DVD Review: Chihayafuru Part 1 (2011 - 2012)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Saturday, September 14, 2013 0 comments

Chihayafuru is a show about a female teenager named Chihaya who aims to be the number one player of a card game called Karuta.  Karuta is a game where each player puts down a bunch of cards that have lines from a series of famous Japanese poems (called the one-hundred poems) on their side of the field, they have some person watching over the players and pulling poems from a box and the players have to snap up the cards that are related to those said poems.  The player that has snatched up the most cards ultimately wins the match.  In this volume of the show we have Chihaya starting high-school by putting up posters advertising that she'll be starting a club where people can come in and play Karuta.  While putting up the posters she runs into an old friend and then we have a flashback to when they were kids getting into the game.  After that we have Chihaya trying her best to gain members so that her club will become a real thing so she can have a team that will help her reach her goals of becoming the number one player and have the number one team.  Will she manage to get people to join her club?  Most likely.  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

Unlike other shows based on card games like Yu-Gi-Oh or Duel Masters where you see over the top matches full of explosions, soap opera plot twists and teenagers that look like porn stars you will find this show is very down to Earth.  Best way to describe this show is that it resembles making a show based on competitive chess but without the boredom... except for three-dimentional chess and virtual chess as it's impossible to make them boring (thank you Star Trek and Star Wars).  The show started off a little slow but after the first few episodes the show finds its wings and sores up to the sky with a very exciting story about an underdog wanting to be Japan's best player.  The show is also done in quite a realistic way where the main character doesn't have M.C.S. or Main Character Syndrome (also known as Gary Stu Disorder and Mary Sue Disease) so she doesn't just win because she's the main character.  The other characters are decent and they do have their ups and downs but nothing too annoying about them.  One thing I personally love about this show is that there's this one crazy guy and take a guess what his name is?  Retro.  Yes there is a guy named Retro in this show which is pretty fucking cool... well to me anyway (pardon my French there, I'm just excited).

Artwork may put off some of the male viewers out there as it doe's look a little bit girly but it also looks pretty good all at the same time.  This show has a darker color palette for the backgrounds but instead of coming off as grim it comes off as very rich with a nice chocolate (yummy) tint and an aura that makes me feel like that I'm stuck in Autumn (all the trees are brown, (trees are brown) and the sky is grey (all the trees are brown)).  My problem with the artwork is with the designs of the characters as some of them look very unoriginal with designs that could easily be mistaken for other characters from other shows.  I liked the Japanese dub as it felt very natural with everybody sounding very appropriate to how their characters are with age and personality.  Soundtrack sounds like the conductor watched a lot of Jurassic Park (1993) as it sounds heavily inspired by the film but with a few tweaks here and there to make it sound a bit more lighter (otherwise you'd think dinosaurs are attacking you in your very own homes).

Only two special features in this volume with the standard text-less opening and closing credit sequences.  The opening sequence was fun to revisit but the closing sequence was a bit bare with a blank screen with some leafs falling.  Overall if you are a fan of animation based on card games you will enjoy this and it's also a refreashing take on that idea of making a show based on a card game.  People who despise those kinds of shows will actually enjoy this one due to it not having any of those annoying clichés you typically find in those kinds of shows.  Very solid viewing.

Title: Chihayafuru Part 1
Animation Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Animation/Anime, Drama
Running Time: 300 Minutes (12 Episodes)
Distributor: Siren Visual (http://www.sirenvisual.com.au/)
Rating: M15+ (Coarse language)
Price: $49.95
Recommended: Yes


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