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hated pairing, eriol/kaho, yes they're together, fan dumb hates canon

ayasugi_san in ship_manifesto

[Free month] Cardcaptor Sakura Eriol/Kaho manifesto

Title: "If you feel the same way I do..."
Author: ayasugi_san aka Hyatt
Pairing: Hiiragizawa Eriol/Mizuki Kaho
Fandom: Cardcaptor Sakura (manga only)
Spoilers: The entire manga
Disclaimer: Cardcaptor Sakura is the property of CLAMP. I do not own the story, the characters, or the images used.
Warnings: Rather wordy and rambling


The Series

Cardcaptor Sakura is, as the title says, the story of Kinomoto Sakura and her quest to capture and transform all the Clow Cards, magical beings in card form created by the dead sorcerer Clow Reed. She's helped in this task by a wide cast of supporting characters, including her school friends, Clow's former Guardians, and Clow himself. At the end, through his living intermediaries, Clow reveals that he foresaw and planned everything that happened concerning the Cards and Sakura's growth into the most powerful sorceress.

A major theme in the manga is the importance of all types of love, platonic and romantic. Sakura's relationship with her family is constantly showcased, as well as the close friendships she forms with her schoolmates and even some teachers. The romantic relationships are especially varied, including love at first sight, friends to lovers, unrequited, age differences, and devotion to one who has died.

This brings me to one of the canon romances: Eriol and Kaho.


Miko and Teacher
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Mizuki Kaho is introduced partway through the first arc, when Sakura is capturing the Cards. She appears briefly at the end of volume 2, but gets a proper introduction in the next volume when Sakura runs into her- literally. Kaho waves away Sakura's apologies with a smile, makes a cryptic comment about Sakura not getting what she was looking for that day, and implies that they'll meet again. The next day, everything Kaho said has come true; the shrine where Sakura hoped to get a charm was closed, and Kaho is introduced to her class as the substitute math teacher. Sakura takes a liking to the new teacher, while Li Syaoran, her rival-turned-reluctant-friend, warns Sakura about the woman's power and says not to trust her.

That sets the tone for most of Kaho's appearances until the end of the first arc. Kaho often helps Sakura, sometimes directly, but more often by giving a cryptic hint on what to do or just offering encouragement. Sakura is charmed by her kind manner, but Syaoran still warns her away. As the story reaches the climax, Kaho reveals that she's involved with the Clow Cards "a little bit" in her own words, but tells everyone who asks that they must wait until it is over. At the Final Judgment after Sakura has sealed all the Cards, when she faces off against the Guardian Yue, Kaho finally reveals her role: Her Moon Bell, which she has used infrequently to aid Sakura magically, was created by Clow to be given to Sakura in the Final Judgment. With its help, Sakura unlocks her own power and defeats Yue. Kaho then explains how Clow predicted everything, down to the Card that Sakura would use against Yue, as well as explaining about magic and attraction to help Sakura and Syaoran understand why they reacted to herself and Yue's false form Yukito the way they had. She then leaves to continue her studies abroad.

Throughout the first arc, Kaho is shown to be a kind, helpful person, with a playful sense of humor when the situation isn't serious. She's most often helping Sakura with whatever problem Sakura has, whether it be magical or mundane, but she's also shown cheerfully helping out at her family's shrine and directing people around at the shrine's festival. Besides Sakura, the person Kaho interacts most frequently with is Sakura's older brother, Touya- who is also Kaho's old flame, from before she left Tomoeda to study abroad. Far from feeling any jealousy towards Yukito, Touya's new love, Kaho finds Touya's aloof behavior amusing and is constantly prodding him to tell Yukito he loves him already. Touya's flashbacks to his relationship with Kaho reveal more about her personality and personal philosophy that Sakura never finds out. Touya and Kaho met the same way she and Sakura did, but when Touya asks Kaho how she knew that she would be his student teacher, she tells him that she didn't know how they would meet again, only that they would. She also says that they will be good friends; when Touya asks if that's another "feeling" of hers, she tells him that her wishes are part of that prediction. The break-up, after being together for a year following Kaho's position as student teacher ending, occurs the day before she leaves to study abroad in England. When Touya says that it's too sudden, Kaho tells him that she knew she was leaving for months, but didn't tell him then because it would only upset him and spoil their last few days together. She leaves him with another prediction; when they meet again, they will both have found other loves, and they themselves will become good friends. Fast-forward to the first arc, and Touya is annoyed that Kaho's prediction has come true, while she is amused by it.


Student or Sorcerer?
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Hiiragizawa Eriol arrives at the beginning of the second arc, introduced to Sakura and her friends as a new transfer student from England. He quickly fits in and befriends the class, paying special attention to Sakura, while Syaoran alone disapproves and seemingly spends most of his time glaring at Eriol and Sakura from a distance. Sakura, however, sees nothing wrong with Eriol's friendship overtures, though his foreign behavior and especially the niggling feeling that he's like her father confuse her. Distracting Sakura and her friends, though, is a new series of magical disturbances, with Clow's magic behind it.

Of course, it is no coincidence that the gang starts sensing Clow's magic around the same time Eriol shows up in Tomoeda, and it is quickly revealed to the readers that Eriol is behind the new magic, and that they sense Clow because Eriol himself is Clow's reincarnation. He is deliberately creating magical situations that involve Sakura, but for an unknown purpose. His Guardian Ruby Moon assumes that he is trying to harm Sakura or limit her power, as he is putting her in danger; however, every time Sakura solves the situation by transforming a Card, he seems pleased and congratulates her. While he focuses most of his attention on Sakura, Eriol spends a little time on Yue, who is disappearing due to lack of magic support from Sakura. While he alters Yue's memories to make him forget the Guardian recognizing him as Clow, he gives Yue a hint as to where to find enough power to survive, and again is pleased when Yue figures it out, despite Ruby Moon's expectations.

The situation comes to a head once Sakura has transformed most of her Cards; she has a dream involving mysterious figures at Tokyo Tower, and when she goes to investigate, Eriol reveals himself to her as Clow's reincarnation, casts a spell of darkness and sleep over the whole town, and challenges her to break the spell before dawn- or else everyone will sleep forever. Eriol and his Guardians attack her while she hesitates, not wanting to hurt a friend. Thanks to
Clow's voice in her dream, Sakura realizes that she must bring out the sun to wake everyone up, which she does by transforming the last two Cards and using Light to break the darkness. While Ruby Moon expresses mild disappointment that Sakura broke Eriol's spell, Eriol only looks on with a smile and says, relieved, that it's over, and gently reminds Sakura that it's not quite dawn yet and she should use Dark to restore the night.

While Sakura and her Guardians are demanding an explanation of Eriol, Sakura's father Fujitaka shows up, and Eriol reveals that he is only half a reincarnation of Clow, and that Fujitaka is the other half. He explains that Clow was tired of being the most powerful sorcerer, which is why he split his soul and planned Sakura's adventures; and now that Sakura is stronger than Clow was, Eriol wishes for Sakura to split his magic and give half to Fujitaka. After she does so, Eriol invites everyone to his house for a party and to further answer their questions about his and Clow's actions. At the party, he also reveals that Kaho had been working with him the whole time. Soon afterwards, he says good-bye to Sakura and her friends and leaves for England with his Guardians and Kaho, giving one last hint to Sakura to help her figure out her own feelings.

Eriol's true personality is somewhat hard to determine, as most of the time he wears masks, playing either the talented but normal student or the somewhat sinister mysterious sorcerer. The best hints come from times when he thinks he is unobserved, or from his Guardians, Spinel Sun in particular. As Sakura's best friend Tomoyo remarks, Eriol watches Sakura with kind eyes, even apologizing when his magic drives her out of bed while she's sick, cooling her fever and returning her to safety after she faints. Eriol, however, does not otherwise regret the trouble he causes; as Spinel Sun notes, he's having fun with it. Eriol also displays his whimsical side while creating havoc; he uses stuffed sheep and a giant teddy bear against Sakura. Eriol also shows similarities to his other half Fujitaka in the way he treats Ruby Moon; he cooks all her lunches just for her, makes outfits at her request, and otherwise dotes on her like a father. Despite referring to himself as Clow, and possessing his memories, at the end, Eriol insists that he is not Clow come back from the grave; he created his own Guardians to keep Clow's from searching for the Clow inside himself, and he deviates from Clow's plan by not forcing Clow's predicted pairings to stay together.


Friends and More
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As the last volume reveals to the readers as well as Sakura that Eriol and Kaho knew each other, presumably since Kaho left Tomoeda to study in England. It's a surprise to the characters left in the dark, but there are hints in earlier volumes to their relationship.

The first, obviously, is Kaho's prediction to Touya that they would both find new people to love. While we mostly see the parts relating to Touya, it's constantly stressed that everything she predicted came true, which includes her own love. This is further confirmed when Yue threatens to take away the feelings of love of everyone involved with the Cards; Sakura mentions Kaho, and we see her with a slightly stricken expression, implying that she has someone she loves the most as well. However, during the first arc, we never find out any more about Kaho's special person, possibly because he hasn't appeared yet.

The second arc has hints, this time mostly from Eriol's side. Sakura and Kaho exchange letters, and when Eriol disturbs Sakura when replying to one, she talks about their former teacher Mizuki-sensei, and Eriol has an odd reaction. When Sakura asks what's wrong, he smiles his usual smile, says he wishes he could have met Mizuki-sensei, and quickly changes the subject in a way that gets Sakura flustered. Later, on White Day, Sakura runs into Eriol while giving out her obligation gifts, explains what Japanese tradition is, and assumes that he's never received Valentine's chocolates from a girl. Eriol says that he has, but remains cagey as to who gave them to him; after Sakura leaves, he says with a fond look that she's already met the girl who gave him chocolate.

In retrospect, Kaho's knowledge gives further evidence to her association with Eriol. When she gave Sakura the Moon Bell, she explained that she knew when she touched the bell that she would give it to a young girl; she says nothing about Clow's personal thoughts, and seemingly has no way of knowing them. But later, she explains that the Cards were always meant for Sakura, which was why the staff was pink and had a bird head; Clow had designed it for her. It's possible that Kaho's powers of prediction told her this, but it's more likely that Eriol himself told her all about Clow's plans, including minor but amusing details like the staff. In the second arc, Kaho's letters imply that she knows more about what's going on in Tomoeda than she says, and she apologizes for not being able to tell Sakura more. Of course, she did know more; she knew that the new exchange student Sakura wrote about was behind it, and she knew why. It also makes her assurances to Sakura that everything will be all right not just a benediction, but a promise; Kaho knows that the danger is all fake, thanks to knowing Eriol's plans.

By the last volume, there is no more narrative need for subtlety, and right from Kaho's reappearance, her and Eriol's closeness is established. Eriol helps Kaho into a seat, and they exchange a few kind words and looks before turning their attention back to Sakura. They also explain together why Sakura won't have the same problem Clow did with being unable to control his visions.

In the chapter where Eriol and Kaho leave, they further demonstrate a close friendship and a romantic relationship. It starts with Eriol chuckling at Kaho forgetting where she put the gifts for Sakura, Tomoyo, and Syaoran before reminding her, and Kaho does not appear at all hurt by his amusement. While she's fetching the gifts, Eriol explains to the girls that Kaho's always forgetting street names and getting lost in England- reading between the lines, it means he's had plenty of opportunities to obverse that failing of hers in action. When Kaho returns, Tomoyo notices that he's looking at her with kind eyes and asks if he likes Mizuki-sensei; Eriol doesn't deny it, and just compliments Tomoyo on her observation. After the girls leave, Eriol's Guardians start bickering while Eriol watches with similar kind eyes, which Kaho notes and then asks about. Eriol explains that the Guardians complete him and that he's grown fond of them, which Kaho immediately says means that he cares for them a lot. The conversation turns to their own relationship; Kaho says that Eriol's very kind, and Eriol replies that everyone else says he's incomprehensible. They then admit that they knew how the other felt the whole time, and while Eriol can no longer see the future, they know that they'll have a happy ending. The last frame of Eriol and Kaho is her kneeling down to look him in the eye while they both wish a happy ending for Sakura.


Why

So, why ship them? First of all, they love each other, as shown. However, that's not enough for fandom, so I'll explain why I, personally, love them as a pair.

The dynamics of the Eriol/Kaho relationship are unlike any others in the manga and are pretty rare among other series. The way I imagine them, the basic template of the relationship is a widowed man with children meets and falls in love with a lively young woman during their association, almost by accident. However, the man in this case looks like a child and has for years, and his children are a teenage girl and a plush cat who are really a genderless winged humanoid and panther. Kaho seems to see the Eriol-tachi dynamic that way; at least, she doesn't see Eriol's Guardians as mere servants but as very important people that Eriol loves, and she's also the only one to comment on it. Eriol's own personal situation would make romance difficult for him; a partner who is his apparent age would actually literally be old enough to be his child, and an adult might not be able to see past that childish appearance, or deal with the fact that Eriol has centuries of memories from a previous lifetime with him. Also important is finding a partner that has a good rapport with his Guardians. Kaho has demonstrated all of these qualities; she's very familiar with the idea of Eriol being a reincarnation, but also sees how he's trying distinguish himself from Clow, doesn't mind that he looks like a child, and knows what his Guardians mean to him. Last but not least, their love has withstood two long separations intact, even before it was out in the open. Eriol and Kaho have, situationally, all they need to have a long love together.

Eriol and Kaho also have similarities in personality and character role. On the shallow end, they both know what it's like to be hated by Li Syaoran despite publicly being nothing but kind. Eriol and Kaho are also both on their "second" of something important; Eriol is Kaho's second love, while Eriol is on his second life They also play similar roles in Sakura's story, though with some differences; they both act as magical mentors to Sakura without fully revealing that role to her, though only Eriol actively puts Sakura in a dangerous situation. They have both been living their lives by Clow's plan until the end of the manga; Kaho left her country and her first love because of it, and Eriol spent years as a child waiting for Sakura, when he could have lived his own life. And once Clow's plans are over and their lives are no longer driven by it, why shouldn't Eriol and Kaho find happiness with each other, who both know what having someone else make their choices for them was like? They can also understand each other's motivations for important decisions; Kaho especially can understand why Clow chose to die so suddenly and reincarnate without letting his Guardians know for fear of hurting them, as she did much the same thing when she broke up with Touya just before she left so that he wouldn't spend the last time they had together in pain. Kaho is also shown to understand Eriol better than even one of his Guardians; she knew what his real motivation was for causing Sakura trouble, when Ruby Moon thought it was to hurt Sakura. They both seem to have the same view on fate; it exists, but personal wishes and guidance play a role. For Kaho, that means working to be friends when she gets the feeling that she and another will be close; Eriol quite probably owes his existence to that philosophy, as Clow reincarnated himself to guide Sakura to the destiny he had foreseen. As an interesting note, Kaho was able to accurately predict the only thing Clow was unable to: How the heart chose. Eriol and Kaho also have a similar approach to secrets; they visibly enjoy knowing things those around them do not, but they seem to enjoy revealing those secrets just as much, and both found it a relief when their part was over and they could be open with their friends.

Despite being a confirmed pairing, with an overt confession of love, the Eriol/Kaho relationship has so much that can be explored. We're given the bare facts about how they met, but the details are free for speculation and fanfiction. We also only see them one at a time and only given hints as to what the absent party is doing or thinking while the action is happening in Tomoeda. Finally, there is all the time after the end of the series to explore their relationship with each other, how it affects the Guardians, whether they decide to become recluses like Clow did or have more ordinary lives (which opens up possibilities for even more antics). They're also the only adult canon couple in CCS where both halves are alive, which makes a change from the teen and preteen loves. Last but not least, while fanfiction for the pairing may be scarce, the quality overall is higher than the fandom average and usually canon-based, if you're looking for a change from the ubiquitous AU Sakura/Syaoran stories.


Recommendations

Not too much, sadly, as the pairing is very rare.

Moon's Dance and Shadow by TamChronin - often called the best E/K story, one of the few multi-chapter fics. Personally, I'm not too fond of Kaho's characterization or how the relationship is written.

Silver, Like the Moon by Laurus Nobilis - a one-shot about Eriol and Kaho's golden years. Besides being sweet fluff, how often do you see fic where youngish characters are shown as old and still full of life?

Come Away With Me by Iguana23 - a one-shot about how Eriol and Kaho met. Lovely imagery and good characterization of Kaho.

Comments

Wow, I think you may have converted me. I've always been partial to Eriol/Tomoyo by default, but you make a very good case.

Especially the last bit about how much of them there is to explore.

Although I shall never part from my AU Sakrua/Syaoran fics. :D

Nicely argued, thanks for sharing some insight!
Although I shall never part from my AU Sakrua/Syaoran fics. :D

They get to be a bit much, though, when only one out of every five fics posted to the Pit is even nominally canon-verse.

Thanks for reading! I honestly didn't hope to convert many, just make them think that E/K isn't so evil and wrong and random.
Have I said that I adore you? Because I do. I really do. :D

-glomps, dammit this couple deserves love-
I said I would write the manifesto for Free Month, and I did! Makes up for all the plotbunnies I come up with then abandon, right?
Yesssssssss Eriol/Kaho. This pairing seriously needs all the love it can get. ♥
*points to icon* At this point, I'll settle for less hatred and denial that they're in any way compatible.
Siiiigh, don't I know it. :/
Hooray for Eriol/Kaho! I always did like them.
I admit, I probably wouldn't ship them if they weren't canon, but well... When I read the end of the manga, it got an "oh, that's what was going on" from me, and all the opposition I found when I got online just made me love them (and Kaho as an individual *snuggles the sweet ditzy NOT JEALOUS EVIL BOY-STEALER*).
You didn't mention that he grew up for her. That has to be my favorite part of the entire pairing. He ages himself so he can be with her. ^_^ It's so sweet!

Wait, people hate this pairing? *mourns* Dang it, my turtles keep me too busy for Cardcaptor Sakura but...maybe...
You didn't mention that he grew up for her.

That's because it's pure fanon; there's no evidence for it in the series. If I were covering popular fanon as well, I'd have spent some time on How Kaho Is Not Clow's Wife Reincarnated (And It Is Not Eriol Being His Own Person To Leave Her For Someone Else). That and "Kaho's his mother figure" drive me up the wall.

And yeah, people hate the pairing. More than any other canon CCS pairing. Most say it's because Kaho's a pedophile (even though she isn't...), but since many of the same people also give Rika/Terada a pass, I think it has more to do with E/K getting in the way of Eriol/Tomoyo.
Thank You!!!! I love this pairing and was hoping that someone would do a manifesto for them. I wish that you had included the anime as well. While the anime is very inaccurate to the series, there are still many clues that they are together and I love the final episode with them.
Sorry; I didn't include the anime because I didn't like how they changed the relationship and the characters (especially Kaho).
Awesome! I've never understood Eriol/Tomoyo because I'm all about canon and Eriol/Kaho is canon, as are Tomoyo's feelings for Sakura, so it really really confused me. I wish more people would support this ship. :)
I wish more people would support this ship.

So do I, but mostly I wish that more people would acknowledge its existence, and not as a horrible mistake that must be brushed aside for Eriol to find someone better than "that old hag". So many people think it's completely random that there's widespread fanon theories suggesting why it's "not real" that are taken as canon, I just hope to convince some of those people that it does have a good chance of working out.
I finally had time to read this properly.

You know we see this relationship in a very similar way, but I still have to say I especially agree with this: Last but not least, their love has withstood two long separations intact, even before it was out in the open. Eriol and Kaho have, situationally, all they need to have a long love together..

One of the things I like so much about this pairing is that it's a start for them now, to be themselves now that their "work" is done.
One of the things I like so much about this pairing is that it's a start for them now, to be themselves now that their "work" is done.

And it's not an angsty thing, either; neither of them seem to begrudge having Clow's plan rule their lives, they're just very happy to not have everything predicted and laid out for them so they can enjoy the surprise.
That was very well written. Thank You!
Yay Eriol/Kaho! I'm under the impression that every Clamp pairing should be manifesto-ed.

I've seen some people ship Eriol/Tomoyo and I's be all lyk, "wut? are we reading the same story? Eriol lurves Kaho; Tomoyo lurves Sakura(one-sided though, sorry Tomo :/ )."
It's probably hypocritical to say such things since the majority of my ships aren't canon, but Clamp just pairs everyone up so nicely and makes 'em soulmates, I just have to follow their canon!

*Ahem* Anyways, very well done. I can't think of anything you left out(except the anime, but that doesn't really count). You mentioned all of their forshadow and past loves and why you like them. I love seeing why other people ship what they ship(regardless of canon).

Thank you and feel free to do more manifestos!
*claps*

I don't understand the craze over ExT. I'm not 100x100 canon; as much as I adore SakuraxSyaoran and EriolxKaho, I also like SakuraxYue, EriolxShaoran, ShaoranxYukito, MirrorxTouya, TomoyoxShaoran (well... just friendship) all uncanon pairings. But I never got ExT. Never. ever.
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