Chihayafuru: Anime for Most of Us

We anime watching folks are sad creatures, you know that? I think the more I think about and more I see what happens the less I want to listen to anyone who raises a stink about creativity or how noitanimA is going down the drain or whatever. It’s really just the opposite.

I think there are some serious and valid concerns in terms of industry specific issues and challenges, but a lot of the times these issues aren’t spun in a way in which we look at what the problem is. It’s like looking at pictures of men and women in swimsuits and being unsatisfied with the type of swimsuits you can see, rather than being unsatisfied with the actual models posing them. Putting the carriage in front of the horse, I guess.

The truth is, Chihayafuru is a beautifully and poetically rendition of a long-running manga. The subject matter and characters are really beside the motif and execution of it, elevating something rather esoteric (national, competitive karuta) into the realm of “just yet another sports manga adaptation.” I think there are a lot of great manga adaptation of this type over the years, and it’s great to see something in doses of 26 episodes joining the rank of such (hopefully).

But my bones with Chihayafuru is that it brought very little of new; it’s just an excellent execution of the old for the most part. Chihaya’s voice actor is a neophyte, and she definitely demonstrated promise in her performance and in the ending song she performed. She’s also head and shoulder taller than Kayano Ai which is amusing when you see them line up for the cast photo op, but anyway–there’s not much beyond that. I think there are some very creative use of animation CG pattern overlay in the show (especially in the OP), and the soundtrack is adorable and quite enjoyable if yo’re into that sort of thing.

Maybe this is just another way to say I’m jaded about anime, but I want more out of my anime than just what Chihayafuru provides. It doesn’t take away that Chihayafuru does provide some of what I look for in all anime, but in the end there is nothing groundbreaking or really something to get excited about from the perspective of a fan of the medium, or specifically, late night TV anime. I guess this is a classic case of getting not what I wanted but just what I needed.

That is why I actually find what this crazy social-networking cultural critic had to say striking a chord with me. I have no opinion on Sayo Yamamoto’s new work besides that it is full of naked breasts and it is promising. I’ll probably enjoy it. Because I’m the miserable anime watching type. Because as much as I might like Dezaki’s work they only give me what I need.

[Y’know, what I need is to write a post about Another.]

4 Responses to “Chihayafuru: Anime for Most of Us”

  • Ryan A

    I get where you’re coming from. Chihayafuru is an all-around solid animation (OP sequence could use some work), but I don’t feel hype for it. I thought it had some excellently written pieces that were well-adapted, but I’m not evangelical about it. The show is good, but I can’t get behind it as something “viewers should watch.” I don’t think I’m jaded, since I see plenty of green pasture in works unseen, but I gander my lists and see very few series I would recommend anyone, no less anime fans.

    If fans are enjoying what they’re seeing but I’m not praising-to-persuade any of these titles, I simply think it’s a casual branching of my tastes with the general consensus. Maybe that’s a bit too optimistic.

  • Stef

    You know, there’s not much you can do about it. Truly interesting pieces happen from time to time, and it’s the same thing for all media. If you want to keep being interested, you can seek out those things elsewhere. Then come back when there’s noteworthy stuff. I know that’s what I should do.

  • drmchsr0

    I think it’s less of anime sucking (which it always does, no matter the age) and more to do with people realizing that anime is a commercial product.

    Osamu Tezuka’s works gave rise to the environment GeGeGe Kitaro’s creator worked in. The creation and popularity of Mazinger Z gave rise to anime as a commercial product. The popularity of Pokemon only further emphasized the commercial aspect.

  • omo

    The commercial aspect is not really relevant. I’m talking more about the story and the art aspects. I mean Karuta is pretty hella esoteric. But they managed to make a pretty normal sports anime story out of it.

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