Monday, July 29, 2013

Chihayafuru Season 2 Review

Series: Chihayafuru 2 
Genre: Drama, Sports, Josei
Summary: Now in their second year of high school, Chihaya and her friends share all the fun and worries that come with welcoming underclassmen to the team as they face tough rival schools. The passion of the Mizusawa Karuta Club burns hotter than ever, but with the same refreshing, youthful mood carrying over from the first season.

I'm going to be writing this review in assumption that you, the readers, have already watched the first season of Chihayafuru. I dove into this second season with high expectations from the first, and *most* of those expectations were satisfied. We follow Chihaya and everyone else into another year of karuta, drama, and romance. This season explored new themes and served as a lovely follow up to the first.

Story: 9/10
Chihayafuru's story is mostly known for two things: romance and karuta. If you were looking forward to more romance between our three main characters this season, then I suggest you look somewhere else. This portion of the story has a huge chunk of karuta and focuses mainly on Chihaya and her friends' abilities, motives, rivals, and passion. While the romance may be minimal, the amount of drama and emotion has not changed a bit. The matches have gotten more intense, to the point where you feel the character's pain, pressure, and happiness. Each new enemy gives our team more experiences and lessons, making them stronger and stronger. The story for the second season lived up to the first and did well. 

Characters: 9.5/10
The characters of Chihayafuru make the show pleasant and fun to watch. They're portrayed in a way that makes you feel like they're your friend and all you want is the best for them. Chihaya, the main heroine, is the same as always: hyper, passionate, ambitious. This season we really see her grow as a karuta player and as a friend as she faces trials and challenges. Taichi, the first main hero, goes through development as well. A seemingly perfect boy with his own problems, we come to see him for what he truly is and wish for nothing but his happiness. And finally, Arata. Portrayed as a karuta prodigy but also a dear friend to Chihaya and Taichi. His relationship with these two is heavily explored upon and is very pleasant to watch. Overall, the characters in Chihayafuru are full of life, growth, and development.

Sound: 9/10
The sound effects and soundtrack for Chihayafuru 2 are incredibly breathtaking. The opening and closing songs are sweet and calming, matching the tone of the show. The music played throughout scenes and matches bring out the emotion even more, serving its purpose well while being a delightful treat for the ears. Every sound effect throughout the anime is spot on, from the heavy breathing to the whack of hands to the tatami mat. The sounds of Chihayafuru are beautiful and help tell the story even better than expected.

Animation: 9/10
Chihayafuru has a reputation for being an aesthetically beautiful anime, and its animation quality and colors help uphold this reputation. I can't describe it as anything else other than clean and beautiful. The small details, colors, shadings made me feel like I was watching a painting in motion rather than an anime. The quality was beautiful and the designs were fantastic. However, there were some scenes where the character designs looked sloppy and quickly done. Rather than that, most of the art in Chihayafuru 2 left a great impression on me.

Overall: 9.1/10
The animated sequel to Chihayafuru did justice to its predecessor. Although the main reason for the animation was to bring in more sales for the manga, it still gained high respect and a lot of good feedback. Mostly everything about the show was done in a way that compliments the themes of the story. It's unknown whether or not a third season will be made, but many (including me) hope so. 

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