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: 8.391 (scored by 43281 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisChihaya Ayase is a frank and ebullient girl who becomes fascinated by the obscure world of competitive karuta, a card game based on Japanese poetry. Introduced to the aggressive style of the game by a quiet and thoughtful elementary school classmate named Arata Wataya, the two quickly become close friends. They start playing as a group with Taichi Mashima, Chihaya's smart and athletic childhood friend, until they have to part ways during their middle school years due to several circumstances. As their high school life begins, they meet once again.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Chihayafuru
Sequel: Chihayafuru 2
Characters & Voice Actors
Chihayafuru and I have a crappy history; I underestimated the show when I first saw the trailer on Animax Asia back to 2012. I can recall only seeing one TV spot for it and not being impressed with it in the least. I don’t like anything that feels “girly” at the time while the character designs is full of pretty girl and overly handsome boys, especially the trailer give a hint for it (watch in on youtube, I'm sure you'll predict it like me). But it's similar to trying to judge a book by its cover. There's usually at least one thing in every series, good or bad, that takes you by surprise whether it's an idea, a performance, a story point, a special effect, a script, or a score. That one thing can usually be described as the best thing about the series. Chihayafuru not only manages to offer several surprises though, but is a bit more creative at its core than I was expected.
Now, by looking at its genre you know this is a sports series. The question with sports series is often "What makes this stand out among others?" A question that's not usually asked about other types of shows because sports show are typically the same. In Chihayafuru that question will be answered with two things; character and an unique sports called “Karuta.”
Yes, the characters; this is what Chihayafuru about. Central to the overall story at hand is the idea of discovering one’s own passion. This is seen in first three episodes where we get to see what is essentially the main trio (Chihaya, Arata and Taichi) in an extended flashback that effectively sets up the remainder of the series' drama, though the romantic overtones that come in later never overwhelm Chihaya's desire to better her karuta club and her own skills as a player. What's important to note is that, while karuta is clearly a unifying theme and there is some analysis of gameplay and strategy here and there, the emphasis of this show is clearly on its characters.
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 and we get to know theirs feeling towards karuta. Some characters just love the art and history behind the game, others enjoy the mental challenge of it, some find inspiration and love for it from others, and some just have a natural passion for it. Whatever the reason, the show presents a different array of manners in which people devote themselves entirely to something they love. Each character’s dilemmas and special relation with karuta serve as an inspirational example of the beauty of following one’s passions and desires to its fullest potential.
What makes Chihayafuru special is the Karuta itself. Before watching this I’ve know nothing about karuta. What is Karuta you may ask? It’s a sport with cards that needs memorization, reflex, and strategy. I won’t go much into depth here, just try the anime and see it yourself. But the fact that the show manages to make such a foreign game so compelling despite seeming simplistic and can be boring if you play it yourself in a real life is the reason why Chihayafuru is stand out among other sports anime.
Let me just say right off the bat that Chihayafuru‘s animation is the least thing I like from the series although there’s really nothing wrong with any of it, maybe that’s because I don’t like bishoujo though. Chihayafuru is another Madhouse-Vap’s anime so for the most part the animation is fairly flawless; the visuals are colorful and vibrant, really bringing to life the panels of the manga. The art direction is solid and pleasant, if not particularly risk-taking — a little too bloomy at certain points, but otherwise beautiful. The music is a nice blend of orchestral pieces, which are always well placed with proper build up for maximum impact. The writing is simply exquisite, with every moment always feeling important to the greater picture at hand.
If there are any quibbles, is that Chihayafuru sometimes feels too melodramatic. Characters sometimes cry over the littlest things, making the experience at times feel hammy. I can understand when people break down after losing a game they poured in all they had mentally and emotionally, but it was a stretch for me to see people crying over just watching others play. Still, this is no major determent to enjoyment of the show, and for the most part the drama is solid. There's also one recap episode that really doesn't do much to contribute to the overall narrative, though the vignette about Chihaya's sister ends up being as heartwarming as the rest of the series.
In the end, Chihayafuru fulfills practically all of the requirements needed to be meaningful series. It does not need to rely on grandiose plots or convoluted philosophical contentions to communicate anything meaningful. The characters are easy to understand and grow fond of, but are also layered and interesting and most of all the sports section is still delivered. In a day and age where flippant fanservice, bouncing boobs, and monstrous mecha dominate the sales charts, it is easy to overlook more subtle anime that are far more powerful than any show that uses the aforementioned clichés. I didn’t usually say this but yeah, I really recommend Chihayafuru.
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.
In both anime, the main characters (Chihaya and Hikaru) are introduced to a Japanese competitive game since they are kids (in Chihayafuru the sport is karuta, and in Hikaru no Go it is the board game called go), which they became hooked on. They both try to became the best in the respective sport, aiming for the title of "Meiji" (the master of the sport). In Chihaya's case, she strives to became a "Queen" (the best female karuta player). In order to achieve their dream, they go to various tournaments and have to catch up to defeat their rivals (for Chihaya it is Shinobu; for Hikaru it is Akira). For that purpose, they join the go and karuta clubs (Hikaru joins; Chihaya makes one) for the group tournaments, gathering friends. They are very similar in the development of the main characters that strive to become masters themselves.
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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