One element of Chihayafuru that is relatable to a considerable amount of anime fans is the idea of being passionate about a hobby that is unappreciated by the vast majority of the peers around them. Though instead of anime, Chifayafuru’s focus is on the competitive card game called Karuta. Karuta being a Japanese card game that’s meant to test your reflexes as well as your ability to remember each and every card that is laid out in front of you.
While I appreciate the sentiment about being into relatively obscure hobbies, the biggest problem with Chihayafuru is that the characters are too involved in playing karuta for me to be able to relate to them. Why does Chihaya (the main character) not have much of any life outside of playing karuta? As much as I pride myself on my own anime addiction, there are still things that go on in my life that keeps my nerdy hobbies on the back-end of my mind. There is just no way a character like Chihaya could realistically go on living and not eventually get bored of playing karuta. This makes it hard to relate to what’s happening to the characters if I am having trouble seeing them as human. Though this complaint is only most notable for the main character.
There have been excellently crafted characters through just watching how those characters play karuta. For example, there is one scene where there is a guy who always stands up whenever he gets stuck while playing karuta. You get this sense that he is only comfortable when he is looking down on others. Not necessarily in an evil way, but in more of that he is a bit of an egomaniac. On these terms, Chihayafuru is one of the best anime I have seen in being able to give strong characterization in a short amount of time.
Another problem I will bring up about the characters in Chihayafuru is that they will ball their eyes out at any given moment for little reasons. It almost seems that every time one of the main characters lose a match against someone else, they will cry non-stop until the rest of their group finally cheer them up. This is a problem that is typical of shoujo anime which is a reason why I am generally not into them.
Even though this praise is typical in what seems to be most sports anime nowadays, the animation in Chihayafuru is really solid. Even though most of the matches are just people throwing their arms out to reach a card, its done so with strong moments of sakuga that are worth looking back on at Sakugabooru. When a character reaches towards a card and pushes it away, the sound affects that go along with it are satisfying to hear. Also the art style looks gorgeous, even if it does look pretty typical.
This is my first blog post so sorry if it is pretty bad, Chihayafuru is a 7/10 I guess.