What They Say:
Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata visit the local Shiranami Karuta Society and meet the chairman, Harada, and a member who’s their age, Kinashi Hiro (Retro-kun). When Harada sees them playing against Retro-kun in a team Genpei match, he realizes Chihaya’s talent and invites her to join. After Harada tells Chihaya that learning the poems is like making 100 new friends, she begins to realize her own dream.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first two episodes of the series, we got a decent introduction to the game of karuta and how Chihaya accidentally created a rivalry between Taichi and Arata without realizing what she did. It was cute since she was just trying to set things right, but what it also ended up doing was bringing the trio together in a different was as they now play karuta together. After seeing the way Arata plays the game so intently and with a certain kind of style you rarely see, they make for an interesting team that’s definitely competitive with each other. So when they went to a nearby karuta society in order to play and practice, they get their fair share of challenges.
They also get some real attention from one of the members who is also the chairman. Harada is the old school player who simply loves that there are new kids coming in to play and want to learn, players with such enthusiasm to them. It’s very cute to see how they make his eyes come alive when he sees them play and he gets into wanting to help them along some by suggesting they work together on an upcoming tournament that requires a team of three, but the players play individually against others. While Arata is obviously quite good, this means he has to work hard at training the other two which is definitely going to require a whole lot of effort on his part and even more on theirs.
Of course, life changes along the way and before anything can really come together, the team seems like it won’t have much of a life to it. Taichi may have to bow out because of where he’s going for school and Arata may have to return to Fukui because of the health of his grandfather. While the boys want to continue on, their lives are setting them in a way where they can’t. And with Chihaya having finally found something that really meant something to her, she feels like her dreams and inspirations are coming down all around her. Though she acts out in a childish way, it’s fairly appropriate for the age in the way it seems like the end of everything and she’s rightly dramatic about it. Maybe a touch over the top, but anyone who really remembers how they acted at that age or has kids that age will realize that it’s far more accurate than we may want it to be.
The bonds of friendship at a young age are temperamental things as they are based much more in the heat of the moment with emotions than anything else. Everything seems bigger and more important than it is and when you have some of the kids facing bigger issues in their lives, the importance of a game of karuta can take on even more significance. With their lives set to change with the end of the school year, and the desire of both of the boys to make Chihaya happy, the struggles are definitely personal ones and they act out in ways that are rather age appropriate, from keeping to themselves to being overtly emotional. There’s plenty to like here, but the show is starting to wear a little thin with the time spent in the past after teasing us about the present.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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