Chihayafuru – 06

[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.19_[2011.11.08_16.02.21] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.17_[2011.11.08_16.03.20] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.53_[2011.11.08_16.16.55]

If you were worried that Chihayafuru was getting a little too melodramatic after episode 5, this week’s effort should be a welcome change.  It’s a return to the innocent, childlike exuberance of the first three episodes – and damned if it didn’t actually get me interested in Karuta a little bit, too.

I really have nothing but praise for this ep, so apologies in advance if you’re looking for criticism.  I know this style of series isn’t going to be for everyone, but I love stories that look at the remarkable exuberance teenagers are capable of without ignoring the emotional roller-coaster adolescence can be.  Other than the one GIANT ARATA FLAG at the very end, the bigger issues of relationships were set aside and the story turned to the wonders of the everyday, as Chihaya and Taichi struggle to get their Karuta club started.  We’ve certainly seen the club-founding saga played out many times before in anime, but this was an awfully entertaining rendition of a familiar old song.

Much of the narrative focus of the episode centered on the girl we briefly met at the close of 05, Kanade Oe (Kayano Ai – very, very busy at the moment).  She’s a spark plug of a first-year student, a member of the archery club and a lover of old books.  Problem for Oe is, she’s not interested in archery or athletics – she just likes wearing the hakama, the traditional leggings archery club members (and kendo members, and Miko) wear.  Turns out her parents run a traditional clothing store and Oe is a hard-core traditional attire otaku.  She’s also a lover of all things traditional, including old poems and the story behind them.

Kanade is a wonderful additional to the cast, not just for her relentless energy and unapologetic geekiness but because she’s able to cast the by-now familiar – to us, and even more so to to Chihaya – game of Karuta in a new light.  Yes, she only wants to play if she can wear the hakama during matches, but she also loves the poems themselves and the stories behind them.  To her the hundred poems are living pieces of Japanese history, each with their own backstory and subtle interpretations.  While Taichi feels this esoteric approach is ill-suited to playing the game competitively, Chihaya soon finds that a knowledge of the poems themselves and not just their opening syllables is crucial to getting better at Karuta.  In a wonderfully written visit to Kanade’s family shop, she gives Chihaya a lesson in the history behind the hundred poems.

In this way, Chihaya finds she can do what Arata told her she should – “become friends with the cards”.  She also hears an interpretation of her own “Chihaya Full” poem that differs from her own literal one, that it referred to beautiful scenery.  Kanade’s reading is much deeper and more emotionally profound, that it was a poem written as an ode to a beautiful but unattainable woman, with the adoration disguised as praise for the delights of a natural setting.  Of course it was Arata who brought this poem to Chihaya’s attention and decided that it “belonged” to her , so you can interpret all this in a number of ways – in any event, it’s certainly significant.  Taichi asks Chihaya quite rightly if she’s serious about coming a Karuta Queen – her motives for forming the club and pursuing Karuta are critical factors, not least to him.  Taichi’s quite pleased to have the “club” just be the two of them, but does she really want to get better at the game, or is she using Karuta as a way to pursue Arata?

In any event it was lovely to see the different ways each kid sees the sport: Taichi hasn’t played much and his skills are rusty, but he clearly has a detached and strategic sense for the game, easily identifying Chihaya’s weakness after one match.  Chihaya relies on her senses and pure instinct, willing herself to succeed through her sheer passion – the same passion with which she tackles life, pulling boys off moving bicycles and running headlong into glass doors.  And Kana-chan loves the game for what it represents – a bridge to a past she sees as precious and worth preserving, even if it causes her to be mocked as having been “born in the wrong age”.  And then there’s Arata, who’s love of the sport is inexorably linked to love of his family and died when that love became too painful.  Is his love for Chihaya and even friendship with Taichi enough to rekindle his love for Karuta?  All signs point to yes.

It’s easy to overlook when this series is overshadowed by flashier and more popular visual feasts like Fate/Zero and Guilty Crown, but Chihayafuru is a truly gorgeous series.  Every character design is distinctive and expressive, Kanade being no exception.  The landscapes and interiors feel rich and alive.  And I love the way the flashbacks and mental images are woven into the look of the show, lovely images of Chihaya as a catalogue model and of ancient princes and shoji screens, and imagined visages of feared school advisors.  It all creates a distinctive look that’s totally won me over.

[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.55_[2011.11.08_16.04.57] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.01_[2011.11.08_16.09.03] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.15_[2011.11.08_16.09.17]
[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.49_[2011.11.08_16.11.51] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.32_[2011.11.08_16.12.34] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.41_[2011.11.08_16.12.43]
[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.31_[2011.11.08_16.14.34] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.45_[2011.11.08_16.14.48] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.55_[2011.11.08_16.15.58]
[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.28_[2011.11.08_16.16.30] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.41_[2011.11.08_16.16.44] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.50_[2011.11.08_16.16.52]
[HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.53_[2011.11.08_16.17.55] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.01_[2011.11.08_16.18.03] [HorribleSubs] Chihayafuru - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.21_[2011.11.08_16.18.23]


  1. F

    *walks in carrying a sign*

    *looks around*

    *plants sign in ground*


    *walks away*

    (no seriously, the show basically handed this to me, I'd have goggled her anyway, but come on, Lillies? Really? At least make it hard for me)

  2. T

    Well, it's settled. I only had a couple of concerns for this series. One of which was what it would be like quality-wise once it started to settle into a bit of a rhythm. It's started to do so now, methinks, and it's just as great as it's ever been. My other concern was whether or not the supporting cast would be able to pull their weight compared to the main three, and so far yes oh yes she can.

    I'm kind of in love with this series by now. Even more so than any of the other fantastic shows airing this season.

  3. m

    I am enamored with this show, and especially with this episode. It did a wonderful job of showing another side to karuta, one of which is more familiar to me as a student and sometimes teacher of literature. Like you note, the understanding of the meaning behind each poem is invaluable to Chihaya's growth, and will most likely help Taichi and Kana-chan improve…if Taichi is interested, that is. It seems like so many young students these days are completely disinterested in poetry, both old and modern. They often become even more so when asked to think critically about them :p

    I also admit to giggling every time a character is surrounded by a screen of blossoming flowers; it satisfies my shoujo craving!

  4. E

    Since the end of last week … I was SO beyond ready to hate Kana's guts! I caught one glimpse of the cute pigtails, hakama and ample bosom and I was like this chick needs to GO, can't have anyone treading on our hallowed Arata-Chihaya-Taichi grounds! But of course, because this show is absolutely amazing, by the end of this episode I was in love with Kana-chan and her earnest, steadfast nature as well.

    I swear I've NEVER watched an anime that was so adept at endearing the viewer to each character. Especially the girls – well aside from big-sis, still can't seem to like her … I'd even go as far as to say that Chihaya is the strongest and most likeable female lead I've seen in a manga/anime and so far it seems the supporting cast will be just as awesome.

    I'm really looking forward to next week and hopefully getting some insight on Arata returning to Karuta … and then to school w/Chihaya & Taichi … *sighs* lol I can dream right.

  5. Chihaya, for me, is very much a better-written and more endearing version of Ohana. But I do like every character here, and Kana was a great addition.

  6. D


    LEARN 100+ POEMS

    For people like me who understand japanese
    go here

    and for those who just want to search:

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck

  7. Thank you, Dragonite.

  8. S

    The GIANT ARATA FLAG doesn't bode too well for team Taichi 😛

  9. No, Team Arata took a huge step forward this week even though he was in the ep for 5 seconds.

    I still think "Chihaya x Karuta" is the single most likely ending. But don't forget, we're talking about an ongoing manga – so if there's a real ending, it will be anime-original.

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