Ayase Chihaya is a cheerful tomboy without any ambitious aspirations in life. At school one day, she meets a boy named Wataya Arata who is an outcast at school. Feeling pity despite peer pressure, Chihaya befriends Arata as he reveals to her his aptitude in karuta which institutes Chihaya's dream to become a karuta queen.
Chihayafuru won the second Manga Taisho award in 2009 and the 35th Kodansha Manga Award in the shoujo manga category in 2011.
Kodansha published the first three volumes of Chihayafuru, comprised of the first seventeen chapters, in two English/Japanese volumes under their Kodansha Bilingual Comics line, released on December 21, 2011 and February 23, 2012 respectively.
Two live action films were released in 2016. The first film, titled Chihayafuru Kaminoku, opened in Japanese cinemas on March 19, followed by a second film, titled Shimonoku, on April 29, 2016. During a stage greeting event for the second film a surprise announcement was also made that a sequel would be produced although details for a production schedule or release date were not revealed.
I wasn’t going to review Chihayafuru yet, but it’s epic-ness needs to be shared with the world, well "the world," is a broad statement, and yeah so is "epic-ness," but either way, it's a really cute anime. So, let me count thee ways of awesome-ness.
Being a fan of both anime and manga (though anime has only a few episodes in as well) I couldn’t pass the opportunity to rant about it.
The story's main theme are on the simplicity of friendship, passion, and dreams, some the things that matter and drive our spirit as a youngster (first time ever to use that word). Not any passion, a form of passion that moves us and sometimes helps us achieve things we didn’t think we could, even if we feel that part of us has long ago deserted us.
Chihaya is an outspoken girl who looks up to her model sister and is her number one fan. Her number one dream is for her sister to become a great model.
One day, Arata transfers into her class and automatically because of his shy and none talkative nature he is secluded and picked on., His number one bully is Taichi, Chihaya’s friend since childhood. Through a few random occurrences they end up becoming friends. Arata then introduces her to the world of karuta, a card (sorta) game. Her world is never the same after that.
Chihaya’s point of view is pure, the only type of innocence that a kid can accomplish. The beginning is mainly showing us how karuta entered her life and how it changed her.
Right a way you can tell things are going to happen that are going to test the boundaries of friendship, will, love, and everything in between. Not necessarily romantic love, I mean the love you have for your dreams, goals, and for your friends. How people growing apart and having their own life doesn't mean they forget you . How no matter what the distance, they don't always really lose that part of themselves that made you friends to begin with.
The art is clean and beautiful. I loved to see the transformation into their older self and that they looked different and yet you can tell it’s them and not because they still resemble their old self somehow. It’s very well done. But hands down the anime gives you the full effect of said art. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Still very cute and charming, just like the story thus far.
The characters are one of the best thing in this manga, though what gives it a nice touch is the karuta element.
Arata , Taichi, and Chihaya are great characters, whose individual persona are what make them a great combination, because they are very different. Chihaya grew up and didn’t forget and throughout the beginning you can tell that she’s the glue, the proverbial glue that holds them together at the end. Her and karuta. It always goes back to that game to the point that it’s character of its own.
I didn't really find anything I disliked with the manga. It's too early to tell what direction it's actually going to go, although we can speculate at this point but I really hope I'm wrong (I like to be surprised!). It has a shoujo atmosphere about it that is a common ground with a lot of manga but it also feels like it'll have more depth just like the first few chapters suggest.
The end of each chapter is a constant reminder that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. No matter how young or old or in between, dreams are dreams. They fuel us to keep going, to look forward.
The thing to see is if Chihaya, Taichi and Arata can sustain the flow of time and distance…
I can’t say anything else since there are too few chapters out as of now. But it's definitely worth a shot.
“You can’t call it a dream if you don’t work on it yourself.” read more
Though it was written josei genre, in my opinion Chihayafuru is rare example of combination between shonen and shojo.
About Chihayafuru :
Chihayafuru is a manga that tells the story of a high school girl named Ayase Chihaya who aspires to become a Karuta Queen because of her encounter with her childhood friend, Wataya Arata. The question is, what is it Karuta anyways? Even I have already read up to chapter 157 (at the time of writing this review) is still not fully understood about Karuta. When I was asked to play it, I definitely can't play it. In essence, Karuta is a card game while listening. When both players hear a poem in accordance with one of the existing card, then who was the first to get the card wil get point. The winner is the player who collects the most cards (the player whose card runs out in their area has won).
About Karuta :
Although it sounds simple, but this game requires a lot of requirements. Players must memorize the whole poem to be read, for it takes a strong memory and concentration. Players also must respond immediately when a poem was read when it also takes a keen hearing. Finally, players must take the first card than their opponent, while it also takes speed and accuracy when taking the card. In other words, to be proficient in Karuta. It takes memory, hearing, speed and accuracy. Not to mention also takes stamina, concentration, pose, mental conditions and various other things. This is what makes the game Karuta no less exciting than football, basketball, or volleyball.
Not much to say about the story like most sport manga in general, make team, join tournamet, and fight various opponent. But the thing many sport manga didn't have is the romance. Chihayafuru can insert beautiful romance in the middle of tournament, not to mention the romance itself is a complicated one between Chihaya-Taichi or Chihaya-Arata.
Many character in Chihayafuru are interesting, the main character herself Chihaya has different when usually the main character of sports manga are boy. Her cheerful and spirited character can make special affection towards myself. Unlike many female characters in general that are sensitive, Chihaya is really insensitive expecially about love, she is just Karuta Otaku, people often call her beauty in vain. Next is Mashima Taichi that has crush on her for a long time and sadly one-sided, he's a real friendzone. But I think his character are the most developed, he can fill the hole that Chihaya flaws as a main character. Next is Arata, when you watch the anime and continue with the manga, you can see his character are develop too.
Other than those three, many supporting character are also interesting. Mizusawa's teammate have their own role to the story. And the character are not only a highschool students, there are many older players too that can make Chihayafuru more interesting than the average High School Sports.
The art are good, I have no complain.
Like I said before, chihayafuru is rare example of combination between shonen and shojo. On the one hand this manga can make your heart pumping with it's shonen like tournament but on the other hand can also make your heart melting with it's shojo classical triangle love. I found a new genre of manga, Sportmance (lame is it? LOL).read more
Truthfully, I didn't expect much at all when I read this manga. I didn't even know what karuta was! I decided to pick it up out of pure boredom ne because the ratings were high. It definitely exceeded my expectations.
The story itself is pretty simple: a girl who wants to become a karuta queen, who then forms a karuta club at her school. Even though I can't relate to karuta at all, the execution is wonderful. It makes you feel as if you can relate, even though you can't. I assume I feel I can relate because of their passion and drive to try hard and succeed.
Well what can I say about the art? Karuta is a sport, so I admire the mangaka for being able to draw the complex poses, and I admire her even more for for drawing hands. Yes, karuta uses the hands a lot. The mangaka must master the art of hands by now. It's not like I can draw any better, so who am I to criticize art?
The main attraction of this manga definitely goes to the characters. The main character, Chihaya, is what everyone calls a bishoujo (pretty girl), but her personality is quite the opposite. She's quite clumsy and not very smart. Still, she tries very hard at karuta and gets quite good at it. Her two main love interests are called Taichi and Arata. Taichi is her childhood friend who helps her in creating a karuta club, while Arata is the person who got her obsessed with karuta, but had to move away when they were kids. I personally want her with Taichi, because he's always looking out for her, but that's just my opinion. The other supporting characters each have their own distinct qualities. You can't help but love even the supposed antagonists.
Not much to explain here, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it. read more
I usually don't read sports manga or anything sports related for that matter. But this manga is much more than about a sport as much as it is about building relationships thru it.The story is predicable, and as I kept on reading it, I found it to be about accomplishing one's dreams (no matter how trivial they may seem to others), about being passionate about something in life and about lasting friendship. Chihaya is a girl who discovers the game of karuta, in elementary school, thru another student named Arata, as well as her innate ability for itl. Along with another classmate, Taichi, the three form a team and continue to improve until they graduate from elementary school and go their own separate ways. Chihaya still hopes that one day three will be reunited to play karuta like old days and continues to pursue her passion for it. This forms the basis of the story, her trying to bring her friends together to play karuta again while striving to become the best in the game in face of all the teasing, mocking and disapproval she receives for it.
Story 7- The story has been predictable for the 9 chps that I've read so far. It's not the most original story. It uses karuta to illustrate all sorts of relationships within a family, school, friends, etc... not just within a team or a romance. Though romance is another subplot, i hope it stays that way and become the central point further down.
Art 8- I don't know much about art, but I enjoyed looking at the bishie characters, shoujo backgrounds in some panels and the details. A lot of attention has been paid to drawing the detailed panels of the game karuta, which I really enjoyed.
Characters 7- The characters are the prototypes of the most you've read in other shoujo/shounen manga. But one of the characters that stands out is the main character Chihaya. She made me keep on reading the manga and as the manga progresses she's the one whose character develops the fastest and best. I like how she's not been shown to be a typical shoujo girl, but as an indepedent girl with a kind and helping heart. The other characters (main or secondary) don't stand out much for me, cus you have the archetype of the stoic character with a sad past, the perfect childhood friend who's most likely in love with the girl. I would say that, for me at least, the story is character driven rather than plot.
Enjoyment 7- The reread value is not very high, very low medium for me. But so far I'm enjoying reading it. I hope it doesn't deviate from the main plot much and go into a different territory. It should rest as a sports manga without involving a lot of romance.
Overall 7- Not the most original manga you've probably read, but won't feel like you've wasted your time reading it. I would recommend it as a light read and for teens.read more
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