Third season of Chihayafuru.
May it be that I find
The hazed early dawn light comes not from the moon
But from the crystal white snow of Yoshino
Nobody wishes to see
Tatsuta River Ablaze
The storm blasts
As friends and strangers
I recall how my own efforts were in vain
Leaving a hovering mist above the trees and grass
So the flower petals are scattered like the snow by the passing storm
Chihayafuru is a manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu; Chihayafuru is her first animated work, but not the first manga. The manga has been serialized in Be Love(Kodansha) since December 2007. Third season of the series aired in 2019, which is 6 years later after the second season. The manga, as well as the TV series, have won many awards; the manga also has more than 16 million copies in print. Being in a team is always challenging: aside from improving yourself, you need to improve the team and help them keep going no matter what frustration they might face. Mizusawa High School’s Karuta Club has achieved many accomplishments and now the members of Mizusawa High will need to focus more on the individual tournaments. Ayase will finally, once again, challenge the Queen, and Taichi will be able to compete against Arata. But they are not the only players, who want to get better and get the title of ‘the best player.’ At long last, six years after the second season of Chihayafuru, we get the third. After six years, you might have had to rewatch previous seasons of the series, but if you started watching it not long ago, even better. After a small recap, the anime returns back to where it ended and things start to get spicy. Karuta is no longer a team game, like it used to in previous seasons of the series. Now Ayase Chihaya, Mashima Taichi, and Wataya Arata will focus more on their individual ambitious: the desire to become the Master (the best male karuta player) and the Queen (the best female karuta player). What is more, Chihayafuru does not stop only on these 3, because it is boring to have good main characters and supporting cast that gets no development whatsoever. That is not the case, since the supporting cast here gets quite the development, too. There might be players that play for fun, but there are quite many, who, too, want to get the title of the best karuta player. Finally, the third season introduces more characters and shows more about the current Master and the Queen. Anyways, long story short, there are so many new details Chihayafuru 3 introduces, but, at the same time, they are well balanced. You do not feel that the story lacks something. Chihayafuru’s soundtrack and animation are great as always. Chihayafuru’s OST is light and airy, comprised of flutes, piano and other classical instrumentation. What is amazing about the OST is the fact that it fits the series very well and helps the viewer to dive into the world of karuta even better. During every karuta match, the OST helps to keep the tension and it does its work very well overall. But the best part, of course, is Japanese voice acting, which makes this series that amazing. Animation wise, it is great, too. It is well-made series, with mature-looking, reasonably-proportioned characters. Indeed, it is not something you will watch for animation and it is quite difficult to say that the animation is great, it is good and even beautiful in its way, but it could have been a bit better sometimes. While the first season of Chihayafuru largely focused on Chihaya and her progression as a karuta player, and the second season centered on teamwork, the third season, however, seems to more focus on the individual desire to win. Namely, why do support and main cast play karuta. Yet, now more focus is made on the supporting cast: the Master and the Queen, as well as other supporting characters, including the head of the Shiranami Society for karuta and new characters, for example ex Queen. And this is really amazing, there are so many things going on, new characters, their stories, what they want and what they are trying to achieve. And this is quite enjoyable, I must say, since watching 3 seasons about Chihaya, Taichi and Arata would surely be boring. Not here, though, as mentioned before, there is balance about everything in this show and it makes Chihayafuru 3 never boring to watch. Enjoyment wise and overall, Chihayafuru is still as good as it used to and is a highly recommended show to watch for all the fans of great SoL. Chihayafuru shows people competitive karuta, in which anyone can play and it does not matter who you are, what are you doing, and how skillful you are, since any player can get A rank, when they spend enough time, improving their skills. There are so many characters, supporting cast is not weak as in many series, they are as good as the main cast, they get enough development, their backstories are shown to you and because of that you are starting to like them. There is absolutely nothing I can criticize in this series, absolutely nothing. What I can say is that I would love to see a slightly better animation, but that is not much of a problem for me to stress, it is still good and has its beauty. No questions about it, the third season is a solid 10/10 and a must watch for all those, who like SoL and saw the previous seasons.
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