21 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Chihayafuru episode 1

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.

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  1. Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    You’re so wrong rawr rawr rawr!

    Shoujo Hikaru no Go is exactly how I would describe it, but that’s what makes it great. The sympathetic leads, the passion for their favorite game, the beautiful production, something that’s this straightforward, wholesome, and charming without a hint of winking otaku tribute made me squeal like a teenage fangirl.

    But the great thing is, it is about otaku. They’re otaku for an obscure poem-matching card game, struggling to pursue their passion through a disdainful public glare. It’s about finding friendship and love, adventure and personal growth through a shared hobby, which is what all great shonen/sports/anything series are about at their core. I’m probably unfairly projecting my desires of what I want from this anime season onto Chihayafuru, but this episode gave me something I could believe in again.

    • Ando
      Posted October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Hyakunin-isshu isn’t particularly obscure, it’s just very traditional. It’s one of those games you only play at New Years when you visit your Gran’s house.

  2. Marow
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    “So, some­how, the first epis­ode of the Bak­u­man sequel is still my favour­ite of the season.”

    Same here, out of the few shows I have watched. Let’s hope that Future Diary and Guilty Crown will be good. It can’t be bad. Right? Right?! ;-;

  3. romulus
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    So it’s not shit then. Personally I like the typical josei beginning when we got a piece of where the story will go later on so let me include it to the ‘good writing’ you mentioned.

    *begins download*

    If ep2 leaves a bigger impact than Ika Musume (which is aimed for being memorable while this isn’t) then I drop it. New ika sucks.

    • Hanamaru
      Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      I agree the new Ika sucks. The first season was a funny but average anime. It gave you a few laughs but wasn’t very memorable. This season they are relying on Ika’s “cuteness” to carry the plot. Sorry to say she isn’t that cute, she’s just socially inept. It really doesn’t work.

      • Scamp
        Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        The second episode of Squid Girl made me laugh quite a lot, although maybe I was just in a really good mood when I watched it or something

  4. luffyluffy
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    So, Yu-gi-oh for girls but with a card game I can’t buy collectible cards for and probably can’t learn the rules.


    • Posted October 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      The rules are pretty easy. Learn some poems, hear one saying the first part of the poem, smash the card with the end of the poem away as fabulous~ as possible.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Oh, that game they played in Higurashi?

        It even sounds like a geezer game.

      • Scamp
        Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Because the rules to the Yu Gi Oh card game are soooo easy to learn =P

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        It was easy back in my day!

        *shakes fist*

  5. Posted October 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you that the first episode didn’t quite work. I mean, I did like the storytelling but the present-day-parts of it didn’t seem to lead anywhere and I felt like the first episode could’ve lived very good without all the present-day stuff and could’ve just started with the past since the present-day didn’t contribute much to the story besides giving a starting point for something to happen but in the end never progressed in any way beyond that point. The past-parts seemed far better in comparison to that as it described Chiha’s motivation and how Karuta became important for her. Considering how the present-day-stuff didn’t seem to lead anywhere I think Chihayafuru would’ve been one of the series that actually would’ve needed a double-episode to get a really good start.

    And I have no idea how a kid could learn to like a game like Karuta. It seems like a game for old geezers who have the time and patience to learn one hundred poems and train their memory by recalling them faster than their opponent. And the way the glasses-guy throws the cards around passionately… my god, he’s supposed to pick them up and not use them like they are ninja-shuriken! How would he develop such a strange habit anyway…?!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Looooooooooooong opening sentence you have there

      • Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        But it’s long, isn’t it? If nothing else, at least it’s loooong. Just treat it as a protest against twitter ;) . Not that I have anything against twitter but I like to write long sentences and that somehow means that I’m a natural enemy of twitter. It just doesn’t want you to write long sentences, it doesn’t even let you publish your thoughts if it’s a long sentence.

  6. Posted October 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    “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.”

    She also kicks a bunch of people, which helps.

  7. Posted October 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    For people writing that the present day portion of the episode “didn’t lead anywhere”, you do realize there are 24 more episodes to this show?

    • Posted October 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      I meant that it isn’t really clear why it needed to be in the first episode when the story doesn’t really do anything with that element besides showing the state of it. This part felt like only one half of what’s needed to see the point of it.

  8. Hoodling
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    will you be doing a first impression of the persona 4 anime? i realise you probably aren’t expecting much of it, i just want to here what a non-fan thinks of it.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Pretty sure he does one of nearly everything.

      But he’ll hate it because he hates video game adaptations

  9. Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    O RLY?

  10. Fundefined
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I have to comment on how damn good the background music was. My ears were in perpetual state of orgasm during the flashback sequence.

    I’m really interested in this card game. Now if they would only release an anime on quiz bowls or debate; I’m looking at you 703x.

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