Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 5, 2011 to Mar 28, 2012
22 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.441 (scored by 30086 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisChihaya is a lighthearted tomboy, who's not especially good at anything in particular. Her dream has always been for her sister (an aspiring model) to become the number one beauty of Japan, or perhaps of the world. But then one day she meets someone who tells her that a dream is something that should concern only herself—and something she has to work hard for as well.
At the same time, Chihaya discovers a passion for the old Japanese game hyakunin isshu, also called "karuta".
Related AnimeAdaptation: Chihayafuru
Sequel: Chihayafuru 2
Characters & Voice Actors
Chihayafuru is a sports anime about Karuta. What is Karuta you ask? I had no idea either until I watched this anime. Karuta is a card game based upon Japanese poetry, with a hundred poems as cards so memorization is key. As a reader reads out the first line of the poem, the player's goal is to touch the corresponding card that has the second line of the poem before the opponent. Sounds boring? Well you could not be more wrong. The way Chihayafuru depicts the relationships between the characters and the feelings of those who dedicate their lives to something only to be trumped by those more talented. If you have ever competed in anything seriously, you will be able to relate.
The story is similar to many other sports anime. The main character Chihaya Ayase childhood dream is to watch her sister become the number one model. This all changes when she meets a transfer student, Arata Wataya, that open her eyes to the world of competitive Karuta. Ever since this fated meeting that made her entranced in the world of karuta her dream has been to become the queen (best female karuta player). From here on out the plot is quite simple, with Chihaya going to karuta societies to improve or tournaments to compete. Finding rivals,mentors and teamates along the way, each with their own influence on Chihaya. Honestly though if you watch Chihayafuru for a riveting plot with many twists and turns, you will be disheartened. Notably due to the slow start of the anime, with a long five episode flashback. Chihayafuru is mainly a character-driven show, which in its own way can produce its own heart-wrenching entertainment equivalent to an amazing plot.
And the characters really do not disappoint, from the design to their personalities each character has a trait to love. Though Chihaya is a stereotypical tomboy airhead type character with her stereotypical childhood friend,Taichi Mashima, and stereotypical outsider transfer stuident Arata, the way they develop is what differentiates Chihayafuru from the status quo. Each and every character has their own dilemma, which they have to face. Inspiring us not only through their success but also in their own failure. Even the side characters have progress, and are explored throughout the show.
In terms of art style, some might not be too accustomed to the differences in Chihayafuru. I know at first I had a hard time looking at Taichi and Chihaya because of their oddly super long eyelashes, but I grew to appreciate the design. There are some characters that look similar to others but this is primarily with background characters. Overall most of the characters don't look very similar, something I really appreciate in anime nowadays. As for the animation, everything is pretty crisp. Their is not much action to animate but they do a good job with the Karuta scenes, I have only seen problems in one or two episodes, where the frames drop a bit. Hardly noticeable, may even be my computer playing tricks with me. Now onto backgrounds, and other non-character related animation, was pretty good. Not amazing to me (like bakemonogatari background amazing) but still good. I am all for dark colors > light but the bright colors really stand out yet is cohesive with the piece as a whole.
With the great animations it leads to the Karuta matches actually being quite interesting. One would think that just watching a couple players try to get to a card first would be boring, but they build up suspense and emotion for every match. They do not get too technical about the technique and skill, and instead focus on the character's mindset. Despite the fact that at times this show is very serious, it does have its comedic aspects. Its funny to see how Chihaya go from ditzy in other situations, to being graceful at Karuta.
Lastly the Sound. The tracks do not vary too much considering the insert songs during the animation. Despite this lack of deviation, these songs were well timed and really highlighted the moments of emotion. In comparison the intro and outro differ greatly yet are just as memorable. The opening has a more upbeat tempo that makes you want to tap your feet to the rhythm. I imagine the characters drive and love for karuta during the opening. Slowing down the pace with the Outro, it drives the great emotional impact of Chihayafuru. The ending really expresses the character's relationships well. As for the voice acting, nothing really stood out, but nothing was annoying. I do not really have an ear for voice acting so do not quote me on that.
All together Chihayafuru provides a great experience for the audience, with emotional attachment to the characters and the suspense to see the results. Don't let the fact that the show is about Karuta, and you have no idea what that is (yet) stop you from enjoying it. I believe that Chihayafuru's virtues strongly outweigh any faults that it may have, and highly reccomend it to anyone.
"What the hell is Katura?"
Of course, that was my first reaction.
At first, this anime really didn't catch my interest. It was plain and dry, like trying to shape out the dry clay; but as it went on, I found myself immersed in it. Like a sea of colors vibrantly expanding across an infinite of sky. Yes, even now, fifteen minutes after I finally saw the last episode, I am still numbed by its excellence.
In the beginning, the story seemed boring. Predictable. Like a boat streaming across still water. It was lifeless, and simple. I expected it to be like any other Anime with a swindle of a romance eclipsed by the ever flamboyant facade of a sport or activity.
But somewhere, as the series progressed, it seemed to evolve. It seamlessly grew to something more, something beyond the natural limits of a story. It wasn't plagued with typical conflicts or unrequited desires, it was like a light that slowly lit itself brighter and brighter, unblocked by the trends of literature and expectation. Barriers that innately shackled a series' potential seemed to fade away, and every climactic moment that the characters felt was somehow shared with the viewer. As if a crescendo of realization would slay you alongside them.
All in all, it was about the sport, Katura. And, you'd think: "Well, if its just about a sport its not like anything interesting can happen." But somehow, it was different. The sport was a sort of catalyst that helped the characters not only develop towards one another, but it opened the door for an entire world that we all seem to forget, as if blinded by the mundane trudge of life.
The competitive aspect of the game, which yearned for such a demand of stamina seemed to be later eclipsed by the "true" virtue hidden within the sport. Yes, what the beginner sees, and the masters forget: The poetry. Such an attribute slowly became the mortar that gave new meaning to each simple issue that arose during the characters' failures.
It was seamless as we learned with them, through their desperation and hardship; their envy and willpower. The goals kept increasing, and aspirations began to soar, capping only at what the characters truly wanted.
Romance. Friendship. Deeper revelations. Aspiration oriented. Perseverance through strength. No text box storytelling. Failure.
The art in this show was interesting. It had primarily bold lines, and definitely took some getting used to. But now that I finished it, I really couldn't imagine this anime any other way.
The thing is, since this show is so off on a tangent in the first place, it seemed necessary to break the norm.
However, I will say that there were moments when I wished that they wouldn't have. The fact of the matter is, the art does well for its purpose, but it seems like it was aimed at a particular niche. I guess it just comes down to personal preference, really.
Nonetheless, the art was still phenomenal. Everything down to lighting was near perfect, and facial expressions were particularly pronounced so as to invoke the true feelings of the characters. Bloom, Sparkles, Glitter, Comical Backdrops, and Chibi Moments; everything seemed in good shape.
Overall, it had a realistic feel. Which held tremors to the viewer considering the entire theme could be realistically translated into anything the viewer truly desired.
The art was different, but really you shouldn't have any complaints.
This soundtrack is simply awe inspiring. Even now, as I write this review, I have OST 7 "Main Theme" on loop.
The music in this show was EXTREMELY good. It did very well to convey the emotions that were felt by the characters, and worked seamlessly with the art and choreography to invoke what the moments wished you to feel. To be honest, the music had a voice of its own. As if it was an entire character separate of the cast, watching the show with you, helping you along through the tears.
It sympathized with you when necessary, and laughed alongside you, guided you along the adventurous moments... It really couldn't have been any better.
Even if this show had 5 frames a second and 1980's art, I would still choke for air at how many times this musical score seems to steal your breath away.
If anything, I'll still be listening to this music many decades later. Thank you, Kousuke Yamashita.
If only I could rate this 20.
Symphony. Commonly repeating motif. Varied orchestration. Light sounds mixed with heavy ensembles. Stellar composition.
While romance is an aspect of the story, it is merely a development feature. Note that the story is more so directed toward the love of friendship and the game itself than it is towards any romantic moments.
To start with, each character occupies a niche.
Ayase is a beauty, yet it is in vain. The moment she speaks, it is broken by her tomboyish image and personal drive. But its those very traits that reel you in. She is the joyous energy that keeps the group together, and despite her clear superiority in the game, genuinely cares for her friends, and helps aid them in their journey to pursue Karuta.
Taichi, Ayase's childhood friend, remains her loyal companion throughout the years. His mental forte is unmatched to most every player the game has ever known; even once reciting every card at random in the entire deck of 100, just because he could. His family is privileged, and he is pressured by his parents to keep at the highest tier in terms of sports and exams. His brains keep him on par with the purists that achieve their status merely due to athletic prowess. He acts as the groups motivator and leader, often amping everyone out of their slumps with "Just the right words" to turn them around.
Arata represents the reverse side to Taichi, being the poorer, lesser appreciated, segment to the story. As the story progresses, his darker past becomes realized, and he continues to become a shining beacon for Ayase.
There is a triangle romance between the three of them, but remember, the show does not articulate this enough for this show to be branded as a romance.
Of course, there are a great many other supporting characters that help aid Ayase on her journey to realize herself through Katura, each having a realistic and effective back story that warps the plot in one way or another.
The characters were diverse, which allowed for the story to be seen through a wide spectrum. Realistic. Believable. Nothing was over exaggerated.
Did I find this show enjoyable?
Well, in a way I did.
I felt that it was really giving a perspective about achievement I had never really thought about.
To learn meant failure, to grow stronger meant to feel hardship and to overexert yourself to what phase out the illusions to what you truly desired.
At the end of each episode, with the crescendoing music resounding with each episodic climax, I felt the overwhelming desire to watch the next.
It was like a ten hour long movie that always kept you drooling for more.
I was stunned by the hype of this show that I nearly skipped over it. And let me tell you, I ALMOST did.
And simply for the thought once existing, I regret it.
If I had passed up this show, I really would have missed out on such a masterpiece. I am shamed of myself.
I honestly cant wait to jump into Chihayafuru Season 2.
It was beautiful to the core. Every aspect was heartwrenchingly flawless. If you have any last minute questions before watching this series, feel free to PM me.
I really don't think the world can afford to have people so many that haven't seen Chihayafuru.
Both series centre around a protagonist who becomes aware of and learns to love a classic Japanese game that's faded to 'niche interest' status, aspiring to become the very best and accumulating similarly-minded friends along the way. Although Chihayafuru lacks the mild supernatural element found in Hikaru no Go, Chihaya's motivation of improving to Arata's level of skill function similiarly to Hikaru playing go at Sai's urging and wanting to catch up with Touya.
both feature characters striving to be the best in the world at a fairly niche game
In both, at first the main characters are not interested in the game, and found it boring (Hikaru no Go) until they met(played the game with) someone around their age who is very strong in the game (Go/Kurata). Both of them got inspired by the someone and wanted to keep playing, to improve, to catch up to the someone and to win.
Also, both are rather unpopular traditional Japanese games. There's no club in their schools, they started a club and found it hard to recruit people into their club.
I think Hikaru no Go is the better of the 2. But most likely because Go is much harder to understand, there's more rules, too many strategies and ways to win which bring down the scoring. As there're many people who can't understand a thing after watching several episodes, not getting heated up in the exciting games they played and dropped the series, thus lowering the score ><
Old Japanese game in the center of the plot.
Introduction to a competitive yet uncommon "sport"
Showcases character growth and development both inside and outside of the "arena"
Both contain intensity and bouts of seriousness but manages to incorporate light humor where appropriate.
Chihayafuru although little success maybe is the best anime of this season (winter 2012). Discover the joys of not only an anime very well done and entertaining, with a game unknown but equally interesting. Don't stop at the first episodes, let yourself be carried away by the wonderful episodes! Unknown game, just like Hikaru no Go I do not know if we can call it a common point, but you will also be carried away by this game if you wear a little interest in the anime. Both want us to enter their world and it is successful.
Both have main characters who slowly become good at a niche game,and have intense matches.
If you like intense game anime then they are really alike... both are really good... when i was watching Chihayafuru... it was still ongoing... so i really wanted to find something alike.... and i found Hikaru no Go..... they are sooo alike.... both 10/10!!
Hikaru no Go and Chihayafuru both feature characters wanting to become the best at a competitive game after encountering someone who is really strong and inspiring them to enjoy and love Go/Kurata.
Both series and mostly about the main characters growing and becoming better at the game and the friendships they develop on the way. They are both enjoyable series and each made me become interested and want to know more about GO and Kurata.
Some people don't watch animes like these because they believe the shows will be boring show about a game they don't even understand but they will really regret missing out on amazing shows like these.
All the characters are driven by their love for the sport
Both anime have a time progression and character growth
Both show a competitive side of traditional "boring" sport
Both shows have a naive main character
Both shows could of been longer with no problem
Both anime, despite a large time difference in their creations, focus on the fun and seriousness of relatively unknown, but competitive, Japanese games (for lack of a better term).
Overall, both anime are truly enjoyable and I highly recommend them to any person who is sick of the usual standard-battle anime and want to find an interesting and non-violent, but still entertaining anime.
Both are centered around an obscure type of game native only in japan, with good charicter development of both protagonists and antagonists
Each person has to come up with a dream for themselves. However, sometimes you need someone to show you the way. Both of the females try to make their dreams come true, one in finding her dream, and one in achieving the dream she's already found.
the protagonist in both is very similar in personality. both anime are about achieving a dream. In both the protagonist has a school friend that has feelings for her. Both give you a nice relaxing happy feeling. Great animation and ost too.
Ohana and Chihaya are strong-willed female leads. Both series are similar in terms of tone, themes, and execution with regard to character building.
it has the similar feel and almost the same kind of character vibes..
•Both Females have the same view on life
•Both feature people trying new things with new friends
•Both have the same warmhearted feeling to them
•Exploration & Emotion!
Both have gorgeous animation and are about the lead characters pursuing their dreams. They also give a similar feeling when you watch them.
Similar main female leads with straightforward personalities. Both series involve the main character trying to achieve her dream. Both series are also dramatic and emotional at times, especially Chihayafuru.
Both series are lighthearted and contains a small cast of likeable characters in a typical every day life of view.
Both series contains characters who are following a dream and hoping to make it into a reality through hard work, determination, and a little help with the encouragement of their friends.
The series' main characters also has strong wills and determined to achieve that dream.
Both series contains drama, comedy, and a little inklings of romance here and there as the characters interacts with one another (either from the past, present, and what's to come for them into the future).
Both series' main female protagonists also has similar personalities.
Both Chihayafuru and Hanasaku Iroha are coming of age stories about young women struggling to find their place in world. Ohana and Chihaya both search for something to be passion about and their stories follow them through their hard work and determination towards their goals: becoming the best, succeeding and making the people around them feel good. Both stories center themselves around traditional Japanese cultural themes (inn keeping, karuta). Both have beautiful animation and character designs, paired with wonderful costumes. There is also a degree of romance (specifically love triangles) in both series as well as lot of female bonding. Both of these series are exceptionally good and I would highly recommend them to anyone who likes female-empowerment stories or slice-of-life in general.
Both of these shows are about the main character's finding of a unknown hobby. Ohana and Chihaya are also very similar personality-wise.
Opening Theme"YOUTHFUL" by 99RadioService
Ending Theme#1: "Soshite Ima (そしていま)" by Asami Seto (eps 1-24)
#2: "YOUTHFUL" by 99RadioService (ep 25)
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