It’s time for more Chihayafuru! Episode two led us to the founding of Chihaya, Taichi, and Wataya’s original friendship, after Taichi’s jealousy resulted in a pretty tumultuous sixth grade karuta tournament. The episode did solid work for both Taichi and Wataya’s characters, while also offering plenty of sunny Chihaya spirit to counterbalance her alternately gloomy and vengeful friends. The show hasn’t really hit a propulsive stride yet, but it’s still an enjoyable and generally well-realized production. Let’s see what episode three brings!
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!