Chihayafuru, vol. 7

chyfr7.pngThis volume contains a healthy mix of stuff – part secondary character growth, part karuta action, part internal strife for our heroine.

Fresh off the matches between her clubmates, Chihaya has decided to support Taichi at a tournament in a different city. She also runs into Arata there, who’s also competing. Taichi and Arata have some exchanges, and Arata passes his e-mail to Taichi, in the hope that it’ll reach Chihaya. In the first volume, there was some minor tension between these two over their romantic feelings for Chihaya. These feelings, mostly unremarked upon in the intervening five volumes, suddenly surge back to the surface when Arata comments on the physical distance between them. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 6

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In this volume, Chihaya takes a backseat, in favor of the other members of Mizusawa’s karuta club getting a chance in the spotlight.

Chihaya’s school advisors inform her that her grades are slipping rather severely, so she’s advised to focus on her studies. In the meantime, she and the other club members are preparing for ranked matches in their area. These matches are significant because enough wins in their respective ranks will result in a “level up” of sorts to the next class, which comes with its own sort of prestige. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 5

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Unlike the previous volume, which featured a build from the Mizusawa karuta club’s local tournament all the way to Omi Shrine, this one spends the bulk of its run in one place, focusing on a heated karuta match.

Volume 5 picks up directly where the last one left off, with Chihaya reuniting with Arata in a nurse’s office, distraught that she didn’t get to compete with her team. Sadly, the Mizusawa club didn’t win enough matches to qualify for the next round, but each player is eligible for single matches the next day. Chihaya, feeling more like herself, is eager to play no matter what. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 4

chyfr4.pngThis volume of Chihayafuru is a slight departure from the past few volumes in that this one has a greater focus on action, with less emphasis on character development. We also get to see more of what Arata has been up to. And that isn’t a bad thing at all in practice.

Picking up right where the last one left off, Chihaya is in a heated match with the star player of Hokuou Academy. Tension is high because the outcome of this match determines who will represent Tokyo at Omi Shrine. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 3

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This series is such a treat to read. I have less to say about this volume compared to the others. The main thing this volume did was reiterate how good the series has been.

Three main things progress the plot here. First, Chihaya and co. are able to recruit a few other kids to play karuta with them, meaning they can formally establish a karuta club at their school. The fifth kid, known affectionately by Chihaya as Desk-kun, is the second-best student in academics, only to Taichi himself. He pores over his studies, but the kids around him seem to think it doesn’t matter much if he doesn’t come out on top. Desk-kun seems to be jealous of Taichi for having everything Desk-kun doesn’t, and he initially declines to join the club because he’s not naturally good at the game. Taichi convinces Desk-kun to join by saying he’d rather have someone who’s smart and willing to learn over someone who’s cocky because of a natural talent. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 2

chyfr2.pngChihayafuru got off to a great start, probably the best in a manga I’ve read for a long time. The second volume adds some more dimension to Chihaya’s character, making me fall even more in love with her and the series in the process.

The last volume left Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata on a cliffhanger in their first karuta tournament. This volume picks up right where that one left off, where Chihaya sadly loses her match. After this, the three graduate from their elementary school. Then there’s a timeskip to the present day, which I found a bit more compelling.

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Chihayafuru, vol. 1

chyfr1.pngChihayafuru is a series I’ve always wanted to get into, but a number of excuses kept me away. First, I was scared of it being so long. Then I was trying to hold out for a physical release after it got released digitally. Amazon recently had a deal on the volumes of this series currently out, so I caved. I’m glad I did, because this was a really great intro volume. Continue reading