Original Title: ちはやふる
Directed by: Morio Asaka
Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, grows up under the shadow of her older sister. With no dreams of her own, she is contented with her share in life till she meets Arata Wataya. The quiet transfer student in her elementary class introduces her to competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Captivated by Arata’s passion for the game and inspired by the possibility of becoming the best in Japan, Chihaya quickly falls in love with the world of karuta. Along with the prodigy Arata and her haughty but hard-working friend Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spends their idyllic childhood days playing together, until circumstances split them up.
Now in high school, Chihaya has grown into a karuta freak. She aims to establish the Municipal Mizusawa High Competitive Karuta Club, setting her sights on the national championship at Omi Jingu. Reunited with the now indifferent Taichi, Chihaya’s dream of establishing a karuta team is only one step away from becoming true: she must bring together members with a passion for the game that matches her own.
I decided to watch this anime because I was always interested in Japanese traditional games and so I thought this could be a nice way to know more about the game of Karuta.
It explains really well the game and so it’s really easy to understand even for someone who didn’t know Karuta at all. I, for example, knew the game only by seeing it in some Japanese shows but the anime explains in a clear way even the more complex aspects of it.
The Karuta games are really thrilling and keep the viewer glued to the screen to see what is going to happen next.
This anime is also about the growth of the characters and not only in the Karuta’s world, but also as people. There are various problems and challenges that are quite realistic and not stereotyped at all.
It still shares some common elements of Anime dedicated to school clubs, like the recruitment of members and the games between various schools, but generally it’s unique and really few things sound as already seen.
It also has some type of innocent humor with some silly scene that will make you smile… but it will also make you feel a wide variety of emotions. Some scenes left me breathless, shocked or made me tear up. The range of emotion that this anime will feel is really impressive.
I liked how it could also implement some quite meaningful thoughts in the story; I really liked the initial talk about the dream of the protagonist and it moved me. I felt it as personal and made me think a lot.
This first series was amazing! I hope the following ones will be as good as this one!