Chihayafuru Ep 1 [First Impression]: Playing Karuta, LIKE A BOSS.
I HAVE FOUND THE SALVATION…in this show about card games!?
But seriously. It’s amazing.
As a child, Chihaya has had many friends in her school, from fangirls of her famous sister to the loud and brash Taichi. When she tries to befriend the transfer student Arata, whom no-one talks to, Chihaya discovers and is fascinated by Arata’s secret passion – the card game karuta.
Now grown up and in high school, Chihaya has developed a love for karuta, and tries promoting it in her school even though none of her classmates are interested. When Taichi transfers into her school, having been introduced to karuta at some point as well, Chihaya wonders how Arata is doing, having not kept in contact with him over the years.
I was very sceptical of this before it aired, as from the synopsis it sounded like a boring, if not too interesting shoujo about card games
on motorcycles which have never impressed me. And how wrong I was, because…
THIS IS AWESOME.
The main premise of the show is around a competitive card game called karuta, in which the players have to match up the beginnings to the endings of poems. A reader (or sometimes a tape) dictates the start of the poem, and players have to grab the card matching the ending before their opponent does. In a sense, it’s a game of reflexes, good speed, and memory. It may sound stupid when described as text, but its much better than it sounds.
The protagonist Chihaya falls in love with this game, and already I can tell that she’s the ditzy and clumsy, yet really hot type that’s always passionate about their dreams. She obviously grows up being good friends with Taichi, who has significantly matured from his childhood self. However though Taichi seems to have played karuta as well, I’m getting the vibe that he lost interest in it as he grew older, turning to stuff like sports and girls. He has a girlfriend, by the way ^^
The guy responsible for introducing Chihaya to karuta was named Arata. As a kid, he was obviously isolated because of his accent and the fact that he never spoke, and as a result everyone just left him alone, and eventually started taking the piss. While not liking someone is understandable, taking notes on them just to laugh in their face later is definitely extreme, even though they were all just kids. Chihaya trying to stand up for him and telling everyone how epic he was as a paper boy at such a young age just had people comment on how poor he was, and I really felt sorry for the guy. It turns out he’s a real pro at karuta though, getting to a level that blew Chihaya’s mind. How he got so good and the motivation for him doing so is a complete mystery though. One of the reasons I’m starting to like Chihayafuru so much is because of this character cast, we have opposite personalities such as Chihaya and Arata finding a common interest through karuta. I have this feeling that perhaps karuta is simply a medium for the story to follow, and that the story may concentrate on the relationship between Taichi, Chihaya and Arata. I may be wrong, we’ll have to wait and see.
In terms of the art, I’m glad I could see hints of the shoujo manga style in the character designs, especially for Chihaya’s. The art style reminds me of another series actually, but I can’t remember what it was for the life of me o.O
I’m guessing that Chihaya, Taichi and Arata became karuta buddies, as Taichi mentioned he didn’t play karuta anymore, meaning he was
addicted interested in it at some point. And it’s obvious they don’t keep in regular contact anymore, hinting that something might have happened since that flashback of them as kids. With this much backstory on Arata, he’ll definitely be making a comeback pretty soon, and most likely as a different person as well – look how much Taichi changed! With 25 episodes, I sense amazing potential for this series that I never thought would be this good in the first place; out of the whole fall season so far (not counting S2’s and stuff I’ve encountered before) this is my favourite by far.
Possibility of Watching: Yes
Possibility of Blogging: 100% YES YES YES
PS. Isn’t Chihaya such a cool name~
Eva’s First Impression:
MAKING IT SHORT AND SWEET
WOW. JUST WOW. THAT WAS LIKE, AMAZING.
Of all the shows that debuted this week, this is my favorite so far. I absolutely fascinated by the game and characters, and best of all Chihaya is totally my ideal main character. I love heroines who kickass, totally badass, got a mind of their own and don’t turn a blind eye to their friend’s wrongdoings.
I never heard of karuta before, so learning what’s it about actually really got me interested in it. While this episode was mainly the backstory of just how much karuta means to Chihaya, the flashback was totally worth it. Not for a second it was boring, instead it made me proud of Chihaya for even standing up against her friends to defend Arata. Heck even Arata himself is like AMAZING. I really hope we’ll see him again sometime soon!
Then you got the animation and the OST. Both are truly beautiful and memorable. The OST really stood out this episode so I’m expecting to hear more lovely tracks.
Possibility of Blogging:
( OH COME ON VANTAGE, I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING THIS ONE LOL) YES YES YES, DUDE WE SHARING.
Possibility of Watching: ABSOLUTELY