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. – My Anime List
Based on 13 review scores:
A gentle, appealing series with likable characters, Chihayafuru is a quintessential sports-anime despite its unusual subject matter, and while it may not appeal to action or fan service junkies, anime fans owe it to themselves to broaden their horizons and give this show an honest chance.
The enthrallment to each episode is owed in large part to the balance struck between personal and competitive drama, both of which draw upon the fallibility of every character in the cast. No-one in the series is without flaw, and no win is guaranteed. Characters hurt others—intentionally, unintentionally, physically, mentally, emotionally—and get hurt, but they also learn and, more importantly, use those lessons later on to become better people and players.
It’s a series you NEVER would think you’d watch and before you know it you’re watching it; dying to see what comes next, and thinking it’s one of the greatest animes you’ve probably ever watched. The storyline is simple, the music is fine, the characters are lovable, and the animation is uniquely beautiful. No sexual explicitness like most animes here on Crunchyroll. (there goes a couple people) An anime that at first might strike you as boring but is most definitely not. Watch it, and you might just love it.
Overall, Chihayafuru was an excellent mix between shoujo elements and a competitive sport series. The game itself was something different and we actually got a lot of education on the rules and things like that throughout the show, which really helped us understand what was going on. The characters were all excellent and complemented each other (even the rivals!) and the animation was near flawless. If you’re looking for a good, solid plot with some minor romantic elements but a whole lot of competitive aspects, you should definitely check out Chihayafuru!
Anime News Network
So who should watch a josei anime about a team of competitive poetry card playing high school students? Certainly those looking for something a little different or people who have an affection for tanka poetry. But Chihayafuru is also a show for people who enjoy a good story, want to feel attached to their characters, and just be taken away for half an hour. Chihayafuru is greater than the sum of its parts and absolutely worth your time.
It’s poetic. It’s passionate. It’s well executed. The very elements you need to succeed at karuta reflect in Chihayafuru itself.
The Geek Clinic
While some may argue the “sports” label for Chihayafuru, I would assert that the series earns it repeatedly. The game of Karuta is made interesting and the team atmosphere the show cultivates is impressive. Characters are realistic and easy to identify with as well as diverse, and their efforts to work together are that much more poignant for that reason. Every single component of this anime comes together to form a cohesive whole, with the technical aspects backing up both the writing and concept wonderfully. While individual episodes can be exciting, however, I was never quite lusting after more in between viewing sessions and there are several plot threads (particularly regarding inter-character relationships) that are revealed but never pursued. Regardless of any minor complaints I might have had, though, Chihayafuru makes for a very enjoyable experience and The Geek Clinic happily recommends it.
Hue Hue Anime Reviews
Chihayafuru has a lot to offer, from an exuberant game, to an emotional story! Don’t miss out on it because of wrong thinking like, “it’s a girl series,” or “why watch an anime that’s not about a real sport?” Kurata is as real a sport as any, and although its story does tend to run on the feminine side, I guarantee that after watching it, be you male or female, part of you, weather that part be big or small, will walk away wishing you spoke and read Japanese fluently, so you could play Kurata too! As with any sports series, the love and desire its characters have to play their preferred sport is contagious, just further proof that it is a true blue pedigree sports anime and one that is more than worthy of watching!
My Anime List
Honestly, I don’t know how else to put it. The cinematography of this show is amazing. The characters are developed and lovable. The story, while often predictable, is still exciting and endearing. There wasn’t a single episode that I didn’t enjoy. I breezed through the seventeen currently-aired episodes in just under three days, which I haven’t been able to do even for some of the most exciting anime I’ve seen. I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next! (Also, this show will give you a LOT of feelings. Just wait). I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this series. And if you decide to watch it too, believe me, you’ll be saying the same thing
This was a surprisingly engrossing series and each week I looked forward to the next episode becoming available. The series is animated in such a way that the games are exciting to watch and it doesn’t matter if the viewer has no knowledge of the game as it the characters’ passion for it that is so engrossing. Each member of the team is distinctive both in looks and character with each playing for different reasons. The character designs and animation were both pleasant to look at and their voices sounded right although, not speaking Japanese, I had to rely on the subtitles to understand what they were saying.
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.
Chihayafuru is a defining example of a quality anime that does not need to rely on grandiose plots or convoluted philosophical contentions to communicate anything meaningful. The characters are easy to understand and grow fond of, but are also layered and interesting. Moreover, the message is simple, and the story straightforward, but everything that goes into it is communicated with so much real, raw emotion that I could not help but find it touching. All I can say is if Madhouse never comes back with a season two, it would be a crying shame as the ending just leaves the viewer pining for more.
There are many strengths and weaknesses to this anime. With a large repertoire of 50 episodes there’s bound to be things everyone loves in tandem with things they dislike. With this anime its strengths make it fascinating, it keeps me coming back to watch more, and learn more about the Caruta culture. At the same time its weaknesses discouraged me from watching intently, the repetition had me hitting the fast forward button on more than one occasion.