Yes, this is it. The end of the Chihayafuru series (for now). Until the third season is green-lit, we shall all sit here, be sad and pretend we don’t know that a sequel will be made. It has to be made. Meanwhile, let’s entertain and remind ourselves of the good and bad times of this second part of awesome karuta.
I’ll say, until we got to the end of the series, I was a tad disappointed from the midpoint of the show on. I was expecting more plot points to develop, considering this was a long 25 episodes, but I guess all we got in the end was a 20-episode tournament which pretty much took the whole season. The tournament was indeed very interesting, but midway through I started getting tired of it; the matches became unoriginal since there were too many and they started taking a bit too long.
Fortunately for us, however, the finals of the individual tournaments were awesome enough that I could even forgive that. In those last 5 episodes of this second season, we got tons of information on character bonds and we even had plot advancements; I was quite happy with the end of the show. The realization of Chihaya’s feelings, Arata going to Tokyo, the win of Class B, C and D by Mizusawa and the Queen’s loss were all really interesting and brought back my love of Chihayafuru in general. Heck, now I’m wishing for yet another season… Stupid cliffhanger. This cliffhanger which will currently bring down yet again the rating of this category; if there’s no third season, leaving a show that much open-ended is the worse thing you can do. Having a failed anime original ending is bad, but leaving a cliffhanger at the end of a show is ridiculous.
So, in the end, I’m sad to announce the poor ranking Chihayafuru classes in for its plot. Let’s face it; not much happened, and I was sad about it. Of course, the ranking looks worse because of that last episode… Imagine it being a 7 or 7.5 if there’s ever a third season (there will be!).
Now there’s something I can talk about. Of course, Chihayafuru’s story isn’t all about karuta. If it was, I’d have dropped it a while ago because I normally hate sports shows. The most important thing about the show is it’s characters. If Chihaya wasn’t the dumb blonde she is, the show wouldn’t be the same.
This season, we did get some pretty awesome character developments. To begin, this season we met two new characters, Tsukuba and Hanano. There was a lot to note there concerning their character development; at first I hated Hanano’s guts, but after her introducing arc was over I actually thought she was pretty cool. As for Tsukuba, his character was definitely not developed as much, but I found him to prove just as strong as Hanano; he even proved that he was a great karuta player.
As for the older characters, many of them had great developments; although she hasn’t changed much, I found that producers gave the spotlight to Kana a lot more this season, and I love her now even more than before. Tsutomu’s story was absolutely great when explained, and even Nishida had a share of personality growth with everyone else. As for Taichi, before the team finals I would have told you he hadn’t changed much, but that sudden optimism at the end completely turned him around.
Finally, we can move on to Chihaya herself. That poor little girl still has the title of Queen completely out of reach… To be honest, I didn’t feel like she learned much in this season. In terms of her karuta improvement, we definitely noticed that she was better than last year–however in the season itself she didn’t work on her karuta style too much; she was just playing tournament after tournament, and overall couldn’t improve that much. If there’s a third season, I feel like she could finally blast off once more and improve her style even more now; ever since she’s seen Arata play, I think something clicked in her mind about remaining calm during a match, and once that happens she will destroy her opponents (we all know that when Chihaya is in a groove she almost always wins).
Overall, the character development was well done. Not perfect, obviously… But very well done, which makes sense since Chihayafuru pretty much centers the show around character development.
THIS SHOW IS PRETTY. End of story.
Honestly, the animation for this show is incredible. As long as the TV version keeps going, forget about reading the manga for now… The colours, the sound, the backgrounds, everything just makes anyone immerse oneself completely into the show. When producers say they wanted to do this season for fun and I see this beautiful animation, I can only understand why; there’s a uniqueness provided by the story line that allows the animators to really emphasize some scenes with specific soundtracks or backgrounds. The karuta matches are always epic, Chihaya’s epiphanies are always amazing, and Kana’s poetry descriptions are always extremely passionate. If this show didn’t have this good an animation, it definitely wouldn’t be as good; some might even remember the paragraph of love I wrote for the last scene of episode 12, where I was surprised by how immersed in the show I was simply because it was well animated.
I can only say the same for the opening: the song matched well the feeling of the show (it didn’t get many graces in our Top Openings, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good), and the animation was, once more, freakin’ awesome. Finally, the ending was a bit blehh… Yeah… I guess I can find one bad thing about technical shizzle, and that is that the ending animation was really slow. The song was great, though.
*bows to the animators* Good job, guys. Really, whatever bad things I have to say are meaningless.
In the end, this second season was a bit different than what I expected; I didn’t think there would be so much karuta. This doesn’t mean that the show was bad, since there was still great character development and meaning behind the matches. I was still really interested by the show in general ,and it proved of an even better quality than the first season in terms of soundtrack and animation, which was hard to beat. The one thing which was definitely less cool than the first season was the actual plot; it’s really the only bad thing I have to say about this. Having a tournament last 20 episodes is never a good thing… Buuut, despite all that I still want my third season. I will always remain a die hard fan! Arataaaaaaaa!
Recommended: Yes if you’ve watched the first season