The movie comes in 2 parts (Chihayafuru Kami no Ku and Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku) and was shown in cinemas in Japan on 19 March and 29 April this year respectively. Given how early it came out, this post is a little late but I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the series and the cast and what I liked about this movie. Hopefully you would watch it too if you haven't!
The story follows a girl, Ayase Chihaya, who was inspired by her friend, Wataya Arata, to start competitive Karuta when she was in 6th grade. Together with her later-to-be bishounen childhood friend of hers, Mashima Taichi, they started making a three-man Karuta group. This ended aruptly when Arata moves back to Fukui Prefecture. Ayase and Taichi grows apart and while Taichi doesn't play Karuta anymore, Ayase makes plans to start a new Karuta club in high school to compete in group matches and hopefully meets Arata in one of them. She later succeeds with forming and club but upon meeting Arata, she discovers that he doesn't play Karuta anymore.
This show stars many actors with prominent roles in other shows as well.
- Hirose Suzu as Ayase Chihaya.
- Also as Miyazono Kaori in Your Lie In April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, 2016)
- She was awarded with the title "Rookie of the Year" in 2016.
- Nomura Shuhei as Mashima Taichi
- Also as Yoshitake in Daily Lives of High School Boys (Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, 2013)
- Also as Shibuya Sho in GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, 2012
- Mackenyu as Wataya Arata
- Also as Nijimura Okuyasu in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, planned to be released in 2017
- Yamoto Yuma as Nishida Yusei
- Also in Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji, 2014)
- Matsuoka Mayu as Wakamiya Shinobu
- Also in Zekkyou Gakkyuu as Katori Erika (2013)
It has a bit of drama going on and by reading this snippet, it's clear as day that Ayase, Taichi and Arata would be in a love triangle (which they do, to an extent -- more of Taichi's unrequited love though).
But more importantly, we get to see how the characters grow through this series no matter which version you pick up, be it the manga, anime or live action. Mashima becomes more reliable and Ayase becomes more calm and independent. Characters clearly show what they love and they are not ashamed of it. For instance, Kana loves traditional things and kimono, and isn't embarrassed to request that they all wear hakama to their competitions.
And their love for Karuta?
Their passion shows through each motion the actor makes.
Through this series, you sense their love and pride as a Karuta player, where every win and every loss, no, more than that -- every time your favorite character manages to snag a card, it sparks a flame in the viewer's hearts and creates this warm bubbly and fuzzy feeling that just makes you want to cheer them on more, pretty much like the sports anime that has all the fangirls going starry-eyed over.
This show is a beautiful myriad of pure emotions.