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Film Friday- Chihayafuru

Film Friday- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love magazine since December 2007. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. A 25-episode anime television series adaptation aired from October 2011 to March 2012. A 25-episode second season aired from January to June 2013. A 24-episode third season premiered in October 2019. Three live action film adaptations were released from 2016 to 2018.

The manga has won the Manga Taishō and the Kodansha Manga Award. Since its fourth volume was released in March 2009, it has regularly appeared on the Japanese Comic Ranking chart, and in 2016 was estimated to have over 16 million copies in print. Its popularity has boosted the profile of competitive karuta in Japan.

Anime

A 25-episode anime television series adaptation, produced by the studio Madhouse under the direction of Morio Asaka, aired on Nippon Television from 4 October 2011 to 27 March 2012. The screenplay was written by Naoya Takayama and character designs were by Kunihiko Hamada. The music was composed by Kousuke Yamashita, and the sound director is Masafumi Mima of Techno Sound. The series was simulcast by Crunchyroll. Animax Asia aired an English version of the anime from 13 February to 18 March 2013. The series was released in nine DVD and Blu-ray Disc volumes from 21 December 2011 to 22 August 2012. A Blu-ray Disc box set was released on 18 July 2013.

A second 25-episode season, Chihayafuru 2, aired on Nippon Television between 11 January and 28 June 2013, and was simulcast by Crunchyroll. An original video animation episode was released on DVD bundled with the special edition of the 22nd manga volume on 13 September 2013.

A 24-episode third season was originally announced to premiere on Nippon Television’s AnichU block in April 2019, with the main cast and staff reprising their roles, but was delayed and aired from 22 October 2019 to 24 March 2020.

Sentai Filmworks licensed the first two seasons of the anime series for home video release in North America. The series’ first episode premiered with English subtitles on the Hidive streaming service on 15 June 2017. Sentai Filmworks’ dub is streamed by Hidive starting from 29 August 2017. The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 12 September 2017. In December 2019, Sentai Filmworks announced that they had licensed the series’ third season.

The first season’s opening and ending themes are “Youthful” by 99RadioService and “Soshite Ima” by Asami Seto respectively. 99RadioService released “Youthful” as a single on 30 November 2011. The original soundtrack with character song albums was released in two volumes on 18 January and 28 March 2012. The second season’s opening and ending themes are “Star” by 99RadioService and “Akane Sora” by Seto. The third season’s opening and ending themes are “Colorful” by 99RadioService and “Hitomebore” by Band Harassment.

Other

Kodansha released several guidebooks for the series, with the first released on 9 November 2011. It provided a study guide for the poetry and background for the story.

A 4-volume novel series, Chihayafuru: Chūgakusei-hen, was published by Kodansha under their KC Deluxe imprint between 9 September 2012, and 13 December 2013. The books were written by Yui Tokiumi and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu and follow the middle-school years of the three protagonists. A manga adapting the novels, written by Tokiumi and illustrated by Oto Tooda, was published in Be Love from 13 October 2017 to 1 November 2018 and compiled into three volumes.

On 11 April 2015, it was reported that the series would be adapted into a live-action film. A live action film adaptation titled Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku was released on 19 March 2016, with a second film, Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku, released on 29 April 2016. Starting on 20 February 2018, five webisodes titled Chihayafuru: Tsunagu were aired on Hulu Japan. Chihayafuru: Musubi, a third and final feature length film in the trilogy, was released on 17 March 2018.

A 3-volume novelization of the films, Eiga Chihayafuru, was published by Kodansha under their KC Deluxe imprint. The first two volumes were released on 11 March 2016 and the third on 13 February 2018. The books were written by Yui Tokiumi, based on screenplay by Norihiro Koizumi.

Another 3-volume novelization of the films by Yūki Arisawa, Shōsetsu Chihayafuru, was published by Kodansha under their Kodansha Bunko imprint in 2018. The first two volumes were released on 16 January and the third on 15 February.

Chihaya Ayase 
A determined high school girl who was inspired by Arata in elementary school to play karuta and to dream of becoming the “Queen” of karuta. She begins a karuta club at her high school with Taichi. She is first introduced to competitive karuta by her childhood friend, Arata. Karuta has remained as Chihaya’s passion despite being separated from Arata. She has an exceptional hearing ability that gives her an advantage in playing karuta. While she is beautiful, she is considered too weird, her classmates referring to her as a “beauty in vain”. She is crazy about karuta (her friends calls her “karuta baka”), to the point that she can be oblivious to other people’s feelings. Chihaya is the captain of Mizusawa Karuta Club. She works very hard at improving her karuta skills, and reaches Class A near the beginning of the series. She is a strong, passionate person who loves karuta and is dedicated to her teammates and friends. Chihaya shares a strong bond of trust and friendship with Taichi and appreciates his skill in leading the club, though oblivious towards his feelings for her. Chihaya cares deeply for Arata, despite their long-distance relationship. While on the telephone with Arata, she realizes that she will always love him and karuta.
Taichi Mashima 
A good-looking, all-rounded sportsman and Chihaya’s childhood best friend. His mother is very strict with him, telling him that he should stick to activities he can win at. He seems to have feelings for Chihaya although he had a girlfriend at the beginning, and is jealous of her feelings for Arata. Taichi is the president of Mizusawa Karuta Club. He is a talented student and an athlete, at the beginning of the series he claims to have outgrown ‘karuta’, but then, after watching Chihaya excelling and obviously having fun, he decides to help her form a karuta club. He has good analytical skills and a good memory when playing karuta, but he has very bad luck. Due to this, he ends up staying in Class B longer than supposed to. He has been in love with Chihaya ever since childhood (and eventually realizes his feelings) but never confessed to her. When Sumire tried to confess to Taichi, he tells her that he would rather have a relationship with the girl he loves than with a girl who loves him, indirectly indicating Chihaya. He cares for her very deeply, being there for her every time Chihaya gets upset or sad. He has serious character to make up for Chihaya’s comical character. As a child, Taichi was a rich, spoiled child and disliked Arata, making fun of him for being poor, but as soon as he, Chihaya, and Arata started to play Karuta together, they became friends. In love, Taichi still views Arata as his enemy.
Arata Wataya 
was a transfer student to Chihaya’s elementary school, grandchild of an eternal master karuta player, Arata inspires Chihaya to take up karuta. He has difficulty fitting in at Chihaya’s elementary school because of his Fukui dialect and passion for karuta, but Chihaya befriends him. His dream is to become a karuta Meijin. After graduating elementary school, he returns to Fukui to care for his grandfather. After returning to Fukui, he quits karuta because his grandfather died while Arata was competing in a karuta tournament to rise to A-rank. However, after Chihaya and Taichi visit him in Fukui, he regains his resolve to play competitive karuta again. He has beaten “The Queen” Shinobu Wakamiya and is aiming to beat “Master” Hishashi Suo to claim the position of “Master”. Arata cherishes his friendship with both Chihaya and Taichi, albeit romantically to Chihaya. Later in the manga, Arata confesses his love to Chihaya, also informing her of his move back to Tokyo. Arata then excuses himself, leaving Chihaya flustered and speechless.

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love magazine since December 2007. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. A 25-episode anime television series adaptation aired from October 2011 to March 2012. A 25-episode second season aired from January to June 2013. A 24-episode third season premiered in October 2019. Three live action film adaptations were released from 2016 to 2018.

The manga has won the Manga Taishō and the Kodansha Manga Award. Since its fourth volume was released in March 2009, it has regularly appeared on the Japanese Comic Ranking chart, and in 2016 was estimated to have over 16 million copies in print. Its popularity has boosted the profile of competitive karuta in Japan.

Manga

The manga has been serialized in Be Love since 2007, and has been collected by Kodansha into 44 tankōbon volumes as of May 2020. According to the author, the manga was close to ending in late 2019. Kodansha has also published the first three volumes in a two-volume bilingual edition, with English translations by Stuart Varnam Atkin and Yōko Toyozaki. On 14 February 2017, Kodansha Comics began publishing a digital edition of the series in English; 20 volumes have been released as of June 2020. The manga is licensed in French by Pika Édition, in Korean by Haksan Culture Company, in Taiwanese by Tong Li Publishing, and in Thai by Bongkoch Publishing.

Reception

Chihayafuru won the second Manga Taishō award, and the 35th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōjo manga category. When Chihayafuru won the Manga Taishō award, it was commented that the series combines elements of the sport genre and literary elements with a discerning eye on the subject matter. The manga had sold over 16 million copies in Japan as the first half of 2016, and its popularity has boosted the popularity of competitive karuta. The manga has regularly appeared on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking chart. Between March 2009 and September 2011, the fourth through fourteenth volumes all appeared in the top 25 during the week of their release and the week after.

Among North American reviewers, Gia Manry, writing about the first episode of Chihayafuru, felt that despite the animators’ efforts, karuta seemed boring, and criticised the overuse of CG sakura, describing it as a “mixed bag” of an anime. Bamboo Dong says that Chihaya’s passion and characterisation make karuta interesting. Carlo Santos felt that the series was the “first genuinely good show of the season”, citing its characterisation, unusual subject, and polish of the first episode. Marcus Speer enjoyed the production values of the first episode, but felt that the theme songs were “standard fare”. He was intrigued by how the characters’ childhood impacted on their present interactions. Theron Martin appreciated the focus on the characters rather than the game, feeling that while the teenage Chihaya seemed “gimmicky”, her younger self was “quite likable”. Chris Beveridge praised the tension shown between Arata and Taichi in the second episode’s karuta match. Theron Martin felt the second episode’s karuta tournament was tense and compelling, and that despite the plot unfolding in a predictable fashion, the execution made this forgivable.

Crunchyroll’s editorial team chose Chihayafuru as one of the best anime of the 2010s decade and writer Humberto Saabedra commented, “You might expect such a series to be dry and uninteresting, but Chihaya’s journey from bright-eyed freshman player to wiser and well-practiced is why the series shines”. Writing for Forbes, Lauren Orsini considered it to be one of the five best anime of 2011; she wrote, “Even Western viewers will quickly become invested in the fast-paced drama of competitive karuta“.

Development

An Edo period karuta card with the Kami no Ku, or “upper phrase” from the Chihayaburu Tanka and the attribution to “Ariwara no Narihira Ason” written on it. The name of the series comes from this Heian Era poem.

Yuki Suetsugu belonged to a karuta club in high school and feels that the school years are a period of a person’s life where “you can dedicate the most genuine part of yourself to something.” The name of the series is a poetic Makurakotoba, or pillow word, and comes from the first five syllables of the seventeenth poem in the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology, a collection of 100 poems which are printed on the karuta cards. In this poem chihayaburu is used as an epithet to kami and can be translated into English as “shaken in fury” and “swift in fury”, according to Edwin A. Cranston, or “awesome”, as offered by Joshua S. Mostow.

Plot

Chihaya Ayase is a girl who has spent most of her life simply supporting her sister in her model career. That changes when she meets a boy named Arata Wataya, a talented karuta player. After becoming friends, he believes that Chihaya has potential to become a great player. As Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends as they grow up. Now in high school, Chihaya is reunited with her childhood friend, Taichi Mashima. Together, they form the Mizusawa Karuta Club. With her teammates and friends supporting her, Chihaya strives to become the best karuta player in the world and to one day be with Arata again.