Sparkles and flowers and more sparkles and…*cough*
Anyway, one of the anime I was highly anticipating to be good has arrived. No more floundering about in shounen nonsense, light novel dribble and Shana clones. The josei manga adaptation has come to save the day. So obviously that means we have something better that bloody Bakuman, right?
Well, almost better…
Prior to a new season, I like to check out the first chapters of the mangas of the newly airing series. For Chihayafuru I ended up reading 2 chapters because I didn’t feel like I got a sufficient enough grasp on what it was like from the first chapter alone. It was only after the second chapter that I came to the conclusion it was a girlier version of Hikaru no Go. Which is far from a bad thing. I haven’t seen the Hikaru no Go anime, but I’ve been collecting the manga and it’s a very solid series. But the first episode of Chihayafuru, like the first chapter of the manga, didn’t really give that impression. It didn’t leave much of an impression at all.
The anime did try to counter that problem that including the scene at the start of an older Chihaya trying to recruit members to the Karuta club. I guess what the thinking here is that the viewers will want to see how younger Chihaya got to the stage that she was so into Karuta that she tried to set up a club when she went to high school. I personally don’t think it works. Not quite sure why it doesn’t work, maybe we weren’t given enough time to care about the older Chihaya, but it feels like wasted time. I would have preferred they continued the first episode a bit further after their first game of Karuta together.
There’s still plenty of good signs here though. I liked how they depicted the young kid’s jealousy when Chihaya started paying attention to the transfer student, because that’s exactly what kids do. When they want attention, they start acting like dicks. Come to think of it, boys of any age do that, not just kids. Chihaya is a good female lead too, avoiding the common pitfalls of shojo leads by not being eternally nice to everyone while being just a touch ditzy…wait, actually that describes her character perfectly, but it’s not done in the same irritating way other shojo leads do it because she has some self-confidence. There’s definitely signs here of someone who knows how to write. It’s just the first episode didn’t really have enough in it to become engaging.
So, somehow, the first episode of the Bakuman sequel is still my favourite of the season.