First Impressions – Chihayafuru

Who ever thought Kurata could be so interesting?

 Everyone got so scared of Kurata! Hey, even I don’t know much about it except for seeing it being played in Carnival Phantasm and it seemed funny then. However, I’m pretty sure the WHOLE anime can’t be about it and as it’s going to be 2-cours and produced by Madhouse. I couldn’t wait for it to air! So, here I go with my tag team mates Zabo, Ness and Hato!
 Woo another fall anime is starting and it’s a game type one. But I have a feeling that this would have a good amount of slice of life considering the images I’ve seen. I’m hoping that this isn’t boring filled with game instructions but has some good challenging aspects to it. Guess we’ll have to watch to find out.
 What is this. Could this actually be a show that I like this season? After the utter disappointment that was Kimi to Boku, will Chihayafuru interest moi?
 So, I’ve heard of the game Kurata before, but I never thought that there would be an entire anime about it. Hopefully, this turns out to be a super sweet story. I’ve always loved josei stories and I’m thinking that this has the potential to be a hit this season! So without further ado…on with Chihayafuru!

It’s the spring season and the cherry blossoms are already falling. School is starting up and all the boys are abuzz about the new girl, supposedly the sister of the famous model Ayase Chitose. However, when they finally see her, she’s posting flyers about the kurata club with trainers on under her skirt. According to many, Chihaya is a classic case of beauty wasted, but she doesn’t seem to care at all. All she wants is to make friends by forming a kurata club.

The contrast is rather brilliant to be quite honest.

She plops herself on the grass outside with her headphones in, lamenting over how unsuccessful her kurata club is. Chihaya thought that, once she got to high school, she could get partners and focus 100% on kurata. All of a sudden, Taichi, her childhood friend, comes up commenting on her wasted beauty. Chihaya is super excited that he’s transferred to her school as he had gone to an escalator school before.

Pfft. He totally likes her.

They walk to the station and Taichi receives a phone call from his girlfriend. Chihaya is surprised that he has one and wonders if “Arata” has found something more important to him that kurata. On the train they discuss how they haven’t heard from him in a while. Taichi then says that he wants to do some sport in high school as karuta was more of a hobby for him. Chihaya is upset as she realizes that perhaps what they all had in the past is now gone.

We go back in time to when Chihaya was in elementary school. The center of her life was her older sister, a beauty who competed in pageants all the time. Taichi was in her class at the time and they would tease each other a lot. However, there was a new transfer student, Arata, who a lot of the students made fun of for being poor and having an accent. Chihaya is the only one who doesn’t understand what’s so funny about him.

It turns out that Arata is the paper boy and, one morning, as he is delivering papers he delivers one straight into Chihaya’s hands. She excitedly runs up to her sister as her picture’s in the paper. She brings the paper to school the next day where Taichi teases her for looking like a boy when her sister is so pretty. The teacher comes in and asks them if they’ve memorized the 100 poems for the kurata competition. Taichi has but it turns out he’s not the only one – Arata memorized them as well. Just then, Chihaya realizes that Arata was the paper boy, calling him out in front of the whole class. She thinks he’s amazing but doesn’t realize that she probably made things worse for him. The kids in the class are relentless in their teasing.

After school, she runs after Arata to talk to him but Taichi comes up and tells her to stop as everybody will stop talking to her. She doesn’t care though, even as he pushes both of them down. She comes home with Arata and they talk about their dreams. Her dream is to see her sister win beauty pageants but Arata says that doesn’t count as a dream. When she asks him what his dream is, he brings out a kurata set. They play together and Chihaya only manages to get one card against him. Arata’s dream is to be the best kurata player in Japan and thus the world. Chihaya is very excited about  playing with Arata because she discovered kurata and, in the process, uncovers his passion and got to see a side of him no one else had.

End Thoughts: 

MEGANEEEEE… HHNNNGGGG! If you don’t know already, I like the silent types and if they are megane-kun, double awesome (refer to Kokutou Mikiya). So, Arata is something that doctor has ordered and this fangirl is quite happy. Not only for this but Miyano Mamoru playing a handsome jerk whose feelings were never answered properly? AND a tomboy girl, who seems to have an identity crisis?! Dude, this is SO my high school life! *coughs* Madhous, gambare~ for another good start; please continue to be awesome!

This is NOT boring, people! More than the game, it’s about the people, at least for now. Looking at the pacing, Chihaya is definitely not letting go of her obsession with Kurata, we only need to find out if she simply adopted it because of Arata (like she did with her sister) or there’s something interesting that transpired in their past. Most likely, something went down that caused Taichi to come out of his assholery-mode, befriending Arata and letting him in his friend circle; though was it obligatory or not, we’ll have to see. It’s too early to judge but these three seemed to have gone through a lot and rabu-triangle is pretty apparent. When the episode ended, I was like, THAT’S IT?! I WANT MORE! SHOW ME ARATAAAA! SHOW ME MOAR ENTHUSIASM!

Even after warming up to Taichi, I’ll be siding with Arata most probably just because. Also, Chihaya seems strong, so what if she blurts out everything that comes to her mind? Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad but how will you learn, if you don’t make mistakes?! I can’t wait to meet the grown up Arata because he’ll be voiced by Yoshimasa Hosoya (Nezumi from No.6, Shichika from Katanagatari and Juu from Denpa Teki no Kanojo for the newbies), and he seems like a decent guy. Not that I don’t like Taichi in his own way, he seems to have grown up too. Fun fact, Asami Seto who’s voicing Chihaya is an eighteen-year-old budding seiyuu, who recently started her career with Hourou Musuko (as Yoshino). With Madhouse helming this, I’ll definitely be following because it simply feels refreshing.

 I think that I have to be in the mood to watch slice of life/school life type animes now to go through any slow paced plot. But this anime was actually really interesting! We see the typical romance present in this with the two boys who fall for one girl. Chihaya at first could have been a model beauty but she’s aside from that with her determination to make a kurata club. Alone in a high school, Chihaya reunites with a childhood friend which progresses the story to show us about their childhood. I think that I got too caught up in seeing how things progress that before I knew it, the ending theme was rolling. This episode felt kind of short and I’m sure there’s more to be told about the three kids getting into kurata and making their promise to reunite. But I’m sure you can tell that things don’t end up as you’d thought of from being a child due to the real life.

The designs are lovely with the scenery and detail of the game items. As well, the music in this felt so slice of life but I listened through to it which wasn’t bad at all. The actual characters are pretty basic and the personalities of the three kids each are different but blend well. I like how Chihaya was such a tomboy as a kid and now that she’s in high school, she’s such a beauty. Isn’t so not surprising how that kind of thing turns out?

So the overall episode was pretty good. I’m looking forward to what happens next even though I have an idea of it. What I really want out of this anime is the kurata focus of it. I like challenges and competition in animes. So, I am hoping to get some intense competition out of such an interesting card type game. I never expected that this kurata is a game where you choose the card of the next verse in a poem. Poems are very interesting and all but integrating them in such a game is even cooler. I’ll be following this anime, maybe not per release but for sure I’ll see this through. So, laters~

 Whoah. Out of the new shows I’ve watched so far, this has to be the best. And other companies; take note. This is how you do an opening episode. The introductions were slick, nothing was incredibly confusing and everything was adequately explained, at least enough so that you actually want to watch the next episode. The writing was pretty much spot on and the dialogue never really dragged behind which was a great surprise. Even if you if have great looing show, things like dialogue and sound can drag you down.

The characters also seem like I won’t want to hate them to death. The only thing that I thought was strange was the fact that younger Chihaya and older Chihaya seemed to be two completely different people. Sure, people change over time, but the personality shift seemed a little strange. Then again, I guess she was all at school not knowing anyone and she kind of acted normal again when she saw Taichi.

Aside from that minor complaint, I really liked this. I’m gonna be a fanboy and say it kind of reminded me of Saki. But only a little bit. Chihayafuru, however, trumped Saki as the main character didn’t immediately kick ass at the game. It seems like Chihaya has actually had to work to get as good as she may be. Unlike Saki who was just rinshaning errywhere. I like Chihayafuru. I’ll be watching this one closely.

Well, well. This show was not on my to-watch list AT ALL. It didn’t even cross my radar when the list of fall shows came out. However, I decided to give it a chance. Cuz I’m a smart person. Clearly intelligence never fails, because this is a really good show. The premise is unique, that’s for sure. I’ve never found the game kurata particularly interesting, but Chihayafuru looks as though it will prove me wrong. It’s definitely going to go beyond just the game and focus on the relationships between the three; Chihaya, Arata and Taichi. I’m really excited about that. They’re an interesting trio. Also, it’s clear that a love triangle of some sort is going to form. I call it from now and I vote for Arata and Chihaya. I mean, come on! They were so cute playing together!

Also, Taichi was a little jerk. It always makes me sad to see how tactless children can be. The kids in the class were absolutely horrible. I don’t remember being that mean when I was a kid! Sure, I was afraid of cooties and what not but I never made fun of anybody for being poor. As such, I adore Chihaya. She’s straightforward, always speaking her mind and never dwelling on trivial things. She didn’t give a damn about where Arata came from, how he spoke or what he looked like. She appreciated him for himself and was amazed at something as simple as his job as the paper boy, admiring his dream to be a kurata master. Arata himself was quite interesting as well, though I didn’t get to see as much of him as I would have liked to.  I look forward to seeing how much he grew.

Chihayafuru is nothing short of beautiful. The character designs and presentation were both gorgeous. An example of this was during the train scene, as the sun was setting – it was perfect. Contrary to my normal preferences, the music was my favorite part of Chihayafuru. It was beautiful and added a lot to each scene, building up each moment to a peak. I suppose that’s kind of necessary when you have a show about a card game… Either way, I’ll definitely be keeping up with this show. It’s looking to be fantastic.


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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16 Responses to “First Impressions – Chihayafuru”

  1. Junko says:

    This is all over my watch list, in a good way

  2. Renn says:

    I agree this was one of the strong openers. I’m also pretty impressed with the voice cast. I’ve loved Asami Seto ever since I heard her earlier this year; she has a great, distinctive voice. I hope she doesn’t end up type cast as tomboys though. xD

  3. xochandaox says:

    hahaha.. I was looking forward to this a lot <3
    I liked the first ep, it met my expectations, cant wait for the rest and to see how the character interactions go along. 😀
    tehe.. Taichi is adorable btw. I wonder if we will get to see Arata all grown up :3

  4. Joojoobees says:

    Best first episode of the season. Now you know why I ACCURATELY predicted that Chihayafuru would be The Best show of Fall 2011. No. Nothing else can touch it.

    I’m hoping we get to see Arata destroy Taichi in the school Kurata tournament. His pushing them down was unforgivable.

    • Kyokai says:

      BOOO YEAHHH! I think we were one of those few people who gave this more than heed. *high five*

      I think, Taichi’s going to turn out to be a milder version of Yukiatsu but I’m simply speculating here.

      • Joojoobees says:

        Haha! You mean he will end up wearing Chihaya’s clothes? At least Yukiatsu didn’t go around pushing people into the mud.

      • Kyokai says:

        I’m imagining that but I think it would be the other way around as Chihaya is such a tomboy. The current episode at least showed that he’s not that all bad; though my heart is with Arata. :3

  5. Foshizzel says:

    The only time I have seen this game played was in Kore wa zombie special and once in Carnival phantasm 01 with Archer and Lancer xD

    Originally I was going to pass this series! But after watching it I got hooked! Can’t wait to see more, and ya out of all the fall shows Chihayafuru has some great production. I haven’t been completely sold on the character designs yet but I am sure they will grow on me.

    • Dan-go says:

      I had no idea what they were doing. I feel like i missed the joke there. :/ i like it so far, and it feels like theres real potential for a tear buster here

  6. Yvoon says:

    WOOT! looking forward to this series!!~

    Its started off really sweet and looking forward the next episode!!

    Though I’m not too sure why everyone is so hyped up about it. Yeh it’s good, but it doesn’t look like its hasn’t had that much on an impact on me compared to others. Is there something I’m missing out on here?? o_o

  7. akagami says:

    Hmm, I was originally going to skip this over because game-type animes don’t really interest me at all, but I figured I would try it out based on this first impression.

    Art is pretty, but I just can’t get over the game-type aspect of the show. Characters seem pretty interesting too for the most part, but silent loner types just annoy me.

    A shame, it seems like it could be decent if the genre was slightly different.

    But if I had to pick, I’m so in Arata’s fanboat.

  8. Amutofan123 says:


    Okay, anyway, this was definitely the best first episode of the season. Everything else I’ve watched so far has made me feel “meh”, but I loved this episode and can’t wait for the next one!

    • Kyokai says:

      YESSS! I didn’t know so many people had megane-fetish but oooh, more the merrier~ :3

  9. Moni Chan says:

    I’m gonna love this seres even though I didn’t know that the hell Kurata was.

    true fact: Anime teaches

  10. Samantha Zan says:

    Well I’ve never heard of Karuta, but if I think of Karuta as playing children’s card games plus more shoujo fluff then I’m good xD. Anyway, I really like Chihaya I like that burning passion for Karuta xD. But I have to say that Taichi is such a cute kid, even if he was a little jerk face for pushing Chihaya DX. But I am interesting in Arata though, just love the silent boys in a shoujo series, plus with glasses. Meganes make everything better :3

  11. […] “Whoah. Out of the new shows I’ve watched so far, this has to be the best. And other companies; take note. This is how you do an opening episode. The introductions were slick, nothing was incredibly confusing and everything was adequately explained, at least enough so that you actually want to watch the next episode.” – Metanorn […]

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