Syaoran Li (also known as Li Showron in the English Dub) is the deuteragonist of the anime and manga series Cardcaptor Sakura. He is also the main love interest of Sakura Kinomoto.
In the beginning of the series, Syaoran is extremely antagonistic towards Sakura, spawned from his belief that they should compete for the cards to see who is worthy of wielding them. On his first day at Sakura's school, before he even knows her name, he glares hatefully at her, causing her to worry. During recess, he proceeded to say she was hopeless as the cards' holder and physically attacked her in an attempt to steal them but was thwarted by Toya and Yukito. This was the start of a rocky relationship between the two for some time.
Syaoran would ignore Sakura and reject her constant attempts to befriend him, seeing her as nothing more than a rival. Despite this, he does at times save her in critical moments and provides her with information about the cards. This and trying to capture the cards at the same time, gradually allows the two to learn to work together and they build a friendship that Syaoran doesn't fully recognize until halfway through the series. In episode 27, he blushes when Sakura hugs him and the following episodes show him being shy around her and growing increasingly worried for her safety and well-being, something that confuses him.
After the Final Judgment, Sakura is declared the new master of the Clow Cards, leaving Syaoran, essentially, a failure. However, he congratulates her and even smiles for her, showing his respect for her. At the start of the third season, Syaoran plans on returning home to Hong Kong, China now that Sakura is the official mistress of the cards, but he promises to visit her someday. Then, newcomer Eriol Hiiragizawa comes from the United Kingdom and starts charming Sakura, much to Syaoran's dismay and disgust. When Sakura becomes quite sad that Syaoran is leaving, decided to extend his stay in Tomoeda. This was because, quoted by Tomoyo "a new rival" has appeared so going back to Hong Kong has been put off for a while".
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 Eriol is getting too close to Sakura. As he becomes more aware of his deep feelings for her, his denial over the romantic nature of them also increases. However, with advice from Yue and Tomoyo, he eventually accepts that he indeed loves Sakura and wants to be with her. He tries to confess to her several times, but something always happens. After Sakura confesses to Yukito and is rejected, Syaoran comforts her and assures her that she will find the person she truly deeply loves. While he feels grateful at being able to help her, he is worried that his true romantic feelings for her will be a burden to her and is troubled of whether or not to tell her. Tomoyo manages to convince him that if he does confess, Sakura will really think about it and give him her answer.
Some time later, after the final battle with Eriol, Syaoran finally confesses that he is in love with her face-to-face at the end of the next-to-last episode of the series. The news comes as a major surprise to Sakura, who had always viewed Syaoran as a close good friend. Sakura broods over the thought, especially after he tells her that he is glad he met her. At the same time, Syaoran is planning to leave Tomoeda for Hong Kong, China. Sakura hears about his unannounced leave just in time to run to find him at the airport. He is holding a homemade teddy bear, which he had considered giving to Sakura but never found the right chance.
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.
In the second movie, four months after the final episode, Syaoran returns to Japan with his cousin Meiling Li, who was having secret phone calls with Tomoyo Daidōji who helped plan their return. Tomoyo and Meiling attempt to organize outings for Sakura to tell Syaoran about how she feels but, rather amusingly, she gets interrupted until the end of the movie, where Syaoran sacrifices himself to the Sealed Card's attack so that Sakura wouldn't lose her most precious feeling. In tears, Sakura confesses her deep romantic love, believing that Syaoran had forgotten his romantic love for her. She begins to cry but Syaoran surprisingly replies "Me too, Sakura." Sakura is so overjoyed by the revelation, that she recklessly leaps across a large hole in the floor to reach Syaoran, despite his protests for her safety. The film ends with Sakura halfway through the air, but a still image (a special bonus art poster) released with the film along with it's DVD edition shows that she does in fact makes the leap, right into Syaoran's arms.
The manga concludes the development of their relationship differently. Instead, 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. The rest of the volume of the Cardcaptor Sakura is focused on Sakura trying to work out her feelings for Syaoran. She eventually runs into Syaoran as he is packing up to leave for Hong Kong, now that the purpose for his coming to Japan are over. After Sakura realizes (with the help of her friends) that she too loves Syaoran, she succeeds in confessing her feelings to him just as he is about to leave for Hong Kong, along with giving him the teddy bear she made. Syaoran promises her that he will return once his work in Hong Kong is finished, and she promises to wait for him as long as it takes.
Two years later, a 14-year-old Sakura is (again) late for school. Rushing along the way, she sees Syaoran, who is also dressed in a Tomoeda secondary school uniform, holding the bear that she gave him. Syaoran is happy to announce that he is through with his duties in Hong Kong and is now in Tomoeda to stay for good. 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". In xxxHOLiC, it is revealed by Yuko that Syaoran and Sakura are living together as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Meiling Li is Syaoran's cousin and fiancée. When they were younger, Meiling lived very close to Syaoran and together, they both began learning martial arts, soon becoming very skilled fighters. Originally, Meiling never had any romantic feelings towards Syaoran as he never seemed happy and never smiled. However, her feelings for Syaoran completely changed as one day when her pet bird somehow escaped, Syaoran went off to find it, even when it began to heavily rain. Eventually, Syaoran managed to find Meiling's bird and returned it to her. Extremely grateful and touched, Meiling cried tears of joy when Syaoran returned and embraced him. Since then, Meiling fell in love with Syaoran and soon confessed her love to him, deciding she will become his future wife. Although Syaoran was surprised and didn't return Meiling's feelings, they both made a promise. Meiling will be Syaoran's fiancée until he found someone he truly loved and ever since Meiling and Syaoran have been engaged to be marry.
Eventually, Meiling later travelled to Japan and joined Syaoran to help him capture the Clow cards, believing he should be the one to become the Clow cards new master. While Meiling doesn't harbour any magical powers, she helps by using her martial arts fighting skills. Syaoran doesn't always appreciate Meiling's help as most of time as she gets in the way of capturing a Clow card, but she proves herself to be a reliable ally. Meiling is shown to be extremely affectionate towards Syaoran, always embracing him and trying to be romantic with him, which constantly annoys Syaoran while even sometimes completely tiring him out, due to her high energy. Meiling is also shown to be very protective her relationship with him as when she first arrived in Japan, she viewed Sakura as a rival, but eventually comes to see Sakura as a dear and true friend.
While Syaoran doesn't return Meiling's feelings and although he can be annoyed with her at times, Syaoran does care a great deal about Meiling as he considers her feelings and is protective of her when gathering the Clow cards. Eventually, before the all the Clow cards were found, Meiling discovered that she had to return to Hong Kong because of an unknown problem within her family. She was deeply saddened, but was more upset that Syaoran didn't seem to care that she was leaving, causing her to become mad with him, believing he only thought of her as a nuisance. However, when they later worked together to defeat the Twin card, Syaoran apologized to Meiling, showing that he does appreciate her help and is upset that she'll be leaving. Eventually, Meiling returned to Hong Kong, but not before she was given a send off by their friends and she reminded Syaoran about their promise.
Later in the series, when Syaoran realizes he has fallen in love with Sakura, he remembers his promise and decides to first tell Meiling his true feelings before he can properly reveal his love to Sakura. He called Meiling, informing her they needed to talk, but wanted to tell Meiling his true feelings for Sakura in person. However, much to Syaoran's surprise, Meiling immediately travelled to Japan to talk with Syaoran, not wanting to wait until he returned to Hong Kong. However, Meiling soon learned the truth on her own that Syaoran had fallen in love with Sakura after noticing how he was acting differently whenever he was around her, coming to realize he was officially breaking off their engagement. Meiling was heartbroken and although she tried to be brave after speaking to Syaoran, she later went to Tomoyo's house and cried out her frustration with Tomoyo comforting her.
Although originally heartbroken, Meiling had come to accept Syaoran's love for Sakura. Meiling and Syaoran departed on good terms as Meiling left to return to Hong Kong. However, before leaving, she revealed her approval and acceptence of his love for Sakura while also encouraging him to confess his true feelings. Since then, Meiling begins supporting their relationship. Later in the series finale movie, Meiling and Tomoyo created a plot together to help Sakura confess her love to Syaoran by arranging a trip to return to Japan to reunite them.
The Sealed CardEdit
- Towards the end of the first season, Syaoran begins to slowly realize his feelings for Sakura as he began showing signs of his true feelings for her. Eventually, Syaoran finally realizes he has fallen in love with Sakura in the third season.
- In the anime and manga there alternate versions of when Syaoran confesses his love for Sakura.