It’s baaaaack! And with it, the Kara no Kyokai tag.
Chihayafuru! Chihayafuru! The first season was nothing short of fabulous and I don’t think it ever really lost momentum, so I expect nothing less from season 2. It’s nice being able to have high expectations for an anime and having it actually meet them. Anyways, Kyo and I are back blogging this, of course, so let’s hear the boss lady’s thoughts before we move on.
Oh hai thar, my favourite show of this season. I’ve missed you a lot and SO GLAD that Madhouse picked it up for season two as I heard about the DVD Sales not doing too good (though, my suspicion is that they were early numbers). Anyways, it’s back and let’s not delay this review any further as I tag along with Kara.
On the Return
Chihaya, “I motion to pass a 48hour long Karuta match!” The rest, “EEEEEHHHHH!!!”
From the Chihayafuru letters, sakura petals to the ending scroll theme (yep, they definitely stuck to the same 99RadioService for OP and Asami Seto for ED), it felt as if I was talking to a close friend yet again. If someone marathons season one with the first episode of S2, the only difference they would see is the change of OP and ED. Everything is exactly the way we left it and as glorious. Now I know this is not the most perfect looking anime like a KyoAni or Ufotable production but Madhouse knows their stuff and even if they do use static images sometimes, it’s for an effect or added pun/comedy. Overall, no decrease of quality and the cast of Mizusawa Karuta club are all back as usual.
Now our Nikuman-kun doesn’t even flinch when’s called that (by everyone!), Desk-kun has mellowed down into a cute oldman (he’s so young but has a clever ojisan quality to him), Kana-chan is ferocious as usual (oh her brilliant schemes!), Taichi has decented up even more (if it was even possible… This is Mamoru Miyano’s only role this season so fangirls, you better be watching!), and our main heroine is as energetic as ever. Though, they face their own brand of problems.
A Divided Karuta Club
Taichi, “I look so cool yo!” Desk-kun, “I’m always the smallest… Oh god, why have you forsaken me! T_T”
It’s the start of the new season! And what do they give us? …Karuta themed drama. The team has always had different goals, and it usually works well for the team since they’re not always direct rivals. However, with the new development with training the newbies, things aren’t going so well. For one, Chihaya is just too dense to figure out that 99% of them are just there because the existing members are good looking and another reason is because she wants to do absolutely everything. Yes, that’s why we love her, but at the same time, her best traits are showing themselves to be hindrances. I think Kana would have been the best choice for training since her strict sensei act is definitely needed to bring the raging Taichi fangirls under control. If they aren’t actually interested in Karuta, they should get the hell out of the club and go take up space elsewhere. Seriously. Anyways, with Taichi’s goal of A class continuing on, and him seriously preparing for it, maybe someone from the Karuta club will actually accomplish something during this time of discord.
Now, this is more like it! Give me a strong female lead with a good head on her shoulders, who’d rather think about what she wants to do when she grows up than fishing for superfluous status of getting the hottest guy in school. Yes, I know, this is anime and not RL but type-casting in anime has been going through a motion of change and I’m glad to get Chihaya as a main heroine. Sure, she’s an airhead and doesn’t get love-troubles at all but she has an actual life goal and has done everything possible to reach towards it. The try again and again really does work and the reality check flags (like not winning the match to appear on the next queen match), is refreshing. Random fact, look at Asami Seto, how she has grown through the years? Her first image was in a uniform when she voiced her first role in Houro Musuko but now. So, Chihaya!
Kara has touched upon the different goals of the original Karuta club. Chihaya wanting to do EVERYTHING like Taichi making A-class, teaching the new kids and winning all the upcoming tournaments sound IMPOSSIBLE at this point until everyone take their respective roles seriously but that is exactly how she is. Practicing speedy swipe motion till her arm falls off or falling sick herself, memorizing all the poems and even getting in the groove of hearing the reciter’s specific word lilting to identify the first syllables before others… That’s our Chihaya and I love her for it. I believe in not half-assing anything and that is what exactly she does. Now, it would be pretty interesting to see how others keep up with her but damn, she has the ability to inspire alright.
Annoying Fangirls in the Future?
Sumire, “I’M GONNA GETCHA GOOOOOOD~”
If you couldn’t pick up from my paragraph above, the new development isn’t exactly my favourite. Sumire might become something more and the slit eyes guy gets an automatic pass from me because he reminds me of Suou, but the rest of the 20 new members just seem like extra baggage for the club. I don’t share Chihaya’s optimism that they’ll fall in love with Karuta and I’m betting on something more along the lines of them seeing how Karuta actually is, thinking it’s too scary/too much work and the majority leaving. Judging from the OP, only the two people I mentioned actually stay with the club. …Or maybe it’s just that they’re the only ones note worthy enough to participate on the trips. Sumire is definitely just a Taichi fangirl at the moment, but since they gave her character so much screentime and delved into her thoughts, she’ll probably be one of the people who stay. With her reaction to the poem, she seems like she might have something to hold her to Karuta other than Taichi (when she inevitably realizes the expanse of his feelings for
Arata Chihaya and moves on with her life). She definitely annoys me at this point, but I can see her moving beyond that into becoming an inspiring character. Her perseverance is admirable at least.
Fun with Chi~
Kana, “Dance my little puppets, DANCE!”
Chihaya, “Taichi, is this a dream?!” Taichi, “Stop drooling and accept their forms!”
Sumire, doing a Sadako. Kowe!
Taichi’s obligatory broody shot of this week
The new characters were… interesting, but the old cast was great as always. Hell, this entire series has been great and the first episode here was no exception~. We already have Karuta problems (and a few non-Karuta related problems), the main characters all had a seamless re-introduction and we already know what’s on their minds for the future. Sounds like a pretty good set up to me. Kyo touched on the topic above, but the production was really great as well. Of course, from last season, we saw what Madhouse could do, but it’s comforting to know that they’re putting the same (if not more) effort into it. Not that I expected them to slack off, but imagine if they did. …Anyways, between 99RadioService, Seto Asami, and Madhouse, things are looking (and sounding great). I’m excited for things ahead and I’m really looking forward to watching Chihaya enter a new tournament and seeing what Arata is up to these days. Taichi has his A Class matches coming up too. So lots of good things in the future, let’s just see the club get over the problems they’re having now.
Aww man, I can go on and on about how awesome this is. I know, not everyone will share my enthusiasm, maybe turned off by the sports or josei genre but you really don’t have to be a fan of any of these genres to enjoy this because it’s all about human emotions. How they are the driving force behind our actions. Taichi has definitely grown up to be a better guy and a better player, I’m rooting for him to make it A-class soon! Also, Kana-chan needs to be given a medal for playing the matronly yet strict headmistress amazingly (the way she clapped her hand to say, “Listen to your senpai bitches!” was awe-inspiring. I missed Arata but we’ll be seeing him soon enough too I guess. Sumire’s addition was needed as I can see (adding spice to the romantic dorama), and the slit-eyed guy voiced by Miyu Irino would be playing a major role as well. I’m looking forward to some old opponent faces along with Shinobu and Suo down the line.
For Mizusawa Karuta club and its new members, it’s going to be a long road of hardship (read practice and training). And even if the original members have some differences, there’s nothing they can’t resolve among them. The power of bonding and nakama will win. Yep, I so believe! Anyways, how has your experience been with Chihayafuru and what you are looking forward to the most in next episode except for that impending confession?