Reviews

Jun 22, 2013
MelKaven (All reviews)
"What the hell is Katura?"
Of course, that was my first reaction.
But then...
Wow...
Just wow...

At first, this anime really didn't catch my interest. It was plain and dry, like trying to shape out the dry clay; but as it went on, I found myself immersed in it. Like a sea of colors vibrantly expanding across an infinite of sky. Yes, even now, fifteen minutes after I finally saw the last episode, I am still numbed by its excellence.

**NO SPOILERS**
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Story:

In the beginning, the story seemed boring. Predictable. Like a boat streaming across still water. It was lifeless, and simple. I expected it to be like any other Anime with a swindle of a romance eclipsed by the ever flamboyant facade of a sport or activity.

But somewhere, as the series progressed, it seemed to evolve. It seamlessly grew to something more, something beyond the natural limits of a story. It wasn't plagued with typical conflicts or unrequited desires, it was like a light that slowly lit itself brighter and brighter, unblocked by the trends of literature and expectation. Barriers that innately shackled a series' potential seemed to fade away, and every climactic moment that the characters felt was somehow shared with the viewer. As if a crescendo of realization would slay you alongside them.

All in all, it was about the sport, Katura. And, you'd think: "Well, if its just about a sport its not like anything interesting can happen." But somehow, it was different. The sport was a sort of catalyst that helped the characters not only develop towards one another, but it opened the door for an entire world that we all seem to forget, as if blinded by the mundane trudge of life.

The competitive aspect of the game, which yearned for such a demand of stamina seemed to be later eclipsed by the "true" virtue hidden within the sport. Yes, what the beginner sees, and the masters forget: The poetry. Such an attribute slowly became the mortar that gave new meaning to each simple issue that arose during the characters' failures.

It was seamless as we learned with them, through their desperation and hardship; their envy and willpower. The goals kept increasing, and aspirations began to soar, capping only at what the characters truly wanted.

Rating: 10.
tl;dr:
Romance. Friendship. Deeper revelations. Aspiration oriented. Perseverance through strength. No text box storytelling. Failure.

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Art:

The art in this show was interesting. It had primarily bold lines, and definitely took some getting used to. But now that I finished it, I really couldn't imagine this anime any other way.

The thing is, since this show is so off on a tangent in the first place, it seemed necessary to break the norm.

However, I will say that there were moments when I wished that they wouldn't have. The fact of the matter is, the art does well for its purpose, but it seems like it was aimed at a particular niche. I guess it just comes down to personal preference, really.

Nonetheless, the art was still phenomenal. Everything down to lighting was near perfect, and facial expressions were particularly pronounced so as to invoke the true feelings of the characters. Bloom, Sparkles, Glitter, Comical Backdrops, and Chibi Moments; everything seemed in good shape.

Overall, it had a realistic feel. Which held tremors to the viewer considering the entire theme could be realistically translated into anything the viewer truly desired.

Rating: 9
tl;dr:
The art was different, but really you shouldn't have any complaints.

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Sound:

Ah. Sound.

This soundtrack is simply awe inspiring. Even now, as I write this review, I have OST 7 "Main Theme" on loop.

The music in this show was EXTREMELY good. It did very well to convey the emotions that were felt by the characters, and worked seamlessly with the art and choreography to invoke what the moments wished you to feel. To be honest, the music had a voice of its own. As if it was an entire character separate of the cast, watching the show with you, helping you along through the tears.

It sympathized with you when necessary, and laughed alongside you, guided you along the adventurous moments... It really couldn't have been any better.

Even if this show had 5 frames a second and 1980's art, I would still choke for air at how many times this musical score seems to steal your breath away.

If anything, I'll still be listening to this music many decades later. Thank you, Kousuke Yamashita.

If only I could rate this 20.

Rating: 10.
tl;dr:
Symphony. Commonly repeating motif. Varied orchestration. Light sounds mixed with heavy ensembles. Stellar composition.

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Characters:

While romance is an aspect of the story, it is merely a development feature. Note that the story is more so directed toward the love of friendship and the game itself than it is towards any romantic moments.

To start with, each character occupies a niche.

Ayase is a beauty, yet it is in vain. The moment she speaks, it is broken by her tomboyish image and personal drive. But its those very traits that reel you in. She is the joyous energy that keeps the group together, and despite her clear superiority in the game, genuinely cares for her friends, and helps aid them in their journey to pursue Karuta.

Taichi, Ayase's childhood friend, remains her loyal companion throughout the years. His mental forte is unmatched to most every player the game has ever known; even once reciting every card at random in the entire deck of 100, just because he could. His family is privileged, and he is pressured by his parents to keep at the highest tier in terms of sports and exams. His brains keep him on par with the purists that achieve their status merely due to athletic prowess. He acts as the groups motivator and leader, often amping everyone out of their slumps with "Just the right words" to turn them around.

Arata represents the reverse side to Taichi, being the poorer, lesser appreciated, segment to the story. As the story progresses, his darker past becomes realized, and he continues to become a shining beacon for Ayase.

There is a triangle romance between the three of them, but remember, the show does not articulate this enough for this show to be branded as a romance.

Of course, there are a great many other supporting characters that help aid Ayase on her journey to realize herself through Katura, each having a realistic and effective back story that warps the plot in one way or another.

Rating: 10
tl;dr:
The characters were diverse, which allowed for the story to be seen through a wide spectrum. Realistic. Believable. Nothing was over exaggerated.

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Enjoyment:

Did I find this show enjoyable?

Well, in a way I did.

I felt that it was really giving a perspective about achievement I had never really thought about.

To learn meant failure, to grow stronger meant to feel hardship and to overexert yourself to what phase out the illusions to what you truly desired.

At the end of each episode, with the crescendoing music resounding with each episodic climax, I felt the overwhelming desire to watch the next.

Rating: 10
tl;dr:
It was like a ten hour long movie that always kept you drooling for more.

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Overall:

I was stunned by the hype of this show that I nearly skipped over it. And let me tell you, I ALMOST did.

And simply for the thought once existing, I regret it.

If I had passed up this show, I really would have missed out on such a masterpiece. I am shamed of myself.

I honestly cant wait to jump into Chihayafuru Season 2.

Rating: 10
tl;dr:
It was beautiful to the core. Every aspect was heartwrenchingly flawless. If you have any last minute questions before watching this series, feel free to PM me.
I really don't think the world can afford to have people so many that haven't seen Chihayafuru.