Syaoran Li
Cardcaptor Sakura character
Syaoran Li
Syaoran Li in Cardcaptor Sakura
First appearance

Chapter seven (CCS manga)
Episode eight (CCS anime)
Episode one (Cardcaptors anime)
Created by

Voiced by

Motoko Kumai (Jpn CCS)
Rhys Huber (Eng Cardcaptors)
Jordan Kilik (Eng Cardcaptors)
Mona Marshall (Eng CCS 2nd Movie)
Age 10
Notable relatives Clow Reed (Ancestor)
Yelan Li (Mother, anime only)
Fanren, Fuutie, Feimei, Shiefa Li (Sisters, anime only)
Wang Wei (guardian, anime only)
Meiling Li (Cousin & ex-fiancé, anime only)
Power & abilities

Highly skilled martial artist
Celestial magic (Moon magic)
Skilled Swordsmen
Template:Chinese name

This is the Syaoran Li that appears in Cardcaptor Sakura. For the primary protagonists of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, see "Syaoran" and Syaoran Li (Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle).

Syaoran Li (李 小狼 Ri Shaoran?, Chinese Pinyin: Xiǎoláng) is a fictional character in Clamp's manga and anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. He is known as Li Showron in the English anime adaptation, Cardcaptors. He is voiced by Motoko Kumai in Cardcaptor Sakura. In Cardcaptors, he is voiced by Rhys Huber in Season 1, Jordan Kilik in Season 2, and by Mona Marshall in the 2nd Movie.


Voiced by Motoko Kumai in the anime, Syaoran is a distant relative of Clow Reed (on Clow's mother's side), the creator of the Clow Cards. As a member of the Li clan of sorcerers from Hong Kong, of which Clow's mother was a member, Syaoran believes that he should be the one to inherit the Clow Cards, not Sakura Kinomoto.[1] He first appears as an antagonist in the story, capturing a few cards for himself in the anime (though none in the manga). He acted cold and nonchalant to Sakura. He never even says her name until the third season.[2] As the series progresses, and especially after Sakura is officially deemed the new master of the Cards, Syaoran drops his rivalistic attitude towards her and becomes her ally and friend, eventually falling in love with her. However, Sakura is completely oblivious to these feelings and thinks of him simply as a close friend.

Syaoran is shown, or at least implied, to be an excellent martial artist, swordsman (using a Chinese jian), and sorcerer. He can summon his sword using a decorative cord which is also on the jian. His magical abilities are centered around elemental spells using his sword or a collection of fulu, and his magic mostly comes from the moon (the reason he likes Yukito (Julian), but not Kero or Mizuki-sensei)

Although he claims certain Clow Cards for himself in the anime, Syaoran does not actually capture any Cards, as the act of capturing can only be performed using Sakura's sealing wand. However, if Syaoran 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 rōmaji on the Clow Cards, Syaoran writes his name in Chinese characters. Once again, this is in the anime, and he never really captures any in the manga.

Before his relationship with Sakura, Syaoran found himself attracted to Yukito Tsukishiro, often blushing madly and abruptly running away at the sight of him. While Sakura also harboured a crush on Yukito, Syaoran would compete with her for his affections, usually by getting him a better present, making him better food, or giving the better compliment. As he shows no interest in Sakura in the first season, the impression is given that he and Sakura are rivals, for the cards and for love. It is revealed later that Syaoran was magically attracted to the magical energies of the moon, which were residing within Yukito, as Syaoran drew his magical power from the moon. Sakura, although she was drawn to a person that housed "power", was truly in love with Yukito, as stated by Kero (Cerberus) in episode 51 (Sakura and the big teddy bear).[3]

Syaoran and Cerberus often fight in the series, where Syaoran often calls him a "plush toy", or a "stuffed animal", while Cerberus retorts with patronizing terms like "kid", and "brat".

Syaoran and Toya Kinomoto (Sakura's older brother) also do not get along. Toya later tells Yukito that this is because "He's going to take something precious from me". This can be taken to mean that he's afraid that Sakura will fall in love with Syaoran, which does happen at the very end of the series. When Syaoran and Toya first meet, Toya picked him off ground after Syaoran and Sakura had gotten into a fight.

A major change to Syaoran's character in Cardcaptors involves elevating Li Syoran 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 has no initial ability to seal cards for himself.

Relationship with SakuraEdit


Syaoran and Sakura, with teddy bears.

Syaoran first meets Sakura at school on his first day as an exchange student from Hong Kong. His seat is behind Sakura, an ideal position for the many grueling stares that he gives her throughout the next few manga chapters and anime episodes. That same day, he confronts her about the Clow Cards, claiming that he is the one destined to inherit them.[1]

This attitude continues throughout the first season of the anime where Syaoran constantly tries to capture new Clow Cards before she can, often stating facts about the Cards and about Card-capturing in a condescending manner.[4] Although he would appear to do anything it takes to get the Cards, Syaoran never acts or fights dishonorably (i.e. stealing Cards from Sakura or injuring her in order to get ahead). Syaoran, despite the fact that he acquired far fewer cards than Sakura, still succeeds in capturing the Time, Storm, Return, Dash, Freeze, Dream, Sand and Twin. (Although, in the manga, he doesn't gain any cards). As Sakura and Syaoran continue to meet whenever a Card-capturing situation arises, they begin to work together and combine their efforts, although he still tries to win the Card in the end. Additionally, halfway through the first season, Syaoran begins to blush occasionally when he comes face to face with Sakura, usually after she smiles or makes a sweet comment.

In season one, he considers her to be an annoying rival; in season two, they are on friendlier terms. In the later episodes of this series, he begins to develop a crush on her. In season three, he takes a more serious interest in Sakura: love. By this time, he finally sees Sakura's good qualities above all her faults and insecurities.

After the Final Judgment, Sakura is declared the new master of the Cards, leaving Syaoran, essentially, a failure. At the start of the third season, Syaoran plans on returning home to Hong Kong, where his mother and four sisters live, until newcomer Eriol Hiiragizawa comes along and starts charming Sakura. At this point in the series, Syaoran's feelings toward Sakura have slowly changed from that of rivalry to that of an elementary school crush. Sakura's consistently cheerful attitude and warm smiles cause more and more blushes on Syaoran's cheeks. Much to his surprise, Syaoran finds himself jealous over the fact that another student is getting too close to Sakura, and he in turn stays in Tomoeda for the remainder of the school year.[5]

In season three of the anime, the plot makes a stronger shift towards the development of Syaoran and Sakura's relationship. Though Sakura is still dealing with strange occurrences and using the Cards, each episode gradually puts more emphasis on the growth of this relationship, including Tomoyo Daidōji's involvement in giving Syaoran advice plus one particular dramatic scene in episode 60 involving Syaoran's cousin and self-proclaimed-fiancée(by her), Meiling Li.[6] Syaoran finds himself in more and more blushing situations, including those in which he is on the brink of confessing his feelings to Sakura but is always interrupted (often in a comical way) just before he utters the climactic syllable.

Syaoran finally confesses that he is in love with her face-to-face at the end of the penultimate episode of the series.[7] The news comes as a major surprise to Sakura, who had always viewed Syaoran as a close friend. Sakura broods over the thought of it throughout all of episode 70, which ends with Syaoran planning to leave Tomoeda for Hong Kong. Sakura hears about his unannounced leave just in time to run to find him at the airport. He is holding (after his caretaker, Wei, hands it to him) a homemade teddy bear, which he had considered giving to Sakura but never found the right chance. (In the original manga, said teddy bear was given to her much before this point.)

Instead, Sakura asks if she could have the bear in his arms. There is a tradition stated in the series (it is not an actual Japanese tradition) that when one person gives another a personally-made plush, if the receiver names the plush after its creator (the giver in this case), then both people will be together forever. Sakura is never seen giving a name to the bear, but the symbolism of her accepting his bear is enough to suggest that Sakura returns the feelings, despite how sudden they appeared.[8]

The TV series concludes there, a cliffhanger of sorts for the upcoming release of the second movie, which finalizes the Sakura and Syaoran relationship in the anime. Set over summer break, Syaoran returns from Hong Kong for a short visit to Tomoeda. After having time to think about it, Sakura feels that she does love Syaoran back but is shy about confessing her feelings to him. Sakura wishes to tell him in person instead of writing a letter, because Syaoran had confessed his feelings in person (albeit quite randomly) and she wants to answer him the same way. The second movie goes through several situations where Sakura is just a moment away from uttering the next word after "Syaoran, I..." when something else interrupts her. In climactic fashion, Sakura finally completes her sentence in the last few lines of the movie, although she believes that his feelings had been negated by The Void; however, thanks to the intervention of the nameless card, they were not, and Syaoran smiles, accepts, and returns the feelings. Overjoyed, Sakura jumps into Syaorans arms, thus ending the series. [9]

The manga concludes the development of their relationship differently, as there is no movie for which to create a cliffhanger. Instead of occurring after a major battle as in the anime, Syaoran finds a quiet moment in Penguin Park to confess his love to Sakura. Sakura again is left in a mild state of shock as she tries to absorb the words, while Syaoran, content after revealing his feelings, tells her to be careful going back home and then leaves himself.

This occurs near the beginning of Volume 12, and the remainder of the volume details Sakura's quiet thoughts about the situation and her reanalysis of her feelings for Syaoran. Here in the manga, Syaoran also is planning to return to Hong Kong, prompting Sakura to hurry to the bus station to confess her feelings. She has a teddy bear that she made for him and successfully gives it to Syaoran through the window before the bus begins moving. She also confesses her feelings right there and asks if she could call the bear he gave her "Syaoran" after he asks if he could name the one she gave him "Sakura". Earlier in the series, Sakura and her friends were talking about teddy bears and saying that if you give someone a teddy bear and they name it after you then you'll be with that person forever. As the bus begins driving away, Syaoran tells Sakura that he'll be in Hong Kong for quite some time, but Sakura responds by saying that she will wait for him because he is the one she loves most.

Some time passes, and Sakura is seen in a secondary school uniform, obviously older, preparing to leave for school. Along the way, she sees Syaoran, who is also dressed in a Tomoeda secondary school uniform and holding the bear that she gave to him. Syaoran is happy to announce that he is through with his duties in Hong Kong and is now in Tomoeda to stay. There would be no more need for letters and phone calls any longer. Sakura, filled with happiness, jumps into Syaoran's arms and happily exclaims that they can be "together forever".[10]

Given name addressingEdit

Common courtesy and respect in Japan dictate that people should address each other by their family names, with the addition of an honorific (-san, -sama, -kun,-chan) if necessary. Addressing on a given-name basis is mostly reserved for family members or very close friends. A significant moment in Syaoran's developing relationship with Sakura is his shift to addressing her as "Sakura", coupled with Sakura progressing from "Li-kun" to "Syaoran-kun."[11]

Syaoran's case is slightly unusual in that, prior to the "Sakura" address, he has never called her "Kinomoto" or "Kinomoto-san" (the only two times he even says that name are in Episode 12 when he takes some time realizing that Fujitaka Kinomoto is Sakura's father, and in episode 40 when he comments how "Kinomoto is rather level-headed", although that was Sakura's dream and not the real Syaoran). In conversation, he usually omits the address and just begins speaking, using "Hey" or "You" on rare occasions. Sakura is often attentive of him whenever he speaks, so his lack of address is not usually noticed or viewed as awkward. For Syaoran's character, such a shift from no address to given name address marks a very notable change in his feelings.

In the manga, Syaoran first says (yells) Sakura's name after losing his grip and dropping her into an abyss while battling The Earthy. Sakura is saved by Kerberos in his original form, but Sakura is happy nevertheless that he addressed her as such. She smiles innocently and asks if she could call him "Syaoran-kun" in return. In a fit of blushes, he eventually stammers, "Sure, do as you like." This occurs in Volume 6, just before the halfway point in the series.

In the anime, Syaoran does not use Sakura's name until the middle of season three in Episode 57, "Sakura, Syaoran, and the Elevator". In a similar fashion, Syaoran fails to save Sakura before she falls into a bottomless pit. Seeing her falling, the only thing he can do to release the pain is to scream her name out in grief and despair. Moments later, Sakura is seen returning to safety riding on The Float (The Float card doesn't exist in the manga). Syaoran is so relieved that she is okay that he immediately stands up and hugs her, and mumbles "I'm so glad."; his reaction surprises Sakura somewhat.[2]

At the end of the day, Sakura makes a phone call to Syaoran thanking him for his help that day and mentioning that his calling her "Sakura" made her happy, that it made her feel like they've become good friends. She asks if she can address him as "Syaoran-kun" in return. Even on the phone, he blushes and can only stammer, "Do as you like," which is Syaoran's indirect way of saying "Yes". This was also the episode Syaoran fully understood and accepted the fact that he had indeed fallen in love with Sakura.[12] Syaoran seldom addresses Sakura with her name, still sticking to the usual "Hey" or "You." But for different reasons than when he disliked her. Tomoyo states in volume 9 of the manga that the reason Syaoran cannot address her by her given name often, is because he loves her very much.[13]

Appearances in other mediaEdit

The character design and name of "Syaoran" are reused in two other Clamp series, xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. In xxxHolic, he is referred to by Yūko Ichihara as being Sakura's boyfriend,[14] while in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle one of the main characters is a new version of Syaoran, who in turn is said to be a clone of a second character supposedly named "Li Syaoran". It is noted that the Syaoran that Yūko knows is the father of the original Tsubasa Syaoran.[15], however, the father of the original Syaoran, while named "Li Syaoran", is not the same one from Cardcaptor Sakura, but is instead the Clone Syaoran[16].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cardcaptor Sakura Chapter 6
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 57
  3. Episode 51
  4. Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 8
  5. Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 47
  6. Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 60
  7. Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 69
  8. Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 70
  9. Cardcaptor Sakura The Second Movie
  10. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 12
  11. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 6
  12. Episode 57
  13. Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 9
  14. xxxHOLiC Chapter 3
  15. Tsubasa Chapter 189
  16. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 223

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