So season 2 has finally ended. I am so happy that things I read in the manga were shown magnificently in the anime. I so loved that the best karuta battles were given emphasis. The season 1 characters we wanted to see again came back in season 2. Those we wanted to play shown great battles in this season as well. Plus, there were newbies in Chihaya’s team, they were given enough time to shine and they did have fascinating stories told.
Tsukuba Akihiro, the hero in his little brothers’ eyes, a master in the second verse karuta game. He is definitely an eccentric character with his slanted eyes and weird gestures. But his love for the game and his want to be the role model for his younger siblings were a fun watch.
Hanano Sumire, the vain freshman who is so enamored with her senpai. She joined Mizusawa Karuta Club to be near the club’s president. But along the way, Sumire developed a love for the game. She may still be in denial but her actions showed otherwise.
Then there are our main characters – the original Mizusawa players. Each of them grew so much in character. Of course we all wanted them to win in their individual battles but no great lessons can be learned that way. At least this season they went home as the National Team Champions, beating the five-time Karuta team champion Fujisaki High.
And as much as I wanted to discuss Wataya Arata’s exemplary display of his one of a kind Karuta game, this season is actually all about Mashima Taichi. Season 2 showed how much Taichi grew stronger and his decision to breakaway from his mentor and develop his own sense of playing the game. His want to support Chihaya in her aspiration to be queen, Taichi unintentionally developed his own desire to become stronger, not necessarily to beat Arata or Chihaya but to be able to play in their level… to be able to play with them.
With that, I am ending this entry with a fanart.
Here’s Taichi’s favorite poem from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu:
Poem # 16:
Ariwara no Yukihira
Though we are parted,
If on Mount Inaba’s peak
I should hear the sound
Of the pine trees growing there,
I’ll come back again to you.
To be honest, I just decided to watch this anime because of the beautifully drawn characters. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the story, its characters and its main theme – Karuta.
Like most of Chihayafuru’s fans, I have no idea what Karuta was until Chihayafuru aired. According to the anime, it is a card game where speed, memorization and sharp listening skills are needed. It’s a one-on-one game where players are given a set of twenty five cards that they are to lay strategically in front of each other. They are to memorize the placements of the cards and once the first verse of each card is read, the players race against each other to tap, touch, or swipe away which card contains the second verse.
You think that’s easy? Well, the type of Karuta in the anime is Uta-garuta. Its cards contain waka (now called as tanka, English translation: Japanese poems) from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, which is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred poems by one hundred poets and was compiled by the scholar Fujiwara no Teika during his stay in the Ogura District of Kyoto, Japan between the 12th and 13th centuries. A waka is a five-line poem of thirty one syllables, arranged as 5-7-5-7-7. So, to be a Karuta player, one has to memorize all the poems in the said anthology. Most of all, one should be able to read hiragana because the poems are written in that manner.
Reading my simple explanation of the card game, do you think you’d be interested to watch this anime even without seeing what the lead characters look like? I personally would not be interested. My first thought when I read about this anime was, “I think this would be boring.” If I hadn’t seen the beautiful lead character, Ayase Chihaya, I would not have given this anime a shot. Thankfully, I saw her because if I didn’t, I might be having one of my greatest regrets right now. I might not have seen Wataya Arata, my current anime crush ♥