Posted by psgels on 20 March 2012 with categories: Chihayafuru

Shock! Gasp! Surprise! A major character actually put on weight!? In anime where characters always need to look perfect!?

I mean, once in a while we get overweight side characters here and there, like Nishida in this series. But the main antagonist? It’s really been a while since we had one of those, let alone characters whose physique changes so drastically. Of course it’s a bit exaggerated here, but this was nevertheless a really interesting twist.

Heck, I’m really baffled here. Ever since the show was announced, I’ve been dreading this moment: the ending, knowing that there was no way for this show to end well. And here, this show actually pulls off a stunning penultimate episode.

I don’t care about wrapping things up, but for me an ending needs to take the series, its themes, characters and push them even further. So yeah, the actual king and queen match are a great way for this show to close off. This really goes against all conventions. I really was expecting this show ending with Chihaya playing some random match, as is the norm with all other sports shows. And instead, this episode was completely different, yet completely in line with the rest of the series. It shows the level that Chihaya has yet to reach: a match between two players of actual Queen material. She played them both, but actually watching the two of them play taught her how much she still needs to grow. Shinobu blew her away in the first match, but in this episode she really became human. And again we’ve got another top player who becomes a bit weaker (yet much more intriguing) due to some imperfection or laziness.

I really admire the guts of the creators to not have this episode revolve around Chihaya (like the entire rest of the series), but instead put two side-characters into the spotlights. These kinds of creative twists are some that I can really appreciate, especially when the characters in question are so damn good. Chihaya herself also had a great place in this episode so she still is the main character here.

Now, I have a message to the next episode: end with an ACTUAL ending. I don’t want to see a sequel hook, or the feeling that there still is going to be some sort of next episode or something. It’s obvious that this show isn’t going to get a sequel, now make use of that! What I want is “here is an awesome and creative climax that pushes the characters to new levels!” not “thanks for watching and let’s hope that someday we can tell the rest of this story…” This show deserves it!
Rating: *** (Awesome)

21 Responses

  1. jzar says:

    I so totally agree. I hope it plays out just as you suggested. It was amazing how the two side characters were able to be very exciting to watch. Great job on the writing for this show…every step of production was so very well done. Let’s pray for that great finish.

  2. kero says:

    Final episode next week, ;_;.

    It’s amazing how Chihayafuru still manages to pack so much tension and excitement with only two episodes to go, I thought we were winding down here?

    I loved the background story behind Shinobu, it really adds something to her character, and that bit with Yumin and her club was touching

    “operation who gives a damn about broadcasting schedule” FTW!

    And even though all the cast was doing was watching TV together, ahh the return of the demon mother, and just the little things like a throw back to the last time Chihaya came to the house, makes it feel like a continuation rather than a random tacked on idea.

    And then.. the introduction of a NEW character. I’m already intrigued by him.

    I want to see a second season sooooo baaaadd.

  3. ronbb says:

    Great review. I enjoyed every bit of this penultimate – the twist, the writing, the pacing, the production… The weaving of scenes together – from Taichi’s bedroom to the actual tournament to the flashback – is done well. I also like the zoom in of Yumin’s face – the change of her expressions adds so much to creating the touchy moment…kinda of echoing the Hiroshi-Harada scene last week.

  4. RM says:

    “I mean, once in a while we get overweight side characters here and there, like Nishida in this series. But the main antagonist?”

    No!!!! What happened to my iron blooded, hot-blooded, cold-blooded Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade?! Chihaya just couldn’t stand another character being cuter than her. Poor Shinobu.

  5. Machi says:

    Wow looks like Shinobu took the Häagen-Daz diet as prescribed by Otae from Gintama XD – kudos to those who get this reference.

  6. jreding says:

    I cried when I saw how Shinobu has changed. Her kimono was awesome, though.

  7. RABUJOI says:

    This series has been operating under the assumption that there could be a sequel. I don’t want a sequel. On that note, Bakuman’s story could have been told in a standard 26-episode series. It didn’t need a second season, and it certainly doesn’t need a third.

    At the beginning of Chihayafuru, there was a sense that something was going to come full circle; that one way or another Chihaya was going to achieve her goal of becoming queen. There was no indication she would choose Arata or Taichi – and there still isn’t. But even if there was no romantic resolution, we were expecting her to rise to the top.

    Instead, she failed, and in this episode, all she can do is watch from the sidelines as two other girls face off for the crown we thought would end up being hers. We don’t begrudge this direction one bit, but there is something a little anticlimactic and inherently unsatisfying in leaving the main trio of characters hanging in the end, and instead focusing on two characters outside of the core cast (albeit good ones).

    I too hope the ending wraps something, anything up, and doesn’t tease a sequel that may or may not happen (but in any case shouldn’t be necessary). But realistically, we still have the last Master game to watch, and even if that’s resolved in the first minutes, it will be hard to pull of an ending that doesn’t feel rushed.

    • Kim says:

      Chihayafuru is based on an ongoing manga. Damn right I want a sequel.

      The reason why the story doesn’t feel conclusive and why Chihaya has not reached her goal yet is because there is more story to tell.

      Keep in mind that this series was made for a Japanese audience. This same audience can buy the manga and see how the story finishes (which I am sure is the hope of the manga publishers). It certainly sucks for us but we are not the target audience here. We can only hope for the manga to be licensed or for more anime to be produced so we can see how things end for Chihaya and co.

      • hikaru says:

        Kodansha is releasing bilingual versions of Chihayafuru =) I bought the first volume, it’s great! The second one is out already as well. So if we buy it then they (hopefully) will continue publishing and eventually the bilingual editions will catch up to the end of the anime ^__^

  8. Pascal says:

    There’s also Area no Kishi this season, where one of the main characters gains a ton of weight, loses it, and gains it again- all in the course of a few months, I think.

  9. Armpit says:

    Araki from Area no Kishi lost like a 100 pounds, but it wasn’t over a few months , it happened in like a week. Area no Kishi is a shonen though thus its not going to be realistic at all. Chiha should be more realistic than a shonen.

    And good luck if you are waiting on a second season for this. Just don’t hold your breath too long.

  10. Left says:

    This is the limitations of adaptations. We get so much more about the Queen and the Meijin in the manga, especially her hostility towards him and (spoiler) her implied connection to Arata. But I guess including those parts would have squeezed in too much. I really don’t understand what these companies are thinking when they renew shows for another season.

  11. Armpit says:

    It’s all about money left. Being a shoujo already puts it at a disadvantage to begin with. Either the anime needs to drastically increase sales of the manga , or they need to sell a boatload of dvd’s. Ratings don’t matter too much in the case of shoujos since they 10th most popular shonen will still get better tv ratings.

    And it blows. Because 15 and under japanese boys will have little interest in this , we most likely will never get another season , even though they did a brilliant job with the anime , and it also has good source material.

    And that’s the problem with niche shojo like this. If it were a magical girl shojo or something like that then it would also appeal to a bunch of the young japanese males.

  12. JR says:

    “I mean, once in a while we get overweight side characters here and there, like Nishida in this series. But the main antagonist?”

    Um, isn’t that one of the oldest tricks in the book for female antagonists? Oh look she got all ugly and fat ha ha ha the protag is now so much prettier than her! Validation!

    Shinobu putting on weight seems pretty cheap to me, not praiseworthy.

    • kero says:

      It doesn’t come across as being like that. She got fat, but she’s still got skills! It’s not like she got fat and failed?

      Couple with the fact that we get her background story at the same time, which made her seem more of a well rounded character, I don’t feel like it was done as a way to contrast her looks with Chihaya, to make Chihaya seem better.

      I love that Shinobu doesn’t give a damn about her looks. Her comment about ‘oh it’s not the kimono that got heavy, it made you see how *little* she cared for her own appearance.

      • Left says:

        I agree. In the manga, we get scenes of her obsessively eating ice cream to get that dumb Snowmaru prize. Rather, I commend the series for actually following up on the realistic consequences of careless overeating, in contrast to the unrealistic and wrong messages they give when Sailor Moon binge-eats, remains stick-skinny, and complains about being too fat.

  13. rufe says:

    I mean…Natsume got 4 seasons so Shoujo can get multiple seasons as well. (Other recent examples are Yumeiro Patissier, Kimi to Boku, Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile…hell even Massugu ni Ikou got two “seasons”)

    Just this one most likely will not.

    • kero says:

      I thought Kimi to Boku was okay (manga comes across better), but when I think that Kimi got a second season it feels like a travesty if Chihayafuru doesn’t!

  14. Armpit says:

    First of all you don’t even seem to know what a shojo is since you listed multiple Josei’s and a Shonen. Second nobody said shojo don’t get second seasons. Niche Shojo like Chiya don’t get second seasons unless they either drastically increase manga sales , or sell a boatload of dvd’s. Neither of those requirements have been met.

  15. rufe says:

    My point is that series targeting women and girls do get sequels (though I stand corrected on Kimi to Boku, that was a surprise. Pop it out for Kimi ni Todoke and the list is four shoujo and two josei). Your earlier post implies that only those series that appeal to young boys will get a sequel.

    Of course money is the bottom line and I don’t see how that will ever change.

  16. Armpit says:

    I never implied that a series has to appeal to young boys to get a sequel. What i said is that a niche shojo won’t get a sequel because young Japanese boys have no interest in it. Magical girl shojos for instance appeal to many young males in Japan, and other countries, thus they end up with solid sales. A niche shojo involving one of the least popular games in existence doesn’t appeal to young boys.

    Most of the people in this site aren’t in Japan. So while most of us here seem to like this series a lot , it means very little in the long run.

    If you want another season then pray that the series gets licensed , then hope it sells well overseas. Then maybe we can expect a sequel in a few years.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Vincent
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 10:01 AM)
    Watched Letters from Iwo Jima again. Ken Watanabe is a great actor.
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:32 AM)
    Note that it’s not just regular AIDS, which is definitely treatable if caught early, it’s some dtug resistant SUPERAIDS that the character in question got from a blood transfusion soon after being born
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:29 AM)
    It’s not that the disease being AIDS is really all that important. You could even replace with anything, even Sudden Moe Death Syndrome from Clannad and the emotional impact would still be as blunt and forced.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:53 AM)
    Okay even though I don’t watch western tv shows all that much I finally properly spent whole day going through black mirror. For the larger part this is creative, unpredictable, well thought out/written, varied, I like the technological end of it, the stories manage to fit into the short film runtime without ever feeling like they needed more time and its clear that Charlie Brooker has a lot to say with this and is very intelligent man, some of it does ring fairly true.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Recommendation corner 02 – Light novels #1

Its very easy to disregard the light novel genre completely as it is responsible for the creation of quite a number of unoriginal, bad and shameless pandering anime in recent years. However there still are worthwhile stories within the genre. They are just a little less known.   Mushoku Tensei Description: A 34-year-old NEET otaku […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 10

Very nice start to the beginning of the episode with the Unlimited Bladeworks chant. Sure, it has been parodied to kingdom come but I still love it and all it’s broken engrish glory. But now I can say it with certainty. This series is not suitable for being watched weekly. In watching this episode I […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 10

Fights blew past fast this episode. We had four fights in one episode so my previous fears of this getting dragged look to be untrue.  Notables being the fight between a mystery girl and a holy knight whose head is so disproportionate from his body that you could swear someone took the head of a […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 06-10

So I’ve been gone for a while partially because of work, school, and my political activities, but also because I wanted to try approaching how I review in a (hopefully) interesting way. I’d be interested in hearing your feedback on this, as I am trying to inject more of my own personality into the way […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 09

The pattern continues with another building up episode. Admittedly I find this somewhat disappointing. I feel that this show would be better marathoned than watched weekly as the wait for what is a essentially a build up to the next episode can hamper the experience a bit. As I said before, this show would work […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 09

The fight between explosives girl and the sins was ended quicker than I thought. When King entered the fight it was settled almost immediately.  King made short work of her as Elaine provided some supposedly badass exposition saying how King is originally known as the king of the fairies, harlequin. I say supposedly because it […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 08

Another episode has come and gone. This episode marking the first casualty of the holy grail war. Looks like Rider is out of the running. It is a bit sad to see her go so unceremoniously and even defeated off screen. Well, we shall see you again in the upcoming heavens feel movie, where you […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 08

There was a few questionable things here this episode. The episode starts with the new villain quite literally killing herself to enter the kingdom of the dead. Which is a big risk considering it was based on one sentence from a child she was threatening. True being a shounen show there’s likely some magical biology […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 07

As expected, this week we have another action filled episode. Queue the pretty explosions and fast paced fighting. It felt too short despite the episode length being just the same as the others. I often find that with a good episode of anime it makes you lose the concept of time as you watch. Making […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]