Chihayafuru 2 (Winter 2013) – The Prodigy

Karuta isn’t just a game about the fast you move, the fast you get. But, it’s such a competition not only facing your opponent in front of you. It’s about dealing with depression, anxiety, family problems, and other factors. There are many new things I got after watching “Chihayafuru 2”. The first season focuses on the meaning of a Karuta, not just as a sport itself. This season focuses on to be the best in the world. Arata once told Chihaya if you could be the queen then you were on top of the hill. In other words, you have ruled the world because Karuta is not a global sport like football or anything.

Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since this series gets the third season after six years. The second season aired in the winter of 2013. There are so many anime you could follow it at the time. However, this season is a direct sequel of the original series. It continues, you guessed it, Chihaya played Karuta. What do you expect? The second season stands out by itself compared to its original series. Regardless of there are various changes and still follow the same format, this sequel achieved our satisfaction quickly.

“Chihayafuru” is honestly very, very different from an anime about a card like “Yu-Gi-Oh!” or anything you can come with. What distinguishes the two series is the sport on the series is exist in reality. On the other hand, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and other series are just fiction but still fun to watch. Rather than dominating each other, one opponent to another opponent, this show is just about Karuta. It tests their concentration, breath, speed, everything. Everything about Karuta is very important. It needs a process, like sports in general. But what distinguishes Karuta and other sports it’s not just how you have to practice. It’s about your game, how you can adapt, how you can think quickly, and how you can get lucky.

As we know, Chihaya, Arata, and Taichi promised, in the first season, they would play together. This season tells more about their relationship. This season focuses a little on its romance, not a bad thing to begin with. The first season has an element of romance as well. While Chihaya is the main focus, both Arata and Taichi have different views on how they are viewing each other. Unless Taichi is indeed a bit less sensitive to their relationship. Besides, this isn’t all about Karuta, to begin with. However, Chihaya never paid attention to it at all except at the end of the show. She lacks anything. She can reach the pro stair at all. Although like which, she keeps practicing and practicing until everything satisfied herself.

This season also introduces many new and side characters which the first season was just a little glance. Introduced Sumire Hanano, a new face who not too interested in Karuta. She just interested in Taichi, just like girls in general. Initially, she seems like nothing and has no reason why she keeps coming to the Karuta club. However, she continued to grow and develop. She even inspired two of her seniors, Komano and Ooe. Ooe saw Hanano as a sensitive and timid person. One of the 100 poems she had heard impressed her more. But, both of them inspire each other and see how Karuta is not just a game. Instead, it’s a part of literature, poetry, history, and feelings from the past.

On the other hand, Komano is seeing Hanano as the kind of person who lacks anything in Karuta. However, she is an expert in analyzing and nitpicking one of the players. Yet, she ridiculously sees one opponent. On top of that, she helped Komano analyze opponents not only how they played or why they were fast. Hanano saw Chihaya as a love rival and arch-nemesis of her; despite the fact, she couldn’t change Taichi’s crush on Chihaya. The first season not too focused on romance. On the other hand, the second season has a lot more to say about relationships between characters.

Besides Hanano, Akihiro Tsukuba is a new face in the Karuta club. Although we may see him as a normal character who only likes Karuta, there is more to tell. He is the kind of guy who plays Karuta because he only inspires the people he loves. Although it might be a cheap way, he is a guy who seems lacking in some aspects too. Just like Hanno, he is developing and growing. He also became one of the supports of his friends; even though, he had a reason why he was trying so hard.

Enough with the romance and character, now let’s talk about the Karuta games. This is where you feel a thrilling, intense, tone, and pace. This sequel brings Karuta into more of a “gambling” game. There are lots of moments where you anticipate something. But, you always keep beating and beating. Especially when it comes to a one-on-one lucky game, I can’t even stand to watch it. Just like the first season, Karuta requires self-mastery and various strategies to conquer your opponent, not conquer the game. You also know there is a long history between the queen, Shinobu, and Arata.

When talking about drama, this is even more. I don’t know why if a series about Karuta games can make you understand how meaningful the game is. You feel a lot of feelings, there are happiness, romance, sadness, tension, crying, and others. The anime shows such pure moments through episodes whether it’s a normal match even in a tournament. Like the first season, the second season gets 25 episodes with an OVA. Although like which, we don’t expect to recap episodes in the middle of the show. It’s another pointless thing to put it and to talk about.

The artwork is just amazing, natural, but not like the anime in general although this is a josei show. Madhouse gives us an artistic element with the aspect and doesn’t waste too much effort with fan service. It’s another take and point to the studio and the show. Even the main characters don’t have any special features in their design. You also see the queen as just a normal person and a normal girl who loves cute things. All the characters are there even for the supporting characters, they exist consistently in a variety of motives and reasons. The pacing, the tone, just amazingly the best when it comes to this.

“Chihayafuru 2” has a lot more to talk about and it’s everything to enjoy and appreciate. Yet, this is one of the great and unique sports anime I have ever seen. Even it’s one of the unique shows about cards. Even if you don’t know what Karuta is or have never played it, this is a refreshing spectacle for everyone. It’s about practice and practice, learning to appreciate people. This is a watch-to-watch and can’t wait for the third season later.

4 out of 5 stars.

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