Throughout the past 6 months, Chihayafuru is that one anime that people just seem to be creaming over. At first, I figured this was the new flagship anime of the “anti-moe brigade” (before that, it was the new Lupin III and before that, Redline) and that they just circlejerked over it in hopes that it will save anime from the “moe virus” (hahaha no).
But that wasn’t the case. Chihayafuru is actually a pretty good show.
After nearly reaching the breaking point among all the tweets and blog posts singing the praises of this anime, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I read a plot synopsis – it’s a slice of life show about some kids that play a Japanese card game called Karuta. Oh, great, another anime about a game I know nothing about. Sounds pretty boring! Or so I thought.
But it’s actually pretty exciting. The card game, Karuta, is actually quite simple, so it didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on. In the series, Karuta is portrayed – not as a game – but as a sport. In the first 4 episodes I’ve seen thus far, I’ve actually caught myself rooting for the protagonists, as if I was watching a live sporting event. So yeah, that’s cool. I like getting immersed in a show like that.
The characters are pretty great too. Especially Taichi, who starts out as a bully but quickly develops into a civilized human as he plays Karuta with his friends. I like the art style too, which is kind of a cross between shoujo and moe aesthetics (someone’s gonna flame me for saying that).
Chihayafuru is a bit of a lengthy series – the first season is 25 episodes, and a second season is starting up soon, adding another 25 when that’s done – so I can’t promise I’ll make it all the way through. But so far, I’m very interested in seeing more.
And this, my friends, is yet another reason why I (and why you should) never judge a book by its cover. Even if a show looks like a steaming pile of crap from its promo art and/or synopsis – give it a try!