Chihayafuru 2 [First Impressions]
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Josei, Sport, School-life
OP: “STAR” by 99RadioService
ED: “Akane Kara” by Asami Seto
Summary: Now in their second year of high school, Chihaya and her friends share all the fun and worries that come with welcoming underclassmen to the team as they face tough rival schools. The passion of the Mizusawa Karuta Club burns hotter than ever, but with the same refreshing, youthful mood carrying over from the first season. (Source: ANN)
Tofu// It’s finally here! Chihayafuru’s finally back with a nostalgic start to the season. I miss seeing the karuta club members practice with each other, especially Chihaya and her adorable, naivety. What do you think about the first episode Yippy?
Yippy// It was beautiful as ever, Tofu! It’s endearing characters, excellent music and engrossing
story were just breathtaking to watch again. Although, I do have a confession: I’m a tardy fan. I did hear of this low-key gem through the anisphere, but I only started watching after a bet with Tofu here. XD
Tofu// Well aren’t you glad that you marathoned Chihaya or else you would never have known of such a beautiful and enthusiastic story about karuta. Like Yippy and even the freashmens in the episode, I was close to knocking off Chihayafuru because I knew nothing about karuta and it didn’t sound interesting too, but the intensity of the game and the animation of how competitive it can get really amazed me!
Yippy// Said it like a poet again, Tofu. Although, I found different aspects of Chihayafuru more interesting. For one, its tale of friendship and unrequited love (Taichi, Y U NO LOVE), its determined characters (no guaranteed victories, huzzah!) and of course, its solid soundtrack. Will Chihayafuru 2 (odd OP title, btw) impress? Or will it fall under the shadow of its predecessor?
Tofu// If you were to ask me, episode 1 of the second season really hit the nail when it comes to unrequited love. Alongside a most welcoming sountrack, Taichi is still friend-zoned as ever and with the new character Sumire who has the hots for Taichi, it’s basically become an unrequited love triangle!
Speaking of Sumire, I’m not too fond of her character simply because her reason for wanting to date Taichi is due to jealousy and revenge to get back at her ex. With what we saw at the end of the episode, it seems she will continue to chase after Taichi which really left a bitter taste in my mouth. But Chihayafuru does well in developing their characters so maybe Sumire will change for the better? What about you Yippy? What’s your thoughts on the new heroine?
Yippy// Frankly, I don’t see why Sumire would be a bad addition to the cast. Besides balancing out the gender imbalance in the club, she brings some comic relief as well! Yes, she did grate me a bit with her haughty attitude towards karuta, but she does have the potential to develop into a likeable character. Remember Sudo the “S”? He really rubbed me the wrong way with his arrogance, but in the end, he did throw his support behind Chihaya when it mattered; even if he did it begrudgingly.
Besides, a moldable slate is definitely better than an unchanging one, no? And she does bring some more issues/tension/conflict into the club…which means moar nail-biting moments!
Tofu// I actually found Sudo the “S” to be quite the interesting character, but I guess different people like different things. Sumire right now is a seedling and I’m sure through time she will develop into a more likable character and hopefully appreciate karuta more. Though overall, I guess the first episode did well to bring in a new twist to the series even if the usual practicing and Chihaya being clumsy is always nice to watch. I’d really like to see what’s going to happen in the next episode since Sumire followed Taichi off the train.
Yippy// I think Sumire has shown signs of karuta love already. She did cry when she read that poem and even chased down Taichi immediately after that. Proves just how sensitive she is towards poetry, even if she doesn’t realise it herself. I have a gut feeling she’ll be a foil towards the equally sensitive Kana; both share feelings towards the cards, but they are at opposite ends when it comes to appreciating ettiquette. Well, that’s my prediction anyway. As for what she’ll do…it’s a blank for me. I thought she would just have a mini-breakdown then and there, but I guess she’s stronger than she looks. But wait! There was another significant part in the show worth mentioning. Tofu?
Tofu// Throughout the first episode, we come to an understanding that each of the club members aim towards a different goal and this caused a minor clash before a consensus came about. I do like how in season 1, we saw the team as a whole but now we are made to question just how much chemistry is there between the members themselves. It definitely makes for a more interesting development as they play together more and more. To sum things up, the first episode opened up new possibilities while still displaying the tropes it used in the first season that made it so likable. It was a great first episode and anyone who hasn’t seen Chihayafuru need to watch it don’t you think Yippy?
Yippy// True, I loved the conflict so much that I wished that Chihaya didn’t end it with her “greed”. Displays of teamwork are amazing to watch, but watching a team bump into differences and then overcome them is just pure catharsis. Would definitely like to see more of this in later episodes.
Chihayafuru S2 does maintain a lot of what made it great while mixing in some new elements, but as a result, it does fall short in giving newer fans a breather/catchup. It would’ve been perfect if it did so, but I guess it wants to focus more on the gang’s adventures.
If I were a newcomer to the series, I’d either marathon the first season before coming back here, or I’d just watch Ep 16 of the first series to get a quick (but horribly unfair) summary.
Tofu// For the sake of the show, please do go and watch the whole season, it’s definitely worth it. We’ll bring you more tag-team coverage on Chihayafuru next week folks!