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