“Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, grows up under the shadow of her older sister. With no dreams of her own, she is contented with her share in life till she meets Arata Wataya. The quiet transfer student in her elementary class introduces her to competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Captivated by Arata’s passion for the game and inspired by the possibility of becoming the best in Japan, Chihaya quickly falls in love with the world of karuta. Along with the prodigy Arata and her haughty but hard-working friend Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spends their idyllic childhood days playing together until circumstances split them up.” -Myanimelist
Finally being able to watch this long time classic, I understand why everyone praises this so high on their list, the artwork, characters, and story really pulled me in.
“Karuta isn’t very popular in other countries. But because of that, if you became the best player in Japan, you’ll be the best in the world.”
Chihaya, now a first year in high school, dreams of becoming the Queen, a title given to female karuta. Karuta may seem like a boring sport on the surface, but Chihayafuru goes in depth and makes it easier for people who don’t play, to understand the beauty of karuta. Besides karuta Chihayafuru establishes magnificent characters, the friendships and bonds that are forged throughout the show are full of emotions, it was difficult for me to get through the entire thing without crying at least twice!! Even though Arata, Taichi, and Chihaya are the three main characters, there are many other characters that also leave a strong impression. If you remember anything from this show it’s either the emotional breakdown or the hilarious comedy.
Artwork & Animation:
The artwork is absolutely gorgeous!!! The character designs are one of my favorites because Chihaya looks good from every angle! Every. Single. Angle! Also that fact that the faces weren’t templated, each had their own unique facial features.
As stated above, Chihayafuru has amazing characters, Chihaya herself being very memorable. Not just her looks, but her determination, hard work ethic, and of course her habit of doing things on a whim! It’s also great to see each character’s play style. When in karuta matches we get monologues of what’s going through the mind of each character, it’s nice because it’s yet another layer of a character that we know and love.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
The voices are just lovely, especially those that voiced the readers of the karuta competitions! It may seem like an easy job but there’s a lot of practice and focus that goes into reading the cards.
Chihayafuru quickly became one of my favorites! So much character development, energy, and beautiful art that it’s hard to not love! I love the comedy and emotion that it brings to the table! I can’t wait to start the second season!
Overall: Score 10
Please watch Chihayafuru! It needs more love!