Winning the high school team tournament was a great accomplishment for the Mizusawa members. Each of them has made great strides in improving themselves, and the victory symbolizes how far they've come. But after accomplishing one goal, their individual aims are within reach. Chihaya Ayase has her sights set on Wakamiya Shinobu and the title of Queen, and now that Taichi Mashima has made it into Class A, he can finally compete against Arata Wataya. Everyone in Mizusawa wants to get better, and there's no telling what the future holds if they keep trying.
First things first : Please watch this. Get the season 1 & 2 and take your time to appreciate them, before coming back here and enjoying this third season, which is really starting in a most beautiful and endearing manner. I'm positive fans of this show keep on watching this because it's such a well-rounded piece of entertainment. Even the word entertainment sounds improper to describe Chihayafuru, because you're just gonna fall in love with the game which it's about (Karuta card game) and at least a couple characters.
If you're not gonna read much further, please know that it's a delicious piece of Japanese culture
and a masterful anime, with everything you could wish for, in a manga adaptation : it's goofy in a heartwarming way (with the MC which is the goofiest of all and a couple of scenes in the first S3 episode entered my own personal anthology of goofiness). It's the definition of funny, but a genuine funniness not in a trying-hard way at all. It's of course super heartwarming because it does not forget to be frustrating and very naturalistic in the character growth department. It's not just an entertainment piece. It's the kind of stories which are gonna make you a better person, provided that you keep yourself opened enough in order for the characters to make you feel real funny inside, and let'em be a part of your persona!
Only six episodes are out at the moment I'm writing this, but to be clear and maybe hasty about it, I'm convinced everything I could think now about the show will still be valid after the S3 finale. In one hour of running time, the show accomplishes the tricky job of maintaining a good continuity in between seasons, while introducing new characters and changing up their equilibrium, in terms of sportsmanship. I can't begin to tell how much it felt like home, with this new season finally coming out after so many years (not so many but it really seemed like decades). The overall quality of the show are unchanged, maybe there is more care in the art, or maybe I am just totally biased on this judgement by my enthusiasm.
We get the same awesome voice actors team again which I never felt like there was a weakness anywhere. Unfortunately one actor passed away in between seasons which is major league sadness because he did one of the most awesome fatherly figure everyone could wish for in existence, and I could perceive the changes in the character despite all the substitute's efforts. I think the MC's voice is really fitting perfectly, she's really doing the job in an even and solid fashion, and it's not an easy task, because as the MAL page says it it's about Drama, Game, Josei, School, Slice of Life, Sports and far so FAR from being humorless even if it's not a straight casual comedy. So the shifts in tones are numerous and yes the voice team are totally managing them. A few words about the music : after three seasons, the different pieces are now engraved in my soul, for the better or the worse but I think mostly for the former. Since when the first notes of a specific music are played, oh boy, I know what's about to take place and I brace myself for it. So the music is now completely part of the vocabulary of the storytelling and the director really respected that aspect of the spectator's side or experience, in my opinion it really enhances your reception of the visual aspect of the show, maybe some people are gonna want changes and new pieces, I don't see the point in that.
The narration has always been this show's forte, and it has yet to disappoint. Every technical aspect I've been writing about are reinforcing the storytelling. To me everything is making sense, because every detail has a purpose, every sequence. For instance new flashbacks are keeping on giving us more information about our heroes' childhood ; those flashes are feeling natural and grounded in present times. Also characters are loyal to who they are, what they believe in, who they're attached to, they're growing and yet they stay the same, only stronger albeit hopelessly flawed in the most human way. Best example for this is the Taichi character, which has grown to be one of my most loved piece of fiction. Yeah, never have I experienced a moment where I told myself : huh that was a little off (okay maybe in the OVA, but c'mon, it's an OVA...). Big plus : characters don't have "plot armor". We don't get Deux Ex Machina's or super duper twists/cheats that gives us stupid happy endings or a way out of dire situations. Life is just life in this show : lose some, win some, #gitgud.
I feel like I have not given enough technical arguments and precisions in this little review, to try and convince you to watch this but that's because this show really is the best advocate it's ever gonna get. In the end it's a matter of experiencing the shear emotions maelstrom it has to offer, first hand. So please watch it, and please buy the mangas. Simple reasoning behind this and - I want to be adamant about it : this story has awesome educational value. People and younger people need the kind of role models Chihayafuru is carefully putting together, female or male (Josei, Seinen, Shoujo.. I'm not even sure these could make any sense in this case). If you got spare money, use it as a vote, and vote for Chihaya and more highly smart content and respectful for its viewers' IQ.
If you're someone who is new or returning to this wonderful series and is glancing at the scores for this season in comparison to the two previous seasons, it is pretty obvious there is quite a difference. Simply put, this is due to a few "trolls" who lead sorry lives and have nothing better to do than ruin the score and reputation of a niche and amazing anime. As stated by others, it is honestly disturbing, and frankly repulsive, that a few individuals are able to manipulate the score of an anime as much as seen with this particular anime (going from a score of
~8.6 to sub 8 in a matter of a few days).
Despite all of the negative score manipulation, this season (and series as a whole) are without a doubt, a MUST WATCH and you will be very pleased to have done so :)
Honestly, it is a very simple story that follows the main character Chihaya and her obsession and love with the traditional game of Karuta and her dream of being the Queen. However, credit must be given when it's due as studio MADHOUSE and the original material do an absolutely amazing job at keeping the story enticing and engaging, so much so that an episode feels as if it is only a few minutes long.
Art & Animation: 10/10
MADHOUSE does an absolutely stellar job at bringing the anime to life with absolutely stunning character designs and background visuals that are a feast for the eyes to see. I honestly am in awe as to just how well the visuals enhance the raw emotions seen during every match of Karuta played, and can't praise MADHOUSE enough for their work.
Having watched many anime over the years, it is unfortunate to see that there are lots of anime suffer from a somewhat dull set of background characters. This is not the case with this anime however, as every single character that plays a role in this story has their story fleshed out to a degree in which you can learn to love them as a character, and not a single one is missed. Simple put, Every single character gets plenty of development and has a unique personality attached to them that greatly enhances the enjoyment and love for this series.
The OP and ED are phenomenal as always and the voice acting is top-notch again in this season. It is as simple as that.
This is without a doubt one of my favourite anime's of all time and I just hope that a chance is given to this absolutely fantastic anime, as I can guarantee that you too will like this as well.
This message goes for you, innocent lector, for you who love anime and the only thing you are looking for in the page is the recommendation for a good anime. So one thing I have to tell you: Chihayafuru is, with no doubt, an incredible manga-anime.
Chihayafuru 3 follow the lead of the first two seasons to make an incredible spokon from a discipline quite unknown outside Japan: (competitive) karuta. A discipline that, though creates some scepticism at first, you will soon love because of the righteous adaptation to animation it has.
While the first season focused on the presentation of the characters and world of karuta
and the second one on a pure display of the “sport”, the techniques and the competitive factor, this season focus on what it supposed to: going further and beyond. However, I got to admit I missed a bit the “slice of life” essence of the first season during the second one, which is filled with matches and matches. Don’t misunderstand me: Yuki Suetsugu is a wonderful writer that accomplishes to reinvent her work constantly. Chapter after chapter she brings new ideas, new strategies, new thoughts about the discipline, new personalities and cast of rivals, new emotions and gestures about the tatami, all created in a sublime way and with an unprecedented plot and directional quality, making her work remain fresh and interesting game after game. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t miss there more of the emotional drug that I like: more interaction between the characters, more unrequited love, more moments at school, more real interaction from the rest of the secondary characters in play beyond being mere spectators of a game. It is also true that I found the introduction of the new freshman members of the club a bit forced and accelerated, but this is something that can be easily overlooked. After all, we are talking between an outstanding and a remarkable high.
In fact, all these aspects that I missed a little during the second season are clearly manifested again during the third season, and I have only needed 6-7 episodes to prove it. In this, the author manages to insert incredibly emotional moments about the feelings and background of the characters between game and game in a very organic and realistic way.
To all this we must add the incredible work of animation and artistic direction of Madhouse, who returns to work in Chihayafuru almost five years later, which manages not only to maintain the high level of the first two seasons but to refine the animation and the direction of the work after several years of pause.
It is clear, therefore, that Chihayafuru remains the underrated jewel of the slice of life and spokon genre that it always was. We are facing a work full of love and passion that people full of love and passion know how to appreciate.
Finally, Chihayafuru is back for more Karuta competition! Chihayafuru's third season was delayed from spring to this fall, raising my expectations even higher and the show is truly a unique gem !!!
Like most masterpieces, it does a more-than-perfect job on every technical aspect of anime: story telling, art, sound, entertainment!! The story is still consistent, the pacing is smooth but not boring. Art and sound are subjective, but I especially like the color and shadings of Chihayafuru. And the opening is still as catchy as ever!
One of Chihayafuru's forte is traditional Japanese culture. Chihayafuru is not only limited to the 100 poems of karuta. The
hakamas and the dignified posture of Japanese people. The echoing sound of the karuta readers. The moonlight scenery of Kyoto. I am waiting for much more from this amazing series!
Another of Chihayafuru's strong unique point is you rarely get to watch Josei animation. In fact, there is only a mere 94 Josei series in MAL database when I'm writing this among tens of thousands of anime. Nonetheless, this is a show I'd recommend to anyone, not only the target "elder girls".
Waiting for the plot to thicken. And I shall complete this review!
Edit: Hopping late on the bandwagon of outraged fans but I'll confirm that the score is being setup. I have seen Chihayafuru 3 being placed 2nd Top Airing Anime at 8.65 a few weeks ago, and now the fake 1s are so many (14.4%) the score has dropped by 1 whole point.