Li Meiling is a transfer student from Hong Kong. She arrives in the
city to help Syaoran, her cousin, search for the Clow Cards. Like Li,
she has a special costume she wears when pursuing the Clow. She also
has a rather unique hairstyle -- or is it?
Meiling is not only Syaoran's cousin, but also his fiancÚ. She's rather
obsessed about the latter and worried that the other girls are out
to steal Syaoran; Sakura in particular. Part of this most likely
has to do with Meiling's lack of magical power. It's unusual for a
member of the Li family to be born without magical ability, but
Meiling was. Seeing that Syaoran has discovered a girl their age
who possesses a good deal of such ability is not only chaffing, it
makes Meiling concerned that Syaoran may see Sakura as being her
superior. As a result, Meiling becomes very competitive with Sakura.
Everything they do, Meiling seeks to outperform Sakura - gym class, the
school marathon, even hunting Clow Cards (despite her inability to
fight them with magic or sense them). She's very insecure, especially
since Syaoran left her unexpectedly to go chase Clow Cards and the
very first time she sees him, another girl (Sakura) is wearing a
shirt she bought for him as a present.
Nonetheless, Meiling does manage to be friendly with Sakura upon
occasion, when she's not caught up in trying to prove something.
She demonstrated how to open hazelnuts to Sakura and Meiling (though
some might argue that this was just an attempt to show off superior
knowledge). However, her attitude (not to mention her relationship
with Syaoran) does not earn her much respect from Kero, who refers to
her as "Little Girl." Sakura and Tomoyo are tolerant of her, and while they
do try to be accepting of her, Meiling makes it hard for them to like her because
she is constantly shooting Sakura evil looks and trying to belittle her
While she doesn't have magical ability, Meiling does have a number of other abilities. She's very good at gymnastics and is training in the martial arts. She attacked The Fight card when it defeated Syaoran and she discovered Sakura did not know how to fight. She's also a very fast sprinter, though she doesn't run long distances well at first. One of her more redeeming qualities is a willingness to listen to the adivce of others - once she has determined she can't do something. Of course, sometimes this takes a few failures before she admits she needs the help.
Some may argue that Meiling is nothing more than a brat. I happen to disagree
and find her to be one of the more interesting characters in the show. For
all of her bravado, Meiling's self esteem isn't very large. All of her gusto
is an attempt to cover up her inner worries that she isn't good enough. After all,
it can't be easy to grow up lacking the trait that makes her family so important.
Yes, she runs headlong into things, but frequently it is out of a pure desire
to help Syaoran. She feels the need to prove herself to him and is always trying
to impress him. Somehow she can't see that he does honestly care for her
(evidenced by how often he tries to protect her from any sort of harm and how he
was upset when he saw Sakura wearing the T-shirt Meiling had given him).