Anime Vice News

CHIHAYAFURU #1 -- Watch & Learn

Good comedy/drama here. For real.

How can you say "No" to this?
How can you say "No" to this?

I wonder sometimes about where the precise delineation point for “slice of life” lies. Does having one of these characters be a teen model take it out of the realm of everyday existence and move more into regular comedy/drama territory? It likely doesn’t matter, but I’m trying to articulate why CHIHAYAFURU worked for me in a way that so many other shows with a conspicuous lack of demons and cyborgs haven’t. Maybe it’s because it has at least one exploitative element (for lack of a better term) in the Haruto card game that offers something to hold my interest that's just a little outside of breakfast table conversations and heart-to-hearts in the school hallway. Whatever it is, this was Josei show where I, at last, wasn’t always thinking about how I’m not the intended audience.

Comparing this to a good John Hughes or Cameron Crowe flick feels like grabbing low-hanging fruit by now for the amount of times I’ve invoked them to express why I like a down-to-Earth comedy/drama. They just feel like fitting models of comparison for any show that conveys as real a sense of community in its cast, as this does, without needing any exaggerated bad guys in that community to establish conflict. It doesn’t need chibi to express humor or emotion, either.

Maybe my only gripe is that the transition to these kids middle school days (just three or four years prior?) makes this first episode feel like it’s dealing two cards at once. I’m sure this will be alternating between these two “eras” throughout the course of the series, but it maybe could’ve used a little more theatricality to separate those eras in a more conspicuous way. Middle school to high school don’t seem that drastically different once you’re out of college.

I’m intrigued about Haruto, now. Any of you more Japanese-savy lunatics care to film me in on it?

Watch this episode, "Now the Flower Blooms” here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

KuroNekoXIIIon Nov. 2, 2011 at 1:01 p.m.

I actually gave this anime a shot and it wasn't bad. I got that nostalgic feeling while watching the main characters' elementary school days; it took me back to how life was as a kid.

As for the card game, I've never heard of it before watching the anime. It seems like a very interesting game; its a shame that there isn't an English equivalent game. Here's a wikipedia link to the karuta card game.

metalsnakezeroon Nov. 2, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.

Slice of life series are about the "moment", the now, the small things in life that we should appreciate. It may not be for everyone but it does dive in to deep themes that some series over look. Also in Japan Middle schools are a lot long so the Middle school to high school transitions do make sense in a way.

Darokion Nov. 2, 2011 at 5:44 p.m.

I have a lot of love for Chihayafuru and I've written about it a few times in my blog since it's never failed to impress. There's a point to starting in the "present" and moving back a few years, as it later gives some definition to a characters who through that time period have actually grown and changed into the characters it looks like the show is going to focus on.

It might not seem like a big jump from middle school to high school, but that whole puberty thing can radically change the thoughts you have, especially the dynamics of a girl and two boys who bonded over a card game.

SilverGalfordon Nov. 3, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.


newmarcomon Nov. 3, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.

I love how this proves that any subject in anime form can be exciting.

takashichea moderator is online on Nov. 4, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.

I know my tastes are into Shonen and some Shoujo shows with some action and comedy. Even though I'm not a big fan of slice of life, I'll try it in the winter with the other shows. I'll make my little sister try it out, too. The only slice of life show I loved is Sket Dance, a Shounen style of slice of life.

The art in the eyes remind of Vampire Knight or something else.

Nice Article, Tom! I need to comment some on your articles to show some support.

zaldaron Nov. 6, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.

Eh I'm out of college and graduate school now and high school and middle school are a very sharp deliniation for me...not so much as high and college no...but as bad as my middle school years were, going back to the normal life of high school was a HUGE difference. If your middle school years did not suck *(&^^( terribly count yourself lucky...oh and that type of drawing..I say no to all the time...looks way to chick flick for me, but if you watch it for a watch and learn I'll give it a try..

Dig Deeper into Chihayafuru

Ayase Chihaya the heroine of the story, dreams that one day her sister will become a successfull model, this until the day Wataya Arata, a boy in her class tells her that a dream is only a thing that we can achieve for ourselves.

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