Posted by psgels on 24 June 2013 with categories: Chihayafuru

The second season of Chihayafuru was the obvious middle part of the story: lacking a beginning and end. While for Chihaya herself, it may not be the most important in terms of character-development, it definitely has its parts where it can shine above the other seasons. One of the biggest ones really became apparent in the conclusion: the fact that Chihaya can step down as the main character for a bit, to allow other characters to shine.

I forgotten about it, but I love it when the main character just spends a bit of time as a spectator. A time where the matches don’t revolve around building up a match for her, but instead are important in their own way. Episodes 23 and 24 were about matches that shouldn’t have been overshadowed by Chihaya. Taichi’s advance to Class A, and the match between Arata and Shinobu. These two things have been built up for so long now. They needed to be fully put in the spotlights.

All three characters were awesome. These matches didn’t serve to particularly develop them, but rather, they highlighted their development: they showed how much they had grown to this point and how well they prepared. This also looked so well into how their karuta works, and the difference in their playstyles. The focus on Karuta was the icing on the cake, by the way: to close off the season with what a play between two of the best players looks like. It made the sport even deeper than it already was.

So, what about this hypothetical third season. Let’s suppose that it gets made. The strange thing is that the creators are building up Arata as the ultimate rival for Chihaya, and not Shinobu. When looking at the chronological events, this has to be the case if they want to end predictably: Chihaya will beat Shinobu in the Queen’s match, and she’ll then be up against Arata during the regular finals for the actual climax.

The problem with that will obviously be predictability. The creators will have to pull out all of their tricks to spice things up and pull away focus from this predictability. The first steps were made for this by giving Shinobu a cold in this episode. That was very clever, because it still is a mystery who would win in a fair match where both are at their best. Also, Suoh will need to be developed really badly there. He will probably be dethroned by Arata. The trick is to give this as much depth as possible.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

16 Responses

  1. Tofu says:

    0/68? Sounds like I should be watching ;)

  2. Oroboros says:

    0/68… (faints)

    Seriously, I enjoyed this season, although it was somewhat inconsistent in its pacing (too much time wasted on ugly representations of foreigners and other irrelevant side characters) and I look forward to the next season. :)

  3. Rihan says:

    Why not bump it up to 69?

  4. Gavrilo says:

    Actually, it looks like they are building Arata to be Taichi’s rival, due to his balanced and calm playing style. He’s not the kind of player that Chihaya could mirror, just like Taichi isn’t gifted enough to try emulating Shinobu.

    • Nautical says:

      I agree. As noted in this episode, Arata’s karuta isn’t about natural talent but more about persistent determination and hard work, which is more reflective of Taichi than Chihaya.

      I’m pretty sure this whole series is set up for Chihaya’s path to becoming Queen, not for a match against Arata.

  5. ronbb says:

    I certainly look forward to a season 3, but since it’s gonna be a while before it has enough material for adaptation, I am going to talk about the show now. Season 2 is no doubt of high standards, but it’s not as top notch as season 1, and we can easily see that in its pacing and, most importantly, characters.

    Seriously, for something that has been built up for so long — like Taichi’s win and the Shinobu/Arata match, the creator should have given more screen time and cut short the story on the foreigners or those creepy photo club geeks. I know that it’s pretty much an exact adaptation of the manga, but I would expect more from the director — he was the reason why I picked up this show (season 1) judging from how awesome he did for Nana. To be honest, I am slightly disappointed.

    In terms of characters, season 1 shines like no others in creating a deep emotional bond between its characters and the viewers. Almost all Mizusawa Karuta Club members were so well written, fleshed out, and developed — they were given personalities, aspirations, flaws, inner conflicts, strengths, feelings…all to make them feel like persons that the viewers can relate to, and therefore, can feel for them — both as individuals and team members of the Club. Taichi is well used in season 1 in adding emotional layers to the story — even for an elite student like him, his inner struggles and journey to success created mini tensions in the narrative making the story even more interesting and relatable to its audience. In season 2, characters are used to support the Karata matches. It lacks a thorough planning and thinking when it comes to characters — that’s why we see characters who don’t serve a meaningful purpose (e.g. the photo club geeks) got highlights in the show.

    Talking about characters, I cannot not talk about Arata. I like this character and obviously wanted to see more. However, it’s not really the case. Arata doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but every little story given to him comes with an intention of making him look even more perfect — everything else is up to the imagination of the viewers. I actually want to know him more — his struggles, his feelings, his flaws, his passions… Perhaps I have an expectation of him like Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile, but, in fact, the author is using him as a plot device — a moving goal-post for Chihaya — and that’s why I feel that the character is too two-dimensional for a male lead, and that’s why I don’t feel satisfied.

    It seems like I am making complaints, but actually I do enjoy season 2 of the show. I admit that my affection of the show comes from season 1, and I definitely will rank season 1 higher than season 2 in terms of storytelling, characters and production. However, season 2 indeed is of high standards comparing to many other shows in both the Winter and Spring seasons.

    • Scruffy says:

      I agree 100% about the current characterisation of Arata and I am sure that it is very intentional by the author. We have had some glances of him as a person .. he’s not particularly social and doesn’t make friends easily and is bad at public speaking, yet at the same time is very controlled.

      To me his characterisation mirrors Chihaya’s image of him as some distant goal, rather than a real person. I’m sure that this won’t change until Arata finally moves to Tokyo.

      • ronbb says:

        Agree with you. I don’t know where the manga is at, but I hope that when Arata enters college and moves to Tokyo, we can see more development of him. Besides, this will change the dynamics of the main trio. Arata isn’t my favourite character, but I do like him and therefore feel that, as a male lead, the author should give him more development and not turning him into a two-dimensional character — or even using him as a plot device.

        Aside from Arata, I am actually happy to see growth in Chihaya — she’s definitely less self-absorbed in season 2, and this is a good sign. Taichi is my favourite character for not because of Taichi Taichi but how well written and developed the character is, making him so relatable and believable — I think this is good writing.

        Sorry — I keep talking about characters, but this is what the show does best — more so in season 1 than season 2 — and what attracts me and turns me into a loyal fan.

  6. Scruffy says:

    The problem with Arata being her ultimate ‘End Boss’ is that firstly the very beginning of the series starts with Chihaya in the Queen challenger match. The entire series so far is one massive flashback.

    Secondly apart from regional matches and these school age finals A class players of different sex do not play against each other. There is no match of King against queen. Instead each region selects a challenger for king and queen who then duke it out to challenge. The King and Queen don’t even have to play any other match and in particular that is why the establishment dislikes the current king as he doesn’t bother playing anyone apart from the annual challenges.

  7. Axium says:

    Not to mention that during their childhood, Arata told Chihaya that she will become the Queen and him, the master. So Arata v Taichi, Chihaya v Shinobu is the more likely final goals.

  8. ojisan says:

    Still shipping Chihaya x Taichi though!!

  9. headachebaby says:

    Love this series and looking forward for season 3. Let there be a season 3. The group competition took too long and there was WAY TOO MANY RECAPS after Chihaya’s team won their match. Yeah, we’ve been there and seen it all so why the LONG RECAP – just move it along. That was such a waste…it’s like the creators just thought to fill in time without doing much for the rest of the season. I would’ve prefer a longer focus on Arata who still could’ve use more screen time. We got some glimpse of his playing but I want more of his thoughts when he’s in the game.

    My only complaint for season 1 and 2 – not enough screen time for Arata so my request for season 3 – GIVE ME MORE OF HIM!!!

    • Starss says:

      Arata fan here! The guy needs to stay on screen for longer than 2 minutes an episode! I don’t mind Arata being a plot device or two dimensional but it was totally silly how much presence he was meant to have this season and how little he actually had. Like that match where Arata was there the whole episode waiting outside but ended up having six lines of grunts. Gahh.

      I do though, like his karuta. He’s the inbetween of the genius and the hard workers, though I’m not sure how much of his genius is attributed to Mr. Eternal Master. So happy he made a big comeback at the end of season 2 though! ‘Cause Arata’s a bishie.

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