Moments That Made it Worth the Wait!
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Slice of Life, Sports, Drama, School
- Airing Date : October 2019 – March 2020
- Producers : Madhouse
--- Spoilers Ahead ---
Nowadays, long-running anime series outside of popular shounen shows are a bit of a rarity, as are anime that return after long periods of time and maintain quality throughout. Needless to say, we're glad that Chihayafuru is one of the exceptions with its return last year after a six-year hiatus following the second season. And what a triumphant return it was! With the season recently wrapped up, today we're highlighting some of our favorite moments from Chihayafuru 3 with this special article. Without further ado, now the flower blooms...
Harada-sensei Shines (Episode 17)
Watching Harada-sensei was an absolute treat this season and a bit of an unexpected one! Although Harada has always been a standout supporting character in the series, thanks to his powerful voice, kind-but-intense personality, and aggressive karuta playing style, Chihayafuru 3 dives deeper into his character's motivations, and indomitable will to win. His matches in the Masters Tournament with Arata and Suo are the obvious highlights, but him getting there in the first place is quite remarkable. As funny as this might sound, seeing a middle-aged mentor character like Harada take center stage in an anime following a high school team was pretty refreshing. While in the end Suo proved victorious, seeing Harada beat Arata and only narrowly lose to the current champion was not only exciting but lent a lot of weight to his character as did the scenes exploring his past like the origin of his rivalry with Akio Kitano from the Suihoku Society.
The Taichi Cup Birthday Tournament (Episode 23)
Hoo boy, the conclusion of this season was an emotional one full of highs and lows but one of the comfier highs was definitely the “Taichi Cup” special tournament that Chihaya organized for his birthday in episode 23. We loved this as it brought back a bunch of our favorite characters like Hiro, Rion, and even Sudo (albeit he amusingly refused to wear the shirt) and added further nostalgia with its Genpei format that calls back to Taichi, Arata, and Chihaya's early experiences of playing karuta in elementary school together. While many things towards the end of this season were emotionally bittersweet, this was a great full-circle moment for the series that we really enjoyed!
Clashing Confessions (Episode 24)
Speaking of emotional moments, season 3 really upped the ante by intensifying the relationship complications of the main cast with not one but two major and very contrasting confessions of love to Chihaya, first from Arata earlier in the season, who does it in a nonchalant and honest way that takes her very much by surprise, and then Taichi's very dramatic confession which served as the climactic capstone of the series so far. These were both done brilliantly and seeing how they all reacted in different ways was one of the driving forces of the series that gets reflected in their decisions and even karuta playing going forward. We've yet to see how it all will turn out in the end, and the suspense is real since this season has ended, but finally seeing these confessions happen after so much development and hinting was as satisfying as it was emotional.
Going off that sentiment, this was a heck of a way to end a season with Taichi leaving the club and Arata starting his own. There's an interesting synchronicity and parallelism of it all that reminds us of Arata's dark times when he quit karuta after his grandpa passed while Chihaya and Taichi were getting their club together. It's honestly pretty brutal, but there's a bit of hope and optimism on both sides, particularly after seeing Sumire and Kana taking charge of their club recruiting activities. In any case, it certainly has us excited for the next season, we're just hoping that this time it won't be another six years!
What were your favorite moments from Chihayafuru 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey's for more insights into your favorite anime series and more! Until next time, stay... impassionate?