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Shaoran Li is one of the main characters from the Cardcaptor Sakura anime and manga.

A distant relative of Clow Reed that initially views himself as rightful Master of the Cards, leading him to act as a rival for Sakura in her own attempts to retrieve them. As time passes, Sakura warms herself to Syaoran and treats him as a close friend or consultant, oblivious that by this point he has become disinterested in inheriting the cards and has gained an overwhelming crush on her.

In the AWA fics, Shaoran is a student at the AWA Academy and is yet to make an appearance.

Appearance

Shaoran has short chestnut hair and large amber eyes. He is short in height compared to his male classmates, such as Yamazaki, but is overall taller than Sakura and Tomoyo. He appears to have grown in Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card and, later, the Clear Card series.

His summer uniform is a white, T-shirt with short sleeves along with a red neckerchief with a black stripe and a black pants, along with a white sailor-like hat with a black tassels. He wears white socks and black shoes. His winter school uniform is a black long-sleeved shirt with red and white sleeve cuffs, a white neckerchief with a red stripe, and black pants.

In Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, he is given a set of green battle robes from Tomoyo to match with Sakura in the battle against the film's antagonist.

Personality

As a member of the famous Li clan of sorcerers from Hong Kong, of which Clow Reed's mother herself was also a member, Shaoran had firmly believed that he should be the one to capture and inherit the Clow Cards, not Sakura Kinomoto.

He first appears as an antagonist in the story, capturing a few cards for himself in the anime. His initial attitude towards her was cold, critical, and socially awkward, to the extent of never even addressing her by her first name until the third season, and often criticized her bluntly for her flaws and clumsiness.

He was also portrayed as somewhat of a loner, given that he had been taught to be independent and self-reliant since childhood. However, as the series progresses, and especially after Sakura is officially deemed the new mistress of the Cards, Shaoran drops his rivalistic attitude towards her, and becomes a reliable ally and a beloved friend. As they spend more time together, Shaoran begins to develop romantic feelings for Sakura and becomes annoyed when she pays more attention to another guy. He himself would not admit these feelings until late in the series, after the advice from Yue and Tomoyo, the latter of whom served as his confidante about his feelings. However, the naive and innocent Sakura is completely oblivious to these feelings, and thinks of him simply as an intimate friend. It was only after their final magical duel with Eriol did he find the courage to confess to her how he truly felt about her. By the end of the series, he has completely mellowed in comparison to his initial attitude.

Abilities

  • Magical & Supernatural detection: Due to his life long tutelage, Shaoran possesses a greater degree of magical sensitivity than Sakura. He is able to not only sense the Clow Cards in a greater area, but is also able to discern their presence even through attempts at cloaking or hiding. He can greatly extend his ability to detect magical activity with the use of his Rashinban.
  • Master Swordsmanship: Shaoran is shown, or at least implied, to be an excellent swordsman. He wields a Chinese Jian, which takes the sealed form of a hanging pendant. This sword serves as the focus for his magical powers.
  • Elemental Magic: Through the use of jufu - slips of enchanted paper - Shaoran can summon and control the four main elements of nature:

Cards

Although he claims certain Clow Cards for himself in the anime, Shaoran does not actually capture any cards, as the act of capturing can only be performed using Sakura's sealing wand. However, if Shaoran has played a major role in weakening or cornering the Card entity prior to its capture, credit for the capture is awarded to him (as the materialized Card floats autonomously to its owner after capture). While Sakura writes her name in romaji on the Clow Cards, Syaoran writes his name in Chinese characters.

The cards he claimed in the anime are: The Time, The Storm, The Return, The Dash, The Freeze, The Dream, The Sand, and The Twin.

During the Clear Card arc, Shaoran used a teddy bear, enchanted by his mother, to take possession of the Sakura Cards. This was done to protect Sakura from her powers grow exorbitantly while creating the Clear Cards. With the collaboration of the cards, who also wish to protect Sakura, Shaoran is able to use their powers; but doing so is extremely exhausting for him and takes longer than desired.

Trivia

  • Despite possible timeline inconsistencies for either the anime or manga versions, Sakura's age was confirmed to be 13 in Clear Card Arc's start by the official CCS app and Sakura’s Japanese voice actor, Sakura Tange. Going by this, Syaoran would be around the same age, plus a bit older (due to his birthday being July 13, while Sakura's is April 1st. In Japan, the Japanese school system begins in April and ends in March; thus, Syaoran would age before Sakura does, as Sakura wouldn't age until the next April 1st.)
  • The "Card Captor Sakura Memorial Book" (2001) contained an interview with Clamp and a statementregarding the nature of Sakura's relationship with Shaoran, Ohkawa stating: she was glad the readers were happy Sakura and Syaoran got together, "but that anyone would think it’s because they make a normal couple… it’s a little disconcerting. Sakura didn’t chose Shaoran because he’s a boy close to her in age. If Shaoran had been a girl, if they had been far apart in age, as long as he was still Shaoran, I think Sakura would have fallen in love with him. It’d sadden me if you thought they’re a good couple because they’re normal."
  • A major change to Shaoran's character in Cardcaptors involves elevating Li Shaoran to become the male lead character, rather than a supporting character for Sakura in Cardcaptor Sakura. Here, Li is also referred to as a Cardcaptor, while he has no such title in the original series, as Cerberus never selected him, and he has no initial ability to seal cards for himself.
  • Shaoran's four sisters are mentioned in the anime, and are only seen in the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie. His sisters are Fuutie, Shiefa (alternative spelling Xiefa), Fanren and Feimei. His mother and sisters are briefly mentioned in the Cardcaptor Sakura manga when Sakura, Tomoyo, and Shaoran are trying to capture the Maze card. His mother's name is Yelan.
  • A common theme in fan fiction is that Shaoran is a prince (with Sakura taking various roles). It may have been this which at least partially influenced Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
  • Shaoran's father is deceased. In the anime it is implied he is responsible for the wealth of the Li family.
  • Shaoran's voice actor Motoko Kumai sang Shaoran's theme called Ki ni Naru Aitsu (That Girl I Can't Ignore) which was first in episode 57 of Cardcaptor Sakura
  • As stated in the seventh chapter of the original manga series
    • His favourite color is green
    • His favourite food is chocolate and Dim Sum and least favourite is Yam Jelly
    • His favourite subjects are gym and math and least favourite is Japanese
    • His blood type is O
  • He also speaks English, as he picked it up from his time in Hong Kong.
  • Speaks at least 3 languages. Cantonese, Japanese, and English. He possibly speaks Mandarin too.
  • Shaoran's name (meaning "little wolf") sounds similar to Shao Long, "little dragon", which is one of famous Bruce Lee's given names (Lǐ Xiǎolóng, often romanized as Lee Shao Long).
  • He made a cameo appearance at the end of episode 7 of Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Other than the Return, Sand, and Twin Cards, all the Clow Cards Syaoran had fall under the power of the Moon; the same as his magic.
  • Shaoran's Brazilian voice actor, Fabio Lucindo, also voices Pokémon's Ash Ketchum, Dragon Ball Z's Krillin and Bleach's Kurosaki Ichigo.
    • His Japanese voice actress, Motoko Kumai, is also known for portraying Tyson Granger/Takao Kinomiya on Beyblade, Spike on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Chocolove McDonell on Shaman King, among other roles. Miyu Irino, his voice actor in Tsubasa Chronicle, was also the voice of Sora in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, Haru in Tsuritama, Parappa in the PaRappa the Rapper anime, Shoya Ishida in the "Koe no Katachi" anime film and Erial/Ariel in the "Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou" anime film.
    • Shaoran's fifth English Voice Actor, Jason Liebrecht also voices his counterparts, Syaoran and Tsubasa Li from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
  • In Tsubasa:RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, an adult form of Shaoran is seen towards the end of the series. Since he is based on Shaoran Li, it can be assumed this Shaoran would have a similar appearance as an adult post-series.
  • In xxxHOLiC, it is revealed by Yuuko that Shaoran and Sakura are living together as boyfriend and girlfriend.

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