It doesn’t happen nearly as much as I’d like (probably because of my fondness for kooky, off-the-wall anime), but every so often it seems the anime gods hear my prayers and bless me with more of one of my favourite shows. Hearing that Chihayafuru was getting its third season after six long, agonising years was one of those rare times. If you didn’t already know, Chihayafuru is an awesome series. This anime takes a sport that very few have heard of (and even fewer have played), karuta, and, through its characters’ passion for it, gets you invested in it too. Who knew that a card game with no magic, monsters, or ancient Egyptian gods could be so exciting? Not to mention that its characters are all perfect little cinnamon rolls! Thankfully, Chihayafuru’s third season is proving to be more than worth the wait and is helping to ensure that 2019 ends with a bang!
Here are some of the things that I’ve liked the most about Chihayafuru 3 so far…
Chihayafuru 3 is proving to be just as moving as its previous two seasons. Possibly because of my investment in its characters (which has, clearly, withstood the test of time), and possibly because my pre-holiday season fast has left me feeling fragile, but almost every episode so far has brought me close to tears! Seeing Desktomu struggle to live up to his own expectations, only for Kana’s words of encouragement to lift him up out of the mire? Yeah, that got me. Watching Chihaya, who has, hitherto, never shown an interest in anything aside from karuta and Daddy Bear, tearfully vow to become a highschool teacher just like her karuta club advisor, Ms Miyauchi? Yep, that got me too. This anime sure knows how to tug on the ol’ heart strings!
Chihayafuru 3 is turning out to be just as exciting as it is moving! Witnessing Chihaya go up against the former queen, Haruka Inokuma, who just so happens to be a mum successfully balancing her passion with parenthood (isn’t that amazing?), was edge-of-seat stuff! And I was chomping at the bit to see Taichi trash Sudo, who’s long been a thorn in the side of the Mizusawa Karuta Club. But, more exciting than either of these two matches, was Chihaya’s match with Taichi. Sure, they’d played hundreds of practice matches against each other, but this was the first time that they’d ever faced one another in an official tournament, and tensions were running high… Throughout the match Chihaya wrestled with her feelings for Taichi. In this moment was he her friend or her rival…? It was interesting to watch the back and forth going on inside her head. Taichi, meanwhile, was able to set aside his feelings for Chihaya to give the match his all, employing an effective yet uncharacteristically nasty strategy against his friend. Also prevalent throughout the match was this sense that everything they’d been through together had led them up to this moment. Witnessing Chihaya and Taichi reflect on their journey together and on their cumulative and individual growth gave this match so much emotional weight, it was insane!
Also exciting is the suggestion that, with this third season, the rivalry between Arata and Taichi, both of whom have strong feelings for Chihaya, may finally be coming to a head… Taichi was able to outlast Arata during their latest tournament, but will that be enough to capture Chihaya’s attention? Or does Arata’s statement, that Chihaya doesn’t belong to either of them, imply that he has a better understanding of Chihaya and her feelings? Chihaya, meanwhile, is just as clueless of the messy love triangle she’s involved in as ever!
With each new and fantastic episode of Chihayafuru 3 that comes out I thank my lucky stars that Chihaya is finally back!