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: 8.411 (scored by 39243 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 show that I kind of regret picking up. No, not because it wasn't good or was a pain to watch. On the contrary, it was a very fun 50 episodes (This review includes S2 btw) - filled with many memorable and exciting moments. Unfortunately, it cuts off in the middle of the story, and really, really leaves me wanting for that season 3. That said, it is still a show that I will wholeheartedly recommend due to how special it is, and the fact that it seems somewhat likely that the anime will continue in a couple of years, once there is enough content to adapt.
Chihayafuru is a show that revolves around two things. The first of these is Karuta, the traditional Japanese card game which is the focus of the show. Upon hearing 'card game', the first thing that pops up will probably be something along the lines of Yugioh or Magic the Gathering, or perhaps something very different like Bridge or Poker. Karuta is a very different beast from what you will expect, being a sport (yes, a sport) that requires excellent memorization, reflexes, stamina, strategy, speed, and above all, hard work and effort to excel in. It is definitely not a simple game that is meant for relaxed play, requiring both physical and mental strength, and each match is intense as hell.
What I love about this show is that it manages to make such a foreign game so compelling. We don't typically associate cards with physical activity, and most will find traditional things from our own cultures boring, let alone something played in an entirely foreign language. Yet, the show succeeds at making it interesting. Despite seeming simplistic at a first glance, the show slowly reveals the true depth of the game. We slowly learn more about the game, learning about the many different approaches to the game, the many interesting quirks it has, and the depth of the strategy involved in every move. Furthermore, the show is always careful to not overload us with information, slowly feeding us with all the little details, allowing us to slowly appreciate the intricacies of the sport without flooding us with too much exposition on the inner workings of the game.
However, like any truly great sports series, the game itself is often only a vessel to tell a greater story. And this is the second thing that this show revolves around - the characters. It is rare to see a cast more well-developed and more lovable than Chihayafuru's - each of the main characters undergo a tremendous amount of growth throughout this series' run time. At its heart, the show focuses on the triangle of Chihaya, Taichi and Arata, three friends that met at a young age, and became connected by Karuta. The show takes on an interesting choice of spending its first few episodes on how the three met, giving us a view on what they were like as children, before being forced to separate due to various circumstances. This allows us to know plenty about the characters when they were kids, and how their behavior has changed upon growing up.
Taichi, in particular, is one of the most well-written characters in anime to date, and his personal journey throughout the series is a highly emotional one that was great to watch. It would be a mistake to simply classify this show as just another sports show that is full of young energy and passion - and Taichi's arc is a stellar example why. Sure, it has plenty of passion, but what truly makes this show special is how much it makes us care for these characters that we are watching, how much we want them to succeed. Chihayafuru is a very special show that is a blend of many different genres - being a hot-blooded sports shounen at times, and a highly emotional character drama at others. Watching these characters press forward for what they love is a truly heartening experience - and something that I haven't really seen in most other sports shows.
This does not mean that the rest of the cast is neglected. Beyond the main triangle, the care put into developing the other characters is evident as well, with major and minor characters all given plenty of room to develop. Due to the nature of Karuta as a niche hobby which not many people play, there are many recurring characters, and it is great seeing how they relate to the main cast. Some are friends and others are rivals, but each and every character in this show is never neglected, and each one of them has their own story to tell. It is difficult to dislike any character in this show - and that's definitely a great thing.
The production values of this show are amazing as well - it is difficult to find a show that is more beautiful than Chihayafuru. The animation is top-notch, and several shots of cards flying look amazing. The soundtrack is truly a stand-out though - both OPs and EDs are perfect fits for the show, and the OST is wonderfully composed, helping to elevate the work to another level.
That is not to say the show is outright perfect - it does suffer from some little things at times. The pacing in the second season is a little slow for one, and there are certain annoying aspects (some photographers mainly...). But the biggest flaw is undoubtedly the fact that this show is not complete - and is nowhere close to being finished. The manga itself hasn't been completed yet, and even then there is no guarantee of a third season, though it seems pretty likely considering how well the manga has been selling over in Japan. This is definitely not a short story that will end anytime soon - but rather, a lengthy series that painstakingly details the journey of our characters. Whether this is a flaw or not is up to you - though do stay away (but please do come back in a few years) if you really cannot stand an incomplete story.
Still, despite the fact that this isn't finished, it is still a show that you really should watch. Chihayafuru is in my opinion a highly refreshing and unique experience, and also one which I think that most can enjoy. It might seem boring at first, but do give it a shot - it will all click once the first card flies. read more
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.
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 that person 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.
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
These anime focus on unusual Japanese games. Chihayafuru is about a young girl who starts a karuta team which is a traditional Japanese poem game. She wants to go all the way to nationals and higher. Hikaru no go focuses on the game of 'go' and how a young boy is haunted by a ghost named Sai who dominates the world of 'go' but he can only play if Hikaru lets him. so what if hikaru want to win by himself? What will happen to Sai? Both are filled with comedy and love which make the anime more interesting to watch.
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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