantom Thief Jeanne has a stronger grasp on romance than Cardcaptor Sakura, though. Give this a shot when you’ve finished reading Cardcaptor Sakura.
Kobato – CLAMP
Similarities – Atmosphere, Romance, Characters
Cardcaptor Sakura isn’t the only magical CLAMP work you should read. Kobato is about a girl who must mend people’s broken hearts. Once she’s completed her task, she’ll get access to the place of her wildest imagination. Like Sakura, Kobato will have to triumph over many hurdles if she wants to accomplish her task.
Kobato feels more lively and adventurous than Cardcaptor Sakura, though. The people Kobato meets suffer from grief, low self-esteem, and many other mental illnesses. Like Sakura, Kobato will be accompanied by a magical creature named Ioryogi. Both mangas center their stories around friendship, family, and romance.
Kobato comes across as a clumsy but lovable girl like Sakura. Unlike Sakura, Kobato won’t have to resolve to violence to accomplish her heart-mending tasks. Those expecting epic action panels will be disappointed on that front. However, if you cherished Cardcaptor Sakura for its cheerful atmosphere and likable cast, then Kobato shouldn’t disappoint.
Fruits Basket – Natsuki Takaya
Similarities – Family Values & Magic
Fruits Basket is a retro series with an impressive following. It has excellent storytelling, fun characters, and touching themes. It introduced many people to anime and manga like Cardcaptor Sakura, too. This tale follows Tooru, a girl who becomes the Souma residence’s guest. She doesn’t want to live with her grandparents and finds Souma’s company more pleasant.
Little does Tooru know of the secrets this family holds. Fruits Basket does an excellent job at characterizing and developing its world and characters. The characters have many internal and external issues many will find relatable. The heavy topics are handled with care and aren’t implemented out of the blue. This manga leans into its drama heavier than Cardcaptor Sakura does.
On that note, Fruits Basket isn’t afraid to put our characters in amusing situations. This helps sell people on the world despite it being supernatural in nature. If you happen to come across Fruits Basket, I’d recommend giving it a go.
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – CLAMP
Similarities – Characters, Themes, Action
CLAMP’s back at it again with another phenomenal work. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Tsubasa) feels like a spiritual sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura. It’s set in an alternative Cardcaptor Sakura universe where Sakura and Syaoran have aged significantly. However, it still focuses on Cardcaptor Sakura’s core themes like friendship and adventure.
Unlike Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa feels darker and more mature. It starts off lighthearted but gradually reaches a point where things get overly dramatic. The story follows the bond between Syaoran and Sakura. In this universe, Sakura’s the princess of the Clow Kingdom and has extraordinary powers that exceed her younger counterpart.
Despite her immense strength, a mysterious individual harms Sakura and causes her memories to scatter across countless worlds. It’s up to Syaoran to locate the Dimensional Witch to save Sakura. Based on the premise alone, Cardcaptor Sakura fans will adore the extra attention Syaoran receives in this story. He feels more mature, brave, and heroic in this manga. If you ever wondered what a mature version of Cardcaptor Sakura would feel like, definitely give Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE a chance.
Zodiac P.I. – Natsumi Ando
Similarities – Themes, Art Style, Comedy
As a mysterious private investigator, Spica likes solving crimes and leaving star marks behind to flaunt the police. In real life, she’s an ordinary 13-year-old named Lili Hoshizawa who indulges in mysteries, athletic activities, and he mother’s fortune-telling business. When her childhood friend Hiromi returns and catches onto her strange lifestyle, Lili acts more cautious.
Therefore, we follow our team of aspiring detectives as they engage in multiple mysteries to see who can solve them sooner. Like Cardcaptor Sakura, we follow a female protagonist who finds herself solving many of the world’s problems. However, she’ll be joined by a rival with the same goal and strong skillset. Both stories contain impressive artwork that captures the spirit of shojo manga.
You’ll find its imagery immaculate, charming, and fitting for each story’s theme. Both stories indicate slight romantic tension between their male and female protagonist, though. However, it’s best to go into these stories thinking of the pair as adversaries. If you loved Cardcaptor Sakura’s charming cast and wholesome atmosphere, you’ll love Zodiac P.I.
Little Goddess Karin – Koge-Donbo
Similarities – Comedy, Fantasy, Themes
Little Goddess Karin is a magical girl-themed manga with cutesy characters, appealing artwork, and a lighthearted story. Like Cardcaptor Sakura, it focuses on friendship, teamwork, and perseverance. The plot’s not the best as it leaves little room for speculation and can feel overwhelmingly predictable. However, if you’re into works that fall under the moe sub-genre, this should satisfy you.
It follows Karin, a girl living with a rude relative due to her parent’s passing away. One day, Karin meets Hiemka and Kazune, two siblings searching for a goddess. Suddenly, Karin’s mother’s ring glows and grants her impressive capabilities. She’s more intelligent, faster, and capable of granting wishes now.
After telling Karin that evil people will be after her, Karin plans to help people with her powers while avoiding the shady people aiming to harm her. This is another fun and cheerful manga with decent stakes thrown in to make things intruiging. A brief romance develops in the story, but it’s not anything spectacular. If you’re looking for a short and comfy magical girl work to read, check it out.
Shugo Chara! – Peach-Pit
Similarities – Setting & Characters
Shugo Chara is a perfect companion series for Cardcaptor Sakura. It follows our protagonist Amu embarking on a fetch quest full of mystery and wonder. After receiving magical abilities and befriending supernatural entities, she must locate mysterious X Eggs to protect her world from being harmed by the entities that reside inside.
As she continues collecting these eggs, Amu will uncover the dark secrets about eggs and the organization at the center of everything. Like Cardcaptor Sakura, we follow a schoolgirl who can transform into a magical being. She’ll utilize her powers to fend off numerous threats and befriend multiple people during her quest.
The manga offers some grounded segments where fans get to peer into Amu’s school life. However, these moments are often interrupted by Amu’s duty to secure more X Eggs. There is a romance that blossoms in this work for those who adore those aspects in popular shojo manga like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and others. Give this a read if you want something that offers a similar yet different experience.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Magica Quartet
Similarities – Magical Girls
Where Cardcaptor Sakura’s mostly cheerful, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is entirely traumatic and heartbreaking. This series aimed to change fans’ perceptions of magical girl products by placing its female dominant cast in psychologically-driven scenarios. In it, we follow two girls named Madoka and Sayaka. They meet a mysterious cat-like figure named Kyubey while exploring their school.
Kyubey offers Madoka and Sayaka a chance to become magical girls and promises they’ll each receive a wish as a reward. Sayaka and Madoka accept and become magical girls. They’re tasked with defeating evil witches that’d harm the world. Although all seems well, Madoka and Sayaka will realize the harsh reality and consequences that come with the job.
The manga came out after the anime concluded. It offers the same premise but includes better artwork and story snippets that make things feel more impactful and dreadful. Although the series’s tone is different from Cardcaptor Sakura, Madoka Magica offers slightly lighthearted moments fans will appreciate. If you want a magical girl manga with more action, dread, and suspense, this is the one you should read next.
Sailor Moon – Naoko Takeuchi
Similarities – Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Sailor Moon was many shojo fans’ gateway to magical girl works. With its phenomenal run on Toonami to the impact the show had on male and female audiences, it’s a work worthy of being a part of this list. It follows the life of an average girl named Usagi. One day, she meets a talking cat named Luna who informs her about a villainous plot brewing in the distance.
Luna also tells Usagi she’s destined to become Sailor Moon and hands her a special brooch that will help her achieve her destiny. After fighting some villains, Usagi’s assigned to gather the other Sailor Guardians, so they can search for a Legendary Silver Crystal that will prevent the world from being destroyed.
Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura have their protagonists embarking on magical adventures to prevent humanity’s downfall. Usagi’s enemies are as powerful as the Clow Card monstrosities Sakura battles. Sakura doesn’t receive as much help as Usagi, but the bonds both protagonists develop with the side characters feel rewarding. If you’re after a magical girl manga that offers a similar premise and atmosphere, but leans into its action and romantic aspects more, check out Sailor Moon.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Cardcaptor Sakura.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!