ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Anime Reviews: Chihayafuru 2

Updated on May 16, 2015

This logical and seamless continuation of Chihayafuru gives us more of what kept us enthralled in the first season, though its touch has weakened somewhat.

Title: Chihayafuru 2
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Production: Studio Madhouse
Series Length: 25 episodes
Air Dates: 1/11/2013 to 6/28/2013
Age Rating: 7+ (mild language)

Summary: With their first year of high school behind them, Chihaya and the rest of the Karuta Club have been given an ultimatum--in order to continue using their ideal clubroom without having to share it with the symphony orchestra, they must recruit at least 5 new members. While they get a flood of new members (mostly comprised of freshman girls falling for Taichi's good looks) and get to keep the clubroom, only two remain when the smoke clears: Sumire Hanano, a vain girl who sticks around because she yearns to be Taichi's girlfriend no matter the cost, and Akihiro Tsukuba, an eccentric young man from Hokkaido who played "Second Verse" karuta with his younger brothers all his life. As the club begins to train their new members--as well as hone their own skills--the karuta tournament season fast approaches, and Chihaya is especially motivated since Arata promised to make an appearance in the individual tournaments...

The Good: More of the same...
The Bad: More of the same...
The Ugly: More of the same...?

Okay, seriously, this shouldn't take too long. It's Chihayafuru. Again. And that is always a good thing. It's the same studio with the same cast and the same crew, so if you were (for some reason) expecting something different from this season...sorry? I guess? And now, let's take a look at the second season of Chihayafuru and how it measures up to the first, shall we?

Well, for one thing, the art and animation certainly didn't get worse over time. In that regard, this season is just as strong (if not stronger) than its predecessor, as the animators have come up with inventive ways to keep the visuals vibrant and interesting even when we've been in the same location for a long stretch of episodes. And as usual, major props to the 3D animators for keeping those karuta cards blended in with their backgrounds. Those effects really could have been jarring and off-putting, and when you get something like that right, you are a champion.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it's comprised mostly of the same tunes, give or take a few great new additions like "Karuta to Tomo ni." The new opener, "STAR," is pretty awesome at setting an exciting mood with its upbeat tempo and memorable hooks, though I cannot say in all honesty that it's as good as season one's "YOUTHFUL" was. As for the new ending theme, "Akane Sora," I can easily say it pales in comparison to its season one predecessor. That doesn't make it a bad song, though (it is quite pleasant), but it's just not as powerful as "Soshite Ima" was. Oh, well. It could be worse, though; we could've gotten songs that actually weren't good!

And before you ask, the voice acting was just as great as before, if not better due to the new characters added to the mix. All I can say is that I can't wait for this series to finally get an English release so that I can fanboy over the A-tier team they inevitably assign to it.

When it comes to the story and characters, it's a bit of a two-way street--in some ways, this season has greatly improved, but in others, it's taken a step backwards. One of the better ideas was to expand the cast a little bit, to have more personalities to clash or coordinate with. The addition of Akihiro and Sumire to the team creates for a plethora of new comedy bits as well as new conflicts and greater character drama, so that's clearly a check in the Positives column. The story also dives headlong into the competitive karuta tournaments, keeping the heart-racing card-reading action (...did I seriously just string those words together?) constant, intense, and always entertaining. In fact, there are even times where some manly tears were required to be shed, and you know you're sucked into a narrative when manly tears are shed.

However, it must be said that if you're more into Chihayafuru's non-karuta-match scenes, this season will leave you out to dry, because after the characters get to the Omi Jingu cultural center for the high school tournaments (around episode 7 or 8), you will remain there until the final episode. There is a lot of karuta happening in this season, and if that didn't tickle your fancy in season one, you might want to rethink your decision to soldier onward. Now, with that said, I will also say that I was one of those people bothered by the heavy focus on the matches, but then the manly tears were conjured up and it no longer was a problem. It may seem like they neglect the characters, but you'll realize they were just developing them in more subtle ways than you probably could perceive.

Now, with that said that I've said that that was said, I do have to complain a bit about the weakened focus on the main trio of Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata. I mean, it's awesome that my favorite characters (Kana and Tsukue/Desktomu, but especially Kana), as well as the many wonderful side characters, got some great development, but I couldn't help but feel like our main characters got placed on the back burner. Not a major gripe, but it was vexing.

And finally, just like season one, there are just too many times where the series just takes itself too seriously. I mean, I get that karuta is tough mentally and physically and there's a lot of strategy involved, but some matches are flat-out ridiculous in how melodramatic they become. The inner monologues become so existential and life-altering that I was taken right out of the action on several occasions, and I was begging and pleading for the series to have some comic relief (gogo Sudo!) to bring the scene back down to earth. Dear God.

But hey, I still had fun, and I still really want to see where this story goes, and I still love the characters dearly, and that's the most important thing. A nitpick here and there might be warranted, but Chihayafuru 2 mostly lives up to the standards set by its first season, and if that's not a deal-settling compliment, I don't know what is. All I can say at this point is: Where's my season three, Studio Madhouse?!

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10. While the writing is noticeably weaker than in its previous season, Chihayafuru 2 provides more of the gripping character drama and light-hearted comedy that kept us coming back for more.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RMM19 profile image

      Rey-Mar Macate 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      It definitely was more of the same. But then again, that was really what people wanted.

      More Taichi is always awesome.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)