Let’s dive right into Chihayafuru’s second episode. There was a whole lot I liked about the first episode, from the strong use of color to the generally sharp direction and very likable protagonist. There were also things I was a little less enamored with, like the fairly routine love triangle framing and the flash-forward dramatic structure. But the things I liked are things whose worth is immediately apparent, while the things I’m not sold on can easily justify and complicate themselves over time. This is already a fun show, and its reputation is pretty stellar. I don’t need to be convinced here – I’m happy to give it another episode. Let’s get to it!
Alright, let’s get started on Chihayafuru. I’ve had the show recommended to me a number of times, and even briefly started it a couple years back, but never really got into the meat of the drama. As far as I understand, it’s a combination of thrilling sports drama and shoujo-inflected love triangle shenanigans. I don’t actually have all that much experience with sports dramas, but the ones I’ve enjoyed (Girls und Panzer, Cross Game), I’ve really enjoyed. Setting up a kind of “fair,” parsable contest and then letting your characters clash in it is a natural recipe for impactful drama, something that smart shounen properties like Hunter x Hunter also understand. I’m also perfectly on board for romance, so pretty much the whole package here seems good to me. Let’s dive right in to the first episode!