First thing 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 came here after watching and enjoying the first two seasons and are wondering why the third season is so low rated(7.99 as of 16/11/19), it's because some asshole with a lot of free time thinks that this AMAZING show doesn't deserve to be the highest-rated show of the season(it was 8.58 last week).
If you check the statistics, you'll see this show has an abnormally high percentage of 1s. It's disgusting how someone with a lot of free time can manipulate the score of a show like Chihayafuru. The RAL score is still 8.56 which proves the drop in score is clearly due
So, if you're thinking about whether you should watch this season or not, here's the short answer: YES!
Only 6 episodes have been aired so far and this is already my favorite season so far. More Competitive and fun Karuta, more lovely romance and more of Arata's sexy voice.
I'm not very good at writing reviews in english since my native language isn't english, so don't judge ok?
The story is pretty simple yet enticing, the main female character, Chihaya, who's obsessed with Karuta makes a club and gets a bunch of people to join and play karuta.
The brilliant job done by the folks over at MADHOUSE makes every single swing look so freakin beautiful. Real karuta is quite fun and exciting to watch but the outstanding animation done by the studio takes the fun and excitement and multiplies that by a hundred!
This is one of the few shows where I love every single character. Besides the main characters, even the side characters get plenty of development.
I can say without hesitation that this is my favourite sports anime.
So what I'm trying to say is, don't let the rating dictate how you feel about this show. The comparatively low rating does't change the fact that this is a great anime.