This anime was a good surprising find! I was skeptical since I read that there's some card game involve and thought, “oh it's those commercial type anime.” But I was puzzled to see the cards they were playing and the tone of the show. The cards are plain and dull. All you see is letters. I can't even read it. Heck, I can't even understand why they're so excited about it.
The tone wasn't all colorfully shocking where all of the colors in the wheel are available on the show. In fact, Chihayafuru has a serious and dramatic color scheme similar to a soap opera (hmm, I think they'll translate it that format soon). The show is slightly funny and not the “roll-on-your-belly” type but fun to watch nonetheless.
(Actual example of a modern pair of Uta Garuta cards, where the torifuda is on the left and the yomifuda is on the right.)
What lured me in was the story of the cards (Uta-Garuta) w/c never happened before w/ the exception of Pokemons (Those pocket monsters are just so adorable. PIKA!) and the story of the 3 main characters – Chihaya, Taichi and Arata. I had to Google "Karuta" and it turns out to be REAL! It's been played in Japan for over a century (look it up for details). There's too much technical stuff and information about it but don't be intimidated, Kanade seems to be there to help us newbies. Her love for the poems seems more comprehendable than seeing it as a sport. No offense to those who does Competitive Karuta.
Chihaya, the lead character is energetic, athletic (who eats chocolates after a match. SWEET!) and passionate whose only purpose and dream was to be a fan and supporter of her beauty queen sister and to see her succeed. That's until she met a young budding Kuruta Master in her class that changed her outlook in life and inspired her to be a "Karuta Master" as well using her odd talent.
(Actual Karuta Masters)
The early episodes shows the background story about the 3 main characters. Where Chihaya is a tomboy, a good friend and has great sense of what is fair and sticks to what she believes in despite peer pressure. It's a commendable trait even though she's just a fictional character. Taichi can be arrogant since his good at a lot of things, bright, competitive and mean but cares deeply about Chihaya even when she beats him up. Arata is the silent worker and the talent who's 1st friend in the city is Chihaya. Taichi doesn't like seeing his best friend and an outsider being close.
Story gets interesting years later when they've grown up to be teenagers and Arata isn't around to guide Chihaya on Karuta. However Taichi's is in the same school as her and both started a Club for it. They met new and reluctant recruits (they were profiled and forced to join, really) and competing against experienced teams. Will the 3 buds be reunited despite Arata's traumatic ordeal while being separated from the 2 or are you fine w/ just the 2?
This anime is family friendly, so far and recommended. There are some mention of historical references and poems in the show so expect a lot of questions being asked by kids or yours. If faced in such a predicament, Google is your best friend.
Fanmade Chihaya x Taichi by AyaseChihayaChan (not really taking sides but there's not much video out there).
(Let me know if the videos are down. Tnx! :)