Chihayafuru is Repetitive

Chihayafuru was a very intimate experience. It’s one of those rare romance stories that I was actually invested in for awhile. I think it was well-handled in terms of showing the audience, mainly the younger side of it, that perseverance pays off, wonderfully depicting how personal endeavors and traumas can keep you distant from others and as a result: making you genuinely care (for some time) about the characters getting better and better and find enjoyment in the success they find.

I remember watching Chihaya vs Queen (Shinobu Wakamiya) and while, predictably, Chihaya lost but was the first person in a long time to actually take a card away from her. This is one of those cases where no matter how predictable the scenario is; it is predictable because it is the best written option available. Because I expect Chihaya to be better than any average player, I want her to grow; I want her to be Queen someday! And that scene, where she takes the card away from Wakamiya was the signal that classified her as someone who wasn’t like everyone else and someone who can grow strong enough to beat Shinobu Wakamiya. And to my knowledge, there wasn’t a scene more beautiful than that one.

I could also talk about Mashima and Arata who are wonderful additions for their individual differences. The godlike Arata being so consumed by the death of his Grandfather that he drops karuta and later has to re-adapt when he decides to get back into it. Mashima mainly being skilled for his almost superhuman ability of memorization that allows him to basically be 1 step ahead- these are both very nice characters that almost leaves you torn as to who is best for Chihaya. Albeit, Mashima has 0 chance in hell. Arata’s way too fuckin’ good. He’s the type of guy that’ll just throw a bunch of cards including a pair of sunglasses, catches all the cards first perfectly and catches the glasses with his face and walks away from the girls he’s trying to impress. Almost like he lost all intent to tap dat ass whilst realizing how cool he is.

Okay, i’m memeing but it’s true! Anyways, i’m being coy; I’ll get to the point. For all the good things it does initially: the amazing direction and soundtrack that not only makes the karuta battles exciting but meaningful, the progressive romantic subplot and the spirit of seeing thes characters genuinely strive to become better! 

That all stops. Simply because, you kind of have to realize that, while predictability isn’t a bad thing, there’s a certain point where it makes it completely pointless to watch a show that you already know the steps of. We know Chihaya is gonna beat Wakamiya eventually. We know she’s gonna be Queen. Hell, she probably might even beat Arata. Not that it matters because they both will be Queen and King regardless. Which is why I was never excited for a possible finale of Chihaya and Arata. Oh and we know Arata will beat Hisashi Suou. That’s really my problem with the second season; it was just a series of competitions and less about the characters’ relationships. The romance became less fulfilling, the I started to care less about the characters, it even felt like Kanade and Tsutomu became less significant which was sad because I thought it was cool how they were like these training players that Mashima and Chihaya were developing. Almost an academy team. Thus, I had to drop the second season at episode 14. Really thought this was gonna be my gateway to sports anime but I think my expectations just lowered.

Let me know what you think of Chihayafuru and what it’s taught you.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Krystallina says:

    I really want the manga to get a physical release. I really liked what I saw in the anime, but I had to quit because I knew I’d agonize over not knowing what happens in the rest of the story.

    The NA premium box set is also gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ameithyst says:

    Aww, too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as I do. Since you’re dropping it, you won’t mind me spoiling things to you, right? Much more so because I don’t think we’ll ever get another season of the series and you mentioned above that you don’t read manga. Anyway, in the manga, Chihaya got to beat Arata quite a long time ago. Because of some circumstances, Suou trained Taichi in karuta so his play style now is different from before. Just recently Taichi and Chihaya got to be the East representatives for the King and Queen titles.

    While I am truly anticipating Shinobu and Chihaya’s match for the Queen title to end with Chihaya’s win, I honestly really think we can’t conclude the same with Taichi and Arata’s match.

    Sports anime/manga series could be predictable because, of course, you’d expect the protagonists to win by the end, so I think what’s important to take note of when it comes to sports series is the process on how they get to their goals, as well as the character developments and relationships.

    If you watched Chihayafuru anticipating for some heart-pounding romance, it can be disappointing. After all, now, even if Arata and Taichi already confessed (Arata even more earlier), it’s still a debate who Chihaya will choose. The series is much more focused on other matters and romance, being a subplot only, isn’t dealt with. It may or may not be dealt with by the end, though. Can’t be sure.

    Anyway, there’s so much I love about Chihayafuru, but one of them is how karuta is just not for them to play with, but Hyakunin Isshu’s poems being relevant to their situations and emotions. I also love their character developments and relationships with each and among one another. The competitions are important to be able to appreciate more of the characters’ relationships with one another, too.

    Since you didn’t like it as much, I hope you’ll find another series which will be able to make sports anime interesting to you. If there’s still none, it’s not a must, anyway. Just enjoy the series you enjoy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theanimeprince says:

      Thanks, hopefully there is another sports anime that might get me into the genre. The thing I was expecting from Chihayafuru was to continue progressing the romance narrative consistently and show me more of the characters as partners, if you know what I mean. That’s really what I was taking away from the show early on so to see that seem to slow down just felt like there wasn’t much else to watch.

      I am glad to hear that Suou took in Mashima; that sounds like a cool master/student dynamic that I’d be excited to see as I really think Mashima learning to play Karuta outside of his memorization abilities is an important aspect to his character.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ameithyst says:

        Oh… it’s really difficult to enjoy something when you have expectations and what’s given is not to your taste.

        It is! Personally, I loved him more with the style he learned because of Suou. And that’s true. I also enjoyed seeing his mom’s developments, too. Too bad I don’t think it will ever be animated. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Auri says:

    While you make some brilliant points Prince-san, I don’t quite agree.
    Chihayafuru was not my first sports manga but it was (and is) sort of one of my favourite.
    Haikyuu!! too that way is super predictable, but the thing is I guess at one point you stop caring?
    I mean I know Karasuno’s going to win the nationals, but I’m still going to read it because it’s awesome.

    At the same time, I speak from colored lenses. It’s possibly because I’m a sports fan that I don’t mind repetitiveness as long as they deliver the emotions and feels from the matches. (Chihaya’s left hand matches?)
    Also I sort of experienced the desperation of forming a team when no one else is interested so I guess Chihayafuru had my attention right from then.
    Like I said, biased.

    That aside, if you’d like sports and romance together, (and if you don’t mind shoujo manga) I think Crimson Hero is really cool. Sure, it has it’s own predictable moments and typical shoujo cliches but it was a good read. Have you read it before?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. theanimeprince says:

      Sorry, friend. Manga is not my cup of tea. I’m almost exclusively an anime fellow. Thanks for the recommendation, though. I’ll be sure to check it out if it’s adapted into an anime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Auri says:

        Ah, maybe if ever it gets an anime maybe then….

        Liked by 1 person

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