Mirroring the first season, a recap has entered the picture.
What They Say:
Chihaya Ayase has spent most of her life supporting her sister’s model career. When she meets a boy named Arata Wataya, he thinks Chihaya has potential to become a great karuta player. As Chihaya dreams of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends. Now in high school, Chihaya still plays karuta in the hope that she will one day meet her friends again.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Chihayafuru has had a fairly busy season so far with what it’s done in the first fifteen episodes as it’s brought in a few new characters, expanded the scope of the club in the eyes of Mizusawa and then shrunk again as the focus is just on playing the tournament matches themselves. The series is like a lot of “sports” shows in that it’s all about the competition, the unique nature of many players and the way the opposing sides go at each other with intensity, nervousness and hesitation before finding their right footing. Unlike a lot of the other sports series though, there’s a lack of really connecting with the other players, Megumi excepted, so there’s not a way to really get drawn into their stories. Which isn’t bad since the main cast here is fun to watch and there’s more than enough character drama to deal with, if it’s ever actually worked on.
One of the hallmarks of the series of course is the way that the matches are somewhat drawn out because of the tension between the players and the quirks we do see, most of which comes through the internal dialogue that is revealed for both sides. That helps a lot since we often just get the primary character’s point of view. But it also means that we can get a season that doesn’t have a lot of strong progress for a good chunk of time, which is what makes this episode difficult since it’s a recap and there really doesn’t feel like there’s a lot to cover. What makes it work, at least on some level, is that there are a few inserted comedy sequences along the way – sometimes using characters that don’t appear in the anime but are in the manga – and some quirky nods towards the actual events with some silly text added in to try and make you laugh. Which it does. But when all is said and done, it is just a recap episode overall.
You pretty much know what you get here when it comes to a recap, but it does sprinkle in some cute and fun bits along the way. Not anywhere near enough to make it worth watching in the end, but it left me smiling in places and I enjoyed revisiting certain aspects of the show. It’s focused entirely on the second season and brings everything back up to the present towards the end, but if you’ve followed the season, you’ll missing nothing here overall. If you’re reading and enjoying the manga, then you’ll like some of the quick references and appearances early on, but that’s about the extent of it overall.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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.