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Chihayafuru Episode #25 Anime Review

4 min read

The series draws to a close in a bit of an unusual yet surprisingly engaging way.

What They Say:
Everybody is shocked after hearing that Master Suo plays karuta with 28 one-syllable cards. Chihaya, Arata, Taichi, and the other karuta club members do some soul searching as they attempt to move forward.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the manga series still ongoing and at fifteen volumes, I certainly didn’t come into this series expecting a particular kind of ending, or for it to go on forever either. What I wanted out of the show once I got into how it wanted to tell its story and what kind of story it wanted to tell was something that would show growth. I was looking for the journey more than anything else and what I got throughout most of it was spot on in watching how Chihaya formed the club, achieved some of her goals and pushed through to win, win and win again. And then having several losses along the way as well. As good of a player as she is, she never came across as a super player, but rather the stone that needs a huge amount of tumbling in order to be properly polished. Watching that polishing going on is what made it exciting.

Which is why the previous episode and a good chunk of this one was harder to watch as it put the karuta club together to watch the big match being played on television and doing the same with Arata in his home. The two audiences that we bounce back and forth between brings us a lot of commentary about what they see and some interesting ways of tying it together, such as the visualization of Taichi and Arata playing. At the same time, watching the gang watch the match is something that isn’t exactly electrifying storytelling. It certainly has its place and you can see how it fits into the larger context of the original work, but it’s a surprising choice to provide with the anime at this stage of the game. But honestly, the anime incarnation of Chihayafuru has been kind of all over the place in how it presents itself so doing a series ender like this doesn’t surprise much.

Thankfully, it’s not all about watching the match, though that takes up some of the time and sets the mood at the start of the episode. When the show does focus on the karuta club as they play and practice together, it has a great and inspiring feeling about it, especially as Taichi really plays hard and uses what he knows to help raise his game. It’s an intense moment, mixed with the dialogue he has with Arata that points to the kind of awkward relationship the two have. There’s a lot to like with the two young men, but they are certainly secondary players to Chihaya herself as she’s dominated the series. Here though, it’s about the others for the majority of it and that’s a positive as we see how she changed and influenced them and how she binds them and drives them as well.

In Summary:
There were a lot of episodes in this series that I rated high and really enjoyed, which is why it’s a bit unfortunate that it ends with something of a mediocre note. But in its own way, it’s not really mediocre because it’s serving as a mid way break for things, the closing of a chapter and a taking stock moment without being obnoxious about it by doing a series of highlights and throwing it bluntly in your face. The cast across the board has gone through changes and the growth has been very strong when you follow the individual paths they all took. With its sense of closure here but also the opening feeling, Chihayafuru ends well for me as it goes back to the beginning in a wonderful way. Everything comes full circle here and it’s left me wanting to revisit the show already.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.