Ever since games such as Yu-Gi-Oh became popular in Japan and especially over here in the States, card games have expanded in many different ways across all forms of media. One of Sentai Filmworks’ latest releases focuses on a classic Japanese card game that dates back to the 16th century in Chihayafuru: Complete Collection. Featuring twenty-five episodes that make up the first season of the show, it has plenty of intense card playing action with the right amount of drama to keep viewers glued to their seats.
The story follows the life of Chihaya Ayase, a young lady who doesn’t do much outside of going to school and helping her sister with her budding model career. It isn’t long before she meets a young man by the name of Arata Wataya, who plays the ancient card game of karuta and is quite skilled at it. After the two become friends and play karuta, Arata sees that Chihaya is a natural at the game, and she decides to become the best player out there. The two become separated as years pass and their skills grow, and now she’s in high school with her childhood friend, Taichi Mashima. The two form the a karuta club for others to join and develop their skills, and Chihaya continues to press on with her card skills in hopes of seeing Arata again.
Anyone who enjoys anime that focuses on sports, games, and such can already imagine how wild things can get in this series, as Chihaya and her friends battle through one match after another. Only Japan could take something so simple yet make it so dramatic and intense as to keep anyone who watches on the edge of their seat. There’s also a nice amount of drama in the form of Chihaya trying to balance school life, her card matches, and helping family and friends that keeps the show interesting and fun to watch. Watching this unfold in high definition also made the series that much better, as the picture and sound come in nice and clear. The special features are a little light with clean openings and closing scenes, but the series itself is the true special feature of the collection.
If you’re a fan of anime that focuses on sports, card games, etc, then you’ll love Chihayafuru: Complete Collection. It takes something simple yet makes it intense and dramatic as only the power of anime can do, and makes for a thrilling slice-of-life/sports combination that will have viewers cheering for Chihaya and her friends and hanging on every card battle.