Chihayafuru S1 + S2 Review — B-


A group of friends plays Karuta together.

The best way I can think of to describe Chihayafuru is as a combination of a sports show, a show focusing on school life, and a shoujo romance. It’s the combination that makes Chihayafuru so engaging. We get the characterizations of a romance combined with the excitement of a sports combination, all interjected with a strong dose of humor. It’s really impressive how interesting they make Karuta seem, especially when normally I would laugh off the entire sport as a joke.

My biggest complaint is that the sports side of the show eventually becomes tiresome, especially in the second season. There is tournament after tournament, and the setup for each match gets repetitive. We’re introduced to the opponent, our heroes start losing, and then turn the match around after overcoming some sort of internal psychological struggle. To make things worse, each match can last multiple episodes.


But Chihayafuru still comes highly recommended. The matches only get old for me later on in the series, and the other parts of the series more than make up for this deficiency. The romance aspects of the series are excellent.

  • Storytelling – B – Makes a memorization card game exciting.
  • Voice – B – Simplistic but distinct art style.
  • Characters – A – Unique, unforgettable characters.
  • Attention Grab – C – The matches got old by the end.
  • Production – B – Looks fine.
  • Overall – B-

Recommendations – Shion no Ou, Bamboo Blade, Saki

14 thoughts on “Chihayafuru S1 + S2 Review — B-

    1. Obviously Shinobu. But if I had to pick one or the other, I’d go with Arata. His voice is just so sexy.

  1. Just wondering, how would you rate the seasons separately? IMO season 1 was at least A- material

    1. Good question. I’d rate the first season as either a B+ or an A-, with the second season a C or C+.

  2. For me it’s the other way round! Chihayafuru’s sports side never became boring for me (apart from the recaps in season 2). I find it awesome how this series managed to show so many aspects of karuta tactics (even though I didn’t understand most of them 😉 and for me the matches kept being suspenseful. I’m not at all into sports anime but I can’t praise Chihayafuru enough in this respect!
    The characters and the romance aspect, on the other hand, were not that well done imo. The romance just dragged on and on with no progress in sight. Also, I missed some sort of background or explanation for Chihaya’s obsession with karuta. And I hate Arata – he’s inherited privilege in person imo. Shinobu is pretty cool, though.

    1. I’m not into sports anime much either. But my problem is that all the matches follow the same formula: 1) Our friends are losing. 2) some psychological reversal 3) flashbacks to the opponents’ past 4) multiple reversals and flashbacks ad nauseum 5) BS reversal leads to psychological and / or tactical victory.

      I would say that the romance just dragged on and on because they were spending all the time on the karuta side of things. 😛

      Arata has inherited privilege, but he doesn’t bother me like Neviril does (since we were just talking about her). Arata still trained hard to get where he is, even if he did have enormous advantages. And he doesn’t look down on weaker players like Shinobu does. Like Neviril, he inherited tremendous privileges, but unlike her, he doesn’t act as if he’s entitled to these privileges. That’s the key difference in my opinion.

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