As Crunchyroll has recently begun cranking out new episodes of Chihayafuru 2, this weekend I found myself making haste to catch myself up on season one. I originally started this show a few months back, then put it on hold when my husband went off on a four month deployment. Call me over-worried, but something about watching this show without him felt akin to betrayal…
Anyhoo! Hubs and I marathoned season one last weekend, and it was indeed worth the wait.
The show follows Chihaya Ayase: a first year highschooler who is nothing short of tunnel-visioned by her passion for karuta. With the help of childhood friend Taichi, she sets out to establish a karuta club in order to one day claim the coveted title of karuta queen.
Ah! But there’s more! Chihaya’s other motive in excelling at the game involves reuniting with Arata: the childhood peer and mentor who introduced her to the game. Oh, emotional conflict…
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, have you stopped to ask, “So… What is karuta, again?” yet?
Competitive karuta is a card game based on the memorization of classical Japanese poems. The Ogura Kyakunin Isshu, a 100 poem anthology, is the standard for the game. Players memorize the poems, pieces of which are then read by a certified reader. Players work to recognize the poem and nab its corresponding card, and the player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
It’s pretty cool.
So yes. Chihayafuru is quite an enjoyable anime. I’ve been partaking in this slice-of-life story not only for its interesting main and supporting characters (which, by the way, are fantastic), but also because it’s been rather exciting to learn about the game, itself. It’s safe to say that I get about as caught up in these fictional characters’ card matches as I would any other televised sport that might catch my interest. Probably more so.
Having started out as a manga, there’s a good chance that I’d take the time to read this. At the same time, I’ve been enjoying the notion of immersing myself in the show, and leaving well enough alone. I’ve no doubt the manga is fantastic, but with everything else on my reading list, I’m content with the perfectly fleshed out world that has been translated onto my screen.
Currently airing its second season in Japan, you can get caught up on season one at any time, and can catch new episodes at Crunchyroll every Friday at 2 p.m. CST.