Author: K Quach
Chihayafuru is one of the more interesting anime of recent years, the unique premise an animation style will draw viewers into its world. The series focuses on Chihaya Ayase is a determined school girl who possesses remarkable hearing. Throughout the shows it has been seen that she shows some concerns for Taichi, a character revealed in time.
Chihaya is a tall and slim teenage girl with long brown hair and brown eyes. She thinks back to her elementary school days when she often spent her time just supporting her fashion model sister Chitose.
One morning while waiting for the newspaper, she meets Arata Wataya, a boy from Fukui who is often picked on in class for being poor, particularly by Taichi Mashima, who threatens to alienate Chihaya if she makes friends with Arata.
This is when the series begins to dip in pace, not keeping the constancy that is could, however in time it does pick back up. After drying off at his place, Arata asks Chihaya to play a game of karuta with him at his apartment, where he shows tremendous skill. Arata praised her play as well as her name, showing a card which bears the name 'Chihaya', which is the 'Chihayafuru' card and later becomes her special card. The whole card concept has been done or hinted at in anime of the past, but it is how it makes use of the genre that really shines.
As everyone starts to ignore Chihaya as well as Arata, Chihaya stands her ground, boasting about Arata's karuta skills. As both Taichi and Arata make their way to the final, Taichi steals Arata's glasses, making it difficult to see. At this point, Chihaya offers to take Arata's place in the match, using her instincts to tie with Taichi. As Chihaya resumes her search for Arata's glasses, Taichi returns them to Arata and apologizes for his foul play. Arata and Taichi then go out to search for Chihaya and Arata calls Chihaya by her first name for the very first time. The series has a very unique animation style and this stand out in a genre of generic anime animation, the characters to the environments really are different to what we have come to know.
Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata go to a karuta society where people practice competitive karuta. Later, Chihaya learns that Taichi is going to a far away middle school and Arata is going to return to Fukui after he graduates, meaning they will not be able to keep playing karuta together. After graduation, Chihaya challenges Arata to one final match and promises that one day they will meet again.
Back in the present, Chihaya becomes annoyed when she learns Taichi has a girlfriend, and vows that if she can win a tournament and become a Class A karuta player, Taichi must help her form a high school karuta club. The dubbing in the series do not distract from the viewing experience as it has been really well done and in a way, fits it well. As Chihaya progresses through the tournament, Taichi reconnects with his old karuta tutor, Dr. Harada, who shows the progress Chihaya has made. After the match, Chihaya calls Arata to tell him the news, only to be told to stop calling him as he had long since quit playing karut.
Following the phone call, Chihaya decides to go with Taichi to Fukui so she can confront Arata. However, Arata isn't too pleased to see them and becomes aggressive when Chihaya brings up karuta again. Arata's friend and neighbor, Yu, explains to Chihaya that his grandfather died of a relapse whilst Arata was attending to a karuta tournament, the guilt making him unable to play karuta again. After Arata reads a letter that Chihaya wrote for him, he realizes he still holds his friendship dear and goes to see Chihaya and Taichi off as they head back towards home on the train, with Chihaya able to make out that he doesn't completely hate karuta. On the ride back, Taichi agrees to help Chihaya form a high school karuta club, so Arata will have something to return to. Overall Siren Visual give us a great package here collecting all of season 1, we look forward to season 2 to emerge. A great anime series that is engaging, it does have dips in pacing but overall stays constant.
The art director is Tomoyuki Shimizu, the director of photography is Kenji Fujita, the colour supervisor is Ken Hashimoto, the CG director is Tsukasa Saito, the music is by Kousuke Yamashita, and the sound director is Masafumi Mima. The opening theme is "YOUTHFUL", performed by 99RadioService, and the ending theme is "Soshite Ima", performed by Asami Seto. The opening theme of the second season is "STAR" performed by 99RadioService and the ending is "Akane Sora" performed by Asami Seto.