I just went to go see the Chihayafuru movie this Monday (3/21)! It came out on 3/19. It was the end of a three-day-weekend, and I was trying to figure out how to make the most of a Monday off that I basically slept through, when I suddenly got the urge to see a movie and remembered that this had just come out :)
Chihayafuru is about a girl named Chihaya who’s been a huge fan of karuta ever since meeting a boy named Arata in elementary school. Arata is the grandson of a karuta pro, and Chihaya used to play competitive karuta on a team together with Arata and Taichi, her childhood friend. Arata has since moved far away, and Chihaya and Taichi are attending the same high school. The story follows Chihaya’s creation of a school karuta team. and the times the team shares together as they strive to become the top karuta team in Japan. At the same time, Chihaya hopes to reunite with Arata, who first sparked her interest and passion in karuta.
There’s something about this series that exemplifies teamwork without forcing it on you. I was really touched at one part, and I cried in the theater (although I believe that had more to do with my bringing my own experiences into the theater with me–but who doesn’t do that? I’m sure I heard the guy next to me sniffing, too.)
There is a balance between characters being too anime-like and over-the-top, but still keeping with the intent and style of the original series, but overall I think the movie did a good job with that. The movie plot was sometimes different from what I remember from the anime, but the important parts counted. I think a good amount of time was devoted to each character.
I thought that Arata was perfect!^^ It’s such a good feeling when the real-life characters match the feeling you got when you watched the anime or read the manga (I haven’t read the manga, in this case).
I like the parts where Chiyaha and everyone are practicing air karuta. It’s like what I do when I practice kanji on the train, drawing characters with my finger the way I read on a website somewhere :) At least, I like to think so.
The biggest strength of the movie, besides the character developments, was how cool all the karuta scenes were! It was fun and enjoyable to watch. I think a big part of that was the music. It’s like dance music, and it’s so exhilarating sitting in the theater with that wonderful surround sound, watching people make cards fly!
A good movie should leave you wanting more, not sighing in relief because the last 15 minutes are finally over. I was left at the end wishing it wasn’t over yet. It was worth watching, and watching again :)
I’m looking forward to the second one, which comes out this April! (I like this Rurouni Kenshin-like, two-movies-in-two-months thing.)
Chihayafuru theme song, Perfume, “Flash”