The Emotions Experienced After a Long-awaited Reunion
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Drama, Sports, School, Slice of Life, Josei
- Airing Date : October 2019 – Currently Airing
- Producers : Madhouse
Chihayafuru 3 Introduction and Story
As it is a direct continuation of the series, Chihayafuru 3 picks up where Chihayafuru 2 left off in the aftermath of Arata’s exciting victory against the current Queen, Shinobu, at the national high school championship and Chihaya recovering from her finger injury and operation.
After Chihaya and Taichi spend their summer break at Fujisaki's intense karuta training camp the story shifts to the Yoshino tournament, the last major event before the Master and Queen qualifiers. There we are introduced to another star player and former Queen, Inokuma Haruka, who feels somewhat conflicted about coming out of maternity retirement as she balances her love of karuta with raising two young children.
The remainder of the first cours focuses on the long-awaited Master and Queen qualifiers and the complicated feelings of Arata, Chihaya, and Taichi and others while the eccentric presence of the current Master Suo Hisashi grows more prominent, issuing a bold proclamation that he will retain his title for the fifth time in a row and retire afterward.
1. Compelling Drama
As with the previous seasons, Chihayafuru 3’s greatest strength has probably been in its story and characterization that succeeds in feeling familiar and intimate while simultaneously unique and refreshing. There’s a sense of genuineness in the narrative that makes it easy to get wrapped up in the story. Despite some fun but admittedly cartoonish traits like Chihaya’s tendency to fall asleep immediately after a match, many of Chihayafuru’s characters feel like real people experiencing growth and hardships that are easy to empathize with which drives the drama that is cleverly woven into each match and tournament.
2. Excellent Soundwork
Another aspect of Chihayafuru that stands out is in its sound, most notably in the voice acting talent that brings the well-written dialog to life. Like the story overall, the performances have an approachable realism to them with a lot of attention to detail to bring out the emotional depth of each scene and add further characterization with special touches like the regional accents. Like before, the soundtrack has remained somewhat subtle but well utilized and 99RadioService’s latest theme, "COLORFUL", is another strong opening that perfectly fits the feel of the series!
One other facet worth mentioning is the tragic loss of voice actor Unshou Ishizuka as Harada-sensei. This change is certainly felt but Kenta Miyake has proved to be a worthy successor.
While arguably the most potentially divisive aspect of Chihayafuru, competitive karuta remains a great hook for anyone interested in Japanese culture that will continue to delight watchers this season. As opaque as the game can be, Chihayafuru continues to be an informative and accessible way to enjoy some of the intricacies and cultural aspects of karuta and thankfully still offers unobtrusive rule explanations in season 3 that will be especially helpful for those who haven’t watched since Chihayafuru 2 in 2013.
1. Some Secondary Characters Lose Prominence
As we mentioned before, the first cours of Chihayafuru 3 mainly focuses on the Master and Queen qualifiers and also introduces some new characters like the former Queen Haruka Inokuma which, along with the plethora of newbies from Chihayafuru 2, means less time for some characters like Tsukue-kun and Nikuman-kun. Within the context of the story, this all makes sense, though, and most secondary characters still get their times to shine on occasion with some getting huge attention like Harada-sensei! We’d say the biggest loss is the strong team aspect of last season as Chihayafuru 3’s first cours is all about individual matches and personalities.
Overall, Chihayafuru 3 has been a solid followup to the past seasons so far that hasn’t really disappointed in any aspects except arguably the shift in focus away from teams towards individuals. It’s a series with a lot of heart and infectious charm that we believe will appeal to a wide demographic of viewers and is certainly worth watching for fans of the preceding entries and a good excuse for others to get caught up!
Let us know what you think of the first part of Chihayafuru 3 in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, esoteric Japanese card game anime and otherwise! Until next time, strive to see what impassionate gods have never seen, the rest of Chihayafuru 3? See ya~